Argive plain. This plain was very fertile in antiquity, and was celebrated for its excellent horses (Argos hippoboton, Hom. Il. ii. 287; Strab. viii.6). The eastern side is much higher than the western; and the former suffers as much from a deficiency, as the latter does from a superabundance of water. A recent traveller says that the streams on the eastern part of the plain are all drunk up by the thirsty soil, on quitting their rocky beds for the deep arable land, a fact which offers a palpable explanation of the epithet very thirsty (poludipsion) applied by Homer to the land of Argos (Il. iv. 171). The western part of the plain, on the contrary, is watered by a number of streams; and at the south-western extremity of the plain near the sea there is besides a large number of copious springs; which make this part of the country a marsh or morass. It was here that the marsh of Lerna and the fathomless Alcyonian pool lay, where Hercules is said to have conquered the Hydra. It has been well observed by a modern writer that the victory, of Hercules over this fifty-headed water-snake may be understood of a successful attempt of the ancient lords of the Argive plain to bring its marshy extremity into cultivation, by draining its sources and embanking its streams (Mure, Tour in Greece, vol. ii. p. 194). In the time of Aristotle (Meteor. i. 14) this part of the plain was well-drained and fertile, but at the present day it is again covered with marshes. With respect to the present productions of the plain, we learn that the dryer parts are covered with corn; where the moisture is greater, cotton and vines are grown; and in the marshy parts, towards the sea, lice and kalamhbokki (Leake, Morea, vol. ii. p. 348).
This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited April 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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