previous next


PALA´CIUM (Παλάκιον), a fortress in the Tauric Chersonese, built by Scilurus, king of the Tauro-Scythians, to resist the attacks of Mithridates and his generals. (Strab. vii. p.312.) The name, which it seems to have taken from his son Palacus (Strab. pp. 306, 309), still survives in the modern Balakláva, which Dr. Clark (Travels, vol. ii. p. 219) inaccurately supposes to be derived from the Genoese “Bella Clava,” “The Fair Harbour.” Its harbour was the SYMBOLON PORTUS (Συμβόλων λιμήν, Strab. vii. pp. 308, 309; Arrian, Peripl. p. 20; Ptol. 3.6.2; Plin. Nat. 4.26), or the Cembaro or Cembalo of the middle ages, the narrow entrance to which has been described by Strabo (l.c.) with such fidelity to nature. According to him, the harbour, together with that of Ctenus (Sebastopol), constituted by their approach an isthmus of 40 stadia; this with a wall fenced the Lesser Peninsula, having within it the city of Chersonesus The SINUS PORTUOSUS of Pomponius Mela (2.1.3), from the position he assigns to it between Criumetopon and the next point to the W., can only agree with Balakláva which is truly “καλὸς λιμὴν et promontoriis duobus includitur.” Dubois de Montpereux (Voyage autour du Caucase, vol. vi. pp. 115, 220), in accordance with his theory of transferring the wanderings of Odysseus to the waters of the Euxine, discovers in Balakláva the harbour of the giant Laestrygones (Odyss. 10.80--99); and this opinion has been taken up by more than one writer. It is almost needless to say that the poet's graphic picture of details freshly drawn from the visible world, is as true of other land-locked basins, edged in by cliffs, as when applied to the greyish-blue, or light red Jura rocks, which hem in the entrance to the straits of Balakláva.


hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.26
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.6
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: