The Piræus having been formerly an island, and lying πέοͅαν, or off the shore, is said to have thus received its name. Leucas,1 on the contrary, has been made an island by the Corinthians, who cut through the isthmus which connected it with the shore [of the mainland]. It is concerning this place that Laertes is made to say,
Here man devoted his labour to make a separation, in other instances to the construction of moles and bridges. Such is that which connects the island opposite to Syracuse3 with the mainland. This junction is now effected by means of a bridge, but formerly, according to Ibycus, by a pier of picked stones, which he calls elect. Of Bura4 and Helice,5 one has been swallowed by an earthquake, the other covered by the waves. Near to Methone,6 which is on the Hermionic Gulf,7 a mountain seven stadia in height was cast up during a fiery eruption; during the day it could not be approached on account of the heat and sulphureous smell; at night it emitted an agreeable odour, appeared brilliant at a distance, and was so hot that the sea boiled all around it to a distance of five stadia, and appeared in a state of agitation for twenty stadia, the heap being formed of fragments of rock as large as towers. Both Arne and Mideia8 have been buried in the waters of Lake Copaïs.9 These towns the poet in his Cata- logue10 thus speaks of;
“ Oh that I possessed”
Such vigour now as when in arms I took
Nericus, continental city fair.2Odyss. xxiv. 376.
It seems that several Thracian cities have been submerged by the Lake Bistonis,12 and that now called Aphnitis.13 Some also affirm that certain cities of Trerus were also overwhelmed, in the neighbourhood of Thrace. Artemita, formerly one of the Echinades,14 is now part of the mainland; the same has happened to some other of the islets near the Achelous, occasioned, it is said, in the same way, by the alluvium carried into the sea by that river, and Hesiod15 assures us that a like fate awaits them all. Some of the Ætolian promontories were formerly islands. Asteria,16 called by Homer Asteris, is no longer what it was.
“ Arne claims”
A record next for her illustrious sons,
Vine-bearing Arne. Thou wast also there
Mideia.11Iliad ii. 507.
There is no good anchorage there now. Neither is there in Ithaca the cavern, nor yet the temple of the nymphs described to us by Homer. It seems more correct to attribute this to change having come over the places, than either to the ignorance or the romancing of the poet. This however, being uncertain, must be left to every man's opinion.
“ There is a rocky isle”
In the mid-sea, Samos the rude between
And Ithaca, not large, named Asteris.
It hath commodious havens, into which
A passage clear opens on either side.17Odyssey iv. 844.