PATRAI (Ancient city) ACHAIA
The Earth, as has appeared already, was to the primitive populations almost the chief discloser of the future (thus, originally, at Delphi). The oracle of Earth (gaia) at Aegira in Achaia, mentioned by Pliny (xxviii. § 147), may be a mistake of that writer (cf. Pausan. vii. 25, § 13); but at Patrae, not far from Aegira, Earth, associated with Demeter (i. e. Ge meter) and Persephone, gave oracles respecting the sick. A mirror was let down by a rope into a sacred well, so as to float upon the surface. Prayers were then performed and incense offered, whereupon the image of the sick person was seen in the mirror either as a corpse or in a state of recovery. (Pausan. ii. 24, § 1.)
On the acropolis of Patrae is a sanctuary of Artemis Laphria. The surname of the goddess is a foreign one, and her image too was brought in from elsewhere.
The Ionians who lived in Aroe, Antheia and Mesatis had in common a precinct and a temple of Artemis surnamed Triclaria.
The surname of the god inside the chest is Aesymnetes ( Dictator),
and his chief attendants are nine men, elected by the people from all the citizens
for their reputation, and women equal in number to the men. On one night of the
festival the priest carries the chest outside. Now this is a privilege that this
night has received, and there go down to the river Meilichus a certain number
of the native children, wearing on their heads garlands of corn-ears. It was in
this way that they used to array of old those whom they led to be sacrificed to
On the way to the lower city there is a sanctuary of the Dindymenian Mother, and in it Attis too is worshipped. Of him they have no image to show; that of the Mother is of stone.
Beyond the Olympian is an image of Hera and a sanctuary of Apollo. The god is of bronze, and naked. On his feet are sandals, and one foot stands upon the skull of an ox. That Apollo takes great pleasure in oxen is shown by Alcaeus in his hymn to Hermes.
Near this precinct the people of Patrae have other sanctuaries. These are not in the open, but there is an entrance to them through the porticoes. The image of Asclepius, save for the drapery, is of stone.
Near this precinct the people of Patrae have other sanctuaries. These are not in the open, but there is an entrance to them through the porticoes. Athena is made of ivory and gold.
In this part of the city is also a sanctuary of Dionysus surnamed Calydonian, for the image of Dionysus too was brought from Calydon.
As you go lower down from the Dictator there is another sanctuary with an image of stone. It is called the sanctuary of Recovery, and the story is that it was originally founded by Eurypylus on being cured of his madness.
In Patrae, not far from that of Poseidon, are sanctuaries of Aphrodite. One of the two images was drawn up by fishermen in a net a generation before my time.
Next to the grove is a sanctuary of Demeter; she and her daughter
are standing, but the image of Earth is seated. Before the sanctuary of Demeter
is a spring. On the side of this towards the temple stands a wall of stones, while
on the outer side has been made a descent to the spring. Here there is an infallible
oracle, not indeed for everything, but only in the case of sick folk. They tie
a mirror to a fine cord and let it down, judging the distance so that it does
not sink deep into the spring, but just far enough to touch the water with its
rim. Then they pray to the goddess and burn incense, after which they look into
the mirror, which shows them the patient either alive or dead.
There is also at Patrae a sanctuary of Asclepius. This sanctuary is beyond the acropolis near the gate leading to Mesatis
On the market-place, in the open, is an image of Athena.
Next to the market-place is the Music Hall, where has been dedicated an Apollo well worth seeing. It was made from the spoils taken when alone of the Achaeans the people of Patrae helped the Aetolians against the army of the Gauls.
As you leave the market-place of Patrae, where the sanctuary of Apollo is, at this exit is a gate, upon which stand gilt statues, Patreus, Preugenes, and Atherion; the two latter are represented as boys, because Patreus is a boy in age.
Near to the theater there is a precinct sacred to a native lady. Here are images of Dionysus, equal in number to the ancient cities, and named after them Mesateus, Antheus and Aroeus. These images at the festival of Dionysus they bring into the sanctuary of the Dictator.
There are also quite near to the harbor two images of bronze, one of Ares and the other of Apollo.
Within the precincts of Laphria is a temple of Athena surnamed Panachaean. The image is of ivory and gold.
In the marketplace is a temple of Olympian Zeus; the god himself is on a throne with Athena standing by it. Beyond the Olympian is an image of Hera
Opposite the marketplace by this exit is a precinct and temple
of Artemis, the Lady of the Lake. When the Dorians were now in possession of Lacedaemon
and Argos, it is said that Preugenes, in obedience to a dream, stole from Sparta
the image of our Lady of the Lake, and that he had as partner in his exploit the
most devoted of his slaves. The image from Lacedaemon is usually kept at Mesoa,
because it was to this place that it was originally brought by Preugenes. But
when the festival of our Lady is being held, one of the slaves of the goddess
comes from Mesoa bringing the ancient wooden image to the precinct in the city.
Not far from the theater is a temple of Nemesis, and another of Aphrodite. The images are colossal and of white marble.
At the harbor is a temple of Poseidon with a standing image of stone.
They have also a grove by the sea, affording in summer weather very agreeable walks and a pleasant means generally of passing the time. In this grove are also two temples of divinities, one of Apollo, the other of Aphrodite. The images of these too are made of stone.
On the market-place, in the open, is an image of Athena with the grave of Patreus in front of it.
Before the sanctuary of Athena is the tomb of Preugenes. Every year they sacrifice to Preugenes as to a hero, and likewise to Patreus also, when the festival of our Lady is being held.
In like manner he (Alkibiades) persuaded the people of Patrae to attach their city to the sea by long walls.
The image of Aphrodite, whose precinct too is by the harbor, has its face, hands and feet of stone, while the rest of the figure is made of wood.
Next to the market-place is the Music Hall. The Music Hall is in every way the finest in Greece, except, of course, the one at Athens.
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