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The islands of Rhodes, Kos, Syme, Nisyros, Kasus, and Karpathus, are represented in the Homeric catalogue as furnishing troops to the Grecian armament before Troy. Historical Rhodes, and historical Kos, are occupied by Dorians, the former with its three separate cities of Lindus, Jalysus, and Kameirus. Two other Dorian cities, both on the adjacent continent, are joined with these four so as to constitute an Amphictyony on the Triopian promontory or south-western corner of Asia Minor —thus constituting an Hexapolis, including Halikarnassus, Cnidus, Kos, Lindus, Jalysus, and Kameirus. Cnidus was situated on the Triopian promontory itself; Halikarnassus more to the northward, on the northern coast of the Keramic Gulf: neither of the two are named in Homer.

The legendary account of the origin of these Asiatic Dorians has already been given, and we are compelled to accept their Hexapolis as a portion of the earliest Grecian history, of which no previous account can be rendered. The circumstance of Rhodes and Kos being included in the Catalogue of the Iliad leads us to suppose that they were Greek at an earlier period than the Ionic or Aeolic settlements. It may be remarked that both the brothers Antiphus and Pheidippus from Kos, and Tlepolemus from Rhodes, are Herakleids,—the only Herakleids who figure in the Iliad: and the deadly combat between Tlepolemus and Sarpedon may perhaps be an heroic copy drawn from real contests, which doubtless often took place between the Rhodians and their neighbours the Lycians. That Rhodes and Kos were already Dorian at the period of the Homeric Catalogue, I see no reason for doubting. They are not called Dorian in that Catalogue, but we may well suppose that the name Dorian had not at that early period come to be employed as a great distinctive class name, as it was afterwards used in contrast with Ionian and Aeolian. In relating the history of Pheidon of Argos, I have mentioned various reasons for suspecting that the trade of the Dorians on the eastern coast of the Peloponnesus was considerable at an early period, and there may well have been Doric migrations by sea to Crete and Rhodes, anterior to the time of the Iliad.

Herodotus tells us that the six Dorian towns, which had established their Amphictyony on the Triopian promontory, were careful to admit none of the neighbouring Dorians to partake of it. Of these neighbouring Dorians, we make out the islands of Astypalaea, and Kalymnae, NisyrusKarpathus, Syme, Tolus, Kasus, and Chalkia—on the continental coast, Myndus, situated on the same peninsula with Halikarnassus—Phaselis, on the eastern coast of Lycia towards Pamphylia. The strong coast-rock of Iasus, midway between Miletus and Halikarnassus, is said to have been originally founded by Argeians, but was compelled in consequence of destructive wars with the Kalians to admit fresh settlers and a Neleid Oekist from Miletus. Bargylia and Karyanda seem to have been Karian settlements more or less hellenised. There probably were other Dorian towns, not specially known to us, upon whom this exclusion from the Triopian solemnities was brought to operate. The six Amphictyonised cities were in course of time reduced to five, by the exclusion of Halikarnassus: the reason for which (as we are told) was, that a citizen of Halikarnassus, who had gained a tripod as prize, violated the regulation which required that the tripod should always be consecrated as an offering in the Triopian temple, in order that he might carry it off to decorate his own house. The Dorian Amphictyony was thus contracted into a Pentapolis: at what time this incident took place, we do not know, nor is it perhaps unreasonable to conjecture that the increasing predominance of the Karian element at Halikarnassus had some effect in producing the exclusion, as well as the individual misbehaviour of the victor Agasicles.