William Morris Archive


VI. Argument Æa: Medea's original home and the leading city of ancient Colchis, along the Rioni river; its current name is Kutaisi, in Georgia.  See map 5, L3.

XIII.17 Æaea: Circe's home, identified by Roman poets (see Virgil, Aeneid, trans. William Morris, Bk. VII, 10-20; Ovid, Metamorphoses XIV, 245 ff.) with Circei, a promontory on the western coast of central Italy.

XIV.472 the Aegades: a group of small mountainous islands in the Mediterranean off the northwest coast of Sicily, near the city of Trapani. See Map 5, A6.

III.205 Aegina: Greek island in the Saronic Gulf, 31 miles (50 km) from Athens. Aegina was inhabited from late neolithic times and in contact with Minoan Crete and Mycenae. It was conquered c.1100 B. C. E. by the Dorians under Deiphontes, the son-in-law of Temenus of Argos, and again in the fifth century B. C. E. by the Athenians, who resented its naval power. See Map 2, J9.

III.391 the Aetolian land: a mountainous region of Greece on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth, location of the city Calydon. See note III.388 and Map 2, C6.

I.7 Anaurus: a river of Thessaly, near the foot of mount Pelion, where Jason lost one of his sandals. Morris would have found this detail in Lemprière. See Map 2, C6.

III.131 Arcadia, Arcadian forests: Arcadia is a mountainous area in central Peloponnesus approaching the sea only in the south-west, near Phigalia. It was allegedly named after the mythological Arcas, son of Jupiter. See Map 3, D4.

Anciently it was called Drymodes, on account of the great number of oaks it produced, and afterwards Pelasgia. Celebrated by poets, the inhabitants were mostly shepherds, who by tradition lived upon acorns and were skillful warriors and able musicians. Pan, the god of shepherds, made his home with them.

VII 689 Argos: a city in the southern part of the Argive plain 5 km. (3 mi.) from the sea, at the foot of the Larissa hill which was occupied in prehistoric, through classical, Hellenistic, Frankish and Turkish times. See Map 3, F4/5.

III.117 Argive: adj. form of Argos, Greek Peleponnesean city.

III.180 Asopus: a river of Thessaly, which enters the bay of Malis north of Thermopylæ. See Map 2, G5.


III.222 in the rich Bœotian realm: Bœotia is a region of Greece bounded on the west by Phocis, on the southeast by Attica, on the northeast across the Euripus Strait by Eubœa, and on the south by the Gulf of Corinth. See Map 2, J7.

According to legend it was called Bœotia from Bœotius son of Itonus; or, according to others, a bove, from a cow, by which Cadmus was led into the country where he built Thebes. The inhabitants were stereotyped as rude, illiterate, and strong, but not clever. Yet Bœotia was the home of distinguished authors such as Pindar, Hesiod, and Plutarch. The mountains of Bœotia, particularly Helicon, were the legendary home of the Muses, to whom also many of their fountains and rivers were consecrated.


III.388 Calydon: a city of Aetolia located on the river Evenus, and according to legend named after Calydon the son of Ætolus. At the time of the Caledonian boar hunt, Œneus the father of Meleager was its king, and when he offended the goddess Diana by neglecting her rites, she sent a wild boar to ravage the country. Many of the renowned warriors and princes of the age assembled to hunt the boar, and Meleager killed it with his own hand and gave the head to the hunter Atalanta, of whom he was enamoured. See Map 1, D5.

VII 689 Carian: Caria was a mountainous region inhabited by the Carians in SW Asia Minor (western Anatolia) south of the Maeander River, northwest of Lycia and west of Phyrgia, with Greek cities Cnidus and Halicarnassus occupying the salient peninsulas and mixed communities on the shores of the gulfs. Until the 4th century B. C. E. the pastoral Carians lived mainly in hilltop villages grouped under native dynasties (some of which paid tribute to the Athenian empire in the 5th century) and organized round sanctuaries, the principal seat being Mylasa. They preserved their language until Hellenistic times. See Map 1, L6.

XVII.74 Cenchreæ: also Kechries, village near Corinth, about 6.5 miles southewest of the city, in ancient times a port which served eastern trade routes. See Map 2, H8.

XVI.3 Cicynethus: unidentified Greek island mentioned in Pliny’s Natural History, off the coast of Thessaly.

XVII.496 Citheræa: Aphrodite/Venus reportedly rose from the sea either near the island of Cithera, or Cyprus.

VI.28 Clashers: see note on “Symplegades.”

XVII.202 Cleonæ: (now Archaies Kelones) was an ancient city in Argolis, now the village of Agios Vasileios, between Corinth and Nemea. According to legend, Hercules killed Moliones at Cleonæ. See Map 3, G3/4.

VII 856 Colchis, Temple of the Fleece; VIII: 31 Colchian folk: Colchis was a large area along the eastern Black Sea coast, southeast of the Caucasus mountains. The Colchian culture flourished from around 1200 to 600 B. C. E., and was a late Bronze Age and Iron Age civilization of the western Caucasus, mostly in present-day western Georgia. According to tradition, the Golden Fleece hung in the Colchian temple of Mars, the god of war. See Map 5, L4.

XVII title Corinth: in antiquity, a Greek city state about 48 miles west of Athens, on the Isthmus of Corinth, a narrow stretch of land joining the Pelopennesus to the mainland of Greece, between the Gulf of Corinth on the west and the Saronic gulf on the east. See Map 3, FG, 3/4.

XIV.464 Cyprus: Eurasian island country situated in the eastern Mediterranean south of Turkey, west of the Levant, north of Egypt, and east-southeast of Greece. Inhabited since Neolithic times, during the Bronze Age the Cyprians worked copper mines, and Myceaean culture reached Cyrprus around 1600 B. C. E., followed by Iron Age Greek and Phoenician settlements. Venus's birthplace was reportedly Cithera or Cyprus. See Map 5, J7.

V.16-18 Cyzicum. . . Cyzicus: Cyzicum is an island on the south of the Propontis, or Sea of Marmora (which connects the Aegean and Black Seas) about 530 stadia in circumference. Alexander joined it to the continent by two bridges, and from that time it was called a peninsula. It had two harbours called Panormus and Chytus, the first natural, and the other artificial. It became one of the largest cities of Asia. See Map 5, G5.

Cyzicus is the name of the chief town of the island of Cyzicum, and also the name of a son of Oeneus and Stilba, who reigned in Cyzicum. See Map 5, G5.


VII 689 Delos: a small island (3 sq. km.: 1.2 sq. mi.) between Myconos and Rheneia, regarded in antiquity as the centre of the Cyclades and birthplace of Artemis and of Apollo, one of whose chief temples stood there. See Map 1, H6.

I.205 Dodona: a sanctuary of Zeus located in Epirus, in northern Greece, famous as the home of an oracle. See Map 4, B4.

Dodona is first mentioned in the Iliad (16.233) where its prophets, the Selli, are described as "of unwashed feet and sleeping on the ground." In the Odyssey and elsewhere in early mythology the responses of the oracle are described as emanating from a sacred oak, and a dove was associated with the tree and was credited with having spoken (!) to reveal its sacred character. By the mid fifth-century B. C. E. the oracle was operated by three priestesses instead of the Selli, and in later times, the priestesses were themselves called doves.


III.370 Elis: Elis, or Eleia, is an ancient district in the northwest Peloponnese, bounded on the northeast by Achaea, the east by Arcadia, the south by Messenia, and the west by the Ionian sea. See Map 2, C8.

III.490 Enipeus: river whose river god was allegedly loved by Tyro, daughter of Salmoneus and grandmother of Jason. See note I.17 and Map 4, F6.

IX. 108 Enna: city and province in central Sicily; in classical mythology Enna was the place from which Proserpina was allegedly abducted by Pluto, and hence a center for the worship of Ceres and Proserpina. See Map 5, AB, 6/7.

III.158 Ephesus, Ephesian: of Ephesus, a city of Ionia, which according to various legends had been founded by the Amazons; by Androchus, son of Codrus; or by Ephesus, legendary son of the river god Cayster. Its temple of Diana was reckoned one of the seven wonders of the world. See Map 1, K5.

I.130 Euboea, Euboean: Euboea was a large Aegean island, also called Long Island (Makris), since it stretched from the Gulf of Pagasae to Andros. See Map 4, H-K, 6-9.

III.337 Eurotas: the river which flows near Sparta, allegedly named after Eurotas, one of the first Laconian kings, who in Greek mythology was the son of Myles, grandson of Lelex, brother of Lacedaemon, and father of Sparta with Clete. He is associated with the building of a canal which brought the waters of Sparta into the sea, forming the river which bears his name. See note III.331 and Map 3, E7.


X.119 Hades: universal destination of the dead after burial in early Greek mythology. Dark, cold and mirthless, Hades was ruled by a deity of the same name (later Pluto), notable for his abduction of Persephone, goddess of fertility and the spring, who was forced to live with her dour consort for six months of the year.

XIII.369 Helicon: Mount Helicon, located in the region of Thespiai in Boeotia, Greece, near the Gulf of Corinth, was the lengendary site of two springs sacred to the Muses, Aganippe and Hippocrene. See Map 1, F5.


III.419 Ilissus: river of Attica near Athens, in southern Greece. See Map 4, I9.

I.13 Iolchos: (Iolcus): city from which the Argonauts set forth, in Thessalian Magnesia on the northern shore of the Bay of Volo, where it was sheltered by Mt. Pelion. It was celebrated in mythology as home of Jason and the starting-point of the Argonauts, that is, the center from which Mycenaean influence spread over most of Thessaly. The surrounding region contained pastureland and meadows suitable for grazing. See Map 4, H5.

VI.14 your horse-nurturing land: Ismenus III.260 Ismenian shore: The river Ismenus was in Boetia, near Thebes. See Map 2, I7.

III.482 Ithaca: island in the Ionian sea west of Greece, legendary home of Laertes and Odysseus, and a port city for trade between Corinth and Italy. See Map 4, B8.


XVII.7 Kent: The characters of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales undertake a pilgrimage through Kent to Canterbury.


III.331 Lacedaemon: region of Greece whose capital was Sparta (also called Lacedaemon). See Map 3, E7.

X.460 Laconia: Laconia is the southeast district of the Peloponnesus, bordering Arcadia to the north and Messenia to the west. A mountainous region, dominated by limestone formations and its derivatives, during the classical period Laconia was controlled by Sparta. See Map 3, F8.

III.93 Larissa: the chief city of Thessaly, set on the river Peneus in the fertile plain of Pelasgiotis. See Map 1, E3.

IV.205 the land of Lemnos: an island in the Aegean sea, between Tenedos, Imbros, and Samothrace. It was sacred to Vulcan, called Lemnius pater, who according to mythology landed there when pushed down from heaven by Jupiter. See Map 1, H2.

It was noted for two horrible massacres; in one, the Lemnian women murdered their husbands, and in the second, the Lemnians, or Pelasgi, killed all their children by a group of Athenian women, whom they had abducted. These two acts of cruelty have given rise to the term “Lemnian actions,” applied to barbarious and inhuman deeds. The first "Lemnian action" is narrated by the rescued man.

XIV.457 Lilybaeum: ancient city on the far western coast of Sicily, now Marsala, known for its fortifications and harbor. Venus had a famous temple on Mt. Eryx above the city. A Carthaginian stronghold, it was later conquered by the Romans. See Map 5, A6.

III.174 Lipara: the largest of the Aeolian islands off the northern coast of Sicily, now called the Lipari. See Map 5, B6.


III.97 Mæander: river of Asia Minor (now west-central Turkey), rising near Celænæ and flowing through Caria and Priene to the Aegean Sea near Miletus. Its more than 600 bends caused it to be celebrated by Greek poets for its winding course. See Map 1, K6-M5.

XVII.301 Mæonea, Mæonean wine: Maconia was an alternate name for Lydia, a historic region of western Asia Minor, roughly east of modern Izmir and Manisa in Turkey, noted for its grapes. See Map 5, H6.

I.326 Magnesian garments: Magnesia was a region of southeastern Thessaly; see map 4, FG, 5/6.

I.162 Malea: the south-eastern promontory of Laconia, and of the whole Peloponnesus, a reputedly dangerous corner for shipping, chiefly because of the sudden veering of the winds off a harbourless coast. It was denounced as dangerous from Homer down to Byzantine writers, though despite this reputation much traffic continued to pass through the narrow strait between Malea and the island of Cythera. See Map 2, I13.

X.96 Mars' acres: an area of Colchis ploughed by Jason with the help of brazen bulls, located near a precinct dedicated to Mars, the god of war. See book VIII and Map 5, L3.

III.348 Messene: the chief city of Messenia, the southwestern quarter of the Peloppenese. It was subjugated, and its people enslaved, by the Spartans between 750 and 650 B. C. E. After its liberation, a new city was built on Mount Ithome in 369 B. C. E. See Map 3, C7.

III.99 Miletus: the leading city of Ionia in Asia Minor, near the mouth of the Mæander River on the western coast of Anatolia in ancient Caria (in what is now Aydin Province, Turkey). See map 5, G6/7.

IV.366 Mysia, the Mysian land: Mysia was a region in the extreme northwest of Asia minor, bounded on the north by the Propontis, on the west by the Aegean Sea, on the south by Lydia, and on the east by Phrygia. See Map 1, K2.

According to Homer, the Mysians fought on the side of Troy in the Trojan War. Herodotus (Bk. VII, ch. 20) reports that before the war the Mysians and Teucrians invaded "all of Thrace" and a part of Greece.


III.246 Nemea, Nemæan trees: Nemaea was a town of Argolis, between Cleonae and Phlius, near a wood, where according to legend Hercules killed the celebrated Nemaean lion as his first "labor." When Hercules found that his arrows and his club were useless against the lion's s hard and impenetrable skin, he seized him in his arms and squeezed him to death. The conqueror clothed himself in the skin, and games were instituted to commemorate the event. See Map 3, G4.

III.31 Nile: major Egyptian river; see Map 5, I9/10.


III.191 Œchalia: a city, probably in central Greece, placed in various locations by ancient geographers. According to legend, this town was destroyed by Hercules when ruled by Eurytus.

I.162 Olympus: the highest mountain of the Greek peninsula, situated on the borders of Macedonia and Thessaly. It rises at one point to 9,573 feet and there are several other heights of over 9,000 feet. Famous as the reputed home of the gods, it was important in religion and is frequently mentioned by poets. See map 4, F3/4.

III.181 Opus: a city of Eastern Locris, a district of ancient Greece on the mainland coast opposite Euboea, built on another Asopus River (not the one in Thessaly mentioned above) and later destroyed by an earthquake. See Map 1, F4.

I.3 Orchomenus: a name given at various times to several cities in Phthiotic Achaea, Boeotia, and Arcadia. Here Morris must mean the Boeotian Orchomenus, founded by Minyas.

The name is also associated with the eponymous Boeotian Orchomenus, a vague geneological figure allegedly the son of Zeus and the Danaid Isonoe and father of Minyas. (For Boeotia, see Map 2, H6 and for Arcadia, Map 2, F9).


XVII.2 Parnassus: Mount Parnassus, above Delphi in central Greece, was sacred to Apollo, god of poetry and music, and to the Muses. See Map 4, G8.

I.8 Mount Pelion: a mountain of 5,300+ feet in Thessalian Magnesia, a little northeast of Iolchos, and legendary home of the centaur Chiron and site of Jason's childhood. See Map 2, H3.

III.374 Pellene: a town of Achaia in the northern Peloponnesus, west of Sicyon, famous for its wool. See Map 2, G11.

According to legend it was founded by the giant Pallas, and according to Lemprière, was the home of Proteus the sea god.

XV.641 Phasis: river flowing through Colchis which runs into the Black Sea near Phasis, Medea's home and scene of the theft of the Golden Fleece. In ancient times the Phasis River was sometimes seen as a boundary between Europe and Asia. See Map 5, L3.

III.154 Pheræ: kingdom ruled by Admetus, in Thessaly. See Map 2, G3.

III.91 Philaeus: mountain in Thessaly, by which Asterion lived.

III.236 Phoenicia, with his fair Phœnician weed: Phoenician clothing. Phœnicia or Phœnice was a country at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean, with leading cities  Sidon and Tyre. See Map 5, K7/8.

Phoenicia was an imperial and sea-faring power known for its commercial prominence, development of the arts of writing and navigation, and fine craft and cloth wares.

VI. 327 Phoenician scarlet: rich cloth from Phoenicia. In early use, some rich cloth, often of a bright red colour, but also sometimes of other colours, as ‘pers’, blue, green, or brown.

XII. argument Pillars of Hercules: ancient name for promontories which flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. In legend the Pillars were set up by Hercules to mark the limits of his westward journey. The northern or European pillar Calpe is the Rock of Gibraltar, and the southern or African Abyla may be the Monte Hacho in Ceuta and/or the Jebel Musa in Morocco.

XVII.23 Poictou: province of central western France and scene of French victory in the battle of Poitiers in 1356, during the Hundred Years' War. Here an English army, entrenched among hedges, was attacked by a larger French army advancing mostly on foot.

V.140 Pontus: a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, with a series of mountain ranges with deep valleys, running parallel to the coast. Today it is located in Turkey. See Map 5, J4.

Pontus, whose coasts were colonized by the Ionian Greeks about the end of the Greek Dark Ages (1150-750 B. C. E.) was occupied inland by a village population organized in territorial units, large temple territories with numerous sacred slaves ruled by priests, and a feudal nobility. Some mountainous regions in eastern Pontus long remained "uncivilized" tribal territories.

V.9 Propontis: now called the Sea of Marmora; an inland sea which connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus bisecting Turkey into a European part and an Asian part. It is about 300 miles in circumference, and received its name from its vicinity to the Pontus. The Bosporus strait connects it to the Black Sea and the Dardanelles strait to the Aegean. The former also separates Istanbul into a more European and a more Asian side. See Map 5, G5.


V.148 Salmydessa: Actual ancient Thracian city west of the Black Sea (now Kirklareli, Turkey), erroneously located on the Propontis in the myth involving King Phineus and the Argonauts. See Map 5, G4/5.

III.385 Samos: an island in the Aegean sea, on the coast of Asia Minor, from which it is divided by a narrow strait, with a city of the same name built B.C. 986. See Map 5, G6.

In classical antiquity the island was a centre of Ionian culture and luxury, renowned for its Samian wines and its red pottery (called Samian ware by the Romans). Its most famous building was the Ionic order archaic Temple of the goddess Hera, the Heraion.

Sarmatian folk: a people of Iranian descent, the Sarmatians migrated from Central Asia to the Ural Mountains around the 5th century B. C. E. and eventually settled in southern European Russia, Ukraine, and the eastern Balkans. Mentioned by Pliny the Elder (N. H. book iv), the Sarmatian tribes ranged from the Vistula river to the mouth of the Danube and eastward to the Volga, and southward to the shores of the Black and Caspian seas. See Map 5, G3 and northwest, north and northeast, west of the Scythians, also 6a, northeast quadrant.

V.340 Strophades: a small group of Greek islands in the Ionian Islands, on the western coast of the Peloponnesus, southwest of the island of Zakynthose. The two chief islands of the Strophades are Stamfani and Arpia, both rocky and sparsely vegetated. See Map 2, B9.

II.58 Styx, the Stygian stream: the river Styx, which in Greek mythology served as the boundary of the home of the dead, or Hades, the circumference of which is said to have run nine times around the infernal regions. For the Olympian gods, to swear an oath by the river Styx was to swear an inviolable vow of the highest and most solemn variety.

I.58 Stygian: pertaining to the River Styx of Hades, or, in a wider sense, to the infernal regions of classical mythology.

VI.Argument, Symplegades: in mythology, these were "clashing rocks" at the Bosporus which smote together randomly. The Argonauts had to pass by these to enter the Black Sea, but after Jason and the Argonauts managed the pass, aided by advice from Phineus, the Symplegades stopped moving permanently. See Map 5, G5.


XV.47 Tauric: Tauris was the name of the Crimea in antiquity. According to legend, Artemis rescued Iphigeneia from serving as a human sacrifice as her father Agamemnon intended, and carried her off to Tauris to serve in her temple. Here she was forced by the Taurian king Thoas to perform human sacrifices on any foreigners who came ashore, as recounted in Euripides' Iphigenia in Tauris. See Map 5, IJ, 2/3.

III.358 Tegea: city in the south-east Arcadian plain, standing across the roads from Sparta to the Argolid and the Isthmus. Ancient Tegea was an important religious center of classical Greece, containing the Temple of Athena Alea ("Winged Athena"). Tegea was listed in Homer's Catalogue of Ships as one of the cities that contributed ships and men for the Achaean assault on Troy. See Map 1, E8.

III.380 Tenarus: southern promontory of Laconia, in the south of Greece. See Map 2, G13.

XVII.15 Thames: major river in southern England which flows through London. The Thames is a combination of four rivers, the Isis, the Churn, the Coin and the Leach, and flows for 220 miles from Thames Head to the lighthouse at Nore. Morris invoked its medieval state in the opening to "Prologue: The Wanderers" of The Earthly Paradise, "And dream of London, small, and white, and clean / The clear Thames bordered by its gardens green."

II.347 Thebes: on the south edge of the east plain of Boeotia, this city replaced, according to tradition, Orchomenus (q.v.) as the leading city of Boeotia. It plays an important part in Greek saga in the generations before the Trojan War. See Map 1, F5.

XI.262 Thermodon: The Thermodon river (now the Terme River in central northern Turkey) issued into the Black Sea, near Thermiskyra, the legendary capital of the Amazons. The major neighboring rivers were the Halys of Paphlagonia in the west, and the Phasis of Colchis to the east. See Map 5, K4 (west of Kerasous).

I.1 Thessaly: a district of northern Greece which consists of two large and level plains surrounded by mountains. See Map 1, EF 3, E2.

III.421 Thrace: Ancient Thrace (i.e. the territory where ethnic Thracians lived) included present day Bulgaria, European Turkey, northeastern Greece and the easternmost parts of Serbia. Its boundaries were the Danube River to the north and the Aegean Sea and Propontis to the south, the Black Sea to the east, and on the west it reached the river Strymon. See Map 5, F4 and surrounding areas.

The Greeks believed that the tribes of the mountainous regions were warlike and ferocious, but they found the plains peoples more peaceable and willing to maintain more contacts with their Greek neighbors.

XIV.3 Trinacrian shore: Sicily's three corners and capes (akroi) prompted the Greeks to call it Trinacria, after the legendary island where in the Odyssey, book XII, the Sun god kept his cattle. See Map 5, AB 6/7.

II.210 Troy, Trojan, III.479 Troy (Gr. Troia or Ilion): Legendary city and center of the Trojan War, as described in the Iliad, located in Anatolia in northwest Turkey, southwest of the Dardanelles near Mount Ida. Greek historians placed the siege of Troy in somewhere between the 14th-12th centuries B. C. E. See Map 3.

III.536 Tyre, Tyrians: of Tyre in Phoenicia. See Map 5, K8.


III.176 Xynias: a lake of ancient south-western Thessaly, in the region of Dolopia. See Map 1, E3.