Strabo on Sparta in



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Strabo on Sparta in Geography 8.5.6-7


Concerning the nature of the regions, both Laconia and Messenia, one should accept what Euripides says in the following passages: He says that Laconia has “"much arable land but is not easy to cultivate, for it is hollow,56 surrounded by mountains, rugged, and difficult for enemies to invade;" and that Messenia is "a land of fair fruitage and watered by innumerable streams, abounding in pasturage for cattle and sheep, being neither very wintry in the blasts of winter nor yet made too hot by the chariot of Helios;"
57and a little below, in speaking of the lots which the Heracleidae cast for the country, he says that the first lot conferred “"lordships over the land of Laconia, a poor country,"
58 and the second over Messenia, “"whose fertility is greater than words can express;"
59 and Tyrtaeus speaks of it in the same manner. …

6768 Laconia is subject to earthquakes, and in fact some writers record that certain peaks of Taÿgetus have been broken away. And there are quarries of very costly marble—the old quarries of Taenarian marble on Taenarum; and recently some men have opened a large quarry in Taÿgetus, being supported in their undertaking by the extravagance of the Romans. [8]



Homer makes it clear that both the country and the city are called by the same name, Lacedaemon (and when I say "country" I include Messenia with Laconia). …
Homer means the country of which Messenia was a part.
Strabo lived circa AD 64-AD 24

  1. List the resources of Laconia described by Euripides that Strabo cites.



  1. What problems were associated with cultivating the land of Sparta?



  1. What advantages did Messenia have in comparison to Laconia?



  1. Identify (by colour coding or copying out the quote) the part of this passage that tells us that Messenia belongs to Sparta.



  1. List the ancient authors whom Strabo cites in this passage.


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