Scroll IV. Messenia

{4.1.1} The frontier between Messenia and that part of it which was incorporated by the emperor in Laconia towards Gerenia is formed in our time by the valley called Choerius. They say that this country, being unoccupied, received its first inhabitants in the following manner: On the death of Lelex, who ruled in the present Laconia, then called after him Lelegia, Myles, the elder of his sons, received the kingdom. Polycaon was the younger and for this reason a private person, until he took to wife Messene, the daughter of Triopas, son of Phorbas, from Argos.
{4.1.2} Messene, being proud of her origin, for her father was the chief of the Greeks of his day in reputation and power, was not content that her husband should be a private person. They collected a force from Argos and from Lacedaemon and came to this country, the whole land receiving the name Messene from the wife of Polycaon. Together with other cities, they founded Andania, where their palace was built.
{4.1.3} Before the battle which the Thebans fought with the Lacedaemonians at Leuktra, and the foundation of the present city of Messene under Ithome, I think that no city had the name Messene. I base this conclusion principally on Homer's lines. [1] In the catalogue of those who came to Troy he enumerated Pylos, Arene and other towns, but called no town Messene. In the Odyssey he shows that the Messenians were a tribe and not a city by the following:
“For Messenian men carried away sheep from Ithaca.”
{4.1.4} He is still more clear when speaking about the bow of Iphitos:
“They met one another in Messene
in the dwelling of Ortilokhos.”
Odyssey xxi 15
By the dwelling of Ortilokhos he meant the city of Pherai in Messene, and explained this himself in the visit of Peisistratos to Menelaos:
“They came to Pherai to the house of Diocleus,
son of Ortilokhos.”
Odyssey 3.488
{4.1.5} The first rulers then in this country were Polycaon, the son of Lelex, and Messene his wife. It was to her that Kaukon, the son of Kelainos, son of Phlyοs, brought the rites of the Great Goddesses from Eleusis. Phlyus himself is said by the Athenians to have been the son of Earth, and the hymn of Musaeus to Demeter made for the Lykomidai agrees.
{4.1.6} But the mysteries of the Great Goddesses were raised to greater honor many years later than Kaukon by Lykos, the son of Pandion, an oak-wood, where he purified the celebrants, being still called the wood of Lykos. That there is a wood in this land so called is stated by Rhianus the Cretan:
“By rugged Elaeum above the wood of Lykos.” [2]
{4.1.7} That this Lykos was the son of Pandion is made clear by the lines on the statue of Methapus, who made certain improvements in the mysteries. Methapus was an Athenian by birth, an expert in the mysteries and founder of all kinds of rites. It was he who established the mysteries of the Cabiri at Thebes, and dedicated in the hut of the Lykomidai a statue with an inscription that amongst other things helps to confirm my account:
{4.1.8} “I sanctified houses of Hermes and paths of holy Demeter and Kore her firstborn, where they say that Messene established the feast of the Great Goddesses, taught by Kaukon, sprung from Phlyus' noble son. And I wondered that Lykos, son of Pandion, brought all the Attic rite to wise Andania.”
{4.1.9} This inscription shows that Kaukon who came to Messene was a descendant of Phlyus, and proves my other statements with regard to Lykos, and that the mysteries were originally at Andania. And it seems natural to me that Messene should have established the mysteries where she and Polycaon lived, not anywhere else.
{4.2.1} As I was extremely anxious to learn what children were born to Polycaon by Messene, I read the poem called Ehoiai and the epic Naupactia, and in addition to these all the genealogies of Cinaethon and Asios. However, they made no reference to this matter, although I know that the Great Ehoiai says that Polycaon, the son of Butes, married Euaichme, the daughter of Hyllos, son of Hēraklēs, but it omits all reference to the husband of Messene and to Messene herself.
{4.2.2} Some time later, as no descendant of Polycaon survived (in my opinion his house lasted for five generations, but no more), they summoned Perieres, the son of Aeolus, as king. To him, the Messenians say, came Melaneus, a good archer and considered for this reason to be a son of Apollo; Perieres assigned to him as a dwelling a part of the country now called the Carnasium, but which then received the name Oechalia, derived, as they say, from the wife of Melaneus.
{4.2.3} Most matters of Greek history have come to be disputed. The Thessalians say that Eurytium, which today is not inhabited, was formerly a city and was called Oechalia. The account given by the Euboeans agrees with the statements of Kreophylos in his Herakleia; and Hecataeus of Miletus stated that Oechalia is in Scius, a part of the territory of Eretria. Nevertheless, I think that the whole version of the Messenians is more probable than these, particularly on account of the bones of Eurytos, which my story will deal with later. [3]
{4.2.4} Perieres had issue by Gorgophone the daughter of Perseus, Aphareus and Leukippos, and after his death they inherited the Messenian kingdom. But Aphareus had the greater authority. On his accession he founded a city Arene, named after the daughter of Oibalos, who was both his wife and sister by the same mother. For Gorgophone was married to Oibalos. The facts regarding her have already been given twice, in my account of the Argolid and of Laconia. [4]
{4.2.5} Aphareus then founded the city of Arena in Messenia, and received into his house his cousin Neleus the son of Kretheus, son of Aeolus (he was also called a son of Poseidon), when he was driven from Iolcos by Pelias. He gave him the maritime part of the land, where with other towns was Pylos, in which Neleus settled and established his palace.
{4.2.6} Lykos the son of Pandion also came to Arene, when he too was driven from Athens by his brother Aigeus, and revealed the rites of the Great Goddesses to Aphareus and his children and to his wife Arene; but it was to Andania that he brought the rites and revealed them there, as it was there that Kaukon initiated Messene.
{4.2.7} Of the children born to Aphareus Idas was the elder and more brave, Lynkeus the younger; he, if Pindar's words are credible, [5] possessed eyesight so keen that he saw through the trunk of an oak. We know of no child of Lynkeus, but Idas had by Marpessa a daughter Kleopatra, who married Meleagros. The writer of the epic Cypria says that the wife of Protesilaos, the first who dared to land when the Greeks reached Troy, was named Polydora, whom he calls a daughter of Meleagros the son of Oineus. If this is correct, these three women, the first of whom was Marpessa, all slew themselves on the death of their husbands.
{4.3.1} After the fight about the cattle between the sons of Aphareus and their cousins the Dioskouroi, when Lynkeus was killed by Polydeukes and Idas met his doom from the lightning, the house of Aphareus was bereft of all male descendants, and the kingdom of Messenia passed to Nestor the son of Neleus, including all the part ruled formerly by Idas, but not that subject to the sons of Asklepios.
{4.3.2} For they say that the sons of Asklepios who went to Troy were Messenians, Asklepios being the son of Arsinoe, daughter of Leukippos, not the son of Coronis, and they call a desolate spot in Messenia by the name Tricca and quote the lines of Homer, [6] in which Nestor tends Makhaon kindly, when he has been wounded by the arrow. He would not have shown such readiness except to a neighbor and king of a kindred people. But the surest warrant for their account of the Asclepiadae is that they point to a tomb of Makhaon in Gerenia and to the sanctuary of his sons at Pharae.
{4.3.3} After the conclusion of the Trojan war and the death of Nestor after his return home, the Dorian expedition and return of the Herakleidai, which took place two generations later, drove the descendants of Nestor from Messenia. This has already formed a part of my account of Tisamenus. [7] I will only add the following: When the Dorians assigned Argos to Temenus, Kresphontes asked them for the land of Messenia, in that he was older than Aristodemos.
{4.3.4} Aristodemos was now dead, but Kresphontes was vigorously opposed by Theras the son of Autesion, who was of Theban origin and fourth in descent from Polyneikes the son of Oedipus. He was at that time guardian of the sons of Aristodemos, being their uncle on the mother's side, Aristodemos having married a daughter of Autesion, called Argeia. Kresphontes, wishing to obtain Messenia as his portion at all costs, approached Temenus, and having suborned him pretended to leave the decision to the lot.
{4.3.5} Temenus put the lots of the children of Aristodemos and of Kresphontes into a jar containing water, the terms being that the party whose lot came up first should be the first to choose a portion of the country. Temenus had caused both lots to be made of clay, but for the sons of Aristodemos sun-dried, for Kresphontes baked with fire. So the lot of the sons of Aristodemos was dissolved, and Kresphontes, winning in this way, chose Messenia.
{4.3.6} The common people of the old Messenians were not dispossessed by the Dorians, but agreed to be ruled by Kresphontes and to divide the land with the Dorians. They were induced to give way to them in this by the suspicion which they felt for their rulers, as the Neleidai were originally of Iolcos. Kresphontes took to wife Merope the daughter of Kypselos, then king of the Arcadians, by whom with other children was born to him Aipytos his youngest.
{4.3.7} He had the palace, which he and his children were to occupy, built in Stenyclerus. Originally Perieres and the other kings dwelled at Andania, but when Aphareus founded Arene, he and his sons settled there. In the time of Nestor and his descendants the palace was at Pylos, but Kresphontes ordained that the king should live in Stenyclerus. As his government for the most part was directed in favor of the people, the rich rebelled and killed Kresphontes and all his sons except Aipytos.
{4.3.8} He was still a boy and being brought up by Kypselos, and was the sole survivor of his house. When he reached manhood, he was brought back by the Arcadians to Messene, the other Dorian kings, the sons of Aristodemos and Isthmios, the son of Temenus, helping to restore him. On becoming king, Aipytos punished his father's murderers and all who had been accessories to the crime. By winning the Messenian nobles to his side by deference, and all who were of the people by gifts, he attained to such honor that his descendants were given the name of Aipytidai instead of Herakleidai.
{4.3.9} Glaukos, his son and successor, was content to imitate his father in all other matters, both publicly and in his treatment of individuals, but attained to greater piety. For the precinct of Zeus on the summit of Ithome, having been consecrated by Polycaon and Messene, had hitherto received no honor among the Dorians, and it was Glaukos who established this worship among them and he was the first to sacrifice to Makhaon the son of Asklepios in Gerenia, and to assign to Messene, the daughter of Triopas, the honors customarily paid to heroes.
{4.3.10} Isthmios the son of Glaukos built a shrine also to Gorgasus and Nikomakhos which is in Pharae. Isthmios had a son Dotadas, who constructed the harbor at Mothone, though Messenia contained others. Sybotas the son of Dotadas established the annual sacrifice by the king to the river Pamisus and also the offering to the hero Eurytos the son of Melaneus at Oechalia before the mysteries of the great Goddesses, which were still held at Andania.
{4.4.1} In the reign of Phintas the son of Sybotas the Messenians for the first time sent an offering and chorus of men to Apollo at Delos. Their processional hymn to the god was composed by Eumēlos, this poem being the only one of his that is considered genuine. It was in the reign of Phintas that a quarrel first took place with the Lacedaemonians. The very cause is disputed, but is said to have been as follows:
{4.4.2} There is a sanctuary of Artemis called Limnatis (of the Lake) on the frontier of Messenian, in which the Messenians and the Lacedaemonians alone of the Dorians shared. According to the Lacedaemonians their girls coming to the festival were violated by Messenian men and their king was killed in trying to prevent it. He was Teleklos the son of Arkhelaos, son of Agesilaos, son of Doryssus, son of Labotas, son of Ekhestratos, son of Agis. In addition to this they say that the girls who were violated killed themselves for shame.
{4.4.3} The Messenians say that a plot was formed by Teleklos against persons of the highest rank in Messene who had come to the sanctuary, his incentive being the excellence of the Messenian land; in furtherance of his design he selected some Spartan youths, all without beards, dressed them in girls' clothes and ornaments, and providing them with daggers introduced them among the Messenians when they were resting; the Messenians, in defending themselves, killed the beardless youths and Teleklos himself; but the Lacedaemonians, they say, whose king did not plan this without the general consent, being conscious that they had begun the wrong, did not demand justice for the murder of Teleklos. These are the accounts given by the two sides; one may believe them according to one's feelings towards either side.
{4.4.4} A generation later in the reign of Alkamenes the son of Teleklos in Lacedaemon—the king of the other house was Theopompos the son of Nikandros, son of Kharillos, son of Polydektes, son of Eunomos, son of Prytanis, son of Eurypon in Messenia Antiokhos and Androkles, the sons of Phintas were reigning—the mutual hatred of the Lacedaemonians and Messenians was aroused, and the Lacedaemonians began war, obtaining a pretext which was not only sufficient for them, eager for a quarrel as they were and resolved on war at all costs, but also plausible in the highest degree, although with a more peaceful disposition it could have been settled by the decision of a court. What happened was as follows.
{4.4.5} There was a Messenian Polykhares, a man of no small distinction in all respects and an Olympic victor. (The Eleians were holding the fourth Olympiad, [8] the only event being the short foot-race, when Polykhares won his victory.) This man, possessing cattle without land of his own to provide them with sufficient grazing, gave them to a Spartan Euaephnus to feed on his own land, Euaephnus to have a share of the produce.
{4.4.6} Now Euaephnus was a man who set unjust gain above loyalty, and a trickster besides. He sold the cattle of Polykhares to some merchants who put in to Laconia, and went himself to inform Polykhares but he said that pirates had landed in the country, had overcome him and carried off the cattle and the herdsmen. While he was trying to deceive him by his lies, one of the herdsmen, escaping in the meantime from the merchants, returned and found Euaephnus there with his master, and convicted him before Polykhares.
{4.4.7} Thus caught and unable to deny it, he made many appeals to Polykhares himself and to his son to grant him pardon; for among the many inducements to be found in human nature which drive us to wrongdoing the love of gain exercises the greatest power. He stated the price which he had received for the cattle and begged that the son of Polykhares should come with him to receive it. When on their way they reached Laconia, Euaephnus dared a deed more impious than the first; he murdered Polykhares' son.
{4.4.8} Polykhares, when he heard of this new misfortune, went to Lacedaemon and plagued the kings and ephors, loudly lamenting his son and recounting the wrongs that he had suffered from Euaephnus, whom he had made his friend and trusted above all the Lacedaemonians. Obtaining no redress in spite of continual visits to the authorities, Polykhares at last was driven out of his mind, gave way to his rage, and, regardless of himself, dared to murder every Lacedaemonian whom he could capture.
{4.5.1} The Lacedaemonians say that they went to war because Polykhares was not surrendered to them, and on account of the murder of Teleklos; even before this they had been suspicious on account of the wrongdoing of Kresphontes in the matter of the lot. The Messenians make the reply that I have already given with regard to Teleklos, and point to the fact that the sons of Aristodemos helped to restore Aipytos the son of Kresphontes, which they would never have done if they had been at variance with Kresphontes.
{4.5.2} They say that they did not surrender Polykhares to the Lacedaemonians for punishment because they also had not surrendered Euaephnus, but that they offered to stand trial at the meeting of the league before the Argives, kinsmen of both parties, and to submit the matter to the court in Athens called the Areiopagos, as this court was held to exercise an ancient jurisdiction in cases pertaining to murder.
{4.5.3} They say that these were not the reasons of the Lacedaemonians in going to war, but that they had formed designs on their country through covetousness, as in others of their actions, bringing forward against them their treatment of the Arcadians and of the Argives; for in both cases they have never been satisfied with their continual encroachments. When Croesus sent them presents they were the first to become friends with the barbarian, after he had reduced the other Greeks of Asia Minor and all the Dorians who live on the Carian mainland.
{4.5.4} They point out too that when the leaders of Phokis had seized the temple at Delphi, the kings and every Spartan of repute privately, and the board of ephors and senate publicly, had a share of the god's property. As the most convincing proof that the Lacedaemonians would stick at nothing for the sake of gain, they reproach them with their alliance with Apollodoros, who became tyrant in Cassandreia.
{4.5.5} I could not introduce into the present account the reasons why the Messenians have come to regard this as so bitter a reproach. Although the courage of the Messenians and the length of time for which they fought differ from the facts of the tyranny of Apollodoros, in their disastrous character the sufferings of the people of Cassandreia would not fall far short of the Messenian.
{4.5.6} These then are the reasons for the war which the two sides allege. An embassy then came from the Lacedaemonians to demand the surrender of Polykhares. The Messenian kings replied to the ambassadors that after deliberation with the people they would send the findings to Sparta and after their departure they themselves summoned the citizens to a meeting. The views put forward differed widely, Androkles urging the surrender of Polykhares as guilty of an impious and abominable crime. Antiokhos among other arguments urged against him that it would be the most piteous thing that Polykhares should suffer before the eyes of Euaephnus, and enumerated in detail all that he would have to undergo.
{4.5.7} Finally the supporters of Androkles and of Antiokhos were so carried away that they took up arms. But the battle did not last long, for the party of Antiokhos, far outnumbering the other, killed Androkles and his principal supporters, Antiokhos, now sole king, sent to Sparta that he was ready to submit the matter to the courts which I have already mentioned. But the Lacedaemonians are said to have made no reply to the bearers of the letter.
{4.5.8} Not many months later Antiokhos died and his son Euphaes succeeded to the kingdom. The Lacedaemonians, without sending a herald to declare war on the Messenians or renouncing their friendship beforehand, had made their preparations secretly and with all the concealment possible; they first took an oath that neither the length of the war, should it not be decided soon, nor their disasters, however great they might be, would deter them until they won the land of Messenia by the sword.
{4.5.9} After taking this oath, they attacked Ampheia by night, appointing Alkamenes the son of Teleklos leader of the force. Ampheia is a small town in Messenia near the Laconian border, of no great size, but situated on a high hill and possessing copious springs of water. It seemed generally a suitable base for the whole war. The gates being open and the town not garrisoned, they took it and killed the Messenians captured there, some still in their beds and others who had taken refuge at the sanctuaries and altars of the gods when they realized what had happened. Those who escaped were few.
{4.5.10} This was the first attack which the Lacedaemonians made on the Messenians, in the second year of the ninth Olympiad, [9] when Xenodocus of Messenia won the short foot-race. In Athens the office of an archon [arkhōn] who is annually appointed by lot did not yet exist, At first, the people deprived the descendants of Melanthos, called Medontidai, of most of their power, transforming the kingship into a constitutional office; afterwards they limited their tenure of office to ten years. At the time of the seizure of Ampheia, Aesimides the son of Aeschylus was holding his fifth year office in Athens.
{4.6.1} Before I wrote the history of the war and all the sufferings and actions that the superhuman force [ho daimōn] prepared in it for both sides, I wished to reach a decision regarding the age of a certain Messenian. This war was fought between the Lacedaemonians with their allies and the Messenians with their supporters, but received its name not from the invaders like the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, but was called Messenian from their disasters, just as the name Trojan war, rather than Greek, came to be universally applied to the war at Troy. An account of this war of the Messenians has been given by Rhianus of Bene in his epic, and by Myron of Priene. [10] Myron's history is in prose.
{4.6.2} Neither writer achieved a complete and continuous account of the whole war from its beginning to the end, but only of the part which each selected: Myron narrated the capture of Ampheia and subsequent events down to the death of Aristodemos; Rhianus did not touch this first war at all. He described the events that in time befell the Messenians after their revolt from the Lacedaemonians, not indeed the whole of them, but those subsequent to the battle which they fought at the Great Trench, as it is called.
{4.6.3} The Messenian, Aristomenes, on whose account I have made my whole mention of Rhianus and Myron, was the man who first and foremost raised the name of Messene to renown. He was introduced by Myron into his history, while to Rhianus in his epic Aristomenes is as great a man as is the Achilles of the Iliad to Homer. As their statements differ so widely, it remained for me to adopt one or other of the accounts, but not both together, and Rhianus appeared to me to have given the more probable account as to the age of Aristomenes.
{4.6.4} One may realize in others of his works that Myron gives no heed to the question of his statements seeming to lack truth and credibility, and particularly in this Messenian history. For he has made Aristomenes kill Theopompos, the king of the Lacedaemonians, shortly before the death of Aristodemos but we know that Theopompos was not killed either in battle or in any other way before the war was concluded.
{4.6.5} It was this Theopompos who put an end to the war, and my evidence is the lines of Tyrtaeus, which say:
“To our king beloved of the gods, Theopompos, through whom we took Messene with wide dancing-grounds.”
Tyrtaeus, unknown location.
Aristomenes then in my view belongs to the time of the second war, and I will relate his history when I come to this.
{4.6.6} The Messenians, when they heard of the events at Ampheia from the actual survivors from the captured town, mustered in Stenyclerus from their cities. When the people had gathered in the assembly, first the leading men and finally the king exhorted them not to be panic-stricken at the sack of Ampheia, or to suppose that the issue of the whole war had already been decided thereby, or to be afraid of the power of the Lacedaemonians as superior to their own. For the Lacedaemonians had longer practice in warfare, but they themselves had a stronger necessity to show themselves brave men, and greater goodwill would be shown by the gods to men defending their country, who were not the authors of injustice.
{4.7.1} With these words Euphaes dismissed the gathering, and henceforward kept all the Messenians under arms, compelling the untrained to learn the art of war and the trained men to undergo a more rigorous discipline than before. The Lacedaemonians carried out raids into Messenia, but did no harm to the country, regarding it as their own, nor did they cut down trees or demolish buildings, but they drove off any cattle that they met with, and carried off the wheat and other produce.
{4.7.2} They made assaults on the towns but captured none, as they were fortified with walls and carefully garrisoned. They withdrew with loss and without effecting anything, and finally gave up attempting the towns. The Messenians also ravaged the Laconian coast and all the cultivated land round Taygetos.
{4.7.3} Three years after the capture of Ampheia, being eager to put to use the spirit of the Messenians, now at the height of their passion against the Lacedaemonians, and considering too that they had undergone sufficient training, Euphaes ordered an advance. He ordered the slaves also to accompany him, bringing wood and all else that was required for the making of an entrenched camp. The Lacedaemonians heard from their garrison at Ampheia that the Messenians were marching out, so they also came out to battle.
{4.7.4} There was a place in Messenia which was in other ways suitable for an engagement, but had a deep ravine in front of it. Here Euphaes drew up the Messenians and appointed Kleonnis general; the cavalry and light-armed, together amounting to less than 500, were commanded by Pytharatos and Antandros.
{4.7.5} As the two forces were about to engage, the ravine which divided them prevented the heavy-armed from coming to close quarters, though they approached one another eagerly and with a recklessness born of hate. The cavalry and light-armed engaged above the ravine, but as they were equally matched in numbers and skill, for this reason the fight was indecisive.
{4.7.6} While they were involved, Euphaes ordered the slaves to fortify with a palisade first the rear of his force and afterwards both flanks, and when the battle had been broken off at nightfall, they fortified his front also on the ravine. So at daybreak the Lacedaemonians realized the forethought of Euphaes. They had no means of fighting the Messenians unless they came out from the stockade, and despaired of forming a siege, for which they were unprepared in all things alike.
{4.7.7} They then returned home; but a year later, when the older men reviled them and taunted them both with cowardice and disregard of their oath, they made a second expedition openly against the Messenians. Both kings were in command, Theopompos the son of Nikandros and Polydoros the son of Alkamenes, Alkamenes being no longer alive. The Messenians encamped opposite them, and when the Spartans endeavored to join battle, went out to meet them.
{4.7.8} The Lacedaemonian commander on the left wing was Polydoros, and Theopompos on the right. The center was held by Euryleon, now a Lacedaemonian, but of Theban origin of the house of Kadmos, fourth in descent from Aigeus the son of Oiolykos, son of Theras, son of Autesion. On the side of the Messenians Antandros and Euphaes were posted opposite the Lacedaemonian right; the other wing, opposite Polydoros, was held by Pytharatos, with Kleonnis in the center.
{4.7.9} As they were about to engage, the kings came forward to encourage their men. The words of encouragement addressed by Theopompos to the Lacedaemonians were few, according to their native custom. He reminded them of their oath against the Messenians, and said how noble was their ambition, to prove themselves to have done a deed more glorious than their fathers, who subdued the neighboring peoples, and to have won a more fortunate land. Euphaes spoke at greater length than the Spartan, but no more than he saw the occasion admitted.
{4.7.10} He declared that the contest would be not only for land and possessions, but he knew well what would overtake them if defeated. Their wives and children would be carried off as slaves, and death unaccompanied by outrage would be the mildest fate for their grown men their sanctuaries would be despoiled and their ancestral homes burned. His words were not supposition, the fate of the men captured at Ampheia was evidence that all could see.
{4.7.11} Better a noble death than such evils; it was far easier for them, while still undefeated and equally matched in courage, to outdo their adversaries in zeal than to repair their losses when once they had lost heart.
{4.8.1} Such were the words of Euphaes. When the leaders on either side gave the signal, the Messenians charged the Lacedaemonians recklessly like men eager for death in their wrath, each one of them eager to be the first to join battle. The Lacedaemonians also advanced to meet them eagerly, but were careful not to break their ranks.
{4.8.2} When they were about to come to close quarters, they threatened one another by brandishing their arms and with fierce looks, and fell to recriminations, these calling the Messenians already their slaves, no freer than the Helots; the others answering that they were impious in their undertaking, who for the sake of gain attacked their kinsmen and outraged all the ancestral gods of the Dorians, and Hēraklēs above all. And now with their taunts they come to deeds, mass thrusting against mass, especially on the Lacedaemonian side, and man attacking man.
{4.8.3} The Lacedaemonians were far superior both in tactics and training, and also in numbers, for they had with them the neighboring peoples already reduced and serving in their ranks, and the Dryopes of Asine, who a generation earlier had been driven out of their own country by the Argives and had come as suppliants to Lacedaemon, were forced to serve in the army. Against the Messenian light-armed they employed Cretan archers as mercenaries.
{4.8.4} The Messenians were inspired alike by desperation and readiness to face death, regarding all their sufferings as necessary rather than terrible to men who honored their country, and exaggerating their achievements and the consequences to the Lacedaemonians. Some of them leapt forth from the ranks, displaying glorious deeds of valor, in others fatally wounded and scarce breathing the frenzy of despair still reigned.
{4.8.5} They encouraged one another, the living and unwounded urging the stricken before their last moment came to sell their lives as dearly as they could and accept their fate with joy. And the wounded, when they felt their strength ebbing and breath failing, urged the unwounded to prove themselves no less valorous than they and not to render their death of no avail to their fatherland.
{4.8.6} The Lacedaemonians refrained from exhorting one another, and were less inclined than the Messenians to engage in striking deeds of valor. As they were versed in warfare from boyhood, they employed a deeper formation and hoped that the Messenians would not endure the contest for so long as they, or sustain the toil of battle or wounds.
{4.8.7} These were the differences in both sets of combatants in action and in feeling; but on both sides alike the conquered made no appeals or promises of ransom, perhaps in their enmity despairing of getting quarter, but mainly because they scorned to disgrace their previous achievements. The victorious refrained alike from boasting and from taunts, neither side having yet sure hopes of victory. The most remarkable was the death of those who tried to strip any of the fallen. For if they exposed any part of their bodies, they were struck with javelins or were struck down while intent on their present occupation, or were killed by those whom they were plundering who still lived.
{4.8.8} The kings fought in a manner that deserves mention. Theopompos rushed wildly forward to slay Euphaes himself. Euphaes, seeing him advancing, said to Antandros that the action of Theopompos was no different from the attempt of his ancestor Polyneikes; for Polyneikes led an army from Argos against his fatherland, and slaying his brother with his own hand was slain by him. Theopompos was ready to involve the lineage of the Herakleidai in pollution as great as that of the house of Laios and Oedipus, but he would not leave the field unscathed. With these words he too advanced.
{4.8.9} Thereupon the battle, though the combatants had wearied, everywhere broke out again in full force. Their strength was renewed and recklessness of death heightened on both sides, so that it might have been thought that they were engaging for the first time. Finally Euphaes and his men in a frenzy of despair that was near to madness (for picked Messenian troops formed the whole of the king's bodyguard), overpowering the enemy by their valor, drove back Theopompos himself and routed the Lacedaemonian troops opposed to them.
{4.8.10} But the other Messenian wing was in difficulties, for the general Pytharatos had been killed, and the men, without a commander, were fighting in a disorganized and confused manner, though not without heart. Polydoros did not pursue the Messenians when they gave way, nor Euphaes' men the Lacedaemonians. It seemed better to him and his men to support the defeated wing; they did not, however, engage with Polydoros' force, for darkness had already descended on the field;
{4.8.11} moreover, the Lacedaemonians were prevented from following the retiring force further not least by their ignorance of the country. Also it was an ancient practice with them not to carry out a pursuit too quickly, as they were more careful about maintaining their formation than about slaying the flying. In the center, where Euryleon was commanding the Lacedaemonians, and Kleonnis on the Messenian side, the contest was undecided; the coming of night separated them here also.
{4.8.12} This battle was fought principally or entirely by the heavy-armed troops on both sides. The mounted men were few and achieved nothing worth mention; for the Peloponnesians were not good horsemen then. The Messenian light-armed and the Cretans on the Lacedaemonian side did not engage at all; for on both sides according to the ancient practice they were posted in reserve to their own infantry.
{4.8.13} The following day neither side was minded to begin battle or to be the first to set up a trophy, but as the day advanced they made proposals for taking up the dead; when this was agreed on both sides, they proceeded to bury them.
{4.9.1} But after the battle the affairs of the Messenians began to get serious. They were exhausted by the expenditure of money devoted to the garrisoning of the towns, and their slaves were deserting to the Lacedaemonians. They were visited also by disease, which caused alarm, as resembling plague, although it did not attack all. In these circumstances they resolved to desert all their numerous towns inland and to settle on Mount Ithome.
{4.9.2} A small town existed here, which they say Homer mentions in the Catalogue:
“Stepped Ithome.”
To this town they withdrew, extending the old circuit to form a sufficient protection for them all. The place was strong in other respects, for Ithome falls short of none of the mountains within the Isthmus in height and at this point was most difficult to climb.
{4.9.3} They also resolved to send an envoy to Delphi, and despatched Tisis the son of Alcis, a man of the highest reputation, considered to be fully versed in divination. While he was returning from Delphi men from the Lacedaemonian garrison at Ampheia laid an ambush for him. Though trapped, he did not submit to be made a prisoner, but stood his ground to resist in spite of the wounds he received, until a voice was heard from an unseen quarter, “Let the bearer of the oracle go free.”
{4.9.4} Tisis, reaching Ithome with all speed, delivered the oracle to the king, and soon afterwards died of his wounds. Euphaes assembled the Messenians and made known the oracle:
“Ye shall sacrifice a pure maiden to the gods below, appointed by lot of the blood of the sons of Aipytos, and slay her by night. But if that ye cannot do, offer a maiden from another house, if the father gives her freely for the slaughter.”
{4.9.5} When the god declared this, all the girls of the house of the Aipytidai forthwith cast lots, and the lot fell on the daughter of Lykiskos. But Epebolus the seer forbade them to offer her, for she was not the daughter of Lykiskos, but the woman who was married to Lykiskos being unable to bear a child had palmed off the girl as hers. While Epebolus was making this declaration, Lykiskos took the girl away and deserted to Sparta.
{4.9.6} The Messenians were in despair when they saw that Lykiskos had fled; thereupon Aristodemos, a son of the house of the Aipytidai, of higher standing than Lykiskos both in reputation and in war, freely offered his daughter for the sacrifice. But human affairs and human purpose above all are obscured by fate, just as the mud of a river hides a pebble; for when Aristodemos was striving his utmost to save Messene, fate set this obstacle in his path.
{4.9.7} A Messenian, whose name is not recorded, was in love with the daughter of' Aristodemos, and was already about to make her his wife. He at first disputed the rights of Aristodemos over the girl for Aristodemos, since he had betrothed her to himself had no further rights over the girl, but he to whom she was betrothed had greater rights than the father. Next, when he saw that this was of no avail, he had recourse to a shameless plea, that the girl was with child by him.
{4.9.8} At last he drove Aristodemos to such a fury of passion that lie killed his daughter; then cutting her open he showed that she was not pregnant. Epebolus, who was present, ordered another man to come forward and offer his daughter, for the daughter of Aristodemos was of no avail to them dead; for the father had murdered her, not offered her to the gods whom the Pythia ordained.
{4.9.9} When the seer said this, the multitude of the Messenians rushed on the girl’s lover to kill him, since he had fixed the guilt of bloodshed on Aristodemos to no purpose, and had made their hopes of safety doubtful. But as he was a close friend of Euphaes, Euphaes persuaded the Messenians that the oracle was fulfilled by the death of the girl and that the deed done by Aristodemos sufficed for them.
{4.9.10} When he said this, all the members of the house of the Aipytidai said that he spoke truth, for each was eager to be rid of the terror threatening his daughter. The people took the advice of' the king and broke up the assembly and thereupon turned to sacrifices to the gods and feasting.
{4.10.1} But the Lacedaemonians, when they heard the oracle given to the Messenians, were in despair, both they and their kings, and for the future shrank from offering battle.
But five years after the escape of Lykiskos from Ithome, the victims being auspicious, the Lacedaemonians marched against Ithome. The Cretans were no longer with them. The allies of the Messenians also were late, for the Spartans had now incurred the suspicion of others of the Peloponnesians, especially of the Arcadians and Argives. The Argives intended to come without the knowledge of the Lacedaemonians, and by private enterprise rather than by public declaration. The expedition was openly proclaimed among the Arcadians, but they did not arrive either. For the Messenians were induced by the credit placed in the oracle to face the risk without allies.
{4.10.2} This engagement did not differ in most points from the first, as on this occasion too daylight failed the combatants, but they record that on neither side was a wing or division broken, as they did not maintain the formation in which they were originally posted, champions on either side meeting in the middle, and there supporting the whole combat.
{4.10.3} Euphaes, who showed more eagerness than a king should and recklessly attacked those guarding Theopompos, received a number of mortal wounds. When he swooned and fell, the Lacedaemonians did their utmost to drag him into their own ranks, as he still breathed. But the Messenians were roused by the affection which they felt for their king and by the reproach which would be theirs. It seemed better to die for their kings and sacrifice their lives than that he should be abandoned while one of them escaped.
{4.10.4} So the fall of Euphaes prolonged the battle and called forth further deeds of daring on both sides. He came to himself later and saw that his men had not had the worst of the fight, but he died in a few days, having reigned thirteen years over the Messenians, and having been at war with the Lacedaemonians for the whole of his reign.
{4.10.5} Euphaes, having no children, left his kingdom to the man chosen by the people. Kleonnis and Damis came forward to dispute it with Aristodemos, as they were considered superior to him in war and all else. Antandros had been killed by the enemy, risking his life for Euphaes in the battle. The views of both the seers, Epebolus and Ophioneus, were identical, that they should not give the honors of Aipytos and his descendants to a man who was accursed and polluted by the murder of his daughter. Nevertheless Aristodemos was chosen and became king.
{4.10.6} This Ophioneus, the Messenian seer, was blind from birth and practiced the following method of divination. By learning the facts relevant to each case, both private and public, he thus foretold the future. This then was the way he practiced his art. Aristodemos, becoming king, constantly was ready to show all reasonable favor to the people, and held all the nobles in honor, especially Kleonnis and Damis. He maintained good relations with the allies, sending gifts to the Arcadian leaders and to Argos and Sikyon.
{4.10.7} They carried on the war during his reign by means of constant forays with small parties, and made incursions into one another's country at harvest time, the Messenians being supported by the Arcadians in their raids into Laconia. The Argives did not think fit to declare their hatred for the Lacedaemonians beforehand, but prepared to take part in the contest when it came.
{4.11.1} In the fifth year of the reign of Aristodemos, being exhausted by the length of the war and by their expenditure, after due notice that a battle would be fought, both sides were joined by their allies, the Lacedaemonians by the Corinthians alone of the Peloponnesians, the Messenians by the full muster of' the Arcadians and by picked troops from Argos and Sikyon. The Lacedaemonians entrusted their center to the Corinthians, Helots and all the neighboring peoples who were serving with them; they themselves and the kings were posted on the wings in a deeper and closer formation than ever before.
{4.11.2} The dispositions of Aristodemos and his men were as follows: he selected the most serviceable of the arms for all the Arcadians and Messenians who were physically strong and stout hearted but did not possess powerful weapons, and as the matter was urgent, posted them with the Argives and Sikyonians, extending the line that they might not be surrounded by the enemy. He also took care that they should be drawn up with Mount Ithome in their rear. Placing Kleonnis in command of these troops,
{4.11.3} he himself and Damis remained in reserve with the light troops consisting of a few slingers or archers, the bulk of the force being physically suited to rapid assaults and retirements and lightly armed. Not all of them possessed a breastplate or shield, but those who lacked them were protected with the skins of goats and sheep, some of them, particularly the Arcadian mountaineers, having the hides of wild beasts, wolves and bears.
{4.11.4} Each carried several javelins, and some of them spears. While these were in ambush in a part of Ithome where they were least likely to be visible, the heavy-armed troops of the Messenians and their allies withstood the first assault of the Lacedaemonians, and continued after this to show courage in every way. They were inferior in numbers to the enemy, but were picked men fighting against levies, not selected troops like themselves, and so, by their bravery and training were more able to maintain a lengthy resistance.
{4.11.5} Then the mobile Messenian force, when the signal was given to them, charged the Lacedaemonians and enveloping them threw javelins on their flanks. All who were of higher courage ran in and struck at close quarters. The Lacedaemonians, faced simultaneously with a second and unforeseen danger, were not demoralized, but turning on the light troops, tried to defend themselves. But, as the enemy with their light equipment drew off without difficulty, the Lacedaemonians were filled with perplexity and, as a consequence, with anger.
{4.11.6} Men are apt to be most annoyed by what they regard as beneath them. So then the Spartans who had already been wounded and all who after the fall of their comrades were the first to meet the attack of the light troops, ran out to meet them when they saw the light troops advancing and hotly extended the pursuit as they retired. The Messenian light troops maintained their original tactics, striking and shooting at them when they stood still, and outstripping them in flight when they pursued, attacking again as they tried to retire.
{4.11.7} They did this in separate parties and at different points of the enemy's line. The Messenian heavy-armed and their allies meantime pressed more boldly on the troops facing them. Finally the Lacedaemonians, worn out by the length of the battle and their wounds, and demoralized contrary to their custom by the light troops, broke their ranks. When they had been routed, the light troops inflicted greater damage on them.
{4.11.8} It was impossible to reckon the Lacedaemonian losses in the battle, but I for my part am convinced that they were heavy. The rest made their retreat homewards without molestation, but for the Corinthians it was likely to be difficult, for whether they tried to retire through the Argolid or by Sikyon, in either case it was through enemy country.
{4.12.1} The Lacedaemonians were distressed by the reverse that had befallen them. Their losses in the battle were great and included important men, and they were inclined to despair of all hope in the war. For this reason they sent envoys to Delphi, who received the following reply from the Pythia:
“Phoebus bids thee pursue not only the task of war with the hand, but by guile a people holds the Messenian land, and by the same arts as they first employed shall the people fall.”
{4.12.2} At this the kings and ephors were eager to invent stratagems, but failed. They imitated that deed of Odysseus at Troy, and sent a hundred men to Ithome to observe what the enemy were planning, but pretending to be deserters. A sentence of banishment had been openly pronounced on them. On their arrival Aristodemos at once sent them away, saying that the crimes of the Lacedaemonians were new, but their tricks old.
{4.12.3} Failing in their attempt, the Lacedaemonians next attempted to break up the Messenian alliance. But when repulsed by the Arcadians, to whom their ambassadors came first, they put off going to Argos. Aristodemos, hearing of the Lacedaemonian intrigues, also sent men to enquire of the god. And the Pythia replied to them:
{4.12.4} “The god gives thee glory in war, but beware lest by guile the hated company of Sparta scale the well-built walls, for mightier is their god of war. And harsh shall be the dwellers in the circle of the dancing ground, when the two have started forth by one chance from the hidden ambush. Yet the holy day shall not behold this ending until their doom o'ertake those which have changed their nature.”
At the time Aristodemos and the seers were at a loss to interpret the saying, but in a few years the god was like to reveal it and bring it to fulfillment.
{4.12.5} Other things befell the Messenians at that time: while Lykiskos was living abroad in Sparta, death overtook the daughter whom he carried with him on his flight from Messene. As he often visited her tomb, Arcadian horsemen lay in wait and captured him. When carried to Ithome and brought into the assembly he urged that he had not departed a traitor to his country, but because he believed the words of the seer that the girl was not his own.
{4.12.6} His defence did not win credence until the woman who was then holding the priesthood of Hērā came into the theater. She confessed that she was the mother of the girl and had given her to Lykiskos' wife to pass off as her own. “And now,” she said, “revealing the secret, I have come to lay down my office.” She said this because it was an established custom in Messene that, if a child of a man or woman holding a priesthood died before its parent, the office should pass to another. Accepting the truth of her statement, they chose another woman to take her place as priestess of the goddess, and said that Lykiskos' deed was pardonable.
{4.12.7} After this, as the twentieth year of the war was approaching, they resolved to send again to Delphi to ask concerning victory. The Pythia made answer to their question:
To those who first around the altar set up tripods ten times ten to Zeus of Ithome, the superhuman force [ho daimōn] grants the Messenian land in the glory [kudos] of war. For thus has Zeus ordained with the nod of his head. Veering [atē] had put you in front and punishment [tisis] follows after, nor would you deceive [ap-atân] the god. Act in whatever way you must act. Fate wills. Veering [atē] comes upon some men before others.
{4.12.8} Hearing this they thought that the oracle was in their favor and granted them victory; for as they themselves possessed the sanctuary of Zeus of Ithome within the walls, the Lacedaemonians could not forestall them in making the dedication. They set about making tripods of wood, as they had not money enough to make them of bronze. But one of the Delphians reported the oracle to Sparta. When they heard it, no plan occurred to them in public,
{4.12.9} but Oibalos, a man of no repute in general, but evidently shrewd, made a hundred tripods, as best he might, of clay, and hiding them in a bag, carried nets with them like a hunter. As he was unknown even to most of the Lacedaemonians, he would more easily escape detection by the Messenians. Joining some countrymen, he entered Ithome with them, and as soon as night fell, dedicated these tripods of clay to the god, and returned to Sparta to tell the Lacedaemonians.
{4.12.10} The Messenians, when they saw them, were greatly disturbed, thinking, rightly enough, that they were from the Lacedaemonians. Nevertheless Aristodemos encouraged them, saying what the occasion demanded, and setting up the wooden tripods, which had already been made, round the altar of the god of Ithome. It happened also that Ophioneus, the seer who had been blind from birth, received his sight in the most remarkable way. He was seized with a violent pain in the head, and thereupon received his sight.
{4.13.1} Next, as fate was already inclining towards the conquest of the Messenians, the god revealed to them the future. For the armed statue of Artemis, which was all of bronze, let its shield fall. And as Aristodemos was about to sacrifice the victims to Zeus of Ithome, the rams of their own accord leapt towards the altar, and dashing their horns violently against it were killed by the force of the blow. A third portent befell them. The dogs assembled together and howled every night, and at last fled together to the camp of the Lacedaemonians.
{4.13.2} Aristodemos was alarmed by this and by the following dream which came to him. He thought that he was about to go forth armed to battle and the victims' entrails were lying before him on a table, when his daughter appeared, wearing a black robe and showing her breast and belly cut open; when she appeared she flung down what was on the table, stripped him of his arms, and instead set a golden garland on his head and put a white robe about him.
{4.13.3} Aristodemos, who was already in despair, thought the dream foretold the end of life for him, because the Messenians used to carry out their chiefs for burial wearing a garland and dressed in white garments. Then he received news that Ophioneus the seer could no longer see but had suddenly become blind, as he was at first. Then they understood the oracle, that by the two starting forth from the ambush and again meeting their doom the Pythia meant the eyes of Ophioneus.
{4.13.4} Then Aristodemos, reckoning up his private sorrows, that to no purpose he had become the slayer of his daughter, and seeing that no hope of safety remained for his country, slew himself upon the tomb of his child. He had done all that human calculation could do to save the Messenians, but fortune brought to naught both his achievements and his plans. He had reigned six years and a few months when he died.
{4.13.5} The Messenians were plunged into despair, and were even ready to send to the Lacedaemonians to ask mercy, so demoralized were they by the death of Aristodemos. Their pride, however, prevented them from doing this. But they met in the assembly and chose not a king, but Damis as general with absolute power. He selected Kleonnis and Phyleus as colleagues, and even with their present resources made ready to join battle. For he was forced to this by the blockade, and above all by famine and by the consequent terror that they would be destroyed by want.
{4.13.6} Even then the Messenians were not inferior in courage and brave deeds, but all their generals were killed and their most notable men. After this they held out for some five months, but as the year was coming to an end deserted Ithome, the war having lasted twenty years in all, as is stated in the poems of Tyrtaeus:
“But in the twentieth year they left their rich tilled lands, and fled from out the lofty mountains of Ithome.”
Tyrtaeus, unknown location.
{4.13.7} This war came to an end in the first year of the fourteenth Olympiad, [11] when Dasmon of Corinth won the short foot-race. In Athens the Medontidai were still holding the title of archon [arkhōn] as a ten years' office, Hippomenes having completed his fourth year.
{4.14.1} All the Messenians who had ties with Sikyon and Argos and among any of the Arcadians retired to these states, but those who belonged to the lineage of the Priests and performed the mysteries of the Great Goddesses, to Eleusis. The majority of the common people were scattered in their native towns, as before.
{4.14.2} The Lacedaemonians first razed Ithome to the ground, then attacked and captured the remaining towns. Of the spoils they dedicated bronze tripods to the god of Amyklai. A statue of Aphrodite stands under the first tripod, of Artemis under the second, of Kore or Demeter under the third.
{4.14.3} Dedicating these offerings at Amyklai, they gave to the people of Asine, who had been driven out by the Argives, that part of Messenia on the coast which they still occupy; to the descendants of Androkles (he had a daughter, who with her children had fled at his death and come to Sparta) they assigned the part called Hyamia.
{4.14.4} The Messenians themselves were treated in this way: First they exacted an oath that they would never rebel or attempt any kind of revolution. Secondly, though no fixed tribute was imposed on them, they used to bring the half of all the produce of their fields to Sparta. It was also ordained that for the funerals of the kings and other magistrates men should come from Messene with their wives in black garments, and a penalty was laid on those who disobeyed.
{4.14.5} As to the wanton punishments which they inflicted on the Messenians, this is what is said in Tyrtaeus' poems:
“Like asses worn by their great burdens, bringing of dire necessity to their masters the half of all the fruits the wheat-land bears.”
Tyrtaeus, unknown location.
That they were compelled to share their mourning, he shows by the following:
“Wailing for their masters, they and their wives alike, whensoever the baneful doom of death came upon any.”
Tyrtaeus, unknown location.
{4.14.6} In these straits the Messenians, foreseeing no kindness from the Lacedaemonians, and thinking death in battle or a complete migration from Peloponnese preferable to their present lot, resolved at all costs to revolt. They were incited to this mainly by the younger men, who were still without experience of war but were of high spirit and preferred death in a free country, even though slavery might bring happiness in all else.
{4.14.7} Of the young men who had grown up in Messenia the best and most numerous were round Andania, and among them was Aristomenes, who to this day is worshipped as a hero among the Messenians. They think that even the circumstances of his birth were notable, for they assert that a spirit or a god united with his mother, Nikoteleia, in the form of a serpent. I know that the Macedonians tell a similar story about Olympias, and the Sikyonians about Aristodama, but there is this difference:
{4.14.8} The Messenians do not make Aristomenes the son of Hēraklēs or of Zeus, as the Macedonians do with Alexander and Ammon, and the Sikyonians with Aratos and Asklepios. Most of the Greeks say that Pyrrhos was the father of Aristomenes, but I myself know that in their libations the Messenians call him Aristomenes son of Nikomedes. He then, being in the full vigor of youth and courage, with others of the nobles incited them to revolt. This was not done openly at first, but they sent secretly to Argos and to the Arcadians, to ask if they were ready to help unhesitatingly and no less energetically than in the former war.
{4.15.1} When all their preparations were made for the war, the readiness of their allies exceeding expectation (for now the hatred which the Argives and Arcadians felt for the Lacedaemonians had blazed up openly), they revolted in the thirty-ninth year after the capture of Ithome, and in the fourth year of the twenty-third Olympiad, [12] when Icarus of Hyreresia won the short foot-race. In Athens the title of archon [arkhōn]was now of annual tenure, and Tlesias held office.
{4.15.2} Tyrtaeus has not recorded the names of the kings then reigning in Lacedaemon, but Rhianos stated in his epic that Leotykhides was king at the time of this war. I cannot agree with him at all on this point. Though Tyrtaeus makes no statement, he may be regarded as having done so by the following; there are lines of his which refer to the first war:
“Around it they fought unceasingly for nineteen years, ever maintaining a stout heart, the warrior fathers of our fathers.”
Tyrtaeus, unknown.
{4.15.3} It is obvious then that the Messenians went to war now in the second generation after the first war, and the sequence of time shows that the kings of Sparta at that time were Anaxandros the son of Eurycrates, son of Polydoros, and of the other house Anaxidamos the son of Zeuxidamos, son of Arkhidamos, son of Theopompos. I go as far as the third in descent from Theopompos, because Arkhidamos the son of Theopompos died before his father, and the kingdom of Theopompos passed to his grandson, Zeuxidamos. But Leotykhides clearly succeeded Demaratos the son of Ariston, Ariston being sixth in descent from Theopompos.
{4.15.4} In the first year after the revolt the Messenians engaged the Lacedaemonians at a place called Derae in Messenia, both sides being without their allies. Neither side won a clear victory, but Aristomenes is said to have achieved more than it seemed that one man could, so that, as he was of the lineage of the Aipytidai, they were for making him king after the battle. As he declined, they appointed him general with absolute power.
{4.15.5} It was the view of Aristomenes that any man would be ready to die in battle if he had first done deeds worthy of record, but that it was his own especial task at the very beginning of the war to prove that he had struck terror into the Lacedaemonians and that he would be more terrible to them for the future. With this purpose he came by night to Lacedaemon and fixed on the temple of Athena of the Brazen House a shield inscribed
“The Gift of Aristomenes to the Goddess, taken from Spartans.”
{4.15.6} The Spartans received an oracle from Delphi that they should procure the Athenian as counsellor. So they sent messengers to Athens to announce the oracle, asking for a man to advise what they must do. The Athenians, who were not anxious either that the Lacedaemonians should add to their possessions the best part of Peloponnese without great dangers, or that they themselves should disobey the god, made their plans accordingly. There was a man Tyrtaeus, a teacher of letters, who was considered of poor intellect and was lame in one foot. Him they sent to Sparta. On his arrival he recited his poems in elegiacs and anapaests to the nobles in private and to all whom he could collect.
{4.15.7} A year after the fight at Derae, both sides being joined by their allies, they prepared to join battle at the Boar's Tomb, as it is called. The Messenians had the Eleians and Arcadians and also allies from Argos and from Sikyon. They were joined by all the Messenians who had previously been in voluntary exile, together with those from Eleusis, whose hereditary task it was to perform the rites of the Great Goddesses, and the descendants of Androkles. These indeed were their most zealous supporters.
{4.15.8} The Corinthians came to fight on the side of the Lacedaemonians, and some of the Lepreans owing to their hatred of the Eleians. But the people of Asine were bound by oaths to both sides. This spot, the Boar's Tomb, lies in Stenyclerus of Messenia, and there, as is said, Hēraklēs exchanged oaths with the sons of Neleus over the pieces of a boar.
{4.16.1} Sacrifice was offered by the seers on both sides before the battle; on the Lacedaemonian side by Hekas, descendant and namesake of the Hekas who had come with the sons of Aristodemos to Sparta, on the Messenian side by Theoklos, who was descended from Eumantis, an Eleian of the house of the Iamidai, whom Kresphontes had brought to Messene. Then in the presence of the seers both sides were spurred by greater ardor for the fight.
{4.16.2} All showed the zeal that befitted their age and strength, but Anaxandros, the Lacedaemonian king, and his Spartan guard above all. On the Messenian side the descendants of Androkles, Phintas and Androkles, and their company tried to acquit themselves like brave men. Tyrtaeus and the chief priests of the Great Goddesses took no part in the action, but urged on the hindmost on their own sides.
{4.16.3} As to Aristomenes himself he had with him eighty picked men of the Messenians of the same age as himself, each one of them thinking it the highest honor that he had been thought worthy of a place in the troop with Aristomenes. They were quick to understand each other's movements, especially those of their leader, when he began or contemplated any manoeuvre. They themselves with Aristomenes were at first hard pressed in face of Anaxandros and the Lacedaemonian champions, but receiving wounds unflinchingly and slowing every form of desperate courage they repulsed Anaxandros and his men by their long endurance and valor.
{4.16.4} As they fled, Aristomenes ordered another Messenian troop to undertake the pursuit. He himself attacked the enemies' line where it was firmest, and after breaking it at this point sought a new point of assault. Soon successful here, he was the more ready to assail those who stood their ground, until he threw into confusion the whole line of the Lacedaemonians themselves and of their allies. They were now running without shame and without waiting for one another, while he assailed them with a terror that seemed more than one man's fury could inspire.
{4.16.5} There was a wild pear tree growing in the plain, beyond which Theoklos the seer forbade him to pass, for he said that the Dioskouroi were seated on the tree. Aristomenes, in the heat of passion, did not hear all that the seer said, and when he reached the tree, lost his shield, and his disobedience gave to the Lacedaemonians an opportunity for some to escape from the rout. For he lost time trying to recover his shield.
{4.16.6} The Lacedaemonians were thrown into despair after this blow and purposed to put an end to the war. But Tyrtaeus by reciting his poems contrived to dissuade them, and filled their ranks from the Helots to replace the slain. When Aristomenes returned to Andania, the women threw ribbons and flower blossoms over him, singing also a song which is sung to this day:
“To the middle of Stenyclerus' plain and to the hilltop Aristomenes followed after the Lacedaemonians.”
Unknown
{4.16.7} He recovered his shield also, going to Delphi and descending into the holy shrine of Trophonios at Lebadeia, as the Pythia ordered . Afterwards he took the shield to Lebadeia and dedicated it, and I myself have seen it there among the offerings. The device on it is an eagle with both wings outspread to the rim. Now on his return from Boeotia having learned of the shield at the shrine of Trophonios and recovered it, he at once engaged in greater deeds.
{4.16.8} Collecting a force of Messenians, together with his own picked troop, he waited for night and went to a city of Laconia whose ancient name in Homer's Catalogue is Pharis, [13] but is called Pharaiby the Spartans and neighboring people. Arriving here he killed those who offered resistance and surrounding the cattle started to drive them off to Messene. On the way he was attacked by Lacedaemonian troops under king Anaxandros, but put them to flight and began to pursue Anaxandros; but he stopped the pursuit when wounded in the buttocks with a javelin; he did not, however, lose the loot which he was driving away.
{4.16.9} After waiting only for the wound to heal, he was making an attack by night on Sparta itself, but was deterred by the appearance of Helen and of the Dioskouroi. But he lay in wait by day for the girls who were performing the dances in honor of Artemis at Caryae, and capturing those who were wealthiest and of noblest birth, carried them off to a village in Messenia, entrusting them to men of his troop to guard, while he rested for the night.
{4.16.10} There the young men, intoxicated, I suppose, and without any self-control, attempted to violate the girls. When Aristomenes attempted to deter them from an action contrary to Greek usage, they paid no attention, so that he was compelled to kill the most disorderly. He released the captives for a large ransom, still virgins, as when he captured them.
{4.17.1} There is a place Aigila in Laconia, where is a sanctuary sacred to Demeter. Aristomenes and his men knowing that the women were keeping festival there … the women were inspired by the goddess to defend themselves, and most of the Messenians were wounded with the knives with which the women sacrificed the victims and the spits on which they pierced and roasted the meat. Aristomenes was struck with the torches and taken alive. Nevertheless he escaped to Messenia during the same night. Arkhidameia, the priestess of Demeter, was charged with having released him, not for a bribe but because she had been in love with him before; but she maintained that Aristomenes had escaped by burning through his bonds.
{4.17.2} In the third year of the war, when an engagement was about to take place at what is called The Great Trench, and the Messenians had been joined by Arcadians from all the cities, the Lacedaemonians bribed Aristocrates [Aristokrates] the son of Hicetas of Trapezus, who was then king and general of the Arcadians. The Lacedaemonians were the first of whom we know to give bribes to an enemy, and the first to make victory in war a matter of purchase.
{4.17.3} Before the Lacedaemonians committed this crime in the Messenian war in the matter of the treachery of Aristocrates [Aristokrates] the Arcadian, the decision in battle was reached by valor and the fortunes [tukhai]emanating from the god [theos]. Again it is clear that at a later date, when they were lying opposite the Athenian fleet at Aigospotamoi, the Lacedaemonians bought Adeimantos and other Athenian generals.
{4.17.4} However in course of time the punishment of Neoptolemos, as it is called, came upon the Lacedaemonians themselves in their turn. Now it was the fate of Neoptolemos the son of Achilles, after killing Priam on the altar of Zeus Herkeios (Of the Courtyard), himself to be slain by the altar of Apollo in Delphi. Thenceforward to suffer what a man has himself done to another is called the Punishment of Neoptolemos.
{4.17.5} So in the case of the Lacedaemonians, when they were at the height of their power after the destruction of the Athenian fleet, and Agesilaos had already reduced the greater part of Asia, they were unable to capture the whole empire of the Persians but the barbarian overreached them with their own invention, sending money to Corinth, Argos, Athens and Thebes as the result of this bribery the so-called Corinthian war broke out, compelling Agesilaos to abandon his conquests in Asia.
{4.17.6} Thus the superhuman force [ho daimōn] was about to turn the trick employed by the Lacedaemonians against the Messenians to their own destruction. After receiving the money from Lacedaemon, Aristocrates [Aristokrates] concealed his plot from the Arcadians for the present, but when they were about to come into action, he alarmed them by saying that they were caught in a difficult place and there would be no means of retreat for them, if defeated, also that the offerings had not been satisfactory. He ordered everyone therefore to take to flight when he gave the signal.
{4.17.7} When the Lacedaemonians were about to close and the Messenians were occupied on their own front, then Aristocrates [Aristokrates] withdrew the Arcadians as the battle began, leaving the Messenian left and center without troops. For the Arcadians occupied both positions in the absence of the Eleians from the battle and of the Argives and Sikyonians. To complete his work Aristocrates [Aristokrates] caused his men to fly through the Messenians.
{4.17.8} They were amazed at the unexpected state of affairs, and moreover were thrown into confusion by the passage of the Arcadians through their ranks, so that they almost forgot what lay before them; for instead of the advance of the Lacedaemonians they watched the Arcadian retirement, some begging them to stand by them, others cursing them for traitors and scoundrels.
{4.17.9} It was not difficult for the Lacedaemonians to surround the Messenians thus isolated, and they won without trouble the easiest of victories. Aristomenes and his men held together and tried to check the fiercest of the Lacedaemonian assaults but, being few in number, were unable to render much assistance. So great were the numbers of the people of the Messenians slain that in lieu of their former thoughts of becoming the masters instead of the slaves of the Lacedaemonians they now despaired of safety itself. Among the chieftains killed were Androkles and Phintas, and Phanas after the most glorious resistance. He had previously been victorious in the long foot-race at Olympia.
{4.17.10} Aristomenes collected the Messenian survivors after the battle and persuaded them to desert Andania and most of the other towns that lay in the interior and to settle on Mount Eira. When they had been driven to this spot, the Lacedaemonians sat down to besiege them, thinking that they would soon reduce them. Nevertheless the Messenians maintained their resistance for eleven years after the disaster at the Trench.
{4.17.11} The length of the siege is proved by these lines of the poet Rhianus, regarding the Lacedaemonians:
“In the folds of the white mountain were they encamped, for two and twenty winters and green herbs.
Rhianus, unknown location.
He reckons winters and summers, by “green herbs” meaning the green wheat or the time just before harvest.
{4.18.1} Settling on Eira and cut off from the rest of Messenia, except in so far as the people of Pylos and Mothone maintained the coastal districts for them, the Messenians plundered both Laconia and their own territory, regarding it now as enemy country. The men taking part in the raids were drawn from all sources, and Aristomenes raised the number of his chosen troop to three hundred.
{4.18.2} They harried and plundered whatever Lacedaemonian property they could; when wheat, cattle and wine were captured, they were consumed, but movable property and men were sold. The Lacedaemonians, as their labors were more profitable to the men at Eira than to themselves, accordingly resolved that Messenia and the neighboring part of Laconia should be left uncultivated during the war.
{4.18.3} As a result scarcity arose in Sparta, and with it revolution. For those who had property here could not endure its lying idle. Their differences were being composed by Tyrtaeus, when Aristomenes and his troop, starting in the late evening and by rapid movement reaching Amyklai before sunrise, captured and plundered the town, retiring before a force from Sparta could come to its relief.
{4.18.4} He continued to overrun the country afterwards, until in an engagement with more than half the Lacedaemonian infantry and both the kings he received various wounds while defending himself and was struck on the head by a stone, so that his eyes became dizzy. When he fell a number of the Lacedaemonians closed upon him and took him alive with some fifty of his followers. The Lacedaemonians resolved to fling them all into the Ceadas, into which they throw men punished for the greatest crimes.
{4.18.5} The rest of the Messenians were killed at once as they fell, but Aristomenes now as on other occasions was preserved by one of the gods. His panegyrists say that, when Aristomenes was thrown into the Ceadas, an eagle flew below him and supported him with its wings, bringing him to the bottom without any damage to his body and without wound. Even from here, as it seems, the supernatural force [daimōn] was about to show him a means of escape.
{4.18.6} For when he came to the bottom of the chasm he lay down, and covering himself with his cloak awaited the death that fate had surely decreed. But after two days he heard a noise and uncovered, and being by this time able to see through the gloom, saw a fox devouring the dead bodies. Realizing that the beast must have some entrance, he waited for the fox to come near him, and then seized it. Whenever it turned on him he used one hand to hold out his cloak for it to bite. For the most part he kept pace with it as it ran, but over the more difficult ground he was dragged along by it. At last he saw a hole big enough for a fox to get through and daylight showing through it.
{4.18.7} The fox, when released by Aristomenes, made of presumably, to its earth. But Aristomenes enlarged the hole, which was not large enough to let him through, with his hands and reached his home at Eira in safety, having undergone a remarkable chance in the matter of his capture, for his courage and prowess were so high that no one would have expected Aristomenes to be made a prisoner. Still more remarkable, and a convincing example of divine assistance, was his escape from the Ceadas.
{4.19.1} The Lacedaemonians at once received information from deserters that Aristomenes had returned in safety. Though they thought it as incredible as the news that anyone had risen from the dead, their belief was ensured by the following action on the part of Aristomenes himself. The Corinthians were sending a force to assist the Lacedaemonians in the reduction of Eira.
{4.19.2} Learning from his scouts that their march discipline was lax and that their encampments were made without precaution, Aristomenes attacked them by night. He slew most of them while the rest were still sleeping, and killed the leaders Hypermenides, Achladaeus, Lysistratos and Sidektos. And having plundered the generals' tent, he made it clear to the Spartans that it was Aristomenes and no other Messenian who had done this.
{4.19.3} He also made the sacrifice called the Offering for the hundred slain to Zeus of Ithome. This was an old-established custom, all Messenians making it who had slain their hundred enemies. Aristomenes first offered it after the battle at the Boar's Tomb, his second offering was occasioned by the slaughter of the Corinthians in the night. It is said that he made a third offering as the result of his later raids.
{4.19.4} Now the Lacedaemonians, as the festival of Hyakinthos was approaching, made a truce of forty days with the men of Eira. They themselves returned home to keep the feast, but some Cretan archers, whom they had summoned as mercenaries from Lyktos and other cities, were patrolling Messenia for them. Aristomenes then, in view of the truce, was at a distance from Eira and was advancing somewhat carelessly, when seven of these archers laid an ambush for him. They captured him and bound him with the thongs which they had on their quivers, as evening was coming on.
{4.19.5} So two of them went to Sparta, bringing the glad news that Aristomenes had been captured. The rest went to one of the farms in Messenia, where there dwelled a fatherless girl with her mother. On the previous night the girl had seen a dream. Wolves brought a lion to their farm bound and without talons; but she herself loosed the lion from his bonds and found and gave to him his talons, and thus it seemed that the wolves were torn in pieces by the lion.
{4.19.6} And now when the Cretans brought in Aristomenes, the girl realized that the dream of the night had come true, and asked her mother who he was. On learning she was encouraged, and looking intently at him understood what she had been bidden to do. Accordingly she plied the Cretans with wine, and when they were overcome with drunkenness she stole away the dagger of the man who was sleeping most heavily. Then the girl cut the bonds of Aristomenes, and he took the sword and despatched the men. This girl was taken to wife by Gorgos the son of Aristomenes. Aristomenes gave him to the girl as a recompense for saving his life, for Gorgos had not yet completed his eighteenth year when he wedded her.
{4.20.1} But in the eleventh year of the siege it was fated that Eira should be taken and the Messenians dispersed, and the god fulfilled for them an oracle given to Aristomenes and Theoklos. They had come to Delphi after the disaster at the Trench and asked concerning safety, receiving this reply from the Pythia:
“Whensoever a he-goat drinks of Neda's winding stream, no more do I protect Messene, for destruction is at hand.”
{4.20.2} The springs of the Neda are in Mount Lykaios. The river flows through the land of the Arcadians and turning again towards Messenia forms the boundary on the coast between Messenia and Elis. Then they were afraid of the he-goats drinking from the Neda, but it appeared that what the god foretold to them was this. Some of the Greeks call the wild fig tree olynthe, but the Messenians themselves tragos (he-goat). Now at that time a wild fig tree growing on the bank of the Neda had not grown straight up, but was bending towards the stream and touching the water with the tips of its leaves.
{4.20.3} When the seer Theoklos saw it, he guessed that the goat who drinks of the Neda foretold by the Pythia was this wild fig tree, and that their fate had already come upon the Messenians. He kept it secret from the rest, but led Aristomenes to the fig tree and showed him that their time of safety had gone by. Aristomenes believed that it was so and that there was no delaying their fate, and made provision such as circumstances demanded.
{4.20.4} For the Messenians possessed a secret thing. If it were destroyed, Messene would be overwhelmed and lost forever, but if it were kept, the oracles of Lykos the son of Pandion said that after lapse of time the Messenians would recover their country. Aristomenes, knowing the oracles, took it towards nightfall, and coming to the most deserted part of Ithome, buried it on the mountain, calling on Zeus who keeps Ithome and the gods who had hitherto protected the Messenians to remain guardians of the pledge, and not to put their only hope of return into the power of the Lacedaemonians.
{4.20.5} After this, as formerly for the Trojans, the beginning of the Messenian misfortunes was in adultery. The Messenians commanded the mountain of Eira and its slopes as far as the Neda, some of them having their dwellings outside the gates. The only deserter that came to them from Laconia was a herdsman, slave of Emperamus, bringing his master's cattle. Emperamus was a man of repute in Sparta.
{4.20.6} This herdsman, who kept his cattle not far from the Neda, saw the wife of one of the Messenians, who had their dwellings outside the wall, as she came to draw water. Falling in love with her, he dared to speak with her and seduced her with gifts. Thenceforward he marked the time when her husband went away to mount guard, garrison duty on the acropolis being undertaken by the Messenians in turn. For it was at this point that they were most afraid of the enemy making their way into the town. Whenever he went away, then the herdsman used to visit the lady.
{4.20.7} Now once when it happened that the turn for duty fell to him and others in the night, it chanced that there was heavy rain, and the Messenians deserted their post. For they were overcome by the density of the rain that streamed from the sky [ouranos], as there were no battlements or towers erected on the wall owing to the hurried nature of its building; moreover they did not expect the Lacedaemonians even to stir on a moonless night that was so stormy.
{4.20.8} A few days earlier a merchant from Cephallenia, who was a friend of Aristomenes and was bringing to Eira all that they needed, had been captured by the Lacedaemonians and archers from Aptera, commanded by Euryalus the Spartan; Aristomenes rescued him and recovered all the goods that he was bringing, but had himself been wounded and was unable to visit rounds, as was his custom. This was the main reason that the acropolis was deserted.
{4.20.9} All of them left their posts and with them the husband of the woman seduced by the herdsman. She was entertaining the herdsman at the time but heard her husband coming and at once hid the man away as quickly as possible. When the husband entered, she treated him with greater affection than ever before and asked him what was the reason of his return. But knowing that she was unfaithful or that the herdsman was in the house, he told her the truth, that owing to the violence of the rain he and all the rest had deserted their post.
{4.20.10} The herdsman listened to him speaking, and learning the exact position, again deserted from the Messenians to the Lacedaemonians. The Kings were absent at the time from the Lacedaemonian camp, but Emperamus, his master, who was commandant, was conducting the siege of Eira. Coming to him he first begged forgiveness for his crime of deserting and then showed him that now was the time for them to take Eira, recounting everything that he had learned from the Messenian.
{4.21.1} His story seemed to be reliable, and he led the way for Emperamus and the Spartans. Their march was difficult, as it was dark and the rain never ceased. Nevertheless they accomplished it in their eagerness, and arriving before the acropolis of Eira, mounted by raising ladders and in any other way that was possible. Various indications of the trouble that was upon them were given to the Messenians, especially by the dogs barking, not in their usual fashion, but uttering more loud and continuous howls. realizing that the supreme and most desperate crisis had come upon them, they did not wait to collect all their arms but snatched whatever lay ready to the hand of each, to defend the fatherland that alone was left to them of all Messenia.
{4.21.2} The first to realize that the enemy were within and to go against them were Gorgos the son of Aristomenes, Aristomenes himself, Theoklos the seer and Mantiklos his son, and with them Euergetidas a man of high repute in Messenia who had attained to greater honor through his wife for he was wedded to Hagnagora, the sister of Aristomenes. Then the rest, though understanding that they were caught as in a net, nevertheless derived some hope even from their present plight.
{4.21.3} But Aristomenes and the seer knew that there was no putting off destruction for the Messenians, for they knew the riddle of the oracle which the Pythia had uttered concerning the goat. Nevertheless they would not declare it, and kept it secret from the rest. As they hastened through the city, visiting all, they exhorted those whom they encountered, when they saw that they were Messenians, to be brave men, and summoned from the houses those who still remained.
{4.21.4} During the night nothing worthy of mention was done on either side; for their ignorance of the ground and the daring of Aristomenes gave pause to the Lacedaemonians, while the Messenians had not previously received a watchword from their generals, and the rain would put out torches or any other light that they kindled.
{4.21.5} When it was day and they could see one another Aristomenes and Theoklos tried to rouse the fury of despair in the Messenians, setting forth all that suited the occasion and reminding them of the valor of the men of Smyrna, how, though an Ionian people, by their valor and courage they had driven out Cyges the son of Dascylus and the Lydians, when they were in occupation of their town.
{4.21.6} The Messenians, when they heard, were filled with desperate courage, and mustering as they happened to be gathered rushed on the Lacedaemonians. Women too were eager to fling tiles and what they could upon the enemy, yet the violence of the rain prevented them from doing this and from mounting to the house-tops. But they dared to take arms, and they too further inflamed the ardor of the men, when they saw their women preferring to perish with their fatherland rather than be taken as slaves to Lacedaemon, so that they might yet have been able to escape their fate.
{4.21.7} But the god caused the rain to descend more densely, with loud claps of thunder, and dazzled their eyes with lightning flashing in their faces. All this put courage in the Lacedaemonians, who said that the god [theos] himself was helping them. And, as the lightning was on their right, Hekas the seer declared the sign [sēmeion] to be of good omen.
{4.21.8} It was he who devised the following plan. The Lacedaemonians far outnumbered the Messenians, but as the battle was not being fought on open ground with troops in line, but they were fighting over different quarters of the town, the rearmost of each detachment were rendered useless. Hekas ordered these to retire to the camp, take food and sleep, and return before evening to relieve their own men who were to remain on duty.
{4.21.9} The Lacedaemonians, by resting and fighting by turns, held out the longer, but the Messenians were faced with difficulties on all sides. They fought continuously day and night until the third day with none to relieve them. When the next day dawned, worn out by lack of sleep and by the rain and cold from the sky [ouranos], they were assailed by hunger and thirst. The women especially, unaccustomed to war, were exhausted by the continuous suffering.
{4.21.10} So the seer Theoklos came to Aristomenes' side and said: “Why vainly maintain this toil? The decree of fate stands fast that Messene should fall; long since the Pythia declared to us the disaster now before our eyes, and lately the fig tree revealed it. On me the gods have laid one doom with my country, but do thou save the Messenians with what power thou hast and save thyself.” When he had spoken to Aristomenes he rushed upon the enemy, and these were the words that he was constrained to fling at the Lacedaemonians. “Yet not for all time shall you enjoy the fruits of Messenia with impunity.”
{4.21.11} Then falling upon the men who faced him he killed them and himself was wounded, and having sated his passion with the slaughter of his foes, he breathed his last. But Aristomenes called the Messenians back from the fight, except those who by virtue of their courage were fighting to cover them. These he allowed to remain at their post. The rest he ordered to receive the women and children within their ranks and follow him wherever he should show a passage.
{4.21.12} He appointed Gorgos and Mantiklos to command the rear, he himself ran to the head of the company and by the gestures of his head and movement of his spear signified that he asked a passage and had resolved to depart. Emperamus and the Spartans present were pleased to let the Messenians pass, without further inflaming men who had reached the bounds of frenzy and despair. Moreover Hekas the seer ordered them to act thus.
{4.22.1} As soon as the Arcadians heard of the Capture of Eira, they at once ordered Aristocrates [Aristokrates] to lead them to the rescue of the Messenians or to death with them. But he, being in receipt of bribes from Lacedaemon, refused to lead them, and said that he knew that no Messenian survived for them to help.
{4.22.2} When they obtained more certain news, that they survived and had been forced to desert Eira, they themselves proposed to receive them at Mount Lykaios after preparing clothing and food, and sent some of their leading men to comfort the Messenians and also to be their guides on the way. After their safe arrival at Mount Lykaios, the Arcadians entertained them and treated them kindly in every way, offering to distribute them among their towns and to make a new distribution of their land on their account.
{4.22.3} But Aristomenes' grief for the sack of Eira and his hatred of the Lacedaemonians suggested to him the following plan. He chose from the body of the Messenians five hundred men whom he knew to be the most unsparing of themselves, and asked them in the hearing of Aristocrates [Aristokrates] and the rest of the Arcadians if they were ready to die with him, avenging their country He did not know that Aristocrates [Aristokrates] was a traitor, for he thought that he had fled from the battle formerly from lack of courage and through cowardice, not for any knavery; so he asked the five hundred in his presence.
{4.22.4} When they said that they were ready, he revealed the whole plan, that he proposed at all costs to lead them against Sparta during the following evening. For now was the time when the majority of the Lacedaemonians was away at Eira, and others were scouring Messenia for loot and plunder. “If we can capture and occupy Sparta,” said Aristomenes, “we can give back to the Lacedaemonians what is theirs and receive our own. If we fail, we shall die together, having done a deed for posterity to remember.”
{4.22.5} When he said this, as many as three hundred of the Arcadians were ready to share his enterprise. For the time they delayed their departure, as the victims were unfavorable, but on the following day they learned that the Lacedaemonians had been forewarned of their secret, and that they themselves had been a second time betrayed by Aristocrates [Aristokrates]. For Aristocrates [Aristokrates] had at once written the designs of Aristomenes in a letter, and having entrusted it to the slave whom he knew to be most loyal, sent him to Anaxandros in Sparta.
{4.22.6} As the slave was returning, he was intercepted by some of the Arcadians, who had formerly been at variance with Aristocrates [Aristokrates] and regarded him then with some suspicion. Having intercepted the slave they brought him before the Arcadians and made known to the people the answer from Lacedaemon. Anaxandros was writing that his retreat from the Great Trench formerly had not gone unrewarded on the part of the Lacedaemonians and that he would receive an additional recompense for his information on the present occasion.
{4.22.7} When this was declared to all, the Arcadians themselves stoned Aristocrates [Aristokrates] and urged the Messenians to join them. They looked to Aristomenes. But he was weeping, with his eyes fixed on the ground. So the Arcadians stoned Aristocrates [Aristokrates] to death and flung him beyond their borders without burial, and set up a tablet in the precinct of Zeus Lykaios with the words:
“Truly time hath declared justice upon an unjust king and with the help of Zeus hath easily declared the betrayer of Messene.
Hard it is for a man forsworn to hide from God.
Hail, king Zeus, and keep Arcadia safe.”
{4.23.1} All the Messenians, who were captured about Eira or anywhere else in Messenia, were reduced by the Lacedaemonians to serfdom. The people of Pylos and Mothone and all who occupied the maritime district retired in ships on the capture of Eira to Cyllene, the port of the Eleians. Thence they sent to the Messenians in Arcadia, proposing to unite their forces and seek a new country to dwell in, enjoining Aristomenes to lead them to a colony.
{4.23.2} But he said that while he lived, he would make war on the Lacedaemonians, as he knew well that trouble would always be brewing for Sparta through him, but he gave them Gorgos and Mantiklos as leaders. Euergetidas too had retired to Mount Lykaios with the rest of the Messenians. From there, when he saw that Aristomenes' plan to seize Sparta had failed, he persuaded some fifty of the Messenians to go back with him to Eira and attack the Lacedaemonians,
{4.23.3} and coming upon them while they were still plundering, he turned their celebrations of victory to grief. He then met his doom there, but Aristomenes ordered all the Messenians who wished to take part in the colony to join the leaders at Cyllene. And all took part except those debarred by age or lack of funds for journeying abroad. These remained here with the Arcadians.
{4.23.4} Eira was taken, and the second war between the Lacedaemonians and Messenians completed in the year when Autosthenes was archon [arkhōn] in Athens, and in the first year of the twenty-eighth Olympiad, [14] when Khionis the Laconian was victorious.
{4.23.5} When the Messenians assembled at Cyllene, they resolved to winter there for that season, the Eleians providing a market and funds. With the spring they began to debate where they should go. It was the view of Gorgos that they should occupy Zacynthos off Cephallenia, becoming islanders instead of mainlanders, and raid the coasts of Laconia with their ships and ravage the land. But Mantiklos ordered them to forget Messene and their hatred of the Lacedaemonians, and sail to Sardinia and win an island which was of the largest extent and greatest fertility.
{4.23.6} Meantime Anaxilas sent to the Messenians and summoned them to Italy. He was tyrant of Rhēgion, third in descent from Alcidamidas, who had left Messene for Rhēgion after the death of king Aristodemos and the capture of Ithome. So now this Anaxilas summoned the Messenians. When they came, he said that the people of Zancle were at war with him, and that they possessed a prosperous land and city well placed in Sicily; and these he said he was ready to give them and help them to conquer. When they accepted the proposal, Anaxilas then transported them to Sicily.
{4.23.7} Zancle was originally occupied by pirates, who, as the land was uninhabited, walled off the harbor and used it as a base for their raids and cruises. Their leaders were Crataemenes a Samian and Perieres of Khalkis. Later Perieres and Krataimenes resolved to introduce other Greek settlers.
{4.23.8} Anaxilas defeated the Zanclaeans, when they put to sea to oppose him, and the Messenians did the like by land, and the Zanclaeans, blockaded on land by the Messenians and from the sea by the fleet of the Rhegines, when their wall was carried, fled for refuge to the altars of the gods and to the temples. Anaxilas, however, advised the Messenians to put to death the suppliant Zanclaeans and to enslave the rest together with the women and children.
{4.23.9} But Gorgos and Mantiklos besought Anaxilas not to compel them, the victims of unholy treatment at the hands of kinsmen, to behave as men who belong to Greek [Hellenic] lineage. After this they made the Zanclaeans rise from the altars, and exchanging pledges with them, dwelled together in common. They changed the name of the city from Zancle to Messene.
{4.23.10} This event took place in the twenty-ninth Olympiad, [15] when Khionis the Laconian was victorious for the second time. Miltiades was archon [arkhōn] in Athens. Mantiklos founded the temple of Hēraklēs for the Messenians; the temple of the god is outside the walls and he is called Hēraklēs Mantiklos, just as Ammon in Libya and Belus in Babylon are named, the latter from an Egyptian, Belus the son of Libya, Ammon from the shepherd-founder. Thus the exiled Messenians reached the end of their wanderings.
{4.24.1} After declining the leadership of the men setting forth to found a colony, Aristomenes gave his sister Hagnagora in marriage to Tharyx at Phigalia, and his daughters, both the eldest and the next in age, to Damothoidas of Lepreum and Theopompos of Heraia. He himself went to Delphi to enquire of the god. The reply that was given to Aristomenes is not recorded,
{4.24.2} but when Damagetos the Rhodian, who reigned at Ialysos, came to Apollo and asked whence he should take a wife, the Pythia ordered him to take a daughter of the bravest of the Greeks. As Aristomenes had a third daughter, he married her, considering that Aristomenes was by far the bravest of the Greeks of that age. Aristomenes, coming to Rhodes with his daughter, purposed to go up from there to Sardis to Ardys the son of Gyges, and to Ecbatana of the Medes to king Phraortes.
{4.24.3} But ere that he was overtaken by illness and death, for no further misfortune was to befall the Lacedaemonians at the hands of Aristomenes. On his death Damagetos and the Rhodians built him a splendid tomb and paid honor to him thenceforward. I omit what is recorded of the Diagoridai in Rhodes, as they are called, a line sprung from Diagoras the son of Damagetos, son of Dorieus, who was the son of Damagetos and of the daughter of Aristomenes, lest it should seem to be irrelevant.
{4.24.4} Now the Lacedaemonians, gaining possession of Messenia, divided it all among themselves, except the land belonging to the people of Asine; but they gave Mothone to the men of Nauplia, who had recently been driven from their town by the Argives.
{4.24.5} The Messenians who were captured in the country, reduced by force to the position of serfs, were later moved to revolt from the Lacedaemonians in the seventy-ninth Olympiad, [16] when Xenophon the Corinthian was victorious. Arkhimedes was archon [arkhōn] in Athens. The occasion which they found for the revolt was this. Certain Lacedaemonians who had been condemned to death on some charge fled as suppliants to Taenarum but the board of ephors dragged them from the altar there and put them to death.
{4.24.6} As the Spartans paid no heed to their being suppliants, the wrath of Poseidon came upon them, and the god razed all their city to the ground. At this disaster all the serfs who were of Messenian origin seceded to Mount Ithome. Against them the Lacedaemonians, amongst other allies, called to their assistance Kimon the son of Miltiades, their patron in Athens, and an Athenian force. But when the Athenians arrived, they seem to have regarded them with suspicion that they were likely to promote revolution, and as a result of this suspicion to have soon dismissed them from Ithome.
{4.24.7} The Athenians, realizing the feelings of the Lacedaemonians towards them, made friends therefore with the Argives, and gave Naupaktos to the Messenians besieged in Ithome, when they were allowed to depart under a truce. They had taken Naupaktos from the people of the land of Lokris called the Ozolian, adjoining Aetolia. The retirement of the Messenians from Ithome was secured by the strength of the place; also the Pythia announced to the Lacedaemonians that assuredly they would be punished if they committed a crime against the suppliant of Zeus of Ithome. For this reason then they were allowed to go from Peloponnese under a truce.
{4.25.1} When they occupied Naupaktos it was not enough for them to have received a city and country at the hands of the Athenians, but they were filled with a strong desire to show they had won something notable with their own hands. Knowing that the Acarnanians of Oiniadai possessed a good land and were continually at war with the Athenians, they marched against them. They had no numerical advantage, but defeating them by their superior courage, they shut them up in the fortress and besieged them.
{4.25.2} They neglected no human invention in the matter of siege-craft, tried to carry the town by raising scaling-ladders, mined the walls, and by bringing up such engines as could be made ready at short notice proceeded with the destruction of the fortifications. The inhabitants, fearing that if the city were taken they would be put to death and their wives and children enslaved, elected to withdraw on terms.
{4.25.3} The Messenians held the town and occupied the country for about a year. In the following year the Acarnanians collected a force from all their towns and discussed an attack on Naupaktos. They rejected this, as they saw that their line of march would be through the Aetolians, who were always their enemies; moreover they suspected that the men of Naupaktos possessed a fleet, which was the fact; and while they commanded the sea, it was impossible to achieve anything of importance with a land force.
{4.25.4} So they changed their plans and at once turned on the Messenians in Oiniadai and prepared to besiege them, for they never supposed that men so few in number would show such desperate courage as to fight against the full levy of the Acarnanians. The Messenians had previously prepared food and all else that was requisite, expecting to stand a long siege.
{4.25.5} But they were determined before the siege was formed to fight a battle in the open, and being Messenians, who had not been surpassed in valor even by Lacedaemonians, but in fortune only, were determined not to be dismayed at the horde which had come from Acarnania. They recalled the achievement of the Athenians at Marathon, how thirty myriad Persians had been destroyed by men not numbering ten thousand.
{4.25.6} So they joined battle with the Acarnanians, and the course of the battle is said to have been thus. The enemy, being far superior in numbers, had no difficulty in surrounding the Messenians, except where prevented by the gates in the Messenian rear and by the zealous help of their men posted on the wall. Here they could not be surrounded, hut the Acarnanians enveloped both their flanks and shot volleys at them from all sides.
{4.25.7} The Messenians, in close formation, whenever they charged the Acarnanians in a body, threw the enemy at that point into confusion, killing and wounding many of them, but they could not effect a complete rout. For wherever the Acarnanians saw a part of their own line being broken by the Messenians they went to the support of their harassed troops at this point and checked the Messenians, overwhelming them by numbers.
{4.25.8} The Messenians, beaten back and again attempting to pierce the massed troops of the Acarnanians at another point, would meet with the same result. Wherever they attacked, they threw the enemy into confusion and drove them a short distance, but as the Acarnanians again streamed eagerly to this point, they were driven back against their will. The battle was evenly contested until evening, but when at nightfall the Acarnanians received reinforcements from their cities, the blockade of the Messenians was formed.
{4.25.9} They had no fear of the wall being taken by assault, either by the Acarnanians scaling it or by themselves being forced to abandon their posts. But in the eighth month all their provisions alike had been consumed.
{4.25.10} They shouted to the Acarnanians from the wall in mockery that their supplies would not fail them until the tenth year of the siege, but they themselves sallied out of Oiniadai at the time of the first sleep. Their escape became known to the Acarnanians and they were compelled to fight, losing some three hundred and killing still more of the enemy. But the greater part of them got through the Acarnanians, and reaching the territory of the Aetollans, who were their friends, arrived safely at Naupaktos.
{4.26.1} Afterwards, as at all times, they were stirred by their hatred against the Lacedaemonians, and provided the most striking example of their hostility towards them in the war which took place between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians. For they offered Naupaktos as a base against Peloponnese, and Messenian slingers from Naupaktos helped to capture the Spartans cut off in Sphakteria.
{4.26.2} When the Athenian reverse at Aigospotamoi took place, the Lacedaemonians, having command of the sea, then drove the Messenians from Naupaktos; they went to their kinsmen in Sicily and to Rhēgion, but the majority came to Libya and to the Euesperitaithere, who had suffered severely in war with barbarian neighbors and were inviting any Greek to join them. So the majority of the Messenians went to them, their leader being Comon, who had commanded them in Sphakteria.
{4.26.3} A year before the victory of the Thebans at Leuktra, the superhuman force [daimōn] foretold [pro-sēmainein] their return to Peloponnese to the Messenians. It is said that in Messene on the Straits the priest of Hēraklēs saw a vision in a dream: it seemed that Hēraklēs Mantiklos was bidden by Zeus as a guest to Ithome. Also among the EuesperitaiComon dreamt that he lay with his dead mother, but that afterwards she came to life again. He hoped that as the Athenians had recovered their seapower, they would be restored to Naupaktos. But the dream really indicated the recovery of Messene.
{4.26.4} Not long afterwards the Lacedaemonians suffered at Leuktra the disaster that had long been due. For at the end of the oracle given to Aristodemos, who reigned over the Messenians, are the words:“Act as fate wills, destruction comes on this man before that,
”signifying that he and the Messenians must suffer evil at the present, but that hereafter destruction would overtake Lacedaemon.
{4.26.5} Then after their victory at Leuktra the Thebans sent messengers to Italy, Sicily and to the Euesperitae, and summoned the Messenians to Peloponnese from every other quarter where they might be, and they, with longing for their country and through the hatred which had ever remained with them for the Lacedaemonians, assembled quicker than could have been expected.
{4.26.6} To Epameinondas it seemed in no way easy to found a city that could resist the Lacedaemonians, nor could he discover where in the land to build it. For the Messenians refused to settle again in Andania and Oechalia, because their disasters had befallen them when they dwelled there. To Epameinondas in his difficulty it is said that an ancient man, closely resembling a priest of Demeter, appeared in the night and said: “My gift to thee is that thou shalt conquer whomsoever thou dost assail; and when thou dost pass from men, Theban, I will cause thy name to be unforgotten and give thee glory. But do thou restore to the Messenians their fatherland and cities, for now the wrath of the Dioskouroi against them hath ceased.”
{4.26.7} This he said to Epameinondas, and revealed this to Epiteles the son of Aeschines, who had been chosen by the Argives to be their general and to refound Messene. He was bidden by the dream, wherever he found yew and myrtle growing on Ithome, to dig between them and recover the old woman, for, shut in her bronze chamber, she was overcome and well-nigh fainting. When day dawned, Epiteles went to the appointed place, and as he dug, came upon a bronze urn.
{4.26.8} He took it at once to Epameinondas, told him the dream and ordered him to remove the lid and see what was within. Epameinondas, after sacrifice and prayer to the vision that had appeared, opened the urn and having opened it found some tin foil, very thin, rolled like a book. On it were inscribed the mysteries of the Great Goddesses, and this was the pledge deposited by Aristomenes. They say that the man who appeared to Epiteles and Epameinondas in their sleep was Kaukon, who came from Athens to Messene the daughter of Triopas at Andania.
{4.27.1} The wrath of the sons of Tyndareus against the Messenians began before the battle in Stenyclerus, and arose, I think, for the following reason. Panormos and Gonippos of Andania, young men in the bloom of youth, were close friends in all things, and marched together into battle and on raids into Laconia.
{4.27.2} The Lacedaemonians were keeping a feast of the Dioskouroi in camp and had turned to drinking and sports after the midday meal, when Gonippos and Panormos appeared to them, riding on the finest horses and dressed in white tunics and scarlet cloaks, with caps on their heads and spears in their hands. When the Lacedaemonians saw them they bowed down and prayed, thinking that the Dioskouroi themselves had come to their sacrifice.
{4.27.3} When once they had come among them, the youths rode right through them, striking with their spears, and when many had been killed, returned to Andania, having outraged the sacrifice to the Dioskouroi. It was this, in my view, that roused the Dioskouroi to their hatred of the Messenians. But now, as the dream declared to Epameinondas, the Dioskouroi no longer opposed the return of the Messenians.
{4.27.4} Epameinondas was most strongly drawn to the foundation by the oracles of Bacis, who was inspired by the Nymphs and left prophecies regarding others of the Greeks as well as the return of the Messenians:
“Then indeed shall the bright bloom of Sparta perish and Messene again shall be inhabited for all time.”
I have discovered that Bacis also told in what manner Eira would be captured, and this too is one of his oracles:
“The men of Messene o'ercome by the thunder's roll and spouting rain.”
{4.27.5} When the mysteries were recovered, all who were of the priestly family set them down in books. As Epameinondas considered the spot where the city of the Messenians now stands most convenient for the foundation, he ordered enquiry to be made by the seers if the favor of the gods would follow him here. When they announced that the offerings were auspicious, he began preparations for the foundation, ordering stone to be brought, and summoning men skilled in laying out streets and in building houses, temples, and ring-walls.
{4.27.6} When all was in readiness, victims being provided by the Arcadians, Epameinondas himself and the Thebans then sacrificed to Dionysus and Apollo IsMenios in the accustomed manner, the Argives to Argive Hērā and Nemean Zeus, the Messenians to Zeus of Ithome and the Dioskouroi, and their priests to the Great Goddesses and Kaukon. And together they summoned heroes to return and dwell with them, first Messene the daughter of Triopas, after her Eurytos, Aphareus and his children, and of the sons of Hēraklēs Kresphontes and Aipytos. But the loudest summons from all alike was to Aristomenes.
{4.27.7} For that day they were engaged in sacrifice and prayer, but on the following days they raised the circuit of the walls, and within built houses and the temples. They worked to the sound of music, but only from Boeotian and Argive auloi [‘double-reeds’], and the tunes of Sacadas and Pronomos were brought into keen competition. The city itself was given the name Messene, but they founded other towns. The men of Nauplia were not disturbed at Mothone,
{4.27.8} and they allowed the people of Asine to remain in their home, remembering their kindness when they refused to join the Lacedaemonians in the war against them. The men of Nauplia on the return of the Messenians to Peloponnese brought them such gifts as they had, and while praying continually to the gods for their return begged the Messenians to grant protection to themselves.
{4.27.9} The Messenians returned to Peloponnese and recovered their own land two hundred and eighty-seven years after the capture of Eira, in the year when Dyskinetos was archon [arkhōn] in Athens and in the third year of the hundred and second Olympiad, [17] when Damon of Thourioi was victorious for the second time. It was no short time for the Plataeans that they were in exile from their country, and for the Delians when they settled in Adramyttion after being expelled from their island by the Athenians.
{4.27.10} The Minyae, driven by the Thebans from Orkhomenos after the battle of Leuktra, were restored to Boeotia by Philip the son of Amyntas, as were also the Plataeans. When Alexander had destroyed the city of the Thebans themselves, Kassandros the son of Antipatros rebuilt it after a few years. The exile of the Plataeans seems to have lasted the longest of those mentioned, but even this was not for more than two generations.
{4.27.11} But the wanderings of the Messenians outside the Peloponnese lasted almost three hundred years, during which it is clear that they did not depart in any way from their local customs, and did not lose their Doric dialect, but even to our day they have retained the purest Doric in Peloponnese.
{4.28.1} After their return they had nothing to fear at first from the Lacedaemonians. For the Lacedaemonians, restrained by fear of the Thebans, submitted to the foundation of Messene and to the gathering of the Arcadians into one city. But when the war of the people of Phokis, or, as it is called, the Sacred War caused the Thebans to withdraw from Peloponnese, the Lacedaemonians regained courage and could no longer refrain from attacking the Messenians.
{4.28.2} The Messenians maintained the war with the help of the Argives and Arcadians, and asked the Athenians for help. They refused to join in an attack on Laconia, but promised to render assistance in person if the Lacedaemonians began war and invaded Messenia. Finally the Messenians formed an alliance with Philip the son of Amyntas and the Macedonians; it was this, they say, that prevented them from taking part in the battle which the Greeks fought at Khaironeia. They refused, however, to bear arms against the Greeks.
{4.28.3} After the death of Alexander, when the Greeks had raised a second war against the Macedonians, the Messenians took part, as I have shown earlier in my account of Attica. [18] They did not join the Greeks against the Gauls, as Kleonymos and the Lacedaemonians refused to grant them a truce.
{4.28.4} Not long afterwards the Messenians occupied Elis, employing strategy and daring alike. The Eleians in the earliest times were the most law-abiding of the Peloponnesians, but when Philip the son of Amyntas did all the harm to Greece that has been related, he also bribed the leading men in Elis; the Eleians were divided by factions for the first time and came to blows, it is said.
{4.28.5} Henceforward it was likely to be more easy for quarrels to arise among men whose counsels were divided on account of the Lacedaemonians, and they arrived at civil war. Learning this, the Lacedaemonians were preparing to assist their partisans in Elis. While they were being organized in squadrons and distributed in companies, a thousand picked Messenian troops arrived hurriedly at Elis with Laconian blazons on their shields.
{4.28.6} Seeing their shields, all the Laconising party in Elis thought their supporters had arrived and received them into the fortress. But having obtained admission in this way, the Messenians drove out the supporters of the Lacedaemonians and made over the city to their own partisans.
{4.28.7} The trick is Homer's, but the Messenians plainly imitated it opportunely, for Homer represents Patroklos in the Iliad [19] clad in the arms of Achilles, and says that the barbarians were filled with the belief that it was Achilles attacking them, and that their front ranks were thrown into confusion. Other stratagems are the invention of Homer, the coming of the two Greek spies by night among the Trojans, instead of one [20] and later a man coming to Troy, who pretends to be a deserter but actually is to find out their secrets.
{4.28.8} Again, the Trojans who, through youth or years were not of fighting age, he posted as garrison of the walls, [21] while the men of military age were encamped against the Greeks. The wounded Greeks in Homer arm the fighting men, so that even they may not be altogether idle. Indeed Homer's ideas have proved useful to men in every matter.
{4.29.1} Not long after the affair at Elis, the Macedonians and Demetrios the son of Philip, son of Demetrios, [22] captured Messene. I have already, in my account of Sikyon, [23] narrated most of the crimes of Perseus against Philip himself and against Demetrios the son of Philip. These are the facts relating to the capture of Messene.
{4.29.2} Philip was in need of money, and as it was necessary to raise it at all costs, he sent Demetrios with a fleet to Peloponnese. He put in to one of the less frequented harbors of the Argolid, and at once marched his army by the shortest route to Messene. With an advance guard consisting of all the light-armed troops who knew the road to Ithome, he succeeded just before dawn in scaling the wall unnoticed at a point where it lay between the city and the peak of Ithome.
{4.29.3} When day dawned and the inhabitants had realized the danger that beset them, they were at first under the impression that the Lacedaemonians had forced an entry into the town, and attacked them more recklessly owing to their ancient hatred. But when they discovered from their equipment and speech that it was the Macedonians and Demetrios the son of Philip, they were filled with great fear, when they considered the Macedonian training in warfare and the good fortune which they saw that they enjoyed in all their ventures.
{4.29.4} Nevertheless the magnitude of the present evil caused them to display a courage beyond their strength, also they were inspired with hope for the best, since it seemed not without divine help that they had accomplished their return to Peloponnese after so long an absence. So the Messenians in the town went against the Macedonians full of courage, and the garrison on the acropolis attacked from the high ground above.
{4.29.5} In like manner the Macedonians, brave and experienced troops, at first offered a firm resistance. But worn out by their march, attacked by the men and bombarded with tiles and stones by the women, they took to flight in disorder. The majority were pushed over the precipices and killed, for Ithome is very steep at this point. A few escaped by throwing away their arms.
{4.29.6} The Messenians refrained at first from joining the Achaean league for the following reason, I think. When Pyrrhos the son of Aiakidēs made war on the Lacedaemonians, they came unasked to their assistance, and as a result of this service a more peaceful disposition towards them came to be established at Sparta. Therefore they were unwilling to revive the feud by joining the league, which was openly declared the bitterest enemy of the Lacedaemonians.
{4.29.7} I realize, as of course did the Messenians, that even without their joining the league the policy of the Achaeans was hostile to the Lacedaemonians. For the Argives and the Arcadian group formed not the smallest element in the league. However, in the course of time they joined the league. And not long afterwards Kleomenes the son of Leonidas, son of Kleonymos, captured the Arcadian Megalopolis in peace-time. [24]
{4.29.8} Of the people of Megalopolis who were caught in the city, some were killed at the time of its capture, but Philopoimen the son of Kraugis and all who withdrew with him (the number of the citizens who escaped is said to have been more than two-thirds) were received by the Messenians, who for the sake of the former services rendered by the Arcadians in the time of Aristomenes and again at the founding of Messene now repaid the like.
{4.29.9} Such, it would seem, are the vicissitudes of human affairs, if in fact the superhuman force [daimōn] granted that the Messenians should in their turn preserve the Arcadians, and what is still more surprising, that they should capture Sparta. For they fought against Kleomenes at Sellasia and joined with Aratos and the Achaeans to capture Sparta.
{4.29.10} When the Lacedaemonians were rid of Kleomenes there rose to power a tyrant Makhanidas, and after his death a second tyrant arose in Nabis. As he plundered human property and robbed temples alike, he amassed vast wealth in a short time and with it raised an army. This Nabis seized Messene, but when Philopoimen and the people of Megalopolis arrived during the same night,
{4.29.11} the Spartan tyrant retired on terms. But the Achaeans after this, having some quarrel with the Messenians, invaded them with all their forces and ravaged most of the country. On a second occasion they mustered when the wheat was ripe to invade Messenia. But Deinocrates, the head of the government, who had been chosen to command the Messenians on that occasion, compelled Lykortas and his force to retire without effecting anything, by occupying beforehand the passes from Arcadia into Messenia with the Messenians from the city and troops from the surrounding districts that came to their assistance.
{4.29.12} Philopoimen arrived with a few cavalry some time later than the force with Lykortas and had been unable to obtain any news of it; the Messenians, having the advantage of the high ground, defeated him and took him alive. I will narrate the manner of Philopoimen's capture and death in my account of Arcadia later. [25] The Messenians, who were responsible for his death, were punished and Messene was again brought into the Achaean league.
{4.29.13} Hitherto my account has dealt with the many sufferings of the Messenians, how fate scattered them to the ends of the earth, far from Peloponnese, and afterwards brought them safely home to their own country. Let us now turn to a description of the country and cities.
{4.30.1} There is in our time a city Abia in Messenia on the coast, some twenty stadium-lengths distant from the Choerius valley. They say that this was formerly called Ire and was one of the seven cities which Homer says that Agamemnon promised to Achilles. [26] When Hyllos and the Dorians were defeated by the Achaeans, it is said that Abia, nurse of Glenus the son of Hēraklēs, withdrew to Ire, and settling there built a temple to Hēraklēs, and that afterwards for this reason Kresphontes, amongst other honors assigned to her, renamed the city after Abia. There was a notable temple of Hēraklēs here, and also of Asklepios.
{4.30.2} Pharaiis seventy stadium-lengths distant from Abia. On the road is a salt spring. The Emperor Augustus caused the Messenians of Pharaito be incorporated in Laconia. The founder Pharis is said to have been the son of Hermes and Phylodameia the daughter of Danaos. He had no male children, but a daughter Telegone. Homer, tracing her descendants in the Iliad, [27] says that twins, Crethon and Ortilokhos, were born to Diokles, Diokles himself being the son of Ortilokhos son of Alpheios. He makes no reference to Telegone, who in the Messenian account bore Ortilokhos to Alpheios.
{4.30.3} I heard also at Pharaithat besides the twins a daughter Anticleia was born to Diokles, and that her children were Nikomakhos and Gorgasus, by Makhaon the son of Asklepios. They remained at Pharaiand succeeded to the kingdom on the death of Diokles. The power of healing diseases and curing the maimed has remained with them to this day, and in return for this, sacrifices and votive offerings are brought to their sanctuary. The people of Pharaipossess also a temple of Fortune (Tyche) and an ancient image.
{4.30.4} Homer is the first whom I know to have mentioned Fortune in his poems. He did so in the Hymn to Demeter, where he enumerates the daughters of Okeanos, telling how they played with Kore the daughter of Demeter, and making Fortune one of them. The lines are:
“We all in a lovely meadow, Leucippe, Phaeno, Electre and Ianthe, Melobosis and Tyche and Ocyrhoe with face like a flower.”
{4.30.5} He said nothing further about this goddess being the mightiest of gods in human affairs and displaying greatest strength, as in the Iliad he represented Athena and Enyo as supreme in war, and Artemis feared in childbirth, and Aphrodite heeding the affairs of marriage. [28] But he makes no other mention of Fortune.
{4.30.6} Boupalos [29] a skillful temple-architect and carver of images, who made the statue of Fortune at Smyrna, was the first whom we know to have represented her with the celestial sphere [polos] upon her head and carrying in one hand the horn of Amaltheia, as the Greeks call it, representing her functions to this extent. The poems of Pindar later contained references to Fortune, and it is he who called her Supporter of the City.
{4.31.1} Not far from Pharaiis a grove of Apollo Karneios and a spring of water in it. Pharaiis about six stadium-lengths from the sea. Eighty stadium-lengths on the road which leads thence into the interior of Messenia is the city of the Thuriatae, which they say had the name Antheia in Homer's poems. [30] Augustus gave Thuria into the possession of the Lacedaemonians of Sparta. For when Augustus was emperor of the Romans, Antony, himself a Roman, made war upon him and was joined by the Messenians and the rest of the Greeks, because the Lacedaemonians were on the side of Augustus.
{4.31.2} For this reason Augustus punished the Messenians and the rest of his adversaries, some more, some less. The people of Thuria left their town, which lay originally on high ground, and came down to live in the plain. Nevertheless the upper town is not entirely deserted, but there are remains of the wall and a temple there, called the temple of the Syrian Goddess. A river called Aris flows past the town in the plain.
{4.31.3} In the interior is a village Calamae and a place Limnae, where is a sanctuary of Artemis Limnatis (Of the lake). They say that Teleklos king of Sparta met his end here.
{4.31.4} On the road from Thuria towards Arcadia are the springs of the Pamisus, at which little children find cures.
A road turns to the left from the springs, and after some forty stadium-lengths is the city of the Messenians under Ithome. It is enclosed not only by Mount Ithome, but on the side towards the Pamisos by Mount Eva. The mountain is said to have obtained its name from the fact that the Bacchic cry of “Evoe” was first uttered here by Dionysus and his attendant women.
{4.31.5} Round Messene is a wall, the whole circuit of which is built of stone, with towers and battlements upon it. I have not seen the walls at Babylon or the walls of Memnon at Susa in Persia, nor have I heard the account of any eyewitness; but the walls at Ambrossos in Phokis, at Byzantium and at Rhodes, all of them the most strongly fortified places, are not so strong as the Messenian wall.
{4.31.6} The Messenians possess a statue of Zeus the Savior in the marketplace and a fountain Arsinoe. It received its name from the daughter of Leukippos and is fed from a source called Clepsydra. There are sanctuaries of the gods Poseidon and Aphrodite, and, what is most deserving of mention, a statue of the Mother of the Gods, of Parian marble, the work of Damophon, [31] the artist who repaired the Zeus at Olympia with extreme accuracy when the ivory parted. Honors have been granted to him by the people of Elis.
{4.31.7} By Damophon too is the so-called Laphria at Messene. The cult came to be established among them in the following way: Among the people of Calydon, Artemis, who was worshipped by them above all the gods, had the title Laphria, and the Messenians who received Naupaktos from the Athenians, being at that time close neighbors of the Aetolians, adopted her from the people of Calydon. I will describe her appearance in another place. [32] The name Laphria spread only to the Messenians and to the Achaeans of Patrae.
{4.31.8} But all cities worship Artemis of Ephesos, and individuals hold her in honor above all the gods. The reason, in my view, is the renown of the Amazons, who traditionally dedicated the image, also the extreme antiquity of this sanctuary. Three other points as well have contributed to her renown, the size of the temple, surpassing all buildings among men, the eminence of the city of the Ephesians and the renown of the goddess who dwells there.
{4.31.9} The Messenians have a temple erected to Eileithuia with a stone statue, and near by a hall of the Kouretes, where they make burned offerings of every kind of living creature, thrusting into the flames not only cattle and goats, but finally birds as well. There is a holy shrine of Demeter at Messene and statues of the Dioskouroi, carrying the daughters of Leukippos. I have already explained in an earlier passage [33] that the Messenians argue that the sons of Tyndareus belong to them rather than to the Lacedaemonians.
{4.31.10} The most numerous statues and the most worth seeing are to be found in the sanctuary of Asklepios. For besides statues of the god and his sons, and besides statues of Apollo, the Muses and Hēraklēs, the city of Thebes is represented and Epameinondas the son of Kleommis, Fortune, and Artemis Bringer of Light. The stone statues are the work of Damophon (I know of no other Messenian sculptor of merit apart from him); the statue of Epameinondas is of iron and the work of some other artist.
{4.31.11} There is also a temple of Messene the daughter of Triopas with a statue of gold and Parian marble. At the back of the temple are paintings of the kings of Messene: before the coming of the Dorian host to Peloponnese, Aphareus and his sons, after the return of the Herakleidai, Kresphontes the Dorian leader, of the inhabitants of Pylos, Nestor, Thrasymedes and Antilokhos, singled out from among the sons of Nestor on the score of age and because they took part in the expedition to Troy.
{4.31.12} There is Leukippos brother of Aphareus, Hilaeira and Phoebe, and with them Arsinoe. Asklepios too is represented, being according to the Messenian account a son of Arsinoe, also Makhaon and Podaleirios, as they also took part in the affair at Troy. These pictures were painted by Omphalion, pupil of Nikias [34] the son of Nikomedes. Some say that he was also a slave in the house of Nikias and his favorite.
{4.32.1} The place called Hierothesion by the Messenians contains statues of all the gods whom the Greeks worship, and also a bronze image of Epameinondas. Ancient tripods are dedicated there, which “have felt not the fire,” as Homer says. [35] The statues in the gymnasium are the work of Egyptian artists. They represent Hermes, Hēraklēs and Theseus, who are honored in the gymnasium and wrestling-ground according to a practice universal among Greeks, and now common among barbarians...
{4.32.2} I learned by enquiry that Aethidas was a man older than myself, who gained influence through his wealth and is honored by the Messenians as a hero. There are certain Messenians, who, while admitting that Aethidas was a man of great wealth, maintain that it is not he who is represented on the relief but an ancestor and namesake. The elder Aethidas was their leader, when Demetrios the son of Philip and his force surprised them in the night and succeeded in penetrating into the town unnoticed.
{4.32.3} There is also the tomb of Aristomenes here. They say that it is not a cenotaph, but when I asked whence and in what manner they recovered the bones of Aristomenes, they said that they sent to Rhodes for them, and that it was the god of Delphi who ordered it. They also instructed me in the nature of the rites carried out at the tomb. The bull which is to be offered to the dead man is brought to the tomb and bound to the pillar which stands upon the tomb. Being fierce and unused to bonds he will not stand; and if the pillar is moved by his struggles and bounds, it is a good omen to the Messenians, but if the pillar is not moved the sign portends misfortune.
{4.32.4} They have it that Aristomenes was present at the battle of Leuktra, though no longer among men, and say that he helped the Thebans and was the chief cause of the Lacedaemonian disaster. I know that the Chaldaeans and Indian sages were the first to say that the soul of man is immortal, and have been followed by some of the Greeks, particularly by Plato the son of Ariston. If all are willing to accept this, this too cannot be denied, that his hatred for the Lacedaemonians was imparted to Aristomenes for all time.
{4.32.5} What I myself heard in Thebes gives probability to the Messenian account, although it does not coincide in all respects. The Thebans say that when the battle of Leuktra was imminent, they sent to other oracles and to enquire of the god of Lebadeia. The replies of the Ismenian and Ptoan Apollo are recorded, also the responses given at Abaiand at Delphi. Trophonios, they say, answered in hexameters:
“Or ever ye join battle with the foe, set up a trophy and deck it with my shield, which impetuous Aristomenes the Messenian placed in my temple. And I will destroy the host of foemen bearing shield.”
{4.32.6} When the oracle was brought, they say that Epameinondas urged Xenocrates, who sent for the shield of Aristomenes and used it to adorn a trophy in a spot where it could be seen by the Lacedaemonians. Those of them who had seen the shield at Lebadeia in peace-time knew it, and all knew it by repute. After their victory the Thebans restored the offering to Trophonios. There is also a bronze statue of Aristomenes in the Messenian running-ground. Not far from the theater is a sanctuary of Sarapis and Isis.
{4.33.1} On the ascent to the summit of Ithome, which is the Messenian acropolis, is a spring Clepsydra. It is a hopeless task, however zealously undertaken, to enumerate all the peoples who claim that Zeus was born and brought up among them. The Messenians have their share in the story for they too say that the god was brought up among them and that his nurses were Ithome and Neda, the river having received its name from the latter, while the former, Ithome, gave her name to the mountain. These nymphs are said to have bathed Zeus here, after he was stolen by the Kouretes owing to the danger that threatened from his father, and it is said that it has its name from the Kouretes' theft. Water is carried every day from the spring to the sanctuary of Zeus of Ithome.
{4.33.2} The statue of Zeus is the work of Ageladas [36] and was made originally for the Messenian settlers in Naupaktos. The priest is chosen annually and keeps the image in his house. [37] They keep an annual festival, the Ithomaia, and originally a musical contest was held. This can be gathered from the epic lines of Eumēlos and other sources. Eumēlos, in his processional hymn to Delos, says:
“For dear to the God of Ithome was the Muse, whose <lute> is pure and free her sandals.
Eumēlos, unknown location
I think that he wrote the lines because he knew that they held a musical contest.
{4.33.3} At the Arcadian gate leading to Megalopolis is a Herm of Attic style; for the square form of Herm is Athenian, and the rest adopted it thence. After a descent of thirty stadium-lengths from the gate is the watercourse of Balyra. The river is said to have got its name from Thamyris throwing (ballein) his lyre away here after his blinding. He was the son of Philammon and the nymph Argiope, who once dwelled on Parnassus, but settled among the Odrysaiwhen pregnant, for Philammon refused to take her into his house. Thamyris is called an Odrysian and Thracian on these grounds. The watercourses Leucasia and Amphitos unite to form one stream.
{4.33.4} When these are crossed, there is a plain called the plain of Stenyclerus. Stenyclerus was a hero, it is said. Facing the plain is a site anciently called Oechalia, in our time the Carnasian grove, thickly grown with cypresses. There are statues of the gods Apollo Karneios <and Hagne>, also Hermes carrying a ram. Hagne (the holy one) is a title of Kore the daughter of Demeter. Water rises from a spring close to the statue.
{4.33.5} I may not reveal the rites of the Great Goddesses, for it is their mysteries which they celebrate in the Carnasian grove, and I regard them as second only to the Eleusinian in sanctity. But my dream did not prevent me from making known to all that the bronze urn, discovered by the Argive general, and the bones of Eurytos the son of Melaneus were kept here. A river Kharadros flows past the grove;
{4.33.6} about eight stadium-lengths along the road to the left are the ruins of Andania. The guides agree that the city got its name from a woman Andania, but I can say nothing as to her parents or her husband. On the road from Andania towards Cyparissiae is Polichne, as it is called, and the streams of Electra and Coeus. The names perhaps are to be connected with Electra the daughter of Atlas and Coeus the father of Leto, or Electra and Coeus may be two local heroes.
{4.33.7} When the Electra is crossed, there is a spring called Achaea, and the ruins of a city Dorion. Homer states [38] that the misfortune of Thamyris took place here in Dorion, because he said that he would overcome the Muses themselves in song. But Prodicus of Phokaia, if the epic called the Minyad [39] is indeed his, says that Thamyris paid the penalty in Hades for his boast against the Muses. My view is that Thamyris lost his eyesight through disease, as happened later to Homer. Homer, however, continued making poetry all his life without giving way to his misfortune, while Thamyris forsook his art through stress of the trouble that afflicted him.
{4.34.1} From Messene to the mouth of the Pamisus is a journey of eighty stadium-lengths. The Pamisus is a pure stream flowing through cultivated lands, and is navigable some ten stadium-lengths from the sea. Sea-fish run up it, especially in spring, as they do up the Rhine and Maeander. The chief run of fish is up the stream of the Akhelōos, which discharges opposite the Echinades islands.
{4.34.2} But the fish that enter the Pamisus are of quite a different kind, as the water is pure and not muddy like the rivers which I have mentioned. The grey mullet, a fish that loves mud, frequents the more turbid streams. The rivers of Greece contain no creatures dangerous to men as do the Indus and the Egyptian Nile, or again the Rhine and Danube, the Euphrates and Phasis. These indeed produce man-eating creatures of the worst, in shape resembling the catfish of the Hermos and Maeander, but of darker color and stronger. In these respects the catfish is inferior.
{4.34.3} The Indus and Nile both contain crocodiles, and the Nile river-horses as well, as dangerous to man as the crocodile. But the rivers of Greece contain no terrors from wild beasts, for the sharks of the Aous, which flows through Thesprotia, are not river beasts but migrants from the sea.
{4.34.4} Corone is a city to the right of the Pamisus, on the sea-coast under Mount Mathia. On this road is a place on the coast regarded as sacred to Ino. For they say that she came up from the sea at this point, after her divinity had been accepted and her name changed from Ino to Leucothea. A short distance further the river Bias reaches the sea. The name is said to be derived from Bias the son of Amythaon. Twenty stadium-lengths off the road is the fountain of Plataniston, the water of which flows out of a broad plane tree, which is hollow inside. The breadth of the tree gives the impression of a small cave; from it the drinking water flows to Corone.
{4.34.5} The old name of Corone was Aepeia, but when the Messenians were restored to Peloponnese by the Thebans, it is said that Epimelides, who was sent as founder, named it Coroneia after his native town in Boeotia. The Messenians got the name wrong from the start, and the mistake which they made gradually prevailed in course of time. Another story is told to the effect that, when digging the foundations of the city wall, they came upon a bronze crow, in Greek corone.
{4.34.6} The gods who have temples here are Artemis, called the “Nurse of Children,” Dionysus and Asklepios. The statues of Asklepios and Dionysus are of stone, but there is a statue of Zeus the Savior in the marketplace made of bronze. The statue of Athena also on the acropolis is of bronze, and stands in the open air, holding a crow in her hand. I also saw the tomb of Epimelides. I do not know why they call the harbor “the harbor of the Achaeans.”
{4.34.7} Some eighty stadium-lengths beyond Corone is a sanctuary of Apollo on the coast, venerated because it is very ancient according to Messenian tradition, and the god cures illnesses. They call him Apollo Corynthus. His image is of wood, but the statue of Apollo Argeotas, said to have been dedicated by the Argonauts, is of bronze.
{4.34.8} The city of Corone is adjoined by Colonides. The inhabitants say that they are not Messenians but settlers from Attica brought by Kolainos, who followed a bird known as the crested lark to found the settlement in accordance with an oracle. They were, however, in the course of time to adopt the dialect and customs of the Dorians. The town of Colonides lies on high ground, a short distance from the sea.
{4.34.9} The people of Asine originally adjoined the Lycoritaion Parnassus. Their name, which they maintained after their arrival in Peloponnese, was Dryopes, from their founder. Two generations after Dryops, in the reign of Phylas, the Dryopes were conquered in battle by Hēraklēs and brought as an offering to Apollo at Delphi. When brought to Peloponnese according to the god's instructions to Hēraklēs, they first occupied Asine by Hermion. They were driven thence by the Argives and lived in Messenia. This was the gift of the Lacedaemonians, and when in the course of time the Messenians were restored, they were not driven from their city by the Messenians.
{4.34.10} But the people of Asine give this account of themselves. They admit that they were conquered by Hēraklēs and their city in Parnassus captured, but they deny that they were made prisoners and brought to Apollo. But when the walls were carried by Hēraklēs, they deserted the town and fled to the heights of Parnassus, and afterwards crossed the sea to Peloponnese and appealed to Eurystheus. Being at feud with Hēraklēs, he gave them Asine in the Argolid.
{4.34.11} The men of Asine are the only members of the people known as the Dryopes to pride themselves on the name to this day. The case is very different with the Euboeans of Styra. They too are Dryopes in origin, who took no part in the battle with Hēraklēs, as they dwelled at some distance from the city. Yet the people of Styra disdain the name of Dryopes, just as the Delphians have refused to be called people of Phokis. But the men of Asine take the greatest pleasure in being called Dryopes, and clearly have made the most holy of their sanctuaries in memory of those which they once had, established on Parnassus. For they have both a temple of Apollo and again a temple and ancient statue of Dryops, whose mysteries they celebrate every year, saying that he is the son of Apollo.
{4.34.12} The town itself lies on the coast just as the old Asine in Argive territory. It is a journey of forty stadium-lengths from Colonides to Asine, and of an equal number from Asine to the promontory called Acritas. Acritas projects into the sea and has a deserted island, Theganussa, lying off it. After Acritas is the harbor Phoinikos and the Oenussae islands lying opposite.
{4.35.1} Before the mustering of the army for the Trojan war, and during the war, Mothone was called Pedasus. Later, as the people themselves say, it received a new name from the daughter of Oineus. They say that Mothone was born of a concubine to Oineus the son of Porthaon, when he had taken refuge with Diomede in Peloponnese after the fall of Troy. But in my view it was the rock Mothon that gave the place its name. It is this which forms their harbor. For projecting under water, it makes the entrance for ships more narrow and also serves as a breakwater against a heavy swell.
{4.35.2} I have shown in earlier passages [40] that, when the Nauplians in the reign of Damocratidas in Argos were expelled for their Laconian sympathies, the Lacedaemonians gave them Mothone, and that no change was made regarding them on the part of the Messenians when they returned. The Nauplians in my view were Egyptians originally, who came by sea with Danaos to the Argolid, and two generations later were settled in Nauplia by Nauplios the son of Amymone.
{4.35.3} The Emperor Trajan granted civic freedom and autonomy to the people of Mothone. In earlier days they were the only people of Messenia on the coast to suffer a disaster like the following: Thesprotian Epeiros was ruined by anarchy. For Deidameia the daughter of Pyrrhos, being without children, handed over the government to the people when she was on the point of death. She was the daughter of Pyrrhos, son of Ptolemy, son of Alexander, son of Pyrrhos.
{4.35.4} I have told the facts relating to Pyrrhos the son of Aiakidēs in my account of the Athenians. [41] Prokles the Carthaginian [42] indeed rated Alexander the son of Philip higher on account of his good fortune and for the brilliance of his achievements, but said that Pyrrhos was the better man in infantry and cavalry tactics and in the invention of stratagems of war.
{4.35.5} When the people of Epeiros were rid of their kings, the people threw off all control and disdained to listen to their magistrates, and the Illyrians who live on the Ionian sea above Epeiros reduced them by a raid. We have yet to hear of a democracy bringing prosperity to a nation other than the Athenians; the Athenians attained to greatness by its means, for they surpassed the Greek world in native wit, and least disregarded the established laws.
{4.35.6} Now the Illyrians, having tasted empire and being always desirous of more, built ships, and plundering others whom they fell in with, put in to the coast of Mothone and anchored as in a friendly port. Sending a messenger to the city they asked for wine to be brought to their ships. A few men came with it and they bought the wine at the price which the inhabitants asked, and themselves sold a part of their cargo.
{4.35.7} When on the following day a larger number arrived from the town, they allowed them also to make their profit. Finally women and men came down to the ships to sell wine and trade with the barbarians. Thereupon by a bold stroke the Illyrians carried off a number of men and still more of the women. Carrying them on board ship, they set sail for the Ionian sea, having desolated the city of the Mothonaeans.
{4.35.8} In Mothone is a temple of Athena Of the Winds, with a statue dedicated, it is said, by Diomede, who gave the goddess her name. The country being damaged by violent and unseasonable blasts, Diomede prayed to the goddess, and henceforward no disaster caused by the winds has visited their country. There is also a shrine of Artemis here and water in a well mixed with pitch, in appearance very like the iris-oil of Cyzicos. Water can assume every color and scent.
{4.35.9} The bluest that I know from personal experience is that at Thermopylae, not all of it, but that which flows into the swimming-baths, called locally the Women's Pots. Red water, in color like blood, is found in the land of the Hebrews near the city of Joppa. The water is close to the sea, and the account which the natives give of the spring is that Perseus, after destroying the sea monster, to which the daughter of Cepheus was exposed, washed off the blood in the spring.
{4.35.10} I have myself seen water coming up black from springs at Astyra. Astyra opposite Lesbos is the name of the hot baths in the district called Atarneus. It was this Atarneus, which the Chians received as a reward from the Persians as a reward for surrendering the suppliant, Pactyas the Lydian. [43] This water then has a black color; but the Romans have a white water, above the city across the river called Anio. When a man enters it, he is at first attacked with cold and shivering, but after a little time it warms him like the hottest drug.
{4.35.11} All these springs that had something wonderful to show I have seen myself. For I pass over the less wonderful that I know, and it is no great marvel to find water that is salt and harsh. But there are two other kinds. The water in the White Plain, as it is called, in Caria, by the village with the name Dascylou Come, is warm and sweeter than milk to drink. I know that Herodotus says that a spring of bitter water flows into the river Hypanis. We can assuredly admit the truth of his statement, when in our days at Dicaearchia (Puteoli), in the land of the Tyrrhenians, a hot spring has been found, so acid that in a few years it dissolved the lead through which its water passed.
{4.36.1} It is a journey of about a hundred stadium-lengths from Mothone to the promontory of Coryphasium, on which Pylos lies. This was founded by Pylos the son of Kleson, bringing from the Megarid the Leleges who then occupied the country. But he did not enjoy it, as he was driven out by Neleus and the Pelasgians of Iolcos, on which he departed to the adjoining country and there occupied the Pylos in Elis. When Neleus became king, he raised Pylos to such renown that Homer in his epics calls it the city of Neleus. [44]
{4.36.2} It contains a sanctuary of Athena with the title Coryphasia, and a house called the house of Nestor, in which there is a painting of him. His tomb is inside the city; the tomb at a little distance from Pylos is said to be the tomb of Thrasymedes. There is a cave inside the town, in which it is said that the cattle belonging to Nestor and to Neleus before him were kept.
{4.36.3} These cattle must have been of Thessalian stock, having once belonged to Iphiklos the father of Protesilaos. Neleus demanded these cattle as bride gifts for his daughter from her suitors, and it was on their account that Melampos went to Thessaly to gratify his brother Bias. He was put in bonds by the herdsmen of Iphiklos, but received them as his reward for the prophecies which he gave to Iphiklos at his request. So it seems the men of those days made it their business to amass wealth of this kind, herds of horses and cattle, if it is the case that Nestor desired to get possession of the cattle of Iphiklos and that Eurystheus, in view of the reputation of the Iberian cattle, ordered Hēraklēs to drive off the herd of Geryones.
{4.36.4} Eryx too, who was reigning then in Sicily, plainly had so violent a desire for the cattle from Erytheia that he wrestled with Hēraklēs, staking his kingdom on the match against these cattle. As Homer says in the Iliad, [45] a hundred kine were the first of the bride gifts paid by Iphidamas the son of Antenor to his bride's father. This confirms my argument that the men of those days took the greatest pleasure in cattle.
{4.36.5} But the cattle of Neleus were pastured for the most part across the border, I think. For the country of the Pylians in general is sandy and unable to provide so much grazing. Homer testifies to this, when he mentions Nestor, always adding that he was king of sandy Pylos.
{4.36.6} The island of Sphakteria lies in front of the harbor just as Rheneia off the anchorage at Delos. It seems that places hitherto unknown have been raised to fame by the fortunes of men. For Caphereus in Euboea is famous since the storm that here befell the Greeks with Agamemnon on their voyage from Troy. Psyttaleia by Salamis we know from the destruction of the Persians there. In like manner the Lacedaemonian reverse made Sphakteria known to all mankind. The Athenians dedicated a bronze statue of Victory also on the acropolis as a memorial of the events at Sphakteria.
{4.36.7} When Cyparissiae is reached from Pylos, there is a spring below the city near the sea, the water of which they say gushed forth for Dionysus when he struck he ground with a thyrsus. For this reason they call the spring Dionysias. There is a shrine of Apollo in Cyparissiae and of Athena with the title Cyparissia. In the depression called Aulon there is a temple and statue of Asklepios Aulonios. Here flows the river Neda, forming the boundary between Messenia and Elis.

Footnotes

[ back ] 1. Iliad 2.591.
[ back ] 2. Rhianus of Bene in Crete. See note on Pausanias 4.6.1.
[ back ] 3. Pausanias 4.33.5.
[ back ] 4. Pausanias 2.21.7, 3.1.4.
[ back ] 5. PindarNemean 10.61.
[ back ] 6. Iliad 11.596.
[ back ] 7. Pausanias 4.2.18.
[ back ] 8. 764 BCE.
[ back ] 9. 743 BCE.
[ back ] 10. Myron of Priene is of unknown date. Rhianus of Bene in Crete was of the third century BCE, a Homeric scholar and the author of various works of a mythological and quasi-historical character. Besides his Messeniaca, largely used by the author in the present account, we hear of his Heracleia, Achaica, Eliaca, and Thessalica.
[ back ] 11. 724 BCE.
[ back ] 12. 685 BCE.
[ back ] 13. Iliad 2.582.
[ back ] 14. 668 BCE.
[ back ] 15. 664 BCE.
[ back ] 16. 464 BCE.
[ back ] 17. 370 BCE.
[ back ] 18. Pausanias 1.25.4.
[ back ] 19. Iliad 16.281.
[ back ] 20. Iliad 10.220.
[ back ] 21. Iliad 8.517.
[ back ] 22. See, however, Polybius 3.19, where it is stated that it was Demetrios of Pharos who made the raid.
[ back ] 23. Pausanias 2.9.5.
[ back ] 24. Pausanias 2.9.2.
[ back ] 25. Pausanias 8.51.5 ff.
[ back ] 26. Iliad 9.150.
[ back ] 27. Iliad 5.541.
[ back ] 28. Iliad 5.333; 21.483; 5.429.
[ back ] 29. A sixth-century artist of Chios, the son of Arkhermos. With his brother Athenis he is said to have caricatured the poet Hipponax (Pliny NH 36.11). Other works of his at Smyrna and at Ephesos are mentioned in Pausanias 9.35.6.
[ back ] 30. Iliad 9.151, 293.
[ back ] 31. The date of Damophon of Messene has now been fixed in the first half of the second century BCE (see Dickins, Annual of the British School at Athens, xii. pp. 109, seqq.). For his work at Lycosura see Pausanias 7.23.5-7.
[ back ] 32. Pausanias 7.18.8.
[ back ] 33. Pausanias 3.26.3.
[ back ] 34. Pausanias 3.19.4. Nothing further is known of his pupil Omphalion.
[ back ] 35. Iliad 10.122.
[ back ] 36. See also Pausanias 6.8.6; 6.10.6; 6.14.11, where the athletes commemorated were victorious between the years 520 and 508 BCE.
[ back ] 37. Cf. Pausanias 7.24.4.
[ back ] 38. Iliad 2.594.
[ back ] 39. Pausanias 10.28.2.
[ back ] 40. Pausanias 4.24.4; 27.8
[ back ] 41. Pausanias 1.1.11-13
[ back ] 42. Pausanias 2.21.6.
[ back ] 43. Herodotus 1.160,
[ back ] 44. Iliad 11.632; Odyssey 3.4.
[ back ] 45. Iliad 11.244.