Page 0454


variety of lake and valley and pasture. In character both the country and its inhabitants

resembled Epirus with her half-savage tribes of semi-Grecians. The Acarnanians were for

the most part a race of shepherds, who at times abandoned their pastures for the chase and

war. At no time in their history-their peninsular position with the presence of good

harbors seemed to suggest maritime enterprise- did they engage to any considerable extent

in commercial pursuits. Like the Epirotes, they were somewhat contemptuously regarded by

the more civilized states of the eastern coast, and were not much consulted in the great

transactions, of Grecian history.

PELOPONNESUS--meaning "the Island of King Pelops," by whom, according to tradition, the

country was colonized-has an area of a little more than eight thousand square miles. It

has the general shape of a maple leaf, the stem resting at Aegium, on the gulf of Corinth.

The country was divided politically into eleven states: Corinth, Sicyonia, Achaia, Elis,

Areadia, Messenia, Laconia, Argolis, Epidauria, Troezenia, and Hermionis.

The first two, CORINTH and SICYONIA, were small districts on the east and west sides of

the isthmus. They were so named from their principal cities, and embraced merely the

surrounding plains and hills to the extent of a few hundred square miles of territory. In

later times they were both regarded as included in, the large state of ARGOLIS. EPIDAURIA,

like- wise, lying on the Saronic gulf, was but the small district surrounding the city of

Epidaurus, near the coast. This, too, was embraced in the territory of the Argives. The

lower extreme of the same peninsula received the local name of HERMIONIS from the town of

Hermione, which gave it its only importance.

The state of ACHAIA extended along the greater part of the northern coast of Peloponnesus,

resting for sixty-five miles on the Corinthian gulf. It was that part of the maple leaf

which supported the stem. It had the general character of the other districts already

described, being hilly and rugged, with occasional pastures intervening. The most

important town was Patrae,

which, under the name of Patras, is still known in Grecian geography. The country was

first settled by the Ionians, but these were dispossessed by the Achaeans, on the occasion

of the Dorian conquest of Peloponnesus.

ELIS lay on the Ionian sea, from the promontory of Araxus to the river Neda. Its greatest

breadth was thirty-five miles, and its area about one thousand square miles. The mountains

in this western part of Southern Greece fall away in slopes to the sea, and Elis presents,

for a country so limited in extent, a considerable amount of level land. The city of Elis

occupied the largest plain, between the Alpheus and the Peneus rivers. The north-eastern

portion, however, was as mountainous as any other district in the country.

ARCADIA was the only state of Southern Greece which had no sea-coast. Next to Laconia, it

was the largest division of Peloponnesus, having an area of one thousand seven hundred

square miles. Of all Greece this was the most picturesque region, nor would it be easy to

find its parallel in the world. It was a country of mountains and forests and meadow-

lands, fountains and water-brooks, glens and grottoes. Here rise Mounts Cyllene, Lycaeiis,

and Erymanthus. Here the river Alpheus gathers its waters, and here lake Stymphalis

spreads its crystal sheet. Everywhere the eye is delighted with that endless vicissitude

of beauty which never tires and never cloys. Without seaports, the country had no

commercial enterprise.

The ancient inhabitants were Pelasgians, a race of rough shepherds and hunters, who were

with difficulty transformed into more civilized conditions. They were, nevertheless, a

peaceable, quiet tribe, given to music and dancing. It thus happened that in all polite

languages of modern times the term "Arcadian" has come to signify either beauty of natural

scenery or rusticity of manners. In the epoch of Greek heroism the. inhabitants of this

state became a brave and martial people, but none of their captains achieved in the field

a great military fame. The four principal cities of Areadia were Mantinea, Tegea,

Archomenus, and Megalopolis, the