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Ancient literary sources (6)

Strabo

Cauconians

There are several accounts of the Cauconians; for it is said that, like the Pelasgians, they were an Arcadian tribe, and, again like the Pelasgians, that they were a wandering tribe. At any rate, the poet tells us that they came to Troy as allies of the Trojans. But he does not say whence they come, though they seem to have come from Paphlagonia; for in Paphlagonia there is a people called Cauconiatae whose territory borders on that of the Mariandyni, who are themselves Paphlagonians. But I shall speak of them at greater length when I come to my description of that region. At present I must add the following to my account of the Cauconians in Triphylia. Some say that the whole of what is. now called Eleia, from Messenia as far as Dyme, was called Cauconia. Antimachus, at any rate, calls all the inhabitants both Epeians and Cauconians.


Others, however, say that the Cauconians did not occupy the whole of Eleia, but lived there in two separate divisions, one division in Triphylia near Messenia, and the other in Buprasis and Coele Elis near Dyme. And Aristotle has knowledge of their having been established at this latter place especially. And in fact the last view agrees better with what Homer says, and furnishes a solution of the question asked above, for in this view it is assumed that Nestor lived in the Triphylian Pylus, and that the parts towards the south and east (that is, the parts that are contiguous to Messenia and the Laconian country) were subject to him; and these parts were held by the Cauconians, so that if one went by land from Pylus to Lacedaemon his journey necessarily must have been made through the territory of the Cauconians; and yet the temple of the Samian Poseidon and the mooring-place near it, where Telemachus landed, lie off towards the northwest.


So then, if the Cauconians live only here, the account of the poet is not conserved; for instance, Athene, according to Sotades, bids Nestor to send Telemachus to Lacedaemon "with chariot and son" to the parts that lie towards the east, and yet she says that she herself will go to the ship to spend the night, towards the west, and back the same way she came, and she goes on to say that "in the morning" she will go "amongst the great-hearted Cauconians" to collect a debt, that is, she will go forward again. How, pray? For Nestor might have said: "But the Cauconians are my subjects and live near the road that people travel to Lacedaemon. Why, therefore, do you not travel with Telemachus and his companions instead of going back the same way you came?"


And at the same time it would have been proper for one who was going to people subject to Nestor to collect a debt--"no small debt," as she says--to request aid from Nestor, if there should be any unfairness (as is usually the case) in connection with the contract; but this she did not do. If, then, the Cauconians lived only there, the result would be absurd; but if some of the Cauconians had been separated from the rest and had gone to the regions near Dyme in Eleia, then Athene would be speaking of her journey thither, and there would no longer be anything incongruous either in her going down to the ship or in her withdrawing from the company of travellers, because their roads lay in opposite directions. And similarly, too, the puzzling questions raised in regard to Pylus may find an appropriate solution when, a little further on in my chorography, I reach the Messenian Pylus.


Since certain people in Triphylia near Messenia are called Cauconians, and since Dyme also is called Cauconian by some writers, and since in the Dymaean territory between Dyme and Tritaea there is also a river which is called Caucon, in the feminine gender, writers raise the question whether there are not two different sets of Cauconians, one in the region of Triphylia, and the other in the region of Dyme, Elis, and the River Caucon. This river empties into another river which is called Teutheas, in the masculine gender; Teutheas has the same name as one of the little towns which were incorporated into Dyme, except that the name of this town, "Teuthea," is in the feminine gender, and is spelled without the s and with the last syllable long. In this town is the temple of the Nemydian Artemis. The Teutheas empties into the Achelous which flows by Dyme and has the same name as the Acarnanian river. It is also called the "Peirus"; by Hesiod


the poet (Homer) seems to designate a certain territory in the country of the Epeians which was held by the Cauconians, these Cauconians being a different set from those in Triphylia and perhaps extending as far as the territory of Dyme. Indeed, one should not fail to inquire both into the origin of the epithet of Dyme, "Cauconian," and into the origin of the name of the river "Caucon,"


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