Besides, the Naustathmus which retains its name at present, is so near the present city that any person may justly be surprised at the imprudence of the Greeks, and the want of spirit in the Trojans;—imprudence on the part of the Greeks, that they should have left the place for so long a time unfortified with a wall, in the neighbourhood of so large a city, and so great a body of men, both inhabitants and auxiliaries; for the wall, Homer says, was constructed at a late period; or perhaps no wall was built and the erection and destruction of it, as Aristotle says, are due to the invention of the poet;—a want of spirit on the part of the Trojans, who, after the wall was built, attacked that, and the Naustathmus, and the vessels themselves, but had not the courage before there was a wall to approach and besiege this station, although the distance was not great, for the Naustathmus is near Sigeium. The Scamander discharges itelf near this place at the distance of 20 stadia from Ilium.1 If any one shall say that the Naustathmus is the present harbour of the Achæans, he must mean a place still nearer, distant about twelve stadia from the sea, which is the extent of the plain in front of the city to the sea; but he will be in error if he include (in the ancient) the present plain, which is all alluvial soil brought down by the rivers,2 so that if the interval is 12 stadia at present, it must have been at that period less in extent by one half. The story framed by Ulysses, which he tells Eumæus, implies a great distance from the Naustathmus to the city;
and he adds afterwards,
“ when we lay in ambush below Troy,3”Od. xiv. 469.
Scouts are despatched to learn whether the Trojans will remain near the ships when drawn away far from their own walls, or whether
“ for we had advanced too far from the ships.4”Od. xiv. 496.
Polydamas also says, “‘Consider well, my friends, what is to be done, for my advice is to return now to the city, for we are far from the walls.’6” Demetrius (of Scepsis) adds the testimony of Hestiæa7 of Alexandreia, who composed a work on the Iliad of Homer, and discusses the question whether the scene of the war was about the present city, and what was the Trojan plain which the poet mentions as situated between the city and the sea, for the plain seen in front of the present city is an accumulation of earth brought down by the rivers, and formed at a later period.
“ they will return back to the city.5”Il. xx. 209.