It appears from Homer, that both the country and the city had the name of Lacedæmon; I mean the country together with Messenia. When he speaks of the bow and quiver of Ulysses, he says,
and adds, “ They met at Messene in the house of Ortilochus.
“ A present from Iphitus Eurytides, a stranger, who met him in Lacedæmon,1”Od. xxi. 13.
” He means the country which was a part of Messenia.2 There was then no difference whether he said ‘A stranger, whom he met at Lacedæmon, gave him,’ or, ‘they met at Messene;’ for it is evident that Pheræ was the home of Ortilochus:
namely, Telemachus and Pisistratus. Now Pheræ4 belongs to Messenia. But after saying, that Telemachus and his friend set out from Pheræ, and were driving their two horses the whole day, he adds, ‘The sun was setting; they came to the hollow Lacedæmon (κητ́εσσαν), and drove their chariot to the palace of Menelaus.’5 Here we must understand the city; and if we do not, the poet says, that they journeyed from Lacedæmon to Lacedæmon. It is otherwise improbable that the palace of Menelaus should not be at Sparta; and if it was not there, that Telemachus should say,
“ they arrived at Pheræ, and went to the house of Diocles the son of Ortilochus,3”Od. iii. 488.
for this seems to agree with the epithets applied to the country,7 unless indeed any one should allow this to be a poetical licence; for, if Messenia was a part of Laconia, it would be a contradiction that Messene should not be placed together with Laconia, or with Pylus, (which was under the command of Nestor,) nor by itself in the Catalogue of Ships, as though it had no part in the expedition.
“ for I am going to Sparta, and to Pylus,6”Od. ii. 359.