CHAPTER XXXVI-THE COUNTRY.
GREECE, the easternmost of the three peninsulas which from the south of Europe drop into
the Mediterranean, was in her palmy days the scene of the most extraordinary activities
ever displayed by the human race. The name GREECE was not given to the country by the
Greeks themselves, by whom the land was immemorially called HELLAS, and themselves
HELLENES. The words Greece and Greeks were brought into use by the writers of Rome, who
for some reason adopted the name of the petty tribe called the Graeci as an appellative of
the whole race.
A sketch of a land so noted as Hellas can hardly fail of interest. The country lies
between parallels thirty-six and forty of north latitude, and the meridians twenty- one
and twenty-six of longitude east from Greenwich. The length of the peninsula from Mount
Olympus to the southernmost cape Is two hundred and fifty miles, and the breadth from
Attica to Acarnania one hundred and eighty miles. The area (though difficult of exact
determination) maybe fairly estimated at thirty-four thousand square miles-a district but
little larger than the State of Indiana; but this estimate does not include the many Greek
islands, proximate or more remote from the main-land, which, inhabited by the same race
and running the same course in history, might well be included in the aggregate
The peninsula is sharply defined on the north by the OLYMPIAN and CAMBUNIAN mountains.
These have a general course from east to west, and extend from the Thermaic gulf to the
promontory of Acroceraunia, on the Adriatic. But the country lying south of this range
includes not only Greece proper but also Epirus on the west. The transverse range, which
constitutes the fundamental fact in the geological structure of the peninsula, is called
the PINDUS, which, starting from the southern slope of Olympus, stretches southward, and
dividing and branching and sinking in elevation, straggles through the isthmus and finally
terminates in the cape or headland of Taenarus. Epirus and Thessaly in the north are thus
divided by a lofty chain.
On the east side of Pindus, below Thessaly, the spur-range of OTHRYS strikes off to the
coast, thus inclosing between itself