Part 5. Pylos

Chapter 12. Iliad 11 and the Location of Homeric Pylos

{647|651} §5.1 In Iliad 11 Nestor tells how he first became a horseman when he defeated the enemy Epeians in battle: entering the battle on foot he immediately slew the leader of the Epeian horsemen, seized his chariot, and like a dark whirlwind drove it straight through the enemy, slaying the double occupants of fifty chariots before he reached Bouprasion and turned back homeward in triumph. From the very start, when the Pylians answer Athena’s nighttime alarm and Nestor keeps pace with the Pylian horsemen, Nestor’s account of his battle is cast in terms of a chariot race. For Nestor, starting out on foot, the real race begins when he leaps onto his newly won chariot and surges into the lead; the turning point comes when he conquers the last of his fifty chariots and turns back toward Pylos in victory (Iliad 11.759–761):

ἔνθ' ἄνδρα κτείνας πύματον λίπον· αὐτὰρ Ἀχαιοὶ
ἂψ ἀπὸ Βουπρασίοιο Πύλονδ' ἔχον ὠκέας ἵππους,
πάντες δ' εὐχετόωντο θεῶν Διὶ Νέστορί τ' ἀνδρῶν.

Then I killed the last man and left him. But the Achaeans
drove their swift horses back from Bouprasion to Pylos,
and all prayed to Zeus among gods and Nestor among men.

The underlined elements in these lines echo similar elements in the passage of Iliad 23 relating to the turn in the chariot race for Patroclus (Iliad 23.373–375):

ἀλλ' ὅτε δὴ πύματον τέλεον δρόμον ὠκέες ἵπποι
ἂψ ἐφ' ἁλὸς πολιῆς, τότε δὴ ἀρετή γε ἑκάστου
φαίνετ', ἄφαρ δ' ἵπποισι τάθη δρόμος. {651|652}

But when the swift horses were completing the end of the course
back toward the grey sea, then indeed the strength of each
showed itself, and at once the horses strained their hardest. [1]

Later in Iliad 23 Nestor tells how once he lost a chariot race in funeral games for king Amarynkeus, which likewise took place at Bouprasion: then, in contrast to his later battle, in which the turning point marked his triumph, the turning point had been his downfall. In the Iliad the contrast between Nestor’s battle in Iliad 11 and his chariot race in Iliad 23 relates to Patroclus, for whose sake both events are evoked. When Patroclus fails to turn back from Troy, he follows the pattern of Nestor’s unsuccessful race, not of his triumphant battle. Nestor gave Patroclus the right paradigm to follow in Iliad 11, but Patroclus failed to follow it in one fatal respect—the turning point.

§5.2 In the story of Patroclus in the Iliad Nestor’s calamitous chariot race is the foil to his victorious battle, and it is thus with good reason that his battle is also cast in terms of a chariot race. [2] But what was once imagined in Iliad 11 as a virtual racecourse stretching between Pylos and Bouprasion has been drastically recast in the story as we have it. The Epeian horsemen, whose imminent threat requires Athena to gather the Pylians by night, do not actually advance on Pylos, but stop and lay siege to a town on the Alpheios River (Iliad 11.711–713):

ἔστι δέ τις Θρυόεσσα πόλις αἰπεῖα κολώνη
τηλοῦ ἐπ' Ἀλφειῷ, νεάτη Πύλου ἠμαθόεντος·
τὴν ἀμφεστρατόωντο διαρραῖσαι μεμαῶτες.

There is a city Thryoessa, a steep hill,
far away on the Alpheios, the last city of sandy Pylos;
they besieged it, eager to destroy it. [3] {652|653}

And the Pylian horsemen, who set out in all haste under Athena’s lead to confront the enemy, do not actually confront them. Instead they stop at another river and wait for foot soldiers to join them (apparently no one but Nestor is able to keep pace on foot with the chariots); after dawn they then advance to the Alpheios river by midday, where they make sacrifices to the gods, eat supper, and sleep the night while the Epeians continue their siege of Thryoessa. Battle is finally joined the following morning, when the Pylians interrupt the Epeian siege; the passage is as follows (Iliad 11.722–736):

ἔστι δέ τις ποταμὸς Μινυήϊος εἰς ἅλα βάλλων
ἐγγύθεν Ἀρήνης, ὅθι μείναμεν Ἠῶ δῖαν
ἱππῆες Πυλίων, τὰ δ' ἐπέρρεον ἔθνεα πεζῶν.
ἔνθεν πανσυδίῃ σὺν τεύχεσι θωρηχθέντες
ἔνδιοι ἱκόμεσθ' ἱερὸν ῥόον Ἀλφειοῖο.
ἔνθα Διὶ ῥέξαντες ὑπερμενεῖ ἱερὰ καλά,
ταῦρον δ' Ἀλφειῷ, ταῦρον δὲ Ποσειδάωνι,
αὐτὰρ Ἀθηναίῃ γλαυκώπιδι βοῦν ἀγελαίην,
δόρπον ἔπειθ' ἑλόμεσθα κατὰ στρατὸν ἐν τελέεσσι,
καὶ κατεκοιμήθημεν ἐν ἔντεσιν οἷσιν ἕκαστος
ἀμφὶ ῥοὰς ποταμοῖο. ἀτὰρ μεγάθυμοι Ἐπειοὶ
ἀμφέσταν δὴ ἄστυ διαρραῖσαι μεμαῶτες·
ἀλλά σφι προπάροιθε φάνη μέγα ἔργον Ἄρηος·
εὖτε γὰρ ἠέλιος φαέθων ὑπερέσχεθε γαίης,
συμφερόμεσθα μάχῃ Διί τ' εὐχόμενοι καὶ Ἀθήνῃ.

There is a river Minyeios flowing into the sea
near Arene, where we waited for the bright dawn,
the horsemen of the Pylians, and the bands of foot-soldiers kept streaming in.
From there, armed with weapons, we came at great speed
to the sacred stream of the Alpheios at midday. {653|654}
There, sacrificing beautiful victims to mighty Zeus,
and a bull to the Alpheios, and a bull to Poseidon,
but to grey-eyed Athena a cow of the herd,
we then took supper throughout the army in companies,
and went to sleep each with his own weapons
by the streams of the river. But the great-hearted Epeians
surrounded the town, eager to destroy it.
But before that a great deed of warfare appeared to them;
for when the shining sun rose above the earth,
we met them in battle, praying to Zeus and Athena. [4]

Nestor’s aristeia, beginning with his winning of horses, follows this passage.

§5.3 Räto Cantieni argued persuasively that the two passages in Nestor’s story that feature the siege of a town on the Alpheios River are later expansions of an older version of the story; [5] when these two passages are omitted {654|655} Nestor’s story moves quickly from the cattle raid and distribution of spoil to the Epeian attack, the Pylian response, and the start of the battle (Iliad 11.706–710, 714–721, 737–739):

ἡμεῖς μὲν τὰ ἕκαστα διείπομεν, ἀμφί τε ἄστυ
ἕρδομεν ἱρὰ θεοῖς· οἳ δὲ τρίτῳ ἤματι πάντες
ἦλθον ὁμῶς αὐτοί τε πολεῖς καὶ μώνυχες ἵπποι
πανσυδίῃ· μετὰ δέ σφι Μολίονε θωρήσσοντο
παῖδ' ἔτ' ἐόντ', οὔ πω μάλα εἰδότε θούριδος ἀλκῆς.
ἀλλ' ὅτε δὴ πεδίον μετεκίαθον, ἄμμι δ' Ἀθήνη
ἄγγελος ἦλθε θέουσ' ἀπ' Ὀλύμπου θωρήσσεσθαι
ἔννυχος, οὐδ' ἀέκοντα Πύλον κάτα λαὸν ἄγειρεν
ἀλλὰ μάλ' ἐσσυμένους πολεμίζειν. οὐδέ με Νηλεὺς
εἴα θωρήσσεσθαι, ἀπέκρυψεν δέ μοι ἵππους·
οὐ γάρ πώ τί μ' ἔφη ἴδμεν πολεμήϊα ἔργα.
ἀλλὰ καὶ ὧς ἱππεῦσι μετέπρεπον ἡμετέροισι
καὶ πεζός περ ἐών, ἐπεὶ ὧς ἄγε νεῖκος Ἀθήνη.
ἀλλ' ὅτε δὴ Πυλίων καὶ Ἐπειῶν ἔπλετο νεῖκος,
πρῶτος ἐγὼν ἕλον ἄνδρα, κόμισσα δὲ μώνυχας ἵππους,
Μούλιον αἰχμητήν.

We were attending to all of this, and around the city
we were making sacrifices to the gods; on the third day they all
came, both the many men themselves and the solid-hoofed horses,
at great speed. And with them the two Molione armed themselves,
although they were still young, not yet knowing much of furious warfare.
But when they reached the plain, Athena came
rushing to us from Olympus by night with the message to arm,
and throughout Pylos she gathered warriors who were not unwilling, {655|656}
but eager to fight. But Neleus did not
allow me to arm myself, but hid my horses;
for he said that I did not yet know the deeds of war.
But even so I stood out among our horsemen,
although I was on foot, for so Athena led the battle.
And when the battle began between the Pylians and the Epeians,
I before all others slew a man and took his solid-hoofed horses,
the spearman Moulios. [6]

§5.4 What I take to be the real purpose of Nestor’s story in Iliad 11 has nothing to do with siege warfare, precise geography, and complex troop movements, and Cantieni’s analysis, which removes these elements from an older version of the story, is entirely convincing to me. [7] Cantieni, who saw clearly the very different character of the older version of the story, also approached the question from another perspective, arguing that the detailed geography of the expanded version of the story is incompatible with the schematic geography of the older version of the story. The specific problem is Bouprasion, the endpoint of Nestor’s rout of the Epeians in the older version of the story. Bouprasion had a known location in antiquity: it lay on the far side of Elis from Pylos. [8] Nestor could not possibly have driven the Epeians all the way to Bouprasion in a single {656|657} day unless he started, not from Pylos, but from somewhere inside Elis. In the older story this lack of realism did not matter, for everything in that story is larger than life. Nestor signals as much before his story begins, when he easily lifts a cup that another man would have lifted with difficulty: he is about to tell his own basic myth, in which he swept to victory on a virtual racecourse stretching from Pylos to Bouprasion. Nestor first became ἱππότα Νέστωρ on this virtual racecourse, and he was not held to strict geography in doing so.

§5.5 In the expanded version of Nestor’s story, on the other hand, precise geography does matter. The geography of this version of the story, moreover, has a direct bearing on the location of Pylos in the Homeric poems, a vexed question since antiquity. For while Bouprasion does not fit well with the expanded version of Nestor’s story, other locations in the expanded story, as we have it, are measured in accurate, realistic distances from Pylos, provided that Pylos was in the historical region of Triphylia. Most of antiquity thought that Nestor’s city lay further south, in Messenia, but in Hellenistic times a learned minority championed Triphylia, and Nestor’s story in Iliad 11 may be regarded as the cornerstone of that learned view. [9] In modern times a Bronze Age palace was discovered at Kakovatos in Triphylia in 1907, and this seemed to confirm what the learned minority had long believed. [10] But in 1939 another palace with a far stronger claim to being Bronze Age Pylos was discovered at Ano-Englianos in Messenia, and its Linear-B records were subsequently deciphered and read. [11] Even this singular achievement, however, did not settle the question: while all, with few exceptions, now concede that the Bronze Age city of Pylos was in Messenia, some draw a distinction between the actual Bronze Age city, in Messenia, and the Homeric city, which they continue to {657|658} locate in Triphylia. [12] This would not be the case were it not for Nestor’s story in Iliad 11. [13]

§5.6 To appreciate the force of the argument based on Nestor’s story in Iliad 11 a study published by Felix Bölte in 1934 is particularly enlightening. [14] Inspired by Dörpfeld’s discovery at Kakovatos, which seemed to settle the question of Nestor’s Pylos in favor of Triphylia, Bölte correlated everything in Nestor’s story with a Pylos located in Triphylia, and the results, based on a detailed study of actual geography and topography, are very convincing. [15] Similar observations had been made in antiquity by those whom Strabo calls “the more Homeric” (Homērikṓteroi), except that instead of the Bronze Age site at Kakovatos a small town named Pylos in the territory of Lepreon was seen as Nestor’s city. [16] To Bölte the original core of Nestor’s story was an accurate and detailed account of an actual battle that took place in the Bronze Age, and he regarded the palace at Kakovatos as an integral part of the epic tradition of that battle. Cantieni’s 1942 study was a direct challenge to Bölte’s conception of Nestor’s story: the geography in the story that was old, according to Cantieni, was schematic, featuring only two places, Pylos and Bouprasion, and a plain between them; the detailed geography was added later. [17] Cantieni has {658|659} not yet been given his due on this issue. [18] My basic argument in his favor, as I have already made clear, has to do with the purpose of Nestor’s story in Iliad 11, but there are other arguments to be made, and these, I think, bear Cantieni out completely. First, however, we must appreciate the force of Bölte’s demonstration that in Nestor’s story, as we have it, Pylos is in Triphylia. [19]

§5.7 What gives Pylos a precise location in the expanded version of Nestor’s story is the river Alpheios. After leaving Pylos by night and waiting for dawn at the “Minyan river” (ποταμὸς Μινυήϊος) near Arene, the Pylians in a half day’s march reach the Alpheios at midday (ἔνδιοι). In historical times Arene was identified with Samikon, a stronghold at the Klidi pass on the coast of Triphylia, and the “Minyan river” was identified with the Anigros, which entered the sea a little south of Samikon; [20] this was a strategic location, {659|660} controlling traffic north and south through Triphylia. [21] From the south entrance of the Klidi pass (and the Anigros River) to the Alpheios is 13–16 kilometers, depending on where the Alpheios is crossed. [22] This distance is right for a half day’s march by armed men at full speed (Iliad 11.725), and it provides a standard with which to compare other distances in the story. Pylos, the main point to be determined in the story, lay not far south of the Anigros, for the Pylians, including the foot soldiers, reached the river during the night and waited there for dawn. Bölte thought in terms of Kakovatos, eight kilometers from the south entrance to the Klidi pass, and such a distance for the Pylians’ nighttime advance, compared with their half day march to the Alpheios, is clearly on the right scale. In my view, however, the distance covered by the Pylians at night was thought of as less than eight kilometers, for I do not think that the Pylos of this story is Kakovatos, but rather the town inside the territory of Lepreon known to Strabo. This Pylos, which was absorbed by Lepreon at a date not made clear by Strabo, was immediately north of Lepreon. [23] Strabo says that this Pylos lay more than 30 stades “above the sea,” which is best interpreted to mean that it lay more than thirty stades {660|661} from Samikon. [24] The distance from this Pylos to the Minyeios/Anigros would have been about five kilometers (thirty stades), [25] and this, I think, is what the poet of Nestor’s expanded story, who knew this landscape well, had in mind for the Pylians’ nighttime advance.

§5.8 Bölte thought that in Nestor’s story the details of a real Bronze Age military campaign had been preserved by epic. I would argue instead that the poet of Nestor’s expanded story set out to place Pylos precisely in Triphylia, and that his new version of the story represents an argument to this effect. [26] As seen, the Alpheios River is used to break the action up into realistic stages, and thereby to fix the location of Pylos. [27] Nestor’s actual battle is also set in relation to the Alpheios, and realism is again the key concern. In the old {661|662} version of Nestor’s story the distance between Pylos and Bouprasion was impossibly large if Pylos was imagined to be in its actual Messenian location. But in the expanded story, just as at one end of the action Pylos is moved northward to a realistic distance from the Alpheios, so at the other end of the action Bouprasion is moved southward to a realistic distance from the Alpheios. This is the effect of what Cantieni identified as a third expansion of Nestor’s story, namely Iliad 11.757–758; in these two lines Bouprasion, the end point of Nestor’s rout of the Epeians, is supplemented by two further place-names, the Olenian Rock and the Hill of Alesion; here in its context is the two-line expansion (Iliad 11.753–761, expansion indented):

ἔνθα Ζεὺς Πυλίοισι μέγα κράτος ἐγγυάλιξε·
τόφρα γὰρ οὖν ἑπόμεσθα διὰ σπιδέος πεδίοιο
κτείνοντές τ' αὐτοὺς ἀνά τ' ἔντεα καλὰ λέγοντες,
ὄφρ' ἐπὶ Βουπρασίου πολυπύρου βήσαμεν ἵππους
πέτρης τ' Ὠλενίης, καὶ Ἀλησίου ἔνθα κολώνη
κέκληται· ὅθεν αὖτις ἀπέτραπε λαὸν Ἀθήνη.
ἔνθ' ἄνδρα κτείνας πύματον λίπον· αὐτὰρ Ἀχαιοὶ
ἂψ ἀπὸ Βουπρασίοιο Πύλονδ' ἔχον ὠκέας ἵππους,
πάντες δ' εὐχετόωντο θεῶν Διὶ Νέστορί τ' ἀνδρῶν.

Then Zeus bestowed great power on the Pylians;
for we followed through the flat plain,
killing them and collecting their beautiful weapons,
until we brought our horses into Bouprasion rich in wheat
and the Olenian Rock, and where it is called
Hill of Alesion; from there Athena turned the warriors back again.
Then I killed the last man and left him. But the Achaeans
drove their swift horses back from Bouprasion to Pylos,
and all prayed to Zeus among gods and Nestor among men. [28] {662|663}

Bölte made the case that the two landmarks in Iliad 11.757, which also occur in the Epeian entry to the Catalogue of Ships, and whose location is not certain, are north of the Alpheios and within a reasonable distance of the river for Nestor’s one day rout of the Epeians to have actually taken place; [29] Bölte placed the action in the valley of the Lestenitsa River, a small tributary of the Alpheios (most likely the ancient Enipeus), and he found there features of the landscape (a rock and a hill) to correlate with the two places in Nestor’s story at a distance of some 11 kilometers from the Alpheios. This distance could well have been covered by Nestor and the Pylians in a one day rout of the Epeians. [30] {663|664}

§5.9 A skilled craftsman expanded Nestor’s story. There are signs in the text where new was grafted onto old, but these require careful observation to detect and would have gone unnoticed in a normal telling of the story. In addition to managing these transitions smoothly there were other problems to confront, or to avoid, if the new version of the story was to replace the old. The main such problem was Bouprasion if, as Hellenistic scholars said, this name referred to the coastal region north of Elis, on the road to Dyme in Achaea. Demetrius of Scepsis is the source for the statement in Strabo that a settlement called Bouprasion, which had probably once existed in the Eleian country, no longer existed in his own time, but now only “that territory is so called which is on the road that leads from the present city {664|665} of Elis to Dyme.” [31] According to Hellenistic mythography, when Heracles was defeated by the Molione in his war against Augeias, he fled to Bouprasion to a river called βαδὺ ὕδωρ (“sweet water”). [32] The earliest source for this myth is Ekhephylidas, probably in the mid-third century BC. [33] This author knew that βαδὺ ὕδωρ, with its distinctive local name, was on the road from Elis to Dyme, and this to him was the region of Bouprasion. [34] Bölte, who was certain that the endpoint of Nestor’s aristeia lay on the borders of the Pisatis not far north of the Alpheios River, argued that Bouprasion must have belonged there as well, and that the Hellenistic tradition for a location north of Elis depended entirely on this one passage of Ekhephylidas, who had been mistaken and who misled others. [35] But Cantieni showed that Demetrius of {665|666} Scepsis, for one, cannot have taken his information from Ekhephylidas, for there is too much divergence in what they say. [36] Bölte, for his part, made the valid point that the name Bouprasion does not occur of the coast north of Elis in historical sources, either in the context of military campaigns or otherwise. [37] I conclude from this that the name Bouprasion belonged more to myth than reality, or perhaps to an earlier reality, but that its location was in any case north of Elis. This brings us back to the problem confronted by the poet who expanded Nestor’s story, who had to ignore the location of this half-forgotten, semi-mythical realm, and supplement it with other names belonging to a different location close to the Alpheios River (Iliad 11.757–758). This disregard of Bouprasion’s traditional location was evidently not so egregious as to be rejected out of hand by the intended audience, although some must have known better. [38] In any case the location of Pylos, and not the location of {666|667} Bouprasion, was the critical issue in the expanded version of Nestor’s story: for Pylos real geography mattered, but for Bouprasion a semblance of real geography sufficed.

§5.10 Another delicate point in the expanded story was the crossing of the Alpheios. The narrative does not say that the Pylians crossed the Alpheios on the morning of the battle, but this is assumed, and for the Pylian chariots it would not have been a difficult matter. [39] The town of Thryoessa, which is besieged by the Epeians, is clearly meant to be the place where the river is crossed, for Thryon in the Catalogue of Ships is called precisely “ford of the Alpheios”: Θρύον Ἀλφειοῖο πόρον (Iliad 2.593). So far everything makes sense, but the question then is where on the Alpheios was Thryoessa, and on which side of the river. The fact that the Pylians camp when they reach the Alpheios suggests that Thryoessa is on the far side of the river, facing the Pylians’ camp. Furthermore, if the battle the next morning takes place in the valley of the Lestenitsa/Enipeus, this indicates where on the Alpheios Thryoessa must be. Neither of these indications, however, agrees with the ancient identification of Thryon as Epitalion, a town on the south side of the Alpheios some 5–6 kilometers west of where the Lestenitsa joins the Alpheios. [40] Bölte thus rejected Epitalion as the correct location and {667|668} instead chose a hill in the lower Lestenitsa valley, today called Strephi, as the site of the Θρυόεσσα πόλις, αἰπεῖα κολώνη, of Nestor’s story. [41] Modern opinion still favors Epitalion as the Thryon of the Catalogue of Ships, but this leaves unanswered the point that the north side of the Alpheios seems clearly indicated in Nestor’s story. [42] I conclude from this that Epitalion may well have been the true site of Thryon in the Catalogue of Ships, but that, like the true location of Bouprasion, this was not a well codified piece of knowledge when Nestor’s story was expanded. The expansion of the story required Thryoessa to be in a particular place, and its traditional location was sufficiently undetermined to allow this. [43] In the expanded story mention of the Alpheios is kept to a minimum, and nothing definite is said about the location of Thryoessa with respect to the river. All is left to suggestion and inference.

§5.11 Apart from the expanded version of Nestor’s story in Iliad 11 the Homeric poems do not give a precise idea of Pylos’s location. The poems are, however, generally consistent with a location in Messenia; this is true of the Pylian entry to the Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad, and it is also true of {668|669} Telemachus’s voyage to Pylos in the Odyssey. [44] On the other hand there is one episode, apart from the expanded version of Nestor’s story in Iliad 11, that seriously calls the Messenian location of Pylos into question, and this is the old version of Nestor’s story in Iliad 11 if it is taken literally. Epic exaggeration reaches fantastic proportions if Pylos in this story is in Messenia: Nestor covers the entire western Peloponnesus in a single day. [45] This, to repeat, is well and good in a larger-than-life story called up from the mists of time, but in the post-Homeric era the Homeric poems were taken literally in matters of geography and politics. [46] If the original version of Nestor’s story was taken literally, and if Bouprasion, north of the town of Elis, was a fixed point in this story, the other point in the story, the city of Pylos, must also have lain in Eleian territory. Strangely enough there was a tradition that Nestor’s city lay in the region of Elis, either in the interior of the country or on the coast. [47] {669|670} The location in the interior seems to be what the Eleians themselves came to claim as Nestor’s city, but the location on the coast was, I think, older. [48] The evidence for the location on the coast is not local historians of Elis, but the Homeric hymn to the Pythian Apollo; [49] earlier than this, furthermore, {670|671} there is evidence that the Odyssey had become the focal point in a controversy regarding the supposed location of Pylos in Elis. We will consider these matters, including the likely source of such a controversy, in their own right and for their own intrinsic interest, but we should not lose sight of our ultimate object in doing so, which is the expanded version of Nestor’s story in Iliad 11. Here the basic point is quite simple: if at the time of the Pythian Hymn to Apollo there was a controversy based on the Homeric poems as to whether or not Pylos lay in Elis, the expanded version of Nestor’s story in Iliad 11 cannot yet have existed, for this version plainly rules out a location in Elis; according to this version Pylos lay south of the Alpheios River, in the historical region of Triphylia. It is thus important to show the early existence of the controversy not only for its own sake, but also for its bearing on our primary question, the date and circumstances of the expanded version of Nestor’s story in Iliad 11. {671|673}


[ back ] 1. In the first line of this passage there is marked sound symbolism in the phrase πύματον τέλεον δρόμον, “were completing the end of the course,” the repeated syllable echoing the beating of the horses’ hooves; the same figure is adapted to Nestor’s battle in the phrase πύματον λίπον, “I left my last (man).” The relationship between the two passages and to the turning point in a chariot race is considered further in EN5.1.

[ back ] 2. There is another likely connection between Nestor’s chariot race and his battle, but it has not been made explicit in the Iliad: Neleus tried to keep Nestor from battle because he thought him too young for war, and one reason for his judgment would have been Nestor’s crash in the chariot race. Nestor’s crash, which is kept hidden in Iliad 23, also cannot be acknowledged in Iliad 11.

[ back ] 3. This passage occurs immediately after the Epeian horsemen set out for Pylos and immediately before Athena warns the Pylians. In the Catalogue of Ships (Iliad 2.592) the town on the Alpheios is not called Θρυόεσσα (“reedy”), but Θρύον (“reed”); the description of the town in the catalogue as Ἀλφειοῖο πόρον, “ford of the Alpheios,” shows that it is the same town as in Iliad 11. The town was identified with Epitalion on the south side of the Alpheios in historical times (see §5.10 and n5.40 below).

[ back ] 4. This passage immediately follows Nestor’s departure on foot with the Pylian horsemen; it begins with mention of the river (the “Minyan river”) at which the Pylians marshaled. The “Minyan river” is here said to be near the town of Arene, which, like the town of Thryon, occurs in the Pylian entry to the Catalogue of Ships (Iliad 2.591–592):

οἳ δὲ Πύλον τ' ἐνέμοντο καὶ Ἀρήνην ἐρατεινὴν
καὶ Θρύον Ἀλφειοῖο πόρον…

And those who inhabited Pylos and lovely Arene
and Thryon, ford of the Alpheios…

[ back ] 5. Cantieni 1942. Cantieni did not include the final two lines of the second passage (Iliad 11.735–736) in what he considered to be the interpolation (Iliad 11.722–734); he thus restored the older form of the story at this point as follows (Iliad 11.720–721, 735–738):

ἀλλὰ καὶ ὧς ἱππεῦσι μετέπρεπον ἡμετέροισι
καὶ πεζός περ ἐών, ἐπεὶ ὧς ἄγε νεῖκος Ἀθήνη.
εὖτε γὰρ ἠέλιος φαέθων ὑπερέσχεθε γαίης,
συμφερόμεσθα μάχῃ Διί τ' εὐχόμενοι καὶ Ἀθήνῃ.
ἀλλ' ὅτε δὴ Πυλίων καὶ Ἐπειῶν ἔπλετο νεῖκος,
πρῶτος ἐγὼν ἕλον ἄνδρα….

But even so I stood out among our horsemen
although I was on foot, for so Athena led the battle.
For when the shining sun rose above the earth,
we met them in battle, praying to Zeus and Athena.
But when the battle began between the Pylians and the Epeians,
I was the first to slay a man….

But the two lines in question (especially the particle γάρ, “for”) do not follow as naturally here as they do in the received text, where they form part of the interruption of the Epeians’ siege (ἀλλά σφι προπάροιθε φάνη μέγα ἔργον Ἄρηος· / εὖτε γὰρ ἠέλιος…, “but before that a great deed of warfare appeared to them; / for when the sun…”); the lines also cause a duplication in the onset of the battle (line 736, συμφερόμεσθα μάχῃ, “we met them in battle,” followed by line 737, ἀλλ' ὅτε δὴ Πυλίων καὶ ᾿Επειῶν ἔπλετο νεῖκος, “but when the battle began between the Pylians and the Epeians”). When the two lines in question are omitted, there is no mention of dawn in the story, but in my view that is not a problem; dawn is simply assumed.

[ back ] 6. Cantieni 1942:39 argued that when the story was expanded one word in the earlier version of the story was also changed: in line 714, which now reads ἀλλ' ὅτε πᾶν πεδίον μετεκίαθον, Cantieni proposed that the earlier version of the story had ἀλλ' ὅτε δὴ πεδίον μετεκίαθον (the formula ἀλλ' ὅτε δὴ, “but when indeed,” which is frequent in Homer, also occurs in Nestor’s story at line 737). As Cantieni demonstrates, the verb μετεκίαθον, with the preverb μετά, means “came to,” not “crossed,” but πᾶν πεδίον, “the whole plain,” requires the meaning “crossed.” In the original story Athena sounded the alarm when the Epeians “came to” a plain and began to cross it toward Pylos; the Pylians set out across the same plain to meet the attack, and battle must have been joined in the middle of the plain. The poet who expanded the passage, on the other hand, has made the attacking Epeians come to a town on the Alpheios River, and he thus turns the plain into what they “crossed” to reach the town.

[ back ] 7. I was convinced by Cantieni’s argument already in my earlier work on Nestor (Frame 1978:95).

[ back ] 8. For the location of Bouprasion see §5.9 and n5.31 below; for actual distances between Bouprasion and Pylos see n5.45 below. The city of Elis, located on the Peneios River, did not exist until 471 BC; before that date there were only scattered villages in the country of Elis (Strabo 8.3.2; cf. Swoboda RE ‘Elis’ 2423, who believes that before the synoecism of 471 BC the Eleians had no other political center than the sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia); Visser 1997:560–563, on the other hand, suggests that in the Iliad Elis can be a city as well as a region (he interprets Iliad 11.673 in this way). I use the city of Elis only as a geographical reference point, not as a historical reality, for the period before 471 BC; whether the name refers to the city or the country of Elis will be clear from context. Bouprasion lay on the far side of the city of Elis from Pylos, but it was still within the northern part of the country of Elis. See Map 3.

[ back ] 9. Strabo, who considers himself an adherent of the learned minority, calls them the Homērikṓteroi, “more Homeric” (8.3.7); the arguments that he presents in 8.3.1ff. (especially 8.3.7 and 8.3.24–27), are essentially those of the second-century BC scholar Apollodorus in his work on the Homeric Catalogue of Ships (for Strabo’s sources in these sections see Bölte 1938 and cf. Meyer RE ‘Pisa’ 1739–1742). Another of Strabo’s sources, Demetrius of Scepsis in the early second century BC, was probably the first to locate Pylos in Triphylia; see Meyer RE ‘Pylos’ 2153. Demetrius’s work concerned the Trojan catalogue, and the Kaukones, allies of the Trojans in the Iliad, probably account for Demetrius’s interest in Triphylia, for a tribe of Kaukones also lived in Triphylia. The name Triphylia originated at the beginning of the fourth century BC when the Spartans, having forced Elis to give up earlier conquests south of the Alpheios River, created a political union of the region under this name; see Bölte RE ‘Triphylia’ 199; Swoboda RE ‘Elis’ 2400; Nielsen 1997; for Elis and Triphylia cf. also Maddoli 1991 and Roy 1997. Triphylia is a convenient name for the region and I therefore use it anachronistically with reference to earlier historical periods as well.

[ back ] 10. For the location of this palace, discovered by Wilhelm Dörpfeld, see §5.7 below.

[ back ] 11. This well-known palace was discovered by Carl Blegen; the place-name pu-ro (Pylos) occurs often on the tablets from this site (cf. EN5.2 to n5.12 below).

[ back ] 12. Ernst Meyer, an expert on the western Peloponnesus, has steadfastly maintained this view; his statements on the subject, which began before the decipherment of Linear-B and continued well after it, are traced in EN5.2.

[ back ] 13. Apart from Nestor’s story in Book 11 there is no clear evidence in the Iliad for the location of Pylos. In the Odyssey the main evidence is the journey of Telemachus and Peisistratos from Pylos to Sparta and back again to Pylos, in which the pair spends a night each way in Phērai (Φηραί). There are good reasons to believe what has been challenged in modern times but was taken for granted in antiquity, namely that Phērai is the city at the head of the Messenian Gulf, and that Pylos too is thus in Messenia; the issue, including the objection that Mount Taygetus stands in the pair’s way if Phērai is in Messenia, is considered in EN5.3. Other arguments based on the Odyssey carry little weight; for an argument based on the time required for Telemachus’s voyages from Ithaca to Pylos and from Pylos back to Ithaca see EN5.7 to n5.44 below.

[ back ] 14. “Ein pylisches Epos” (Bölte 1934).

[ back ] 15. Bölte completed an earlier version of this article in 1914, seven years after Dörpfeld’s discovery of Kakovatos, but publication was prevented by World War I and its aftermath; according to the author the published article differed from the earlier version in form but was essentially the same in content (Bölte 1934:319n1).

[ back ] 16. See below n5.24, n5.25, and EN5.4. The distance between Kakovatos and Strabo’s Pylos is not great (3–4 kilometers). See Map 4. For Strabo’s term Homērikṓteroi cf. n5.9 above.

[ back ] 17. For a third passage with particular geographical references (Iliad 11.757–758) see §5.8 and n5.28 below. As Cantieni argues, it is highly unlikely that the geographical detail of Nestor’s story could have been faithfully passed down from the Bronze Age because “the poem had made its way to Ionia, and here, separated from its place of origin, such details would have been the first to be subjected to an alteration, since they must have been completely without relevance or importance for the Ionians” (“das Gedicht ja nach Ionien wanderte und hier, losgelöst vom Entstehungsort, solche Angaben in erster Linie einer Veränderung anheimgefallen wären, da sie ja für die Ionier völlig beziehungs- und belanglos sein mussten”; Cantieni 1942:42–43). This argument, recognizing what would and would not have mattered to an Ionian poet and audience, has great force in my view.

[ back ] 18. Cantieni is not primarily concerned with the question of Pylos’s location, which he thinks is simply indeterminate in the older version of Nestor’s story (Cantieni 1942:48n99). Meyer rejects this point of view, citing Cantieni, and dismissing his characterization of the geography (“Pylos in Homer is no longer a universal folktale land that lies everywhere and nowhere” [“Pylos ist bei Homer kein Allerweltsmärchenland mehr, das überall und nirgends liegt”], Meyer 1951:126 and n25, alluding to Cantieni 1942:48n99); but Meyer fails to confront the real issue, namely Cantieni’s arguments for two distinct levels in Nestor’s story in Iliad 11. This is also the case in Vetta 2003, who argues that in the sub-Mycenaean period Pylians from Messenia concentrated in Triphylia, reformulated the geography of Nestor’s story, and preserved it as such when they emigrated to Athens and Ionia. On the other hand Kiechle 1960:16 accepts Cantieni’s analysis and pursues the question of Pylos’s location on the basis of it; I do not agree with Kiechle’s conclusions (see n5.27 below), but his discussion, pp. 16–18, at least recognizes Cantieni’s basic argument.

[ back ] 19. Kiechle 1960 tries to evade this conclusion, but in my view he does not succeed (see n5.18 above and n5.27 below). For places in the discussion to follow see Map 4.

[ back ] 20. Arene is a significant place in Messenian tradition (the name also belongs to the mother of the Messenian twins, Idas and Lynkeus; cf. Wilamowitz 2006:339), but its location was uncertain. According to Strabo 8.3.19, whose source is Demetrius of Scepsis, Samikon was the usual identification; the Minyeios River is identified with the Anigros River, near Samikon, by both Strabo 8.3.19 and Pausanias 5.6.2–3. Cf. Simpson and Lazenby 1970:83, who regard the identification of Arene with Samikon as “probably correct” (Wilamowitz 2006:326 notes a modern identification of Makistos with Samikon but gives it little weight). For the significance of Demetrius of Scepsis as the apparent source for the identification of Arene with Samikon cf. above n5.9 and below §5.59, n5.201, and EN5.23 to n5.201 below; Samikon may be the true location of Homeric Arene, but the nature (and date) of the evidence in Iliad 11 must be taken into account. It is that evidence that concerns us now. Bölte 1934:322 describes the relevant topography around Samikon: the Klidi pass lies between the sea and Mount Lapithos (modern Mount Kaiapha), and the Anigros River, fed by waters from Mount Lapithos and springs at this mountain’s base, once flowed into the sea at the south entrance to the pass (see Map 4). Although the land and river have changed since antiquity (see Bölte RE ‘Triphylia’ 190), what appears to have been the river’s mouth was still open and discernible in the nineteenth century (Bölte 1934:322). Strabo 8.3.19 describes the Anigros as deep and sluggish, so as to form a marsh; cf. also Pausanias 5.5.7–11, who describes the river in graphic detail, including its bad odor. The name Minuḗïos used of the Anigros may be more an epithet than a name; see §5.41 and n5.139 below for the tradition of Minyans in Triphylia (cf. also n5.191 below). For a study of coastal changes in this region, and at Klidi in particular, see now Kraft et al. 2005.

[ back ] 21. Bölte 1934:322–323 and RE ‘Triphylia’ 189. There is a photograph of the Klidi pass in American Journal of Archaeology 65 (1961) Plate 76 b.

[ back ] 22. Meyer 1951:123–124. Bölte 1934:343, with a particular crossing point in mind, says 14 kilometers.

[ back ] 23. See Strabo 8.3.16 for Lepreon’s location south of Pylos (τοῦ δὲ Πύλου πρὸς νότον ἐστὶ τὸ Λέπρειον). Strabo 8.3.30 (end) says that the Eleians incorporated Pylos into Lepreon to gratify the Lepreans who had been victorious in war (for the Eleians rather than the Spartans as the proper subject of this sentence, see n5.142 below). Earlier in the passage Strabo uses the phrase “after the last defeat of the Messenians” to date events, and this, as Bölte RE ‘Triphylia’ 196 shows, refers to the Messenian revolt of the fifth century (464 BC and after). The evidence of Strabo is vague at best (see §5.42 and n5.142 below), but a mid-fifth century date seems likely; possible historical contexts of the synoecism are discussed in EN5.18 to n5.145 below. What form the synoecism took, whether Pylos only lost political autonomy, or its population was moved to Lepreon, is not known; cf. Kahrstedt RE ‘Synoikismos’ 1437: “Pylos ceased to exist; whether only politically or also as an inhabited place remains obscure” (“Pylos hörte auf zu bestehen; ob nur politisch oder auch als besiedelter Platz bleibt dunkel”). Bölte RE ‘Triphylia’ 197 assumes that Pylos was abandoned: “the population of Pylos was transplanted to Lepreon and its territory, as we must infer, was united with that of Lepreon” (“die Bevölkerung von Pylos wird nach Lepreon verpflanzt und das Gebiet, wie wir ergänzen müssen, mit dem von Lepreon vereinigt”).

[ back ] 24. Strabo 8.3.14: κατὰ ταῦτα δέ πως τὰ ἱερὰ ὑπέρκειται τῆς θαλάττης ἐν τριάκοντα ἢ μικρῷ πλείοσι σταδίοις ὁ Τριφυλιακὸς Πύλος [ὁ] καὶ Λεπρεατικός, ὃν καλεῖ ὁ ποιητὴς ἠμαθόεντα καὶ παραδίδωσι τοῦ Νέστορος πατρίδα, “In the region of these temples, thirty or somewhat more stades above the sea, lies Triphylian or Leprean Pylos, which Homer calls sandy and hands down to us as Nestor’s homeland.” Bölte 1934:341 explains that in antiquity the distance from the town to the sea would not have been measured on a straight line, but with reference to a fixed point on itineraries, in this case the temple of Poseidon at Samikon; Strabo describes this temple in 8.3.13 and refers to it in 8.3.14 (above) in the phrase κατὰ ταῦτα τὰ ἱερὰ (the reason for the plural, which would have been singular in Strabo’s source Artemidorus, has to do with Strabo’s adaptation of Artemidorus; see Bölte 1934:341n6). Other ancient measurements of distance in the region, which are all consistent with this distance, help to visualize Pylos in relation to Lepreon, and both places in relation to Samikon and the Messenian border; this information is discussed in EN5.4.

[ back ] 25. Cf. Bölte 1934:342, who suggests the neighborhood of Xerochori as the location of this Pylos; cf. also Meyer RE ‘Pylos’ 2129–2130. Meyer points out that no ancient ruins are known here.

[ back ] 26. The question of the time and circumstances of the new version is considered at length in Chapter 14 below (§5.39–§5.61).

[ back ] 27. Kiechle, who accepts Cantieni’s thesis that there are two versions of Nestor’s story (see n5.18 above), argues that the expanded version of the story can be reconciled with a Messenian location of Pylos; with this I disagree. Kiechle 1960:18 points to the word τηλοῦ, “far,” in the first expansion, which refers to the distance of the Alpheios River from Pylos (Iliad 11.711–712):

ἔστι δέ τις Θρυόεσσα πόλις αἰπεῖα κολώνη
τηλοῦ ἐπ' Ἀλφειῷ, νεάτη Πύλου ἠμαθόεντος.

There is a city Thryoessa, a steep hill,
far away on the Alpheios, the last city of sandy Pylos.

The Alpheios is of course farther from Messenia than it is from Triphylia, but that proves nothing; the poet of the expanded version of the story wishes to make it clear that the Alpheios is north of Pylos by an appreciable distance, such that it takes the Pylians a two-stage march to reach it, and this is what the word τηλοῦ conveys. The contrast is with the older version of the story, where there was no appreciable distance between Pylos and Elis (the virtual racecourse of this version of the story, as I have termed it above).

[ back ] 28. The older version of the story, as Cantieni points out, needed only one name, Bouprasion in line 756, to specify the turning point (ὄφρ' ἐπὶ Βουπρασίου…, “until into Bouprasion…”); it is significant that when the turning point returns in line 760 (ἂψ ἀπὸ Βουπρασίοιο…, “back from Bouprasion…”) again only this name occurs (cf. Cantieni 1942:47n97). The duplication of names for the turning point in lines 757–758 is combined with another duplication in the story as we have it: the act of turning homeward, expressed in lines 759–760 in the older version of the story (αὐτὰρ Ἀχαιοὶ / ἂψ ἀπὸ Βουπρασίοιο…, “but the Achaeans / back from Bouprasion…”), is duplicated in line 758, where Athena turns the warfolk back from the other two places as well (ὅθεν αὖτις ἀπέτραπε λαὸν Ἀθήνη, “from where Athena turned the warriors back again”); with these duplications at the end of the battle compare the similar duplication of the onset of the battle in the expanded version of the story (n5.5 above).

[ back ] 29. In the Epeian entry to the Catalogue of Ships the Epeians’ country is divided into two districts, Bouprasion and Elis, and four place-names follow, including the two at issue in Iliad 11, the Olenian Rock and (the Hill of) Alesion (Iliad 2.615–619):

οἳ δ' ἄρα Βουπράσιόν τε καὶ Ἤλιδα δῖαν ἔναιον
ὅσσον ἐφ' Ὑρμίνη καὶ Μύρσινος ἐσχατόωσα
πέτρη τ' Ὠλενίη καὶ Ἀλήσιον ἐντὸς ἐέργει,
τῶν αὖ τέσσαρες ἀρχοὶ ἔσαν, δέκα δ' ἀνδρὶ ἑκάστῳ
νῆες ἕποντο θοαί, πολέες δ' ἔμβαινον Ἐπειοί.

And those who lived in Bouprasion and shining Elis
as far as Hyrmine and farthest-lying Myrsinos
and the Olenian Rock and Alesion contain,
four leaders of these there were, and ten swift ships
followed each man, and many Epeians boarded the ships.

The two-line expansion in Iliad 11 seems to be based on line 617 of the catalogue, but there is uncertainty about line 617 itself, which may be an expansion of the Epeian entry to the catalogue (see Cantieni 1942:46n96); the issue is not clear-cut. On the one hand the four place-names in Iliad 2.616–617 seem to correspond to the four leaders of the Epeians, each place belonging to a different leader (see Simpson and Lazenby 1970:99 for the view that the four places represent the four corners of a roughly square-shaped Elis). On the other hand the syntax of line 616 (ὅσσον ἐφ'…, “as far as”) does not require the verbal phrase ἐντὸς ἐέργει, “contains/bounds within,” of line 617: the construction of line 616, ὅσσον ἐφ' Ὑρμίνη καὶ Μύρσινος ἐσχατόωσα, “as far as Hyrmine and farthest-lying Myrsinos,” is like that of Iliad 21.251: Πηλεΐδης δ' ἀπόρουσεν ὅσον τ' ἐπὶ δουρὸς ἐρωή, “Peleus’s son sprang away as far as the cast of a spear.” The combination of a construction requiring no verb in Iliad 2.616 (ὅσσον ἐφ' Ὑρμίνη…, “as far as Hyrmine”) with a subject-verb construction in Iliad 2.617 (πέτρη…ἐέργει, “the rock…bounds”) is suspect. Given the uncertainty of Iliad 2.617, its relationship to Iliad 11.757 must also remain uncertain. In ancient times there were two different locations of the Olenian Rock, one close to the Alpheios, as in Nestor’s story, and the other in the northeast corner of Elis; see the following note.

[ back ] 30. According to Strabo 8.3.32 the Enipeus was what was later called the Βαρνίχιος, “lamb river” (a name defended by Wilamowitz 2006:323 against those who reject it as of Slavic origin); for the identification of the Enipeus with the Lestenitsa cf. Lienau and Olshausen DNP ‘Enipeus.’ The expansions of Nestor’s story make notable use of easily identifiable features of the landscape such as rivers and hills; in this regard it is worth noting the contrast between Ἀλησίου…κολώνη, “the Hill of Alesion,” in the expansion of Nestor’s story (Iliad 11.757), and the simple Ἀλήσιον of the Catalogue of Ships (2.617). There is a similar contrast with respect to the town on the Alpheios, called Θρυόεσσα πόλις αἰπεῖα κολώνη, “a city Thryoessa, a steep hill,” in the expansion of Nestor’s story (Iliad 11.711), and Θρύον Ἀλφειοῖο πόρον, “Thryon, ford of the Alpheios,” in the catalogue (Iliad 2.592); for the problem of this town’s identity and location see §5.10 and n5.40 below. The Olenian Rock, from the name alone, must have been another prominent feature of the landscape; Bölte 1934:329 argues that the Pylians cannot well have driven chariots onto this rock, and that therefore the genitive πέτρης τ' Ὠλενίης should be in the nominative (as in Iliad 2.617), a subject (with κολώνη, “hill”) of the verb κέκληται, “it is called,” in Iliad 11.758; Cantieni 1942:47 supports this. Strabo 8.3.9 says that in the opinion of some both the Olenian Rock and Alesion lay on the (northern) border of the Pisatis; in the case of Alesion modern opinion also looks to this region in southeast Elis (see Simpson and Lazenby 1970:99). Strabo 8.3.10 (Apollodorus is the source) gives the basis for the ancient view of Alesion’s location: it was identified with a place called Alesiaion in Amphidolia in what was once the Pisatis: τὸ δ' Ἀλείσιον ἔστι τὸ νῦν Ἀλεσιαῖον, χώρα περὶ τὴν Ἀμφιδολίδα, ἐν ᾗ καὶ κατὰ μῆνα ἀγορὰν συνάγουσιν οἱ περίοικοι· κεῖται δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς ὀρεινῆς ὁδοῦ τῆς ἐξ Ἤλιδος εἰς Ὀλυμπίαν· πρότερον δ' ἦν πόλις τῆς Πισάτιδος, “Aleision is what is now Alesiaion, a place in Amphidolia, in which the surrounding population holds a monthly market; it lies on the mountain road from Elis to Olympia; earlier it was a city of the Pisatis.” Bölte 1934:329–331 supports a location of this ancient monthly market at modern Karatula, where several valleys meet, and he discusses a hill 2.5 kilometers northeast of Karatula as the likely Ἀλησίου…κολώνη, whether or not this hill was also the site of a town. There is more uncertainty and wider disagreement about the Olenian Rock; there are arguments for placing it in the northeast corner of Elis, on the one hand, and in northern Pisatis (i.e. far to the south of the first location) on the other hand. Bölte, arguing for northern Pisatis, identifies the Olenian Rock with an impressive geological formation some 11 kilometers north of the Alpheios River. It is just this sort of landmark, I think, that the poet of Nestor’s expanded story wished to conjure up in the minds of his audience. Simpson and Lazenby 1970:98 favor a location of the Olenian Rock in northeast Elis on the basis of Hesiodic evidence, and this may also be the intended location in the Catalogue of Ships. I do not think, however, that it is the intended location in the expansion of Nestor’s story. Details of the evidence for the Olenian Rock are given in EN5.5.

[ back ] 31. Strabo 8.3.8: ἦν δ', ὡς ἔοικε, κατοικία τῆς Ἠλείας τὸ Βουπράσιον ἀξιόλογος, ἣ νῦν οὐκέτ' ἐστίν· ἡ δὲ χώρα καλεῖται μόνον οὕτως ἡ ἐπὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ τῆς ἐπὶ Δύμην ἐξ Ἤλιδος τῆς νῦν πόλεως, “Bouprasion, it seems, was a noteworthy settlement of Elis, which now no longer exists; only that territory is so called which is on the road that leads from the present city of Elis to Dyme.” For Demetrius of Scepsis as Strabo’s source see Bölte 1934:333; Bölte (p. 334) thinks that Demetrius inferred the existence of a town from Nestor’s story in Iliad 23, where the Epeians bury Amarynkeus in Bouprasion and his sons hold funeral games for him there (Iliad 23.631).

[ back ] 32. βαδύ = ἡδύ. Pausanias 5.3.2 connects the river and its name with the fulfillment of the prayer of Eleian women to Athena Mētḗr; cf. n3.11 above.

[ back ] 33. Bölte 1934:337; for the date of Ekhephylidas Bölte cites Jacoby RE ‘Echephylidas’ (noting an apparent quotation of Ekhephylidas by Istros) and Jacoby RE ‘Istros’ 2270 (dating Istros to the second half of the third century BC). Pherekydes in the fifth century BC may have told a similar story (scholia to Plato Phaedo 89c; see next note). Cantieni 1942:44 assumes that Ekhephylidas was the first to connect the river and its name with Heracles’ attack on Elis; cf. also Bölte 1934:337. Bölte points out that the Eleian womens’ prayer to Athena Mētḗr (n3.11 above) was also connected to Heracles’ attack, and suggests that this was an Alexandrian elaboration of the myth.

[ back ] 34. Scholia to Plato Phaedo 89c: Ἐχεφυλλίδας δὲ αὐτὸν [sc. Heracles] ὑπὸ Κτεάτου καὶ Εὐρύτου τῶν Μολ‹ι›ονιδῶν ἡττηθῆναι κατὰ τὴν ἐπ' Αὐγείᾳ στρατείαν. διωχθέντα δὲ ἄχρι τῆς Βουπρασίδος καὶ περιβλεψάμενον, ὡς οὐδεὶς ἐξίκετο τῶν πολεμίων, ἀναψύξαι τε καὶ ἐκ τοῦ παραρέοντος ποταμοῦ πιόντα προσαγορεῦσαι τοῦτο ἡδὺ ὕδωρ, ὃ νῦν δείκνυται ἰόντων ἐκ Δύμης εἰς Ἦλιν (ἥλιον cod.), καλούμενον ὑπὸ τῶν ἐγχωρίων βαδὺ ὕδωρ. τὰ δὲ αὐτὰ καὶ Φερεκύδης καὶ Κώμαρχος καὶ Ἴστρος ἐν τοῖς ᾿Ἠλιακοῖς ἱστοροῦσιν, “Ekhephylidas [says] that he [Heracles] was defeated by the Molionidai, Kteatos and Eurytos, in his campaign against Augeias, and when he was chased as far as Bouprasis and looked around, and none of the enemy was there, he refreshed himself; drinking from the river flowing by he called it hēdù húdōr (‘sweet water’), which is now pointed out as one goes from Dyme to Elis, badù húdōr being what it is called by the local inhabitants. Pherekydes, Komarchos, and Istros in his Eleian History tell the same thing.” The form of the name ἡ Βουπρασίς, found in this passage and elsewhere, is an alternate for τὸ Βουπράσιον.

[ back ] 35. Bölte 1934:333–340. Strabo, following Apollodorus (cf. Cantieni 1942:43n86), refers in several passages to the location of Bouprasion northeast of Elis: in 8.7.5 the Larisos River is said to separate Dyme from Elis in the region of Bouprasion (ἐφεξῆς δ' ἐστὶν ἡ Δύμη…· διαιρεῖ δ' αὐτὴν ἀπὸ τῆς Ἠλείας κατὰ Βουπράσιον ὁ Λάρισος ποταμός); in 8.3.17 the Kaukones are said to have lived in two locations, some in Triphylia, others near Dyme in the region of “Bouprasis” and hollow Elis (τοὺς μὲν πρὸς τῇ Μεσσηνίᾳ κατὰ τὴν Τριφυλίαν τοὺς δὲ πρὸς τῇ Δύμῃ κατὰ τὴν Βουπρασίδα καὶ τὴν κοίλην Ἦλιν; “hollow Elis” designates Elis proper in contrast to the Pisatis and Triphylia, which formed part of Elis as a political entity; cf. Wilamowitz 2006:321). In Strabo 8.3.32 Bouprasion is again located between Elis and Dyme, but the passage is problematic; it is discussed in EN5.6. Istros, according to Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. Αἰγιαλός, also referred to the location of Bouprasion northeast of Elis, putting Αἰγιαλός, the Achaean city mentioned in Iliad 2.575, between Sikyon and Bouprasion (μεταξὺ Σικυῶνος καὶ τοῦ Βουπρασίου). Wilamowitz 2006:321–322 rightly calls Bouprasion the country (χώρα) between Elis and Dyme.

[ back ] 36. See Cantieni 1942:45–46. For Demetrius as the source of Strabo 8.3.8, see n5.31 above; this passage says that it seems that a settlement (κατοικία) called Bouprasion once existed, but that it no longer exists (see n5.31 above). Bölte 1934:338 argues that Demetrius, with only one source, Ekhephylidas, to follow, drew this conclusion from the fact that no κατοικία is mentioned in Ekhephylidas; but as Cantieni points out Demetrius would not have expected Ekhephylidas to mention a settlement since the end point of Heracles’ flight in his account was a river. Furthermore, it seems that Demetrius, in addition to referring to a settlement and a region (χώρα) called Bouprasion, knew of a river called Bouprasion: this can be inferred from Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. Βουπράσιον, πόλις καὶ ποταμὸς καὶ χώρα τῆς Ἤλιδος, “Bouprasion, city and river and region of Elis,” in which mention of a city as well as a region indicates Demetrius as the source (see Bölte 1934:334). Thus, while Ekhephylidas and Demetrius both referred to a river in the region (cf. Bölte 1934:338), in Ekhephylidas it is called βαδὺ ὕδωρ, but in Demetrius it is called Βουπράσιον. Demetrius must have had other sources for Bouprasion besides the one passage of Ekhephylidas.

[ back ] 37. Bölte 1934:339: “In the wars at the end of the third century, the Cleomenes War, the Social War, and then the First Macedonian War, we hear often enough, and sometimes in considerable detail, about military events that played themselves out in the northern part of Elis—one looks in vain for the name Bouprasion” (“In den Kriegen am Ende des 3. Jahrhunderts, dem Kleomenischen, dem Bundesgenossenkrieg, dann im ersten makedonischen, hören wir oft genug und zum Teil recht eingehend von militärischen Vorgängen, die sich im nördlichen Teil von Elis abspielen,—den Namen Buprasion sucht man vergebens”).

[ back ] 38. The strongest indication that Bouprasion was traditionally thought to be north of Elis is the solid Hellenistic tradition to this effect: Hellenistic scholars had no reason to locate Bouprasion north of Elis if tradition did not put it there; indeed Nestor’s expanded story would have led them to locate Bouprasion where Bölte located it, close to the Alpheios, if there had been no positive reason against this. Demetrius of Scepsis and Apollodorus both thought that the distances in Nestor’s story are realistic, for it was on this basis that they located Pylos in Triphylia. The fact that they nevertheless considered Bouprasion to be north of Elis is thus significant.

[ back ] 39. It is clear that the Alpheios had to be crossed at some time if the battle was eventually to reach Bouprasion; cf. Bölte 1934:328, who for this and other reasons rules out that the battle is set south of the river. The only question is when the Pylians cross the Alpheios. When the Pylians first reach the Alpheios, they offer sacrifices to various gods, including the Alpheios (Iliad 11.728); Bölte 1934:327 reasonably takes this to mean that the river is to be crossed the following morning. The crossing itself would have caused little difficulty; cf. Bölte 1934:327: “much less did the crossing present difficulties for Greek warriors; chariots could be very quickly taken apart and put back together again” (“für griechische Krieger bot der Übergang erst recht keine Schwierigkeiten; Streitwagen aber liessen sich sehr schnell auseinandernehmen und wieder zusammensetzen”).

[ back ] 40. Strabo 8.3.24 identifies Thryon with Epitalion twice in the same passage: Apollodorus is the source of his comment that the Homeric phrase for Thryon, “ford of the Alpheios,” fits Epitalion: Ἀλφειοῦ δὲ πόρον φησίν, ὅτι πεζῇ περατὸς εἶναι δοκεῖ κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν τόπον· καλεῖται δὲ νῦν Ἐπιτάλιον τῆς Μακιστίας χωρίον, “He calls it ford of the Alpheios because the river can be crossed at this place; it is now called Epitalion, a place in Makistia”; Demetrius of Scepsis is the source of a comment on the aptness of the names Thryon and Thryoessa, denoting “reeds,” to the region of the lower Alpheios, including Epitalion: Θρύον δὲ καὶ Θρυόεσσαν τὸ Ἐπιτάλιόν φασιν, ὅτι πᾶσα μὲν αὕτη ἡ χώρα θρυώδης, μάλιστα δ' οἱ ποταμοί· ἐπὶ πλέον δὲ διαφαίνεται τοῦτο κατὰ τοὺς περατοὺς τοῦ ῥείθρου τόπους, “They call Epitalion Thryon and Thryoessa because this whole country is reedy, especially the rivers; this is more apparent at the fordable places in the stream” (Strabo 8.3.24). Strabo also mentions an alternative interpretation of Iliad 2.592 in the Pylian entry (καὶ Θρύον, Ἀλφειοῖο πόρον, καὶ εὔκτιτον Αἶπυ), according to which Epitalion was “well-built Aipu,” and Thryon was the actual ford of the Alpheios rather than a town (cf. Bölte 1934:324n5).

[ back ] 41. Bölte 1934:328. Unlike Thryoessa, which is ἐπ' Ἀλφειῷ, “on the Alpheios” (Iliad 11.712), and the equivalent Thryon, which is called Ἀλφειοῖο πόρον, “ford of the Alpheios” (Iliad 2.592), Strephi is two kilometers from the Alpheios; Bölte’s explanation for this is that the course of the Alpheios was once farther north through this part of the river (p. 328, citing Philippson 1892:314). Dörpfeld 1913:115 also looked for Thryoessa north of the Alpheios, but he identified it with steep heights south of Kukura; this location is closer to the Alpheios than Strephi, but farther from the entrance to the Lestenitsa valley than Bölte was willing to accept (one kilometer to judge from Bölte’s map, p. 320). Unlike Strephi, this location has traces of a prehistoric settlement; cf. Bölte 1934:325, 328.

[ back ] 42. See Simpson and Lazenby 1970:83 for the usual identification with Epitalion. The Bronze Age kingdom of Pylos seems to have extended north of the Alpheios (pi-jai, which always occurs first in a list of nine cities on the Pylos tablets, may be Pheai, north of the Alpheios on the coast: Kiechle1960:58n1, citing Palmer 1956a:132; cf. also Palmer 1965:88–92; for other views of the Pylian kingdom’s limits cf. Briaschi 1994:47n69 with references). Whether the Pylian kingdom in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships extends north of the Alpheios cannot be determined, but this would not have been doubted by the poet who expanded Nestor’s story in view of Iliad 5.545: Ἀλφειοῦ, ὅς τ' εὐρὺ ῥέει Πυλίων διὰ γαίης, “the Alpheios, which flows wide through the land of the Pylians.”

[ back ] 43. According to Bölte 1934:321 and 327 (who cites Dörpfeld 1913:115 and others) the Alpheios can be forded at several places between the entrance of the Lestenitsa and Olympia upstream; none of these places needs to be the Ἀλφειοῖο πόρος of Iliad 2.592 (that was probably Epitalion), but the fact that Thryon could have been at one of these places is what counted to the poet who expanded Nestor’s story.

[ back ] 44. A particular location of Pylos cannot be demonstrated in the Catalogue of Ships, but a location in Messenia is now usually assumed; a case for Triphylia is made by Meyer RE ‘Pylos’ 2149–2150. See n5.13 above and EN5.3 to n5.13 above for the journey of Telemachus and Peisistratos from Pylos to Sparta by way of Phērai in Messenia, which implies that Pylos too was in Messenia, despite the problem of Mount Taygetos. An argument for Triphylia based on Telemachus’s voyage from Ithaca to Pylos is discussed in EN5.7.

[ back ] 45. When Nestor finishes his story, he scarcely believes it himself: ὣς ἔον, εἴ ποτ' ἔον γε, μετ' ἀνδράσιν, “so I was, if ever I was, among men” (Iliad 11.762); there may be more than one reason for his disbelief: the time that has passed since his youth is certainly one reason, but the space that he covered in his story may be another (ironic) reason. The ancient measurements of the distances between Messenian Pylos (Koryphasion) and the two capes bounding the coast north of Elis that corresponds roughly to Bouprasion are 750 stades to Cape Khelonatas and 1030 stades to Cape Araxos, or 139 kilometers and 191 kilometers respectively (for the stade as equal to 185 meters in the geographical writers see Hornblower 1996:154 and Pothecary 1995); in Strabo 8.3.21, where these distances are given, the two reference points, the Alpheios River and Cape Khelonatas, must be corrected to Cape Khelonatas and Cape Araxos respectively (see Meyer RE ‘Pylos’ 2120–2121). The distance between Messenian Pylos and Triphylian Pylos (for which Samikon provided geographers with an approximation) is 400 stades (74 kilometers) according to Strabo 8.3.21; the actual distance is about 67 kilometers (Meyer RE ‘Pylos’ 2121). Shortening the distance to the coast north of Elis by this amount I make the distance from the Triphylian Pylos to Bouprasion between 72 and 124 kilometers. These distances too, like those from Messenia, are impossibly large for Nestor’s story if it is taken literally; hence in the expanded version of his story, where Pylos is in Triphylia, Bouprasion has been shifted south to the vicinity of the Alpheios River (see §5.9 above). For the real distances involved in Nestor’s story cf. Wilamowitz 2006:330, who calculates that they would take days to cover.

[ back ] 46. As, for example, in the contest between Athens and Megara for Salamis, when Solon is supposed to have supported Athens’ claim with his own addition to the Catalogue of Ships; for political motives behind the Athenian entry to the Catalogue of Ships, which I also ascribe to Solon, see §3.87–§3.91 above.

[ back ] 47. The location in the interior of Elis was near the confluence of the Ladon and Peneios Rivers, 15 kilometers east of the town of Elis and 25 kilometers from the coast; Pausanias 6.22.5 gives this location, and Strabo 8.3.7 also refers to it (the Mount Skollis that Strabo mentions is just north of this location). The probable site of this inland Pylos is Armatova, excavated in 1968 and 1970; for the identification see Coleman 1986:161–165. But a location on the coast near the mouth of the Peneios (on Cape Khelonatas, west of the town of Elis) is also detectable in Strabo’s confused account: he says that Pylos lay between the mouth of the Peneios and the mouth of the Seleeis: μεταξὺ δὲ τῆς τοῦ Πηνειοῦ καὶ τῆς Σελλήεντος ἐκβολῆς Πύλος ᾠκεῖτο κατὰ τὸ Σκόλλιον, “Pylos is situated between the mouth of the Peneios and that of the Selleeis by Mount Skollion.” The Seleeis is a Homeric river, and what Strabo means by it is not clear: there is no other river reaching the sea near the mouth of the Peneios, and Seleeis is therefore taken as another name for the Ladon, which flows into the Peneios near the inland location of Pylos; but this interpretation, while it accounts for Strabo’s mention of Mount Skollis, ignores his reference to the mouth of the Peneios (τῆς τοῦ Πηνειοῦ…ἐκβολῆς, “the outlet of the Peneios”) in the location that he gives of Pylos. Even if the reference to the mouth of the Peneios is removed by omitting the article τῆς before τοῦ Πηνειοῦ (or by changing ἐκβολῆς, “outlet,” to ἐμβολῆς, “inlet”) in Strabo 8.3.7, this does not eliminate the problem, for another passage of Strabo makes it clear that he in fact thinks of the Eleian Pylos as lying on the coast: in 8.3.26 he argues that Homer in the Odyssey had the Triphylian Pylos in mind as Nestor’s city because the Triphylian city is inland from the coast, whereas the other cities (i.e. the Messenian and Eleian cities) are on the sea: ἐν ταύτῃ γὰρ τῇ χώρᾳ ἐστὶν ἡ πατρὶς τοῦ Νέστορος, ἥν φαμεν Τριφυλιακὸν Πύλον καὶ Ἀρκαδικὸν καὶ Λεπρεατικόν. καὶ γὰρ δὴ οἱ μὲν ἄλλοι Πύλοι ἐπὶ θαλάττῃ δείκνυνται, οὗτος δὲ πλείους ἢ τριάκοντα σταδίους ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς, ὅπερ καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἐπῶν δῆλον, “For in this place is Nestor’s fatherland, which we call the Triphylian or the Arcadian or the Leprean Pylos. Indeed the other Pyloses are located on the sea, but this one more than thirty stades from the sea, (a location) which is also clear from the poems.” Cf. also n5.51 below on Strabo 8.3.27.

[ back ] 48. Strabo 8.3.7 says that the Eleians (presumably local historians of Elis) argued for their Pylos as Nestor’s city; he goes on to say that they found tokens of the Homeric city’s presence in their country: οἱ δ' οὖν ἐκ τῆς κοίλης Ἤλιδος καὶ τοιαύτην φιλοτιμίαν προσετίθεσαν τῷ παρ' αὐτοῖς Πύλῳ, καὶ γνωρίσματα δεικνύντες Γέρηνον τόπον καὶ Γέροντα ποταμὸν καὶ ἄλλον Γεράνιον, εἶτ' ἀπὸ τούτων ἐπιθέτως Γερήνιον εἰρῆσθαι πιστούμενοι τὸν Νέστορα, “Those from hollow Elis applied this sort of ambitious rivalry toward the Pylos in their country, and they added tokens, pointing out a place Gerenos and a river Geron and another river Geranios, claiming that Nestor is called by the epithet Gerenios from these.” I assume that the local historians had in mind the location of Pylos in the interior of Elis and not on the coast; in contrast to the interior location there was probably no town to point to on the coast. The earliest local histories of Elis were not written until the Hellenistic era (see Jacoby FGrHist nos. 408–416, commentary pp. 221–236; cf. Christesen 2005:349–350 and n73).

[ back ] 49. For the Pythian and Delian sections of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo as originally independent of each other see n4.101 above; differences in diction between the two parts are addressed by Janko 1982 (see his data on pp. 71–74 and conclusion on p. 75) and Aloni 1989:20–25, 2006:59–60. For the opposite view, that the hymn was a unity from its origin, cf. Clay 1997:501–502, 1989:87–89, and Martin 2000a; Martin argues, p. 410, that the Pythian hymn consistently expands elements of the Delian hymn, thus showing its awareness of the Delian hymn, and with this I would agree.