Excerpt from Geographica


On the road between the Tralleians and Nysa [in Karia] is a village of the Nysaians, not far from the city Akharaka, where is the Ploutonion (Sanctuary of Plouton), with a costly sacred precinct and a shrine of Plouton [Haides] and Kore [Persephone], and also the Kharonion (Sanctuary of Kharon), a cave that lies above the sacred precinct, by nature wonderful; for they say that
those who are diseased and give heed to the cures prescribed by these gods resort thither and live in the village near the cave among experienced priests, who on their behalf sleep in the cave and through dreams prescribe the cures. These are also the men who invoke the healing power of the gods. And they often bring the sick into the cave and leave them there, to remain in quiet, like animals in their lurking-holes, without food for many days.
And sometimes the sick give heed also to their own dreams, but still they use those other men, as priests, to initiate them into the mysteries and to counsel them. To all others the place is forbidden and deadly.

A festival is celebrated every year at Akharaka; and at that time in particular those who celebrate the festival can see and hear concerning all these things; and at the festival, too, about noon, the boys and young men of the gymnasium, nude and anointed with oil, take up a bull and with haste carry him up into the cave; and, when let loose, the bull goes forward a short distance, falls, and breathes out his life.

Thirty stadia from Nysa, after one crosses over Mt. Tmolos and the mountain called Mesogis, towards the region to the south of the Mesogis, there is a place called Leimon, whither the Nysaians and all the people about go to celebrate their festivals. And not far from Leimon is an entrance into the earth sacred to the same gods [Haides and Persephone], which is said to extend down as far as Akharaka. — 14.1.44

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