Laconicaor Lacedacmon Laconia, the southeasterly division of the ancient Peloponnesus, bordering on Messenia, Arcadia, and Argolis. The country comprised within its boundaries is a long valley shut in on three sides by mountain ranges, and open only on the south to the sea. On the north are the Arcadian mountains, from which stretch two parallel ranges, Taygetus on the west and Parnon on the east, the former terminating on the S. coast in the promontory of Taenarum (now Cape Matapan), the most southerly point of the continent of Europe, the latter in the promontory of Malea. The principal summit of Taygetus, Taletum (now St. Elias), is 7,900 ft. high; the highest point of Parnon is about 6,350 ft. Taygetus is covered with forests of green pine, which, abounding in ancient times with game, was reputed one of the favorite haunts of Diana. In the southern part are rich quarries of marble and iron. The Eurotas, the chief river (now called Iris or Vasilopota-mos), flows through the entire valley, is fed by several smaller streams, and empties into the gulf of Laconia. Lacedsemon or Sparta, the ancient capital, stood on its banks. There were no other towns of much importance.
Amyclae, in the plain S. of Sparta, was the ancient residence of the Achaean kings, but had lost its consequence in the time of Pau-sanias. Helos, on the Laconian gulf, is supposed to have given the name to the Helots. Gythium, also on the gulf, was the naval station of the Spartans, but there are no very good harbors on the coast. Laconia has much arable land, but the soil in general is poor and difficult to plough. According to Pausanias, the Leleges were the earliest inhabitants. In the time of the Trojan war the Achaean kings possessed the country. They were conquered by the Dorians, who became masters of all Laconia by the middle of the 8th century B. C. (See Sparta.) - The modern Laconia, a nom-archy of the kingdom of Greece, occupies very nearly the same territory; area, 1,678 sq. m.; pop. in 1870,105,851. It is divided into four eparchies. Capita], Sparta, built since the revolution on one of the five hills of the ancient city.