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[57]

There is no general agreement in the definition of the term "Hellespont": in fact, there are several opinions concerning it. For some writers call "Hellespont" the whole of the Propontis; others, that part of the Propontis which is this side Perinthus; others go on to add that part of the outer sea which faces the Melas Gulf and the open waters of the Aegaean Sea, and these writers in turn each comprise different sections in their definitions, some the part from Sigeium to Lampsacus and Cysicus, or Parium, or Priapus, another going on to add the part which extends from Sigrium in the Lesbian Isle. And some do not shrink even from applying the name Hellespont to the whole of the high sea as far as the Myrtoan Sea, since, as Pindar1 says in his hymns, those who were sailing with Heracles from Troy through Helle's maidenly strait, on touching the Myrtoan Sea, ran back again to Cos, because Zephyrus blew contrary to their course. And in this way, also, they require that the whole of the Aegaean Sea as far as the Thermaean Gulf and the sea which is about Thessaly and Macedonia should be called Hellespont, invoking Homer also as witness; for Homer says, “"thou shalt see, if thou dost wish and hast a care therefor, my ships sailing o'er the fishy Hellespont at very early morn"
2; but such an argument is refuted by those other lines, “"the hero,3 son of Imbrasus, who, as we know, had come from Aenus,"
4 but he was the leader of the Thracians,5 “"all who are shut in by strong-flowing Hellespont";
6 that is, Homer would represent those7 who are situated next after these8 as situated outside the Hellespont; that is, Aenus lies in what was formerly called Apsinthis, though now called Corpilice, whereas the country of the Cicones lies next thereafter towards the west.9

1 Frag. 51 (Bergk)

2 Hom. Il. 9.359

3 Peiroüs.

4 Hom. Il. 4.520

5 Hom. Il. 2.844, 4.519

6 Hom. Il. 2.845

7 The Cicones, themselves inhabitants of Thraces.

8 The particular Thracians whose territory ended at Aenus, or the Hebrus River.

9 The argument of this misunderstood passage is as follows; Certain writers (1) make the Homeric Thrace extend as far as Crannon and Gyrton in Thessaly (Fr. 14, 16); then (2) interpret Homer as meaning that Peiroüs was the leader of all Thracians; therefore (3) the Homeric Hellespont extends to the southern boundary of Thessaly. But their opponents regard the clause "all who are shut in by strong-flowing Hellespont" as restrictive, that is, as meaning only those Thracians who (as "Aenus" shows) were east of the Cicones, or of Hebrus. Strabo himself seems to lean to the latter view.

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