previous next

[115a] or the mountains or the plains, but likewise also for this animal, which of its nature is the largest and most voracious. And in addition to all this, it produced and brought to perfection all those sweet-scented stuffs which the earth produces now, whether made of roots or herbs or trees, or of liquid gums derived from flowers or fruits. The cultivated fruit1 also, and the dry,2 which serves us for nutriment, and all the other kinds that we use for our meals—the various species of which are comprehended under the name “vegetables”— [115b] and all the produce of trees which affords liquid and solid food and unguents,3 and the fruit of the orchard-trees, so hard to store, which is grown for the sake of amusement and pleasure,4 and all the after-dinner fruits5 that we serve up as welcome remedies for the sufferer from repletion,—all these that hallowed island, as it lay then beneath the sun, produced in marvellous beauty and endless abundance. And thus, receiving from the earth all these products, they furnished forth [115c] their temples and royal dwellings, their harbors and their docks, and all the rest of their country, ordering all in the fashion following.6

First of all they bridged over the circles of sea which surrounded the ancient metropolis, making thereby a road towards and from the royal palace. And they had built the palace at the very beginning where the settlement was first made by their God7 and their ancestors; and as each king received it from his predecessor, he added to its adornment [115d] and did all he could to surpass the king before him, until finally they made of it an abode amazing to behold for the magnitude and beauty of its workmanship. For, beginning at the sea, they bored a channel right through to the outermost circle, which was three plethra in breadth, one hundred feet in depth, and fifty stades8 in length; and thus they made the entrance to it from the sea like that to a harbor by opening out a mouth large enough for the greatest ships to sail through.9 Moreover, through the circles of land, [115e] which divided those of sea, over against the bridges they opened out a channel leading from circle to circle, large enough to give passage to a single trireme; and this they roofed over above so that the sea-way was subterranean; for the lips of the landcircles were raised a sufficient height above the level of the sea. The greatest of the circles into which a boring was made for the sea was three stades in breadth, and the circle of land next to it was of equal breadth; and of the second pair of circles that of water was two stades in breadth and that of dry land equal again to the preceding one of water; and the circle which ran round the central island itself was of a stade's breadth. And this island,


1 i.e., the vine (cf. Hom.Od. 5.69).

2 i.e., corn.

3 Perhaps the olive, or coco-palm.

4 Perhaps the pomegranate, or apple (cf. Laws. 819 A, B).

5 Perhaps the citron.

6 See Illustration facing p. 286.

7 i.e., Poseiden.

8 The plethron was about 100 ft.; the stade (=6 plethra) about 600 ft.

9 See Illustration facing this page.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: