extremity of the Laconian Gulf, in a small but fertile plain at the mouth of the Gythius.
Its reputed founders were Heracles and Apollo, who frequently appear on its coins: the former of these names may point to the influence of Phoenician traders, who, we know, visited the Laconian shores at a very early period.
The most important towns, besides Sparta and Gythium, were Bryseae, Amyclae and Pharis in the Eurotas plain, Pellana and Belbina on the upper Eurotas, Sellasia on the Oenus, Caryae on the Arcadian frontier, Prasiae, Zarax and Epidaurus Limera on the east coast, Geronthrae on the slopes of Parnon, Boeae, Asopus, Helos, Las and Teuthrone on the Laconian Gulf, and Hippola, Messa and Oetylus on the Messenian Gulf.
Phoenician traders, too, visited the shores of the Laconian Gulf, and there are indications of trade at a very early period between Laconia and Crete, e.g.
a number of blocks of green Laconian porphyry from the quarries at Croceae have been found in the palace of Minos at Cnossus.