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Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

Ossa, a lofty mountain in Thessaly on the coast of Magnesia, separated from Olympus only by the narrow vale of Tempe. Hence it was supposed by the ancients that these mountains were once united, and had been separated by an earthquake. (Herod. vii. 129; Strab. ix. pp. 430, 442; Lucan, vi. 347; Claudian, Rapt. Proserp. ii. 183.) Ossa is conical in form and has only one summit. Polybius mentions it as one of the highest mountains in Greece (xxxiv. 10); but it is considerably lower than Olympus, and according to Ovid even lower than Pelion. (Ov. Fast. iii. 441.) According to Dodwell, who speaks, however, only from conjecture, Ossa is about 5000 feet high. To the south of Ossa rises Mt. Pelion, and the last falls of the two mountains are united by a low ridge. (Herod. vii. 129.) Olympus, Ossa, and Pelion differ greatly in character; and the conical peak, standing between the other two, is well contrasted with the broad majesty of Olympus, and the extended outline of Pelion. The length of Ossa along the coast is said by Strabo to be 80 stadia (ix. p. 443). It is hardly necessary to allude to the passages in the poets, in which Ossa is mentioned, along with Olympus and Pelion, in the war of the giants and the gods. (Hom. Od. xi. 312; Virg. Georg. i. 282, &c.) The modern name of Ossa is Kissavo.

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

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


A celebrated mountain in the north of Thessaly, connected with Pelion on the southeast, and divided from Olympus on the northwest by the vale of Tempe. It is mentioned in the legend of the war of the Giants.

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