Athens in the time of Pericles
T THE COMMENCEMENT of the Peloponnesian war Athens was at the height of its glory under the brilliant administration of Pericles. We may therefore here pause to take a brief survey of the city and of its most important buildings. Athens is situated about three miles from the sea-coast, in the central plain of Attica. In this plain rise several eminences. Of these the most prominent is a lofty insulated mountain, with a conical peaked summit, now called the Hill of St. George, and which bore in ancient times the name of LYCABETTUS. This mountain, which was not included within the ancient walls, lies to the north-east of Athens, and forms the most striking feature in the environs of the city. It is to Athens what Vesuvius is to Naples, or Arthur's Seat to Edinburgh. South-west of Lycabettus there are four hills of moderate height, all of which formed part of the city. Of these the nearest to Lycabettus and at the distance of a mile from the latter, was the ACROPOLIS, or citadel of Athens, a square craggy rock rising abruptly about 150 feet, with a flat summit of about 1000 feet long from east to west, by 500 feet broad from north to south. Immediately west of the Acropolis is a second hill of irregular form, the AREOPAGUS. To the south- west there rises a third hill, the PNYX, on which the assemblies of the citizens were held; and to the south of the latter is a fourth hill, known as the MUSEUM. On the eastern and western sides of the city there run two small streams, which are nearly exhausted before they reach the sea, by the heats of summer and by the channels for artificial irrigation. That on the east is the Ilissus, which flowed through the southern quarter of the city: that on the west is the Cephissus. South of the city was seen the Saronic gulf, with the harbours of Athens.
To Chapter XI : The Peloponnesian War. - First Period, from the commencement of the War to the Peace of Nicias, B.C. 431-421
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Cf. A Day in Old Athens
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