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 As some persons write the epithet applied by Homer to Lacedæmon, κητώεσσαν, and others καιετάεσσαν, how are we to understand κητώεσσα, whether it is derived from Cetos,1 or whether it denotes ‘large,’ which is most probable. Some understand καιετάεσσα to signify, ‘abounding with calaminthus;’ others suppose, as the fissures occasioned by earthquakes are called Cæeti, that this is the origin of the epithet. Hence Cæietas also, the name of the prison among the Lacedæmonians, which is a sort of cave. Some however say, that such kind of hollows are rather called Coi, whence the expression of Homer,2 applied to wild beasts, φηοͅσὶν ὀρεσκῴοισιν, which live in mountain caves. Laconia however is subject to earthquakes, and some writers relate, that certain peaks of Taÿgetum have been broken off by the shocks.3 Laconia contains also quarries of valuable marble. Those of the Tænarian marble in Tænarum4 are ancient, and certain persons, assisted by the wealth of the Romans, lately opened a large quarry in Taÿgetum.
2 Il. i. 268.
3 This may have taken place a little before the third Messenian war, B. C. 464, when an earthquake destroyed all the houses in Sparta, with the exception of five. Diod. Sic. b. xv. c. 66; Pliny, b. ii. c. 79.
4 Pliny, b. xxxvi. c. 18, speaks of the black marble of Tænarus.
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