Online Encyclopedia

VALE QF TEMPE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 578 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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VALE QF TEMPE,, the ancient name (i.e. " cleft," from Gr. r .u'eIY, to cut) of a narrow valley in N. Thessaly, through which the river Peneus (mod. Salanabria) reaches the sea. The valley, which the Greeks were accustomed to associate with rural delights, is a chasm, cloven in the rocks, the fable tells us, by the trident of Poseidon, between Olympus and Ossa; but though it possesses every element of the sublime, yet its features are soft and beautiful, from the broad, winding river, the luxuriant vegetation, and the glades that at intervals open out at the foot of the cliffs. It is about four miles and a half long, and towards the middle of the pass, where the rocks are highest, the precipices in the direction of Olympus fall so steeply as to bar the passage on that side; but those which descend from Ossa are the loftiest, for they rise in many places not less than 15oo ft. from the valley. Owing to the length and narrowness of the ravine, it was a position easily defended, but still it offered a practicable entrance to an invading force; a number of castles (of which the ruins still exist) were built at different times at the strongest paints. Tempe was sacred to Apollo, to whom a temple was erected on the right bank. Every ninth year a sacred mission proceeded to the valley to pluck the laurel for the chaplets for the Pythian games. Owing to its wide-spread fame, the name Tempe was given also to the valley of the Velinusnear Rea,te(Italy,) and that of the Helorus in Sicily.
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