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 He calls the present place Thespiæ1 by the name of Thespia, for there are many names, of which some are used both in the singular and in the plural number, in the masculine and in the feminine gender, and some in either one or the other only. It is a city close to Helicon, lying more to the south. The city itself and Helicon are situated on the Crisæan Gulf. Thespiæ has an arsenal Creusa, or, as it is also named, Creusia. In the Thespian territory, in the part lying towards Helicon, is Ascra,2 the birth-place of Hesiod. It is on the right of Helicon, situated upon a lofty and rocky spot, at the distance of about 40 stadia from Thespiæ. Hesiod has satirized it in verses addressed to his father, for formerly emigrating (to this place) from Cume in Ætolia, as follows: “‘He dwelt near Helicon in a wretched village, Ascra; bad in winter, in summer intolerable, and worthless at any season.’3” Helicon is contiguous to Phocis on its northern, and partly on its western side, as far as the last harbour of Phocis, which is called from its characteristic situation, Mychus, or the Recess. Just above this part of the Crisæan Gulf, Helicon, Ascra, Thespiæ, and its arsenal Creusa, are situated. This is considered as the part of the Crisæn and of the Corinthian Gulf which recedes most inland. The coast extends 90 stadia from the recess of the harbour to Creusa, and thence 120 as far as the promontory called Holmiæ. In the most retired part of the Crisæan Gulf, Pagæ and Œnoa, which I have already mentioned, are situated. Helicon, not far distant from Parnassus, rivals it in height4 and circumference. Both mountains are covered with snow, and are rocky. They do not occupy a circuit of ground of great extent. There are, the fane of the Muses, the Horse-fountain Hippocrene,5 and the grottoes of the nymphs, the Leibethrides. Hence it might be conjectured, that Helicon was consecrated to the Muses, by Thracians, who dedicated also Pieris, the Leibethrum, and Pimpleia to the same goddesses. The Thracians were called Pieres, and since their expulsion, the Macedonians possess these places. It has been remarked, that the Thracians, (having expelled the Bœotians by force,) and the Pelasgi, and other barbarous people, settled in this part of Bœotia. Thespiæ was formerly celebrated for a statue of Cupid by Praxiteles. Glycera the courtesan, a native of Thespiæ, received it as a present from the artist, and dedicated it as a public offering to her fellow-citizens. Persons formerly used to repair thither to see the Cupid, where there was nothing else worth seeing. This city, and Tanagra, alone of the Bœotian cities exist at present, while of others there remain nothing but ruins and names.
1 There is some doubt respecting the modern name of Thespiæ; the Austrian map places the ruins near Erimokastro.
2 Placing Ascra at Pyrgaki, there is little doubt that Aganippe, whence the Muses were called Aganippides, is the fountain which issues from the left bank of the torrent flowing midway between Paleopanaghea and Pyrgaki. Around this fountain Leake observed numerous square blocks, and in the neighbouring fields stones and remains of habitations. The position of the Grove of the Muses is fixed at St. Nicholas, by an inscription which Leake discovered there relating to the Museia, or the games of the Muses, which were celebrated there under the presidency of the Thespians. Pans. b. ix. c. 31. In the time of Pausanias the Grove of the Muses contained a larger number of statues than any other place ill Bœotia, and this writer has given an account of many of them. The statues of the Muses were removed by Constantine from this place to his new capital, where they were destroyed by fire, in A. D. 404. Smith.
3 Works and Days, 639.
4 This is a mistake, since the loftiest summit of Helicon is barely 5000 feet high, whilst that of Parnassus is upwards of 8000 feet. Smith. Helicon is a range of mountains with several summits, of which the loftiest is a round mountain now called Paleovuni. Smith. The Austrian map gives the modern name Zagora to Helicon.
5 Twenty stadia from the Grove of the Muses was the fountain Hippocrene, which was said to have been produced by the horse Pegasus striking the ground with his foot. Paus. b. ix. ch. 31. Hippocrene was probably at Makariotissa, which is noted for a fine spring of water. Smith. The Austrian map places it at Kukuva. Leibethrum, or Leibethreium, is described by Pausanias as distant 40 stadia from Coroneia, and is therefore probably the mount Zagora. Smith.
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