, contr. of Τέμπεα
). A beautiful and romantic valley in the north of Thessaly, between Mounts
Olympus and Ossa, through which the Peneus escapes into the sea. The scenery of this glen is
frequently praised by poets; and it was also celebrated as one of the favourite haunts of
Apollo, who had transplanted his laurel from this spot to Delphi. The whole valley is rather
less than five miles in length, and opens gradually to the east into a wide plain.
Tempé is also of great importance in history, as it is the only pass through which
an army can invade Thessaly from the north. In some parts the rocks on each side of the Peneus
approach so close to each other as only to leave room between them for the stream, and the road is cut out of the rock in the narrowest point. Tempé
is the only channel through which the waters of the Thessalian plain descend into the sea; and
it was the common opinion in antiquity that these waters had once covered the country with a
vast lake, till an outlet was formed for them by some great convulsion in nature which rent
the rocks of Tempé asunder (Herod.vii. 129
; Strabo, p.
430; Caesar, B. C.
iii. 34; Catull. lxiv. 285
Met. i. 568
Georg. ii. 469
; Homer Od. iii.
1Homer Od., 24
). So celebrated was the scenery of
Tempé that its name was given to any beautiful valley. Cicero so calls a valley in
the land of the Sabines near Reaté, through which the river Velinus flowed
iv. 15); and there was a Tempé in Sicily, through which
the river Helorus flowed, hence called by Ovid Tempe Heloria
Fast. iv. 477