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Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


Helena (Helene: Eth. Helenaios, Helenites, Heleneios: Makronisi), a long narrow island, extending along the eastern coast of Attica from Thoricus to Sunium, and distant from two to four miles from the shore. It was also called Macris (Makris), from its length (Steph. B. s. v. Helene). Strabo (ix.) describes it as 60 stadia in length; but its real length is seven geographical miles. It was uninhabited in antiquity, as it is at the present day; and it was probably only used then, as it is now, for the pasture of cattle. Both Strabo and Pausanias derive its name from Helena, the wife of Menelaus: the latter writer supposes that it was so called because Helena landed here after the capture of Troy; but Strabo identifies it with the Homeric Cranae, to which Paris fled with Helena (Il. iii. 445), and supposes that its name was hence changed. into Helena. There cannot, however, be any doubt that the Homeric Cranae was opposite Gythium in Laconia. (Strab. ix., x.; Paus. i. 35.1, viii. 14.12; Steph. B. s. v.; Mela, ii. 7; Plin. iv. 12. s. 20)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited Aug 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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