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Information about the place (4)

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


    A celebrated river of Colchis, flowing into the eastern end of the Pontus Euxinus (Black Sea). It was famous in connection with the story of the Argonautic expedition. Hence Medea is called Phasias, and the adjective Phasiacus is used in the sense of Colchicus. It has given name to the pheasant (phasianus), which is said to have been first brought to Greece from its banks. Near the mouth of the river, on its southern side, was a town of the same name, founded by the Milesians.

This text is cited Sep 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



  City of Colchis, at the mouth of the river by the same name (today's Rion, in the Republic of Georgia), along the eastern shore of the Black Sea, at the foot of Caucasus.
  Phasis was the capital of the kingdom of Aeetes, a son of Helios (the Sun), and the brother of Circe (the enchantress who detained Ulysses for a year) and of Pasiphae (the wife of Minos, the king of Crete).
  Aeetes was king of Corinth before he left for Colchis, a country east of the Black Sea, at the foot of Caucasus, to become king of Aea. There he became the keeper of the Golden Fleece after offering hospitality to Phrixus, the son of Athamas, king of Coronea, fleeing the attempts by his stepmother Ino to have him killed. Phrixus had fled on a flying ram with a golden fleece given him by his mother Nephele, who owed it to Hermes. When he arrived in Colchis, Aeetes was hospitable to him and gave him his daughter Chalchiope for wife. In thanksgiving, Phrixus sacrificed the ram to Zeus and gave his golden fleece to Aeetes, who dedicated it to Ares by tying it to an oak in the god's sacred domain. This is the fleece that Jason, along with the Argonauts, later came to claim at the request of his uncle Pelias, king of Iolcos.
  Phrixus had four sons. The first born was called Argos and is sometimes identified with the builder of the Argo, the boat that gave the Argonauts their name. In other traditions, Argos and his brothers tried to sail back to Coronea to reclaim the throne of their grandfather Athamas and, after a shipwreck were rescued by the Argonauts and returned to Greece with them. Or Argos met Jason at the court of Aeetes and introduced him to Medea, Aeetes' daughter, and later returned to Greece with the Argonauts.
  For Herodotus, the river Phasis marked the boundary between Europe north and Asia south.

Bernard Suzanne (page last updated 1998), ed.
This text is cited July 2003 from the Plato and his dialogues URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.

Perseus Project


Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


  Phasis (Phasis), the easternmost town on the coast of the Euxine, on the southern bank, and near the mouth of the river Phasis, which is said to have received this name from the town having previously been called Arcturus. (Plot. de Fluv. s. v.; Eustath. ad Dion. Per. 689.) It was situated in a plain between the river, the sea, and a lake, and had been founded by the Milesians as a commercial establishment. (Strab. xi. p. 498; Steph. B. s. v.) The country around it was very fertile, and rich in timber, and carried on a considerable export commerce. In the time of Ammianus Marcellinus (xxii. 8), the place still existed as a fort, with a garrison of 400 picked men. It contained a temple of Cybele, the great goddess of the Phasiani. (Comp. Arrian, Peripl. Pont. Eux. p. 9; Scylax, p. 32; Strab. xi. pp. 497, 500; Ptol. v. 10. § 2, viii. 19. § 4; Pomp. Mela, i. 19; Plin. vi. 4; Zosim. ii. 33.) Some geographers regard Phasis and Sebastopolis as two names belonging to the same place. The name of the town and river Phasis still survives in the languages of Europe in the wood pheasants (phasianae aves), these birds being said to have been introduced into Europe from those regions as early as the time of the Argonauts. (Aristoph. Acharn. 726; Plin. ii. 39, 44, x. 67; Martial, iii. 57, 16; Suet. Vit. 13; Petron. 93.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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