Secondly, he established deme law-courts to prevent people from having recourse to the city tribunals; it is said that he himself occasionally "went on circuit," and on one of these occasions was so struck by the plaints of an old farmer on Hymettus, that he remitted all taxation on his land.
Topography And Antiquities The Attic plain, -ro ircSlov, slopes gently towards the coast of the Saronic Gulf on the south-west; on the east it is overlooked by Mount Hymettus (3369 ft.); on the north-east by Pentelicus or Brilessus (3635 ft.) from which, in ancient and modern times, an immense quantity of the finest marble has been quarried; on the north-west by Parnes (4636 ft.), a continuation of the Boeotian Cithaeron, and on the west by Aegaleus (1532 ft.), which descends abruptly to the bay of Salamis.
The surrounding rampart of mountains was broken towards the north-east by an open tract stretching between Hymettus and Pentelicus towards Marathon, and was traversed by the passes of Decelea, Phyle and Daphne on the north and north-west, but the distance between these natural passages and the city was sufficient to obviate the danger of surprise by an invading land force.
The marble of Hymettus, which often has a bluish tinge, was used extensively for building in ancient Athens, and also, in early times, for sculpture; but the white marble of Pentelicus was preferred for both purposes.
The mountains of Attica, which form its most characteristic feature, are a continuation of that chain which, starting from Tymphrestus at the southern extremity of Pindus, passes through Phocis and Boeotia under the names of Parnassus and Helicon; from this proceeds the range which, as Cithaeron in its western and Parnes in its eastern portion, separates Attica from Boeotia, throwing off spurs southward towards the Saronic Gulf in Aegaleos and Hymettus, which bound the plain of Athens.
High, Pentelicus 3635, and Hymettus 3370, while Aegaleos does not rise higher than 1534 ft.
Among the other products we must notice the marble - both that of Pentelicus, which afforded a material of unrivalled purity and whiteness for building the Athenian temples, and the blue marble of Hymettus - the trabes Hymettiae of Horace - which used to be transported to Rome for the construction of palaces.
Hymettus, and skirts the eastern extremity of the city of Athens; but this, notwithstanding its celebrity, is a mere brook, which stands in pools a great part of the year, and in summer is completely dry.
The situation of Athens relatively to the surrounding objects is singularly harmonious; for, while it forms a central point, so as to be the eye of the plain, and while the altar-rock of the Acropolis and the hills by which it is surrounded are conspicuous from every point of view, there is no such exactness in its position as to give formality, since it is nearer to the sea than to Parnes, and nearer to Hymettus than to Aegaleos.
On one side of this, towards Hymettus, lay the open roadstead of Phalerum, on the other the harbour of Peiraeus, a completely land-locked inlet, safe, deep and spacious, the approach to which was still further narrowed by moles.
At the extremity of Hymettus, where it projects into the Saronic Gulf, was the promontory of Zoster ("the Girdle"), which was so called because it girdles and protects the neighbouring harbour; but in consequence of the name, a legend was attached to it, to the effect that Latona had loosed her girdle there.
The Cephisus, rising in Pentelicus, enters the sea at New Phalerum; in summer it dwindles to an insignificant stream, while the Ilissus, descending from Hymettus, is totally dry, probably owing to the destruction of the ancient forests on both mountains, and the consequent denudation of the soil.