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Information about the place (3)
Perseus Project index
Total results on 23/7/2001: 637 for Hellespont, 5 for Hellespontus.
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
(Hellespontos). Now the Dardanelles, the long narrow strait
which joins the Propontis (Sea of Marmora) with the Aegean Sea. Its length is
some fifty miles, and its width varies from six at the upper end to one or less.
The narrowest part is between the ancient cities of Sestus and Abydus, where Leander
is said to have swum across to visit Hero. Here, also, Xerxes crossed on his bridge
of boats. The name Hellespontos (Sea of Helle) was derived from the myth of Helle.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Hellespontus (ho Hellespontos, Horn. Il. ii. 845, Odyss. xxiv. 82;
Helles pontos, -hudor, -porthuos, Aesch. Pers. 722; Hellespontus, Pontus Helles,
Hellespontum Pelagus, Fretum Hellesponticum: Eth. Hellespontios, Hellespontias,
Hellespontis, Steph. B.: The Dardanelles; Golfo di Galippoli; Stambul Denghiz),
the strait which divides Europe from Asia and unites the Propontis with the Aegaean
The Greeks explained the origin of the name by the well-known legend
of Phryxus and Helle, and in the later poets (Ovid, Her. xviii. 117, 137; Prop.
i. 20. 19; Lucan v.56; Avien. 692) frequent allusion is made to this tradition.
The broad Hellespont of the Homeric poems (Il. vii. 86) - for the
interpretation of Mr. Walpole and Dr. Clarke (Trav. vol. iii. p. 91) of platus
Hellespontos by salt Hellespont is too unpicturesque to be adopted - was probably
conceived to be a wide river, flowing through thickly wooded banks into the sea.
(Comp. Herod. vii. 35; Walpole, Turkey and Greece, vol. i. p. 101; Schlichthorst,
Geogr. Homer. p. 127.)
Herodotus (iv. 85), Strabo (xiii. p. 591), and Pliny (iv. 12, vi.
1) give 7 stadia as the breadth of the Hellespont in its narrowest part. Tournefort
(vol. ii. lett. iv.) and Hobhouse (Albania, vol. ii. p. 805) allow about a mile.
Some modern French admeasurements give the distance as much greater. The Due de
Raguse (Voyage en Turquie, vol. ii. p. 164) nearly coincides with Herodotus.
The bridge, or rather two separate bridges, which Xerxes threw across
the Hellespont, stretched from the neighbourhood of Abydos, on the Asiatic coast,
to the coast between Sestus and Madytus, on the European side; and consisted of
360 vessels in the bridge higher up the stream, and 314 in the lower one. If the
breadth be estimated at a mile or 5280 feet, 360 vessels, at an average of 14
2/3 feet each, would exactly fill up the space. (Grote, Hist. of Greece, vol.
v. p. 26; comp. Rennell, Geog. of Herod. vol. i. p. 158; Kruse, Uber die Schiffbrucken
der Perser, Breslau, 1820; Choiseul-Gouffier, Voyage Pittoresque, vol. ii. p.
449; Bahr, ad Herod. vii. 36.) The length of the strait was estimated by Herodotus
(iv. 85) at 400 stadia. This admeasurement of course depends upon the point assigned
by the ancients to the extremity of the Hellespont, a point which is discussed
by Hoblouse (Albania, vol. ii. p. 791). In the later years of the Peloponnesian
War the Hellespont was the scene of the memorable battles of Cynossema and Aegospotami.
In B.C. 334 the Hellespont was crossed by Alexander, with an army
of about 35,000 men. (Arrian, Anab. i. 11; Diod. Sic. xvii. 1.)
The Hellespont issues from the Propontis near Gallipoli, the road
of which is the anchorage for the Ottoman fleet. A little lower, on the Asiatic
side, is Lampsaki, close to which the current sweeps as before, nearly SW. to
the bay of Sestos, a distance of about 20 miles, with an ordinary width of from
2 1/2 to 3 miles. At Sestos the stream becomes narrower, and takes a SSE. direction
as it passes Abydos, and proceeds to the town of Charnak Kal'eh-S&;acute; from
the last point it flows SW. for 3 miles to Point Berber, and from thence onward
in the same direction, but rather increasing in width, for a distance of 9 3/4
miles to the Aegaean sea.
About 1 1/2 miles below the W. point of the bay of Madytus are the
famous castles of the Dardanelles, which give their name to the straits; or the
castles of Anatoli and Rum-ili: Tchannak-Ka'leh-Si, on the Asiatic side, and Kilidu-l-Bahr,
on the European. (Chesney, Exped. Euphrat. vol. i. p. 318.)
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)