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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
Methone (Mothone, Modon) Messenia, Greece. A town on the site of Homeric Pedasos at the SW tip of the Messenian
peninsula. A mole, first built in the 2d c. A.D., reinforced the bar which runs
out to the rocky islet of Mothon and protects the natural harbor; the islet is
now occupied by the ruins of a mediaeval fort. There are ancient blocks in the
town wall on the side toward the harbor as well as in the foundation of the bridge
which provides the only approach from the land side. The acropolis was more than
2 km to the E. Pausanias reported seeing a Temple of Athena Anemotis and a Shrine
of Artemis, as well as a spring of water mixed with pitch, but none of these has
been identified. Marble fragments and coins from the area attest to the continued
existence of the town and its status as a free city in the time of Trajan. In
1962, some of the many wrecks off Methone were investigated by underwater archaeologists;
the material brought up by the divers was taken to the Pylos museum.
M. H. McAllister, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites,
Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Sep 2002 from
Perseus Project URL below, which contains 8 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Methone, Mothone, Eth. Mothonaios, Methonaieus (Steph. B. s. v.: Mothoni,
Modon). An ancient town in the SW. corner of Messenia, has always been an important
place, both in ancient and in modern times, on account of its excellent harbour
and salubrious situation. It is situated at the extreme point of a rocky ridge,
which runs into the sea, opposite the island Sapienza, one of the group called
in ancient times Oenussae. Off the outer end of the town, is the little insulated
rock which Pausanias (iv. 35. § 1) calls Mothon, and which he describes as forming
at once a narrow entrance and a shelter to the harbour of his time: it is now
occupied by a tower and lantern, which is connected by a bridge with the fortification
of Mothoni. A mole branches from it, which runs parallel to the eastern wall of
the town, and forms a harbour for small vessels. It seems to be exactly in the
position of the ancient port, the entrance into which was probably where the bridge
now stands. (Leake.) According to the unanimous testimony of the ancient writers
(Strab. viii. p. 359; Paus. iv. 35. § 1), Methone was the Homeric Pedasus, one
of the seven cities which Agamemnon offered to Achilles. (Hom. Il. ix. 294.) Homer
gives to Pedasus the epithet ampeloessa, and Methone seems to have been celebrated
in antiquity for the cultivation of the vine. The eponymous heroine Methone, is
called the daughter of Oeneus, the wineman (Paus. l. c.); and the same name occurs
in the islands Oenussae, lying opposite the city. The name of Methone first occurs
in the Messenian wars. Methone and Pylus were the only two places which the Messenians
continued to hold in the second war, after they had retired to the mountain fortress
of Ira. (Paus. iv. 18. § 1, iv. 23. § 1.) At the end of the Second Messenian War,
the Lacedaemonians gave Methone to the inhabitants of Nauplia, who had lately
been expelled from their own city by the Argives. (Paus. iv. 24. § 4, iv. 35.
§ 2.) The descendants of the Nauplians continued to inhabit Methone, and were
allowed to remain there even after the restoration of the Messenian state by Epaminondas.
(Paus. iv. 27. § 8.) In the first year of the Peloponnesian War, B.C. 431, the
Athenians attempted to obtain possession of Methone, but were repulsed by Brasidas.
(Thuc. ii. 25.) Methone suffered greatly from an attack of some Illyrian privateers,
who, under the pretext of purchasing wine, entered into intercourse with the inhabitants
and carried off a great number of them. (Paus. iv. 35. § § 6, 7.) Shortly before
the battle of Actium, Methone, which had been strongly fortified by Antony, was
besieged and taken by Agrippa, who found there Bogud, king of Mauretania, whom
he put to death. (Dion Cass. 1. 11; Strab. viii. p. 359; Oros. vi. 19.) Methone
was favoured by Trajan, who made it a free city. (Paus. iv. 35. § 3.) It is also
mentioned by Mela (ii. 3), Pliny (iv. 5. s. 7), Ptolemy (iii. 15. § 7), and Hierocles.
Pausanias found at Methone a temple of Athena Anemotis, the storm-stiller,
and one of Artemis. He also mentions a well of bituminous water, similar both
in smell and colour to the ointment of Cyzicus, but of which no trace is now found.
In 1124 Modon was conquered by Venice, but did not become a permanent possession
of the republic till 1204. In the middle of the old Venetian piazza there still
stands the shaft of an ancient granite column, about 3 feet in diameter and 12
feet high, with a barbarous base and capital, which appear to have been added
by the Venetians, when they fixed upon the top of it, in 1493, a figure of the
Lion of St. Mark. Five years afterwards it was taken by the Turks, and remained
in their hands till it was recaptured by Morosini. In 1715 the Turks again took
possession of it, and retained it till the last Greek revolution, when it was
wrested from them by the French in 1828. Like other places in Greece, which have
been continuously inhabited, Modon contains few ancient remains. Some Hellenic
foundations may be traced in the city-walls, and ancient sepulchres may be seen
above the suburb.
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)