Description of Greece (Taylor)/V



SUCH of the Greeks as divide Peloponnesus into five parts only, acknowledge it is necessary that the Eleans and Arcadians must belong to that part which is possessed by the Arcadians; that the second must be assigned to the Achaians; and that the three remaining parts must be distributed among the Dorienses. But the nations which dwell in Peloponnesus are the native Arcadians and Achaians. Of these, the Achaians were expelled their country by the Dorienses, yet were not driven beyond Peloponnesus: but the lonians, after they were expelled, inhabited that part of Greece which was formerly called ./Egialus, but is now denominated from the Achaians. The Arcadians, however, from the first to the present time have possessed their own dominions; but the other parts have been inhabited by strangers. For the Corinthians of the present day are the most recent of all that dwell in Peloponnesus; and the period during which they have possessed this land, from a Roman emperor to the present day, is two hundred and seventeen years. The Dryopes, too, and Dorienses came, the former from Parnassus, and the latter from beyond Peloponnesus. We also know, that the Eleans came into this part from Calydon and the rest of JStolia; the particulars of whose antiquity are as follow: ^ Ethlius, as they report, first reigned in this land. They say, that he was the son of Jupiter and Protogenia the daughter of Deucalion; that Endymion was the offspring of .^Ethlius; and that he was beloved by the Moon, and had by the goddess fifty daughters. But those who speak more probably, assert, that Endymion married Asterodia, and that he had by her three sons, Paeon, Epeus, and ^Etolus, and one daughter, Eurycyde. But according to some, his wife was the daughter of Itonus, and the grand-daughter of Amphictyon; but, according to others, she was the daughter of Hyperippe, and the grand-daughter of Areas. Endymion proposed to his children a contest in the Olympic race for his kingdom; and Epeus was victor, and obtained it. Hence those over whom he reigned were at first called Epei. But of his brothers they report, that one of them remained with Endymion; but that Paeon, grieving that he had been vanquished, fled to a considerable distance; and that the country above the river Axius was from him denominated Paeonia. With respect to the death of Endymion, the Heracleotae, who dwell near Miletus, do not agree, in their account of it, with the Eleans. For the Eleans show the tomb of Endymion: but the Heracleotas say, that he migrated to the mountain Latmus; and, indeed, as a proof of this, there is an adytum of Endymion in this mountain.

Epeus, from Anaxirhoe, the daughter of Coronus, whom he married, had a daughter, Hyrmine, but had not by her any male offspring. During his reign, it happened that ( Enomaus, the son of Alxion (or, according to the poets and the vulgar, of Mars), who then reigned about Pisaea, was expelled from his kingdom by Pelops, the son of Lydus, who came thither from Asia. But Pelops, after the death of CEnomaus, obtained Pisa?a, and added Olympia, which bordered on Pisaea, and was under the government of Epeus, to his own dominions. The Eleans report, that this Pelops first built a temple to Mercury in Peloponnesus, and sacrificed to the god, in order to appease him for his having put Myrtilus to death. But .ZEtolus, who reigned after Epeus, was obliged to fly from Peloponnesus, because the sons of Apis called him to account for an involuntary murder which he had committed. For ^Etolus slew Apis, the son of Jason, and who was born in Pallantium, an Arcadian town, by running against him with his chariot in the games which are called Azani. From /Etolus, therefore, the son of En- dymion, those who dwell about Achelous are called ^Etoli, because ./Etolus fled to this part of the continent. But Eleus, who was the son of Eurycyde, the daughter of En» dymion, and (if it may be believed) whose father was Neptune, reigned over the Epeans : and the present inhabitants, instead of being called Epeans, are denominated from this Eleus. And Augeas was the son of Eleus.

But those that speak magnificently concerning this Augeas, say, that he was not the son of Eleus, but of Helios, or the Sun. This Augeas had such a quantity of oxeu and goats, that the greater part of the land was in an uncultivated state, through the abundance of dung with which it was covered. Hercules, therefore, was persuaded to purify the land from the dung, whether he was to receive a part of Elea for his reward, or was to have some other compensation. Augeas, however, refused to pay Hercules for his undertaking, because he perceived that he accomplished it rather by art than labour. The eldest son of this Augeas, whose name was Phyleus, was ejected by his father, because he used to tell him that he had acted unjustly by a man by whom he had been benefited. This Augeas took care to fortify every place in case Hercules should lead an army against Elis; and, besides this^ entered into an alliance with Amarynceus and the sons of Actor. Amarynceus was a man skilful in warlike concerns: and his father was one Pyttius, a Thessalian, and who came from Thessaly to Elea. Augeas joined this Amarynceus with him in the government: and Actor and his sons, who were natives, were the associates of his reign. For Actor was the son of Phorbas, who was the son of Lapithas; and his mother was Hyrmine, the daughter of Epeus. This Actor, too, built a city in Elea, which was called, from him, Hyrmina.


HERCULES, therefore, warred upon Augeas, but did not exhibit any splendid actions in this expedition: for the associates of Hercules were always repulsed through the boldness of the sons of Actor, who were then in the vigour of their age. But when the Corinthians announced the Isthmian games, and the sons of Actor came to behold them, Hercules, by stratagem, slew them in Cleonae. However, as the author of their death was unknown, Molione, the wife of Actor, made diligent search after the murderer of her sons; and as soon as she learnt who it was, the Eleans demanded of the Argives justice on the person by whom they were slain ; for Hercules then dwelt in Tyrintha. But when the Argives denied their request, they tried to persuade the Corinthians to forbid every person that bore an Argolic name, on account of the violated league, from celebrating the Isthmian games. Failing, however, in this design, Molione is said to have fixed dreadful curses on such of her citizens as should be unwilling to refrain from the Isthmian games: and, even at present, the Eleans so religiously observe the imprecations of Molione, that those among them who exercise their bodies in contests similar to the Isthmian, yet never celebrate the Isthmian games.

But there are two different accounts respecting this affair. For, according to some, Cypselus, who tyrannised over the Corinthians, dedicated a golden statue to Jupiter in Olympia, and Cypselus dying before his name was inscribed in the gift, the Corinthians requested of the Eleans that they would permit them to inscribe the name of their city in it. To this, however, the Eleans would not consent; and the Corinthians, enraged at their refusal, forbade them from coming to the Isthmian games. But, if this were the case, how is it to be accounted for that the Corinthians partook of the games in Olympia at the very time when they would not permit the Eleans to join in the Isthmian games ? According to others, therefore, Prolaus, who was a man of illustrious rank among the Eleans, and whose wife was Lysippe, had two sons by her, Philanthus and Lampus. These his sons, when they came to the Isthmian games (for they were pan- cratiastaj among young men), before they engaged in the contest, were either strangled by their adversaries, or slain in some other manner: and hence the imprecations of Lysippe on the occasion, prevented the Eleans from coming to the Isthmian games. The following circumstance, however, shows the futility of this relation: There is a statue in Olympia of Timon, the Elean, who was victor in those five Grecian contests which are called quinquertium; and an elegy, which mentions how many crowns he won. The same inscription, too, indicates the reason why he did not partake of the Isthmian victory. This elegy is as follows:

"The youth, from conqu'ring in Sisyphian land,
The dreadful curse of Molione restrain'd."

And thus much may suffice concerning this affair.