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Information about the place (6)
Perseus Project index
Total results on 13/7/2001: 76 for Cephallenia, 6 for Cephalenia, 9 for Kephallenia, 4 for Cephallonia, 1 for Kephalonia.
The largest of the Ionian
Islands, along the western coast of Greece.
Cephalonia owes its name to the mythological hero Cephalus, son of
Deion and of Diomede. After Cephalus had killed his wife, he was exiled from Athens
by the Areopagus and joined Amphitryon, then in exile in Thebes,
whom he helped in his war against the Taphians, the inhabitants of the nearby
island of Taphos. After the
war was over, Cephalus settled in the island that was named Cephallenia (now Cephalonia)
after him Cephalus is sometimes listed as the father, or grandfather, of Arcisius,
the father of Laertius, who became king of the nearby island of Ithaca
and was the father of Ulysses.
Bernard Suzanne (page last updated 1998), ed.
This extract is cited July 2003 from the Plato and his dialogues URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
The modern Cefalonia; called by Homer Same (Same) or Samos (Samos);
the largest island in the Ionian Sea, separated from Ithaca by a narrow channel.
It is very mountainous. Its chief towns were Same, Pale, Cranii, and Proni. It
never obtained political importance. It is now one of the seven Ionian islands
ceded by Great Britain to Greece in 1864.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Cephallenia (Kephallenia, Kephalenia: Eth. Kephallen, pl. Kephallenes,
Kephallenios: Cephalonia), called by Homer Same (Same, Od. i. 246, ix. 24) or
Samos (Samos, Il. ii. 634, Od. iv. 671), the largest island in the Ionian Sea,
opposite the Corinthian gulf and the coast of Acarnania. Along the northern half
of the eastern coast of Cephallenia lies the small island of Ithaca, which is
separated from it by a narrow channel about three miles in breadth. (Comp. Hom.
Od. iv. 671.) Strabo says that Cephallenia was distant from the promontory Leucata
in the island of Leucas about 50 stadia (others said 40), and from the promontory
Chelonatas, the nearest point in the Peloponnesus, about 80 stadia. (Strab. x.
p. 456.) Pliny describes it as 25 (Roman) miles from Zacynthus. (Plin. iv. 12.
s. 19.) The first of these distances is tolerably correct; but the other two are
erroneous. From C. Viscardo, the most northerly point of Cephallenia, to C. Dukato
(the ancient Leucata), the distance is 5 English miles, or about 40 stadia; but
from C. Scala, the most southerly point in Cephallenia, to C. Tornese, the nearest
point in the Morea, the distance is 23 miles, or about 196 stadia; while from
C. Scala to the northernmost part of Zacynthus the real distance is only 8 miles.
The size of Cephallenia is variously stated by the ancient writers.
Strabo makes it only 300 stadia in circuit. Pliny (l. c., according to Sillig's
edition) says that it is 93 miles in circumference; and Agathemerus (i. 5) that
it is 400 stadia in length, both of which measurements are nearer the truth, though
that of Agathemerus is too great. The greatest length of the island is 31 English
miles. Its breadth is very unequal: in the middle of the island, where a bay extends
eight miles into the land, the breadth is about 8 miles, but in the northern part
it is nearly double that distance. The area of the island is about 348 square
Cephallenia is correctly described by Strabo as a mountainous country.
Homer in like manner gives to it the epithet of paipaloesse (Od. iv. 671). A ridge
of calcareous mountains runs across the island from NW. to SE., the lower declivities
of which cover nearly the whole island. The highest summit of this range, which
rises to the height of about 4000 feet, was called Aenus (Hainos), and upon it
was a temple of Zeus Aenesius. (Strab. l. c.) From this mountain, which is now
covered with a forest of firtrees, whence its modern name, Elato, there is a splendid
view over Acarnania, Aetolia, and the neighbouring islands. There was also a mountain
called Baea (Baia) according to Stephanus, said to have been named after the pilot
of Ulysses. The principal plain in Cephallenia is that of Same, on the eastern
side of the island, which is about 6 miles in length from N. to S., and about
3 miles in width at the sea. From the mountainous character of the island, it
could never have been very productive. Hence Livy (xxxviii. 28) describes the
inhabitants as a poor people. We read on one occasion of good crops of corn in
the neighbourhood of Pale. (Pol. v. 5.) Leake observes that the soil is rocky
in the mountainous districts, and stony even in the plains; but the productions
are generally good in their kind, particularly the wine. Want of water is the
great defect of the island. There is not a single constantly flowing stream: the
sources are neither numerous nor plentiful, and many of them fail entirely in
dry summers, creating sometimes a great distress.
The island, as has been already remarked, is called Same or Samos
in Homer. Its earliest inhabitants appear to have been Taphians, as was the case
in the neighbouring islands. (Strab. x. p. 461.) It is said to have derived its
name from Cephalus, who made himself master of the island with the help of Amphitryon.
(Strab. x. p. 456; Schol. ad Lycophr. 930; Paus. i. 37. § 6; Heraclid. Pont. Fragm.
xvii. p. 213, ed. Korai.) Even in Homer the inhabitants of the island are called
Cephallenes, and are described as the subjects of Ulysses (Il. ii. 631, Od. xx.
210, xxiv. 355); but Cephallenia, as the name of the island, first occurs in Herodotus
(ix. 28). Scylax calls it Cephalenia (Kephalenia, with a single l), and places
it in the neighbourhood of Leucas and Alyzia.
Cephallenia was a tetrapolis, containing the four states of Same,
Pale, Cranii, and Proni. This division of the island appears to have been a very
ancient one, since a legend derived the names of the four cities from the names
of the four sons of Cephalus. (Etym. M. s. v. Kephallenia; Steph. B. s. v. Kranioi.)
Of these states Same was probably the most ancient, as it is mentioned by Homer
(Od. xx. 288). The names of all the four cities first occur in Thucydides. (Thuc.
ii. 30; comp. Strab. x. p. 455; Paus. vi. 15. § 7.) An account of these cities
is given separately; but as none of them became of much importance, the history
of the island may be dismissed in a few words. In the Persian wars the Cephallenians
took no part, with the exception of the inhabitants of Pale, two hundred of whose
citizens fought at the battle of Plataea. (Herod. ix. 28.) At the commencement
of the Peloponnesian war a large Athenian fleet visited the island, which joined
the Athenian alliance without offering any resistance. (Thuc. ii. 30.) In the
Roman wars in Greece the Cephallenians were opposed to the Romans; and accordingly,
after the conquest of the Aetolians, M. Fulvius was sent against the island with
a sufficient force, B.C. 189. The other cities at once submitted, with the exception
of Same, which was taken after a siege of four months. (Pol. iv. 6, v. 3, xxii.
13, 23; Liv. xxxvii. 13, xxxviii. 28, 29.) Under the Romans Cephallenia was a
libera civitas. (Plin. iv. 12. s. 19.) The island was given by Hadrian to the
Athenians (Dion Cass. lix. 16); but even after that event we find Pale called
in an inscription eleuthera kai autonomos. (Bockh, Inscr. No. 340.) In the time
of Ptolemy (iii. 14. § 12) Cephallenia was included in the province of Epeirus.
After the division of the Roman empire, the island was subject to the Byzantine
empire till the 12th century, when it passed into the hands of the Franks. It
formed part of the dominions of the Latin princes of Achaia till A.D. 1224, when
it became subject to the Venetians, in whose hands it remained (with the exception
of a temporary occupation by the Turks) till the fall of the Republic in 1797.
It is now one of the seven Ionian islands under the protection of Great Britain.
In 1833 the population was 56,447.
Of the four cities already mentioned, Same and Proni were situated
on the east coast, Cranii on the west coast, and Pale on the eastern side of a
bay on the west coast. Besides these four ancient cities, there are also ruins
of a fifth upon C. Scala, the SE. point of the island. These ruins are of the
Roman period, and probably those of the city, which C. Antonius, the colleague
of Cicero in his consulship, commenced building, when he was residing in Cephallenia
after his banishment from Italy. (Strab. x. p. 455). Ptolemy mentions a town Cephalenia
as the capital of the island. This may have been either the town commenced by
Antonius, or is perhaps represented by the modern castle of St. George in the
middle of the plain of Livadho in the south-western part of the island, where
ancient remains have been found. Besides these cities, it appears from several
Hellenic names still remaining, that there were other smaller towns or fortresses
in the island. On a peninsula in the northern part of the island, commanding two
harbours, is a fortress called Asso; and as there is a piece of Hellenic wall
in the modern castle, Leake conjectures that here stood an ancient fortress named
Assus. Others suppose that as Livy (xxxviii. 18) mentions the Nesiotae, along
with the Cranii, Palenses, and Samaei, there was an ancient place called Nesus,
of which Asso may be a corruption ; but we think it more probable that Nesiotae
is a false reading for Pronesiotae, the ethnic form of Pronesus, the name which
Strabo gives to Proni, one of the members of the Tetrapolis. Further south on
the western coast is Tafio, where many ancient sepulchres are found: this is probably
the site of Taphus (Taphos), a Cephallenian town mentioned by Stephanus. Rakli,
on the south-eastern coast, points to an ancient town Heracleia; and the port
of Viskardho is evidently the ancient Panormus (Panormos), opposite Ithaca (Anthol.
Gr. vol. ii. p. 99, ed. Jacobs). (Kruse, Hellas, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 431, seq.;
Leake, Northern Greece, vol. iii. p. 55, seq.)
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)