This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 Ida is thought to be appropriately described by Homer, as abounding with springs on account of the multitude of rivers which issue from it, particularly where Dardania as far as Scepsis lies at its foot, and the places about Ilium. Demetrius, who was acquainted with these places, (for he was a native,) thus speaks of them: ‘There is a height of Ida called Cotylus; it is situated about 120 stadia above Scepsis, and from it flow the Scamander, the Granicus, and the Æsepus;1 the two last, being the contributions of many smaller sources, fall into the Propontis, but the Scamander, which has but a single source, flows towards the west. All these sources are in the neighbourhood of each other, and are comprised within a circuit of 20 stadia. The termination of the Æsepus is farthest distant from its commencement, namely, about 500 stadia.’ We may, however, ask why the poet says, “‘They came to the fair fountains, whence burst forth two streams of the eddying Scamander, one flowing with water warm,’2” that is, hot; he proceeds, however, “‘around issues vapour as though caused by fire—the other gushes out in the summer, cold like hail, or frozen as snow,’” for no warm springs are now found in that spot, nor is the source of the Scamander there, but in the mountain, and there is one source instead of two.3 It is probable that the warm spring has failed, but the cold spring flowing from the Scamander along a subterraneous channel emerges at this place; or, because the water was near the Scamander, it was called the source of that river, for there are several springs, which are said to be its sources.
1 Modern maps place the Cotylus, and consequently the sources of the river which Demetrius calls Scamander, at more than 30,000 toises, or nearly eleven leagues, to the S. E. of the entrance of the Hellespont, when the source of the Scamander should be near Troy; and Troy itself, according to the measurement adopted by Demetrius, ought not to be more than 3400 toises, or a league and a quarter, from the sea. There is therefore a manifest contradiction, and it appears, as I have already remarked, that the river called Scamander by Demetrius, is not the river so called by Homer, but the Simoïs of the poet.—Gossellin. Modern travellers accuse Demetrius with having confounded the Scamander with the Simoïs. The Simoïs they say rises in Cotylus, (Kasdagh,) as also the Granicus, (Oustrola,) and the Æsepus, (Satal-dere,) but the sources of the Scamander are below, and to the W. of Ida, near the village called by the Turks Bounar-bachi, which signifies the head of the source. If it is an error, Demetrius is not alone responsible for it, as Hellenicus (Schol in Iliad xxi. 242) also says that the Scamander had its source in Mount Ida itself. Both probably rested on the authority of Homer, who places the source of the Scamander in Ida. They did not, however, observe that Homer employs the expression ἀπ᾽ ᾿ιδαίων ὀρέων in a more extensive sense.—Du Theil.
2 Il xxii. 147.
3 We owe to the researches of M. de Choiseul Gouffier, published without his knowledge in 1793, an acquaintance with these two springs, which present nearly the same phenomena as described by Homer. These springs have since been seen by many travellers; they are situated at the foot of a small hill on which is Bounar-bachi, and about 6500 toises in a straight line from the mouth of the Menderé. The stream which flows from them never fails, and after having run for some time parallel to the Menderé, it turns suddenly to throw itself into the Archipelago, near the middle of the interval which separates the ruins of Alexandria- Troas from the cape Koum-kale, but still leaving traces of a bed through which it formerly flowed to join the Menderé. We are now convinced that this little river is the Scamander of Homer, that the present Menderé is the Simoïs of that poet, and that the ancient Ilium, which was near the sources of the Scamander, must have been situated on the heights of Bounar-bachi. In the time of Homer these two rivers united together and discharged themselves into the sea by the same mouth: but the course of the Scamander has been changed for a long time, since, according to Pliny, (v. c. 33,)a part of its waters spread themselves over a marsh, and the remainder flowed unto the Ægæan Sea, between Alexandria-Troas and Sigeum. This ancient author therefore gave to the little river (which he called Palæscamander, the old Scamander) exactly the same course which the stream Bounar-bachi still follows. This change of direction in the course of the river appears to me to have been anterior to the time of Demetrius of Scepsis, for this alone can explain his error. For, no longer finding a stream which runs on the left of the present Menderé, and which might represent the Scamander, he thought proper to transfer this latter name to the Simoïs, and to look for the site of the Ilium of Homer, as also of the plain which was the scene of the combats described by the poet, on the right of this river. Thence he is persuaded that the town of the Ilienses occupied the same site as the ancient Ilium, and that the stream of the Tschiblak was the Simoïs.I must remark that the Menderé is a torrent, the waters of which fail during a great part of the year, whilst the stream of the Bounar-bachi always continues to flow. This advantage is probably the reason why it preserved the name of Scamander to the sea, although it ran into the bed of the Simoïs and was far inferior to this torrent in the length of its course. Hence it may be perceived how the name of Scamander, now changed into that of Menderé, has remained attached to this ancient mouth, how ultimately it was given to the whole course of the Simoïs, and how Demetrius of Scepsis was led into error by the change in the course of the true Scamander, and by the transfer of its name to the Simois.—Voyage Pittorcsque de la Grèce par M. de Choiseul Gouffier. Le Voyage dans la Troad, par M. Lechevalier. The Topography of Troy, W. Gell.—Gossellin.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.