Methana - Méthana

Piccolo centro del Peloponneso orientale, nella regione storica dell’Argolide, posto su una penisoletta che si affaccia sul Golfo di Saronico, o Golfo di Egina, ma fagocitata dal dal nomós dell’Attica, il cui capoluogo č Atene. Circa 50 km di mare separano in linea d’aria Atene da Methana.

Possiamo attingere le notizie storiche su Methana da Pausania il Periegeta che ne parla nella sua Periegesi della Grecia II, Corinto, 34,1-6: [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. [2] I will also relate what astonished me most in Methana. The wind called Lips, 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 there. [3] 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. [4] Methana, then, is a peninsula of the Peloponnesus. Within it, bordering on the land of Troezen, is Hermione. The founder of the old city, the Hermionians say, was Hermion, the son of Europs. Now Europs, whose father was certainly Phoroneus, Herophanes of Troezen said was an illegitimate child. For surely the kingdom of Argos would never have devolved upon Argus, Niobe's son, the grandchild of Phoroneus, in the presence of a legitimate son. [5] But even supposing that Europs was a legitimate child who died before Phoroneus, I am quite sure that his son was not likely to stand a fair chance against Niobe's child, whose father was supposed to be Zeus. Subsequently the Dorians from Argos settled, among other places, at Hermion, but I do not think there was war between the two peoples, or it would have been spoken of by the Argives. [6] There is a road from Troezen to Hermion by way of the rock which aforetime was called the altar of Zeus Sthenius (Strong) but afterwards Theseus took up the tokens, and people now call it the Rock of Theseus. As you go, then, along a mountain road by way of this rock, you reach a temple of Apollo surnamed Platanistius (God of the Plane-tree Grove), and a place called Eilei, where are sanctuaries of Demeter and of her daughter Core (Maid). Seawards, on the borders of Hermionis, is a sanctuary of Demeter surnamed Thermasia (Warmth). (Description of Greece with an English Translation by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D. in 4 Volumes. Volume 1. Attica and Corinth, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd., 1918)


Non bisogna confondere Methana con Metone, un errore non insignificante nel quale ci induce non solo Aldrovandi, ma anche il vocabolario di greco di Lorenzo Rocci.

Aldrovandi - contrariamente a Gessner e forse grazie alla tipografia Bellagamba di Bologna - riporta Methonae urbis invece di Methanae urbis nel II volume della sua Ornitologia stampato da Bellagamba (1600).

Lorenzo Rocci riporta che Methánë e Méthana sono equivalenti a Methřnë. Questo č un grave errore.

Oggi come in passato Metone si trova in Messenia, e ancora come in passato si scrive Methřnë anche se in greco moderno viene traslitterata in Methóni. Si tratta di un centro di 2500 abitanti che guarda verso l’Italia, situato nella Grecia meridionale, nel nomós di Messenia appartenente al Peloponneso, 40 km a SW del capoluogo Kalámata, sul Mar Ionio. Fondata dai Calcidesi d'Eubea nella seconda metŕ del sec. VIII aC, dopo le guerre persiane si alleň con Atene ed entrň nella Lega Delio-Attica. Ad Atene rimase fedele anche contro Filippo di Macedonia che la prese ed espugnň dopo un lungo assedio nel 354 aC.