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Ancient literary sources (2)
Between Troezen and Epidaurus there was a strong hold called Methana, and also a peninsula of the same name. In some copies of Thucydides the name is spelled "Methone," the same as the Macedonian city in which Philip, in the siege, had his eye knocked out. And it is on this account, in the opinion of Demetrius of Scepsis, that some writers, being deceived, suppose that it was the Methone in the territory of Troezen against which the men sent by Agamemnon to collect sailors are said to have uttered the imprecation that its citizens might never cease from their wall-building, since, in his opinion, it was not these citizens that refused, but those of the Macedonian city, as Theopompus says; and it is not likely, he adds, that these citizens who were near to Agamemnon disobeyed him. (Strabo 8.6.1)
Stretching out far into the sea from Troezenia is a peninsula, on the coast of
which has been founded a little town called Methana. Here there is a sanctuary
of Isis, and on the market-place is an image of Hermes, and also one of Heracles.
Some thirty stades distant from the town are hot baths. They say that it was when
Antigonus, son of Demetrius, was king of Macedon that the water first appeared,
and that what appeared at once was not water, but fire that gushed in great volume
from the ground, and when this died down the water flowed; indeed, even at the
present day it wells up hot and exceedingly salt. A bather here finds no cold
water at hand, and if he dives into the sea his swim is full of danger. For wild
creatures live in it, and it swarms with sharks.
I will also relate what astonished me most in Methana. The wind called
Lips (a S.W. wind), striking the budding vines from the Saronic Gulf, blights
their buds. So while the wind is still rushing on, two men cut in two a cock whose
feathers are all white, and run round the vines in opposite directions, each carrying
half of the cock. When they meet at their starting place, they bury the pieces
Such are the means they have devised against the Lips. The islets,
nine in number, lying off the land are called the Isles of Pelops, and they say
that when it rains one of them is not touched. If this be the case I do not know,
though the people around Methana said that it was true, and I have seen before
now men trying to keep off hail by sacrifices and spells.
Methana, then, is a peninsula of the Peloponnesus. (Paus. 2.34.1-4)
- Pausanias, Description of Greece
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