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MESSENIA is continuous with the Eleian territory, incline. ing for the most part towards the south, and the Libyan Sea. Being part of Laconia, it was subject in the Trojan times to Menelaus. The name of the country was Messene. But the present city called Messene, the acropolis of which was Ithome, was not then founded. After the death of Menelaus, when the power of those who succeeded to the possession of Laconia was altogether weakened, the Neleidæ governed Messenia. At the time of the return of the Heracleidæ, and according to the partition of the country at that time, Melanthus was king of the Messenians, who were a separate community, but formerly subject to Menelaus. As a proof of this, in the space from the Messenian Gulf and the continuous gulf, (called the Asinæan from the Messenian Asine,) were situated the seven cities which Agamemnon promised to Achilles; “‘Cardamyle, Enope, the grassy Hira, the divine Pheræ,1 Antheia with rich meadows, the beautiful Æpeia, and Pedasus abounding with vines.’2” He certainly would not have promised what did not belong either to himself or to his brother. The poet mentions those, who accompanied Menelaus from Pheræ to the war,3 and speaks of (Œtylus) in the Laconian catalogue, a city situated on the Gulf of Messenia. Messene follows next to Triphylia. The promontory, after which are the Coryphasium and Cyparissia, is common to both. At the distance of 7 stadia is a mountain, the Ægaleum, situated above Coryphasium and the sea.
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