previous next

There are several accounts of the Cauconians; for it is said that, like the Pelasgians, they were an Arcadian tribe, and, again like the Pelasgians, that they were a wandering tribe. At any rate, the poet1 tells us that they came to Troy as allies of the Trojans. But he does not say whence they come, though they seem to have come from Paphlagonia; for in Paphlagonia there is a people called Cauconiatae whose territory borders on that of the Mariandyni, who are themselves Paphlagonians. But I shall speak of them at greater length when I come to my description of that region.2 At present I must add the following to my account of the Cauconians in Triphylia. Some say that the whole of what is. now called Eleia, from Messenia as far as Dyme, was called Cauconia. Antimachus, at any rate, calls all the inhabitants both Epeians and Cauconians. Others, however, say that the Cauconians did not occupy the whole of Eleia, but lived there in two separate divisions, one division in Triphylia near Messenia, and the other in Buprasis and Coele Elis near Dyme. And Aristotle has knowledge of their having been established at this latter place especially.3 And in fact the last view agrees better with what Homer says, and furnishes a solution of the question asked above,4 for in this view it is assumed that Nestor lived in the Triphylian Pylus, and that the parts towards the south and east (that is, the parts that are contiguous to Messenia and the Laconian country) were subject to him; and these parts were held by the Cauconians, so that if one went by land from Pylus to Lacedaemon his journey necessarily must have been made through the territory of the Cauconians; and yet the temple of the Samian Poseidon and the mooring-place near it, where Telemachus landed, lie off towards the northwest. So then, if the Cauconians live only here, the account of the poet is not conserved; for instance, Athene, according to Sotades, bids Nestor to send Telemachus to Lacedaemon "with chariot and son" to the parts that lie towards the east, and yet she says that she herself will go to the ship to spend the night, towards the west, and back the same way she came, and she goes on to say that "in the morning" she will go “"amongst the great-hearted Cauconians"
5to collect a debt, that is, she will go forward again. How, pray? For Nestor might have said: "But the Cauconians are my subjects and live near the road that people travel to Lacedaemon. Why, therefore, do you not travel with Telemachus and his companions instead of going back the same way you came?" And at the same time it would have been proper for one who was going to people subject to Nestor to collect a debt—"no small debt," as she says—to request aid from Nestor, if there should be any unfairness (as is usually the case) in connection with the contract; but this she did not do. If, then, the Cauconians lived only there, the result would be absurd; but if some of the Cauconians had been separated from the rest and had gone to the regions near Dyme in Eleia, then Athene would be speaking of her journey thither, and there would no longer be anything incongruous either in her going down to the ship or in her withdrawing from the company of travellers, because their roads lay in opposite directions. And similarly, too, the puzzling questions raised in regard to Pylus may find an appropriate solution when, a little further on in my chorography, I reach the Messenian Pylus.

1 Hom. Il. 20.329

2 12. 3. 5.

3 The extant works of Aristotle contain no reference to the Cauconians.

4 8. 3. 11.

5 Hom. Od. 3.366

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 (1877)
load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

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

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (5 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: