Ancient literary sources MITHYMNA (Ancient city) LESVOS - GTP - Greek Travel Pages
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Ancient literary sources (8)

Perseus Encyclopedia

Methymna

Thucydides

After this, during the same summer, the Chians, whose zeal continued as active as ever, and who even without the Peloponnesians found themselves in sufficient force to effect the revolt of the cities and also wished to have as many companions in peril as possible, made an expedition with thirteen ships of their own to Lesbos; the instructions from Lacedaemon being to go to that island next, and from thence to the Hellespont. Meanwhile the land forces of the Peloponnesians who were with the Chians and of the allies on the spot, moved along shore for Clazomenae and Cuma, under the command of Eualas, a Spartan; while the fleet under Diniades, one of the Perioeci, first sailed up to Methymna and caused it to revolt, and, leaving four ships there, with the rest procured the revolt of Mitylene.

This extract is from: Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War (ed. Richard Crawley, 1910). Cited Sept 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Methymna during the Peloponnesean war

Immediately after the invasion of the Peloponnesians all Lesbos, except Methymna, revolted from the Athenians.

About the same time that the Lacedaemonians were at the Isthmus, the Mitylenians marched by land with their mercenaries against Methymna, which they thought to gain by treachery. After assaulting the town, and not meeting with the success that they anticipated, they withdrew to Antissa, Pyrrha, and Eresus; and taking measures for the better security of these towns and strengthening their walls, hastily returned home. After their departure the Methymnians marched against Antissa, but were defeated in a sortie by the Antissians and their mercenaries, and retreated in haste after losing many of their number. Word of this reaching Athens, and the Athenians learning that the Mitylenians were masters of the country and their own soldiers unable to hold them in check, they sent out about the beginning of autumn Paches, son of Epicurus, to take the command, and a thousand Athenian heavy infantry; who worked their own passage, and arriving at Mitylene, built a single wall all round it, forts being erected at some of the strongest points. Mitylene was thus blockaded strictly on both sides, by land and by sea, and winter now drew near.

This extract is from: Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War (ed. Richard Crawley, 1910). Cited Sept 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Meanwhile Thrasyllus had heard of his having put out from Miletus, and immediately set sail with fifty-five ships from Samos, in haste to arrive before him in the Hellespont. But learning that he was at Chios, and expecting that he would stay there, he posted scouts in Lesbos and on the continent opposite to prevent the fleet moving without his knowing it, and himself coasted along to Methymna, and gave orders to prepare meal and other necessaries, in order to attack them from Lesbos in the event of their remaining for any length of time at Chios. Meanwhile he resolved to sail against Eresus, a town in Lesbos which had revolted, and, if he could, to take it. For some of the principal Methymnian exiles had carried over about fifty heavy infantry, their sworn associates, from Cuma, and hiring others from the continent, so as to make up three hundred in all, chose Anaxander, a Theban, to command them, on account of the community of blood existing between the Thebans and the Lesbians, and first attacked Methymna. Baulked in this attempt by the advance of the Athenian guards from Mitylene, and repulsed a second time in a battle outside the city, they then crossed the mountain and effected the revolt of Eresus. Thrasyllus accordingly determined to go there with all his ships and to attack the place. Meanwhile Thrasybulus had preceded him thither with five ships from Samos, as soon as he heard that the exiles had crossed over, and coming too late to save Eresus, went on and anchored before the town. Here they were joined also by two vessels on their way home from the Hellespont, and by the ships of the Methymnians, making a grand total of sixty-seven vessels; and the forces on board now made ready with engines and every other means available to do their utmost to storm Eresus.

This extract is from: Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War (ed. Richard Crawley, 1910). Cited Sept 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Xenophon

Methymna during the Peloponnesean war

While they ((The Athenians) were at anchor in the harbour of Methymna, in Lesbos, they saw sailing past them from Ephesus the twenty-five Syracusan ships; and putting out to the attack they captured four of them, men and all, and chased the rest back to Ephesus.

Strabo

Now as one sails from Lectum to Assus, the Lesbian country begins at Sigrium (Sigrium is the westernmost promontory of Lesbos island), its promontory on the north. In this general neighborhood is also Methymna, a city of the Lesbians, sixty stadia distant from the coast that stretches from Polymedium to Assus. But while the perimeter which is filled out by the island as a whole is eleven hundred stadia, the several distances are as follows: From Methymna to Malia, the southernmost promontory to one keeping the island on the right, I mean at the point where Canae lies most directly opposite the island and precisely corresponds with it, the distance is three hundred and forty stadia; thence to Sigrium, which is the length of the island, five hundred and sixty; and then to Methymna, two hundred and ten. Mitylene, the largest city, lies between Methymna and Malia, being seventy stadia distant from Malia, one hundred and twenty from Canae, and the same distance from the Arginussae, which are three small islands lying near the mainland alongside Canae. In the interval between Mitylene and Methymna, in the neighborhood of a village called Aegeirus in the Methymnaean territory, the island is narrowest, with a passage of only twenty stadia over to the Euripus of the Pyrrhaeans.

This extract is from: The Geography of Strabo (ed. H. L. Jones, 1924), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited Sept 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Now this Bessa should be written with a double s (for it is named from its being a wooded place, being spelled the same way--like Nape in the plain of Methymne, which Hellanicus ignorantly names Lape)
Commentary: Both "bessa" and nape mean "wooded glen."

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