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The Arcadian landscape and town Stymphalos mainly (and often uniquely) evoke the association with the myth of Heracles and his fight against the Stymphalian Birds, who polluted the Stymphalian Lake. This place on the Greek peninsula Peloponnese was not only mentioned by ancient authors because of its famous myth as one of the 12 deeds of Heracles but also due to other interesting aspects. The Stymphalian Lake has particular hydrological features which effect from the karstic geology of the Peloponnese: Due to a katavothre (sink hole) the Lake Stymphalos varies in its size seasonly, and the lake water, after disappearing through the sink hole in the ground, there continuing its course for a while, rises as the “new” river Erasinos near Argos. This hydrological phenomenon is mentioned by the Greek historian Herodot for the first time. There are several myths reflecting certain features of the hydrological “behavior” of the Lake: Herakles and the Stymphalian Birds; Artemis, the hunter and the deer; Arethusa an Alpheios. The last two are connected with the goddess Artemis, who as the deity of the polis Stymphalos was worshipped there in her own temple which is described by Pausanias. Furthermore, at Stymphalos an extraordinary cult of Hera can be found, only existing there, in which Hera is venerated in three aspects of a woman´s life: as an unmarried maiden (gr. Pais/Parthenos), as a wife (gr. Teleia) and as a divorced woman or widow (gr. Chera). Last but not least, the river cult of Metope, the main water suppliant of Lake Stymphalos, is worth to be mentioned here. Ancient Stymphalos, which is already referred to in the homeric catalogue of ships among the Arcadian troops, who together with the other Greeks fought against Troy, also was the home town of two victors in the Olympic Games: Dromeus and Hagesias. Hagesias´ victory was eulogized by Pindar in a victory ode (epinicion), where, in connection with the praise of Hagesias a frame of characteristic items of Stymphalos is elaborated. That is the reason why this ode, the Sixth Olympian, can be seen as a major text answering the question how the landscape Stymphalos is represented in its physio geographic and human geographic aspects. The aim of this book is to show the mental picture of Stymphalos that can be deducted from the ancient literary sources speaking about this place. Methodically, this aim is achieved by the combination of philological text analysis and interpretation and its application to categories and criteria of geography and geology.
keywordsAntike Literatur Arkadien Gräzistik Hydrologie Landschaft Latinistik Pindar 6. Olympische Ode Stymphalischer See Stymphalos
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