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THE islands about Crete are Thera,1 the capital of the Cyrenæans, and a colony of the Lacedæmonians; and near Thera is Anaphe,2 in which is the temple of Apollo Ægletes. Callimachus speaks of it in one place, thus, “ And Æglete Anaphe, close to the Lacedæmonian Thera;
” and in another, he mentions Thera only, ‘Mother of my country, celebrated for its fine breed of horses.’ Thera is a long island, about 200 stadia in circumference. It lies opposite to the island Dia,3 towards the Cnossian Heracleium. It is distant about 700 stadia from Crete. Near it are Anaphe and Therasia.4 The little island Ios5 is distant from the latter about 100 stadia. Here according to some authors the poet Homer was buried.6 In going from Ios towards the west are Sicenus7 and Lagusa,8 and Pholegandrus,9 which Aratus calls the iron island, on account of its rocks. Near these islands is Cimolus,10 whence is obtained the Cimolian earth. From Cimolus Siphnus11 is visible. To this island is applied the proverb, ‘a Siphnian bone (astragalus),’ on account of its insignificance. Still nearer, both to Cimolus and Crete, is Melos,12 more considerable than these. It is distant from the Hermionic promontory, the Scyllæum,13 700 stadia, and nearly as many from the Dictynnæan promontory. The Athenians formerly despatched an army to Melos,14 and put to death the inhabitants from youth upwards. These islands are situated in the Cretan sea. Delos,15 the Cyclades about it, and the Sporades adjacent to these, belong rather to the Ægœan sea. To the Sporades also are to be referred the islands about Crete, which I have already mentioned.
1 Anciently Calliste, Herod., now Santorino, a corruption of Santa Irene, to whom it was dedicated.
2 Nanphio, or Anafi.
4 Therasia, on the west of Santorino.
6 According to Herodotus, in the Life of Homer.
7 Sikino, anciently Œnoë. Pliny iv. 12.
8 Cardiodissa, or Cardiana.
10 Argentiere. Cretæ plura genera. Ex iis Cimoliæ duo ad medicos pertinentia, candidum et ad purpurissimum inclinans. Pliny, b. v. c. 17. Cretosaque rura Cimoli. Ovid. Met. vii. 464. But from Aristophanes, the Frogs, it would appear to have been a kind of fullers' earth.
11 Siphanto, anciently also Meropia and Acis. There were once gold and silver mines in it, which were destroyed by inundation. There is also another proverb, which alluded to its poverty, ‘a Siphnian pledge,’ σίφνιος ἀῤῥαβὼν. Herodotus speaks of its being once the most wealthy of the islands, iii. 57.
13 Cape Skylli.
14 Thucyd. b. v. c. 115, 116.
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