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 According to Ephorus, Acarnania is the commencement of Greece on the west, for it is the first country which lies contiguous to the Epirotic nations. As this author follows the coast in his measurements, and begins from thence, considering the sea the most important guide of topographical description, (for otherwise he might have placed the beginning of Greece in Macedonia and Thessaly,) so ought I, observing the natural character of places, to keep in view the sea as a mark by which I should direct the course of my description. The sea coming from Sicily spreads itself on one side towards the Corinthian Gulf, and on the other forms a large peninsula, the Peloponnesus, united to the main-land by a narrow isthmus. The two largest bodies of country in Greece are that within the isthmus, and that without the isthmus, [extending to the mouths of the river Peneius]. That within the isthmas is however larger, and more celebrated. The Peloponnesus is, as it were, the acropolis or citadel of all Greece; and all Greece in a manner holds the chief or leading position in Europe. For independently of the fame and power of the nations which inhabited it, the position itself of the places in it suggests this superiority. One site succeeds another diversified with numerous most remarkable bays, and large peninsulas. The first of these peninsulas is the Peloponnesus, closed in by an isthmus of forty stadia in extent. The second comprehends the first, and has an isthmus reaching from Pagæ in Megaris to Nisæa, which is the naval arsenal of the Megareans; the passage across the isthmus from sea to sea is 120 stadia. The third peninsula also comprises the latter. Its isthmus extends from the farthest recess of the Crissæan Gulf to Thermopylæ. The line supposed to be drawn between these is about 508 stadia in length, including within it the whole of Bœotia, and cutting Phocis and the country of the Epicnemidii obliquely. The fourth peninsula has the isthmus extending from the Ambracian Gulf through Mount Œta and Traclinia to the Maliac Gulf and Thermopylæ, about 800 stadia. There is another isthmus of more than 1000 stadia reaching from the same Gulf of Ambracia, and passing through the country of the Thessalians and Macedonians to the recess of the Thermæan Gulf. The succession of peninsulas furnishes a convenient order to be followed in describing the country. We must begin from the smallest, as being also the most famous of these peninsulas.1
1 Taking the reverse order in which these peninsulas are described, the fifth and last contains all the rest, the fourth all but the difference between the fourth and fifth, and so on in order until we come to the Peloponnesus, properly so called, which is thus the least of the peninsulas. Strabo himself seems to admit the term peninsula to be improperly applied to these subdivisions, by first describing Greece to be divided into two great bodies, viz. that within and that without the Isthmus of Corinth.
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