Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.1 Str. 10.2 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.3

CHAPTER II. 10.2.1

æTOLIANS and Acarnanians border on one another, having between them the river Achelous, [Note] which flows from the north, and from Pindus towards the south, through the country of the Agræi, an ætolian tribe, and of the Amphilochians.

Acarnanians occupy the western side of the river as far as the Ambracian Gulf, [Note] opposite to the Amphilochians, and the temple of Apollo Actius. ætolians occupy the part towards the east as far as the Locri Ozolæ, Parnassus, and the Œtæans.

Amphilochians are situated above the Acarnanians in the interior towards the north; above the Amphilochians are situated Dolopes, and Mount Pindus; above the ætolians are Perrhæbi, Athamanes, and a body of the ænianes who occupy Œta.

The southern side, as well the Acarnanian as the ætolian, is washed by the sea, forming the Corinthian Gulf, into which the Achelous empties itself. This river (at its mouth) is the boundary of the ætolian and the Acarnanian coast. The Achelous was formerly called Thoas. There is a river of this name near Dyme, [Note] as we have said, and another near Lamia. [Note] We have also said, [Note] that the mouth of this river is

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considered by some writers as the commencement of the Corinthian Gulf. 10.2.2

The cities of the Acarnanians are, Anactorium, situated upon a peninsula [Note] near Actium, and a mart of Nicopolis, which has been built in our time; Stratus, [Note] to which vessels sail up the Achelous, a distance of more than 200 stadia; and $Oeniadæ [Note] is also on the banks of the river. The ancient city is not inhabited, and lies at an equal distance from the sea and from Stratus. The present city is at the distance of 70 stadia above the mouth of the river.

There are also other cities, Palærus, [Note] Alyzia, [Note] Leucas, [Note] the Amphilochian Argos, [Note] and Ambracia: [Note] most of these, if not all, are dependent upon Nicopolis.

Stratus lies half-way between Alyzia and Anactorium. [Note] 10.2.3

To the ætolians belong both Calydon [Note] and Pleuron, which at present are in a reduced condition, but, anciently, these settlements were an ornament to Greece.

ætolia was divided into two portions, one called the Old, the other the Epictetus (the Acquired). The Old comprised the sea-coast from the Achelous as far as Calydon, extending far into the inland parts, which are fertile, and consist of plains. Here are situated Stratus and Trichonium, which has an excellent soil. The Epictetus, that reaches close to the Locri in the direction of Naupactus [Note] and Eupalium, [Note]

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is a rugged and sterile tract, extending as far as Œtæa, to the territory of the Athamanes, and the mountains and nations following next in order, and which lie around towards the north. 10.2.4

There is in ætolia a very large mountain, the Corax, [Note] which is contiguous to Œta. Among the other mountains, more in the middle of the country, is the Aracynthus, [Note] near which the founders built the modern Pleuron, having abandoned the ancient city situated near Calydon, which was in a fertile plain country, when Demetrius, surnamed ætolicus, laid waste the district.

Above Molycreia [Note] are Taphiassus [Note] and Chalcis, [Note] mountains of considerable height, on which are situated the small cities, Macynia and Chalcis, (having the same name as the mountain,) or, as it is also called, Hypochalcis. Mount Curium is near the ancient Pleuron, from which some supposed the Pleuronii had the appellation of Curetes. 10.2.5

The river Evenus rises in the country of the Bomianses, a nation situated among the Ophienses, and an ætolian tribe like the Eurytanes, Agræi, Curetes, and others. It does not flow, at its commencement, through the territory of the Curetes, which is the same as Pleuronia, but through the country more towards the east along Chalcis and Calydon; it then makes a bend backwards to the plains of the ancient Pleuron, and having changed its course to the west, turns again to the south, where it empties itself. It was formerly called Lycormas. There Nessus, who had the post of ferryman, is said to have been killed by Hercules for having attempted to force Deianeira while he was conveying her across the river. 10.2.6

The poet calls Olenus and Pylene ætolian cities, the former of which, of the same name as the Achæan city, was razed by the æolians. It is near the new city Pleuron. The Acarnanians disputed the possession of the territory. They transferred Pylene to a higher situation, and changed its name to Proschium. Hellanicus was not at all acquainted with the history of these cities, but speaks of them as still existing in their ancient condition, but Macynia and Molycria, which were built subsequent to the return of the Heracleidæ,

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he enumerates among ancient cities, and shows the greatest carelessness in almost every part of his work. 10.2.7

This, then, is the general account of the country of the Acarnanians and ætolians. We must annex to this some description of the sea-coast and of the islands lying in front of it.

If we begin from the entrance of the Ambracian Gulf, the first place we meet with in Acarnania is Actium. The temple of Apollo Actius has the same name as the promontory, which forms the entrance of the Gulf, and has a harbour on the outside.

At the distance of 40 stadia from the temple is Anactorium, situated on the Gulf; and at the distance of 240 stadia is Leucas. [Note] 10.2.8

This was, anciently, a peninsula belonging to the territory of the Acarnanians. The poet calls it the coast of Epirus, meaning by Epirus the country on the other side of Ithaca, [Note] and Cephallenia, [Note] which country is Acarnania; so that by the words of the poet, the coast of Epirus,
we must understand the coast of Acarnania.

To Leucas also belonged Neritus, which Lærtes said he took- as when I was chief of the Cephallenians, and took Nericus, a well built city, on the coast of Epirus, [Note] and the cities which he mentions in the Catalogue, and they who inhabited Crocyleia, and the rugged ægilips. [Note]
Il. ii. 633.
But the Corinthians who were despatched by Cypselus and Gorgus, obtained possession of this coast, and advanced as far as the Ambracian Gulf. Ambracia and Anactorium were both founded. They cut through the isthmus of the peninsula, converted Leucas into an island, transferred Neritus to the spot, which was once an isthmus, but is now a channel connected with the land by a bridge, and changed the name to Leucas from Leucatas, as I suppose, which is a white rock, projecting from Leucas into the sea towards Cephallenia, so that it might take its name from this circumstance.

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9. It has upon it the temple of Apollo Leucatas, and the Leap, which, it was thought, was a termination of love. Here Sappho first 'tis said, (according to Menander,) in pursuit of the haughty Phaon, and urged on by maddening desire, threw herself [Note] from the aerial rock, imploring Thee, Lord, and King. Menander then says that Sappho was the first who took the leap, but persons better acquainted with ancient accounts assert that it was Cephalus, who was in love with Pterelas, the son of Deioneus. [Note] It was also a custom of the country among the Leucadians at the annual sacrifice performed in honour of Apollo, to precipitate from the rock one of the condemned criminals, with a view to avert evil. Various kinds of wings were attached to him, and even birds were suspended from his body, to lighten by their fluttering the fall of the leap. Below many persons were stationed around in small fishing boats to receive, and to preserve his life, if possible, and to carry him beyond the boundaries of the country. The author of the Alcmæonis says that Icarius, the father of Penelope, had two sons, Alyzeus, and Leucadius, who reigned after their father in Acarnania, whence Ephorus thinks that the cities were called after their names. 10.2.10

At present those are called Cephallenians who inhabit Cepliallenia. But Homer calls all those under the command of Ulysses by this name, among whom are the Acarnanians; for when he says, Ulysses led the Cephallenians, those who possessed Ithaca, and Neritum, waving with woods, [Note] (the remarkable mountain in this island; so also, they who came from Dulichium, and the sacred Echinades, [Note]
Il. ii. 625.
for Dulichium itself was one of the Echinades; and again, Buprasium and Elis, [Note]
Il. ii. 615.
when Buprasium is situated in Elis; and so, they who inhabited Eubœa, Chalcis, and Eretria, [Note]
Il. ii. 536.
when the latter places are in Eubœa; so again, Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanians, [Note]
Il. viii. 173.

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and these also were Trojans): but after mentioning Neritum, he says, and they who inhabited Crocyleia and rocky ægilips, Zacynthus, Samos, Epirus, and the country opposite to these islands; [Note] he means by Epirus the country opposite to the islands, intending to include together with Leucas the rest of Acarnania, of which he says, twelve herds, and as many flocks of sheep in Epirus, [Note]
Od. xiv. 100.
because the district of Epirus (the Epirotis) extended anciently perhaps as far as this place, and was designated by the common name Epirus.

The present Cephallenia he calls Samos, as when he says, in the strait between Ithaca and the hilly Samos, [Note]
Od. iv. 671
he makes a distinction between places of the same name by an epithet, assigning the name not to the city, but to the island. For the island contains four cities, one of which, called Samos, or Same, for it had either appellation, bore the same name as the island. But when the poet says, all the chiefs of the islands, Dulichium, Same, and the woody Zacynthus, [Note]
Od. i. 246.
he is evidently enumerating the islands, and calls that Same which he had before called Samos.

But Apollodorus at one time says that the ambiguity is removed by the epithet, which the poet uses, when he says, and hilly Samos,
meaning the island; and at another time he pretends that we ought to write Dulichium, and Samos,
and not Same,
and evidently supposes that the city is called by either name, Samos or Samé, but the island by that of Samos only. That the city is called Same is evident from the enumeration of the suitors from each city, where the poet says, there are four and twenty from Samé, [Note]
Od. xvi. 249.
and from what is said about Ctimene,

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they afterwards gave her in marriage at Samé. [Note]
Od. xv. 366.

There is reason in this. For the poet does not express himself distinctly either about Cephallenia, or Ithaca, or the other neighbouring places, so that both historians and commentators differ from one another. 10.2.11

For instance, with respect to Ithaca, when the poet says, and they who possessed Ithaca, and Neritum with its waving woods, [Note]
Il. ii. 632.
he denotes by the epithet, that he means Neritum the mountain. In other passages he expressly mentions the mountain; I dwell at Ithaca, turned to the western sun; where is a mountain, Neritum, seen from afar with its waving woods; [Note] but whether he means the city, or the island, is not clear, at least from this verse; they who possessed Ithaca, and Neritum.
Any one would understand these words in their proper sense to mean the city, as we speak of Athens, Lycabettus, Rhodes, Atabyris, Lacedæmon, and Taygetus, but in a poetical sense the contrary is implied.

In the verses, I dwell at Ithaca, turned to the western sun, in which is a mountain Neritum, the meaning is plain, because the mountain is on the island and not in the city; and when he says, we came from Ithaca situated under Neium, [Note]
Od. iii. 81.
it is uncertain whether he means that Neium was the same as Neritum, or whether it is another, either mountain or place. [He, who writes Nericum for Neritum, or the reverse, is quite mistaken. For the poet describes the former as waving with woods; the other as a well-built city; one in Ithaca, the other on the sea-beach of Epirus.] [Note] 10.2.12

But this line seems to imply some contradiction; it lies in the sea both low, and very high, [Note]
Od. ix. 25.
for χθαμαλὴ is low, and depressed, but πανυπετάτη expresses great height, as he describes it in other passages, calling it Cranæ, (or rugged,) and the road leading from the harbour, as,

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a rocky way through a woody spot, [Note]
Od. xiv. l.
and again, for there is not any island in the sea exposed to the western sun, [Note] and with good pastures, least of all Ithaca. [Note]

The expression does imply contradictions, which admit how- ever of some explanation. They do not understand χθαμαλὴ to signify in that place low, but its contiguity to the continent, to which it approaches very close; nor by πανυπετάτη great elevation, but the farthest advance towards darkness, (πὸς ζόφον,) that is, placed towards the north more than all the other islands, for this is what the poet means by towards darkness, the contrary to which is towards the south, (πὸς νότον,) the rest far off (ἄνευφε) towards the morning, and the sun. [Note]
Od. ix. 26.
For the word ἄνευθε denotes at a distance, and apart, as if the other islands lay to the south, and more distant from the continent, but Ithaca near the continent and towards the north. That the poet designates the southern part (of the heavens) in this manner appears from these words, whether they go to the right hand, towards the morning and the sun, or to the left, towards cloudy darkness; [Note] and still more evidently in these lines, my friends, we know not where darkness nor where morning lie, nor where sets nor where rises the sun which brings light to man. [Note] We may here understand the four climates, [Note] and suppose the morning to denote the southern part (of the heavens), and this has some probability; but it is better to consider what is near to the path of the sun to be opposite to the northern part (of the heavens). For the speech in Homer is intended to indicate some great change in the celestial appearances, not a mere obscuration of the climates. For this must happen

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during every cloudy season either by day or by night. Now the celestial appearances alter very much as we advance more or less towards the south, or the contrary; but this alteration does not prevent our observing the setting and rising of the sun, for in fine weather these phenomena are always visible whether in the south or the north. For the pole is the most northerly point: when this moves, and is sometimes over our heads and sometimes below the earth, the arctic circles change their position with it. Sometimes they disappear during these movements, so that you cannot discern the position of the northern climate, nor where it commences; [Note] and if this is so, neither can you distinguish the contrary climate.

The circuit of Ithaca is about 80 [Note] stadia. So much then concerning Ithaca. 10.2.13

The poet does not mention Cephallenia, which contains four cities, by its present name, nor any of the cities except one, either Samé or Samos, which no longer exists, but traces of it are shown in the middle of the Strait near Ithaca. The inhabitants have the name of Samæ. The rest still exist at present, they are small cities, Paleis, Pronesus, and Cranii. In our time Caius Antonius, the uncle of Marcus Antonius, founded an additional city, when (being an exile after his consulship in which he was the colleague of Cicero the orator) he lived at Cephallenia, and was master of the whole island, as if it had been his own property. He returned from exile before he completed the foundation of the settlement, and died when engaged in more important affairs. 10.2.14

Some writers do not hesitate to affirm, that Cephallenia and Dulichium are the same; others identify it with Taphos, and the Cephallenians with Taphians, and these again with Teleboæ. They assert that Amphitryon, with the aid of Cephalus, the son of Deioneus, an exile from Athens, undertook an expedition against the island, and having got possession of it, delivered it up to Cephalus; hence this city bore his name, and the rest those of his children. But this is not in accordance with Homer, for the Cephallenians were subject to Ulysses and Lærtes, and Taphos to Mentes; I boast that I am Mentes, son of the valiant Anchialus,
And king of the Taphians, skilful rowers. [Note]
Od. i. 181.

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Taphos is now called Taphius. [Note] Nor does Hellanicus follow Homer when he calls Cephallenia, Dulichium, for Dulichium, and the other Echinades, are said to be under the command of Meges, and the inhabitants, Epeii, who came from Elis; wherefore he calls Otus the Cyllenian,

companion of Phyleides, chief of the magnanimous Epeii; [Note] but Ulysses led the magnanimous Cephallenes. [Note] Neither, as Andro asserts, is Cephallenia, according to Homer, Dulichium, nor does Dulichium belong to Cephallenia, for Epeii possessed Dulichium, and Cephallenians the whole of Cephallenia, the former of whom were under the command of Ulysses, the latter of Meges. Paleis is not called Dulichium by Homer, as Pherecydes says. But he who asserts that Cephallenia and Dulichium are the same contradicts most strongly the account of Homer; for as fifty-two of the suitors came from Dulichium, and twenty-four from Samé, would he not say, that from the whole island came such a number of suitors, and from a single city of the four came half the number within two? If any one should admit this, we shall inquire what the Samé could be, which is mentioned in this line, Dulichium and Samé, and the woody Zacynthus. [Note]
Od. i. 246.
10.2.15

Cephallenia is situated opposite to Acarnania, at the distance from Leucatas of about 50, or according to others, of 40 stadia, and from Chelonatas [Note] of about 80 stadia. It is about 300 stadia (1300?) in circumference. It extends in length towards the south-east (Eurus). It is mountainous; the largest mountain in it is the ænus, [Note] on which is the temple of Jupiter ænesius. Here is the narrowest part of the island, which forms a low isthmus, that is frequently overflowed from sea to sea. [Note] Cranii [Note] and Paleis [Note] are situated near the straits in the Gulf. 10.2.16

Between Ithaca and Cephallenia is the small island

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Asteria, [Note] or Asteris, as t is called by the poet, which, according to Demetrius, the Scepsian, does not remain in the state described by the poet, there are harbours in it, open on both sides, for the reception of vessels. [Note]
Od. iv. 846.
But Apollodorus says that it exists even at present, and mentions a small city in it, Alalcomenæ, situated quite upon the isthmus. 10.2.17

The poet also gives the name of Samos to Thracia, which we now call Samothracé. He was probably acquainted with the Ionian island, for he seems to have been acquainted with the Ionian migration. He would not, otherwise, have made a distinction between islands of the same names, for in speaking of Samothrace, he makes the distinction sometimes by the epithet, on high, upon the loftiest summit of the woody Samos, the Thracian, [Note]
Il. xiii. 12.
sometimes by uniting it with the neighbouring islands, to Samos, and Imbros, and inaccessible Lemnos; [Note]
Il. xxiv. 753.
and again, between Samos and rocky Imbros. [Note]
Il. xxiv. 78.
He was therefore acquainted with the Ionian island, although he has not mentioned its name. Nor had it formerly always the same name, but was called Melamphylus, then Anthemis, then Parthenia, from the river Parthenius, the name of which was changed to Imbrasus. Since then both Cephallenia and Samothracé were called Samos [Note] at the time of the Trojan war, (for if it had not been so Hecuba would not have been introduced saying, that Achilles would sell any of her children that he could seize at Samos and Imbros, [Note]) Ionian Samos was not yet colonized (by Ionians), which is evident from its having the same name from one of the islands earlier (called Samos), that had it before; whence this also is clear, that those persons contradict ancient history, who assert, that colonists came from Samos after the Ionian migration, and the arrival of Tembrion, and gave the name of Samos to Samothracé. The Samians invented this story out of vanity. Those are more entitled to credit, who say, that heights are

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called Sami, [Note] and that the island obtained its name from this circumstance, for from thence was seen all Ida, the city of Priam, and the ships of the Greeks. [Note]
Il. xiii. 13.
But according to some writers, Samos had its name from the Saii, a Thracian tribe, who formerly inhabited it, and who occupied also the adjoining continent, whether they were the same people as the Sapæ, or the Sinti, whom the poet calls Sinties, or a different nation. Archilochus mentions the Sail; one of the Saii is exulting in the possession of an honourable shield, which I left against my will near a thicket. 10.2.18

Of the islands subject to Ulysses there remains to be described Zacynthus. [Note] It verges a little more than Cephallenia to the west of Peloponnesus, but approaches closer to it. It is 160 stadia in circumference, and distant from Cephallenia about 60 stadia. It is woody, but fertile, and has a considerable city of the same name. Thence to the Hesperides belonging to Africa are 3300 [Note] stadia. 10.2.19

To the east of this island, and of Cephallenia, are situated the Echinades [Note] islands; among which is Dulichium, at present called Dolicha, and the islands called Oxeiæ, to which the poet gives the name of Thoæ. [Note]

Dolicha is situated opposite to the Œniadæ, and the mouth of the Achelous: it is distant from Araxus, [Note] the promontory of Elis, 100 stadia. The rest of the Echinades are numerous, they are all barren and rocky, and lie in front of the mouth of the Achelous, the most remote of them at the distance of 15, the nearest at the distance of 5 stadia; they formerly were farther out at sea, but the accumulation of earth, which is brought down in great quantity by the Achelous, has already joined some, and will join others, to the continent. This accumulation of soil anciently formed the tract Paracheloitis, which the river overflows, a subject of contention, as it was continually confounding boundaries, which had been determined by the Acarnanians and the ætolians. For want of arbitrators they decided their dispute by arms. The most

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powerful gained the victory. This gave occasion to a fable, how Hercules overcame the Achelous in fight, and received in marriage as the prize of his victory, Deianeira, daughter of Œneus. Sophocles introduces her, saying, My suitor was a river, I mean the Achelous, who demanded me of my father under three forms; one while coming as a bull of perfect form, another time as a spotted writhing serpent, at another with the body of a man and the forehead of a bull. [Note] Some writers add, that this was the horn of Amaltheia, which Hercules broke off from the Achelous, and presented to Œneus as a bridal gift. Others, conjecturing the truth included in this story, say, that Achelous is reported to have resembled a bull, like other rivers, in the roar of their waters, and the bendings of their streams, which they term horns; and a serpent from its length and oblique course; and bull-fronted because it was compared to a bull's head; and that Hercules, who, on other occasions, was disposed to perform acts of kindness for the public benefit, so particularly, when he was desirous of contracting an alliance with Œneus, performed for him these services; he prevented the river from overflowing its banks, by constructing mounds and by diverting its streams by canals, and by draining a large tract of the Paracheloitis, which had been injured by the river; and this is the horn of Amaltheia.

Homer says, that in the time of the Trojan war the Echinades, and the Oxeiæ were subject to Meges, son of the hero Phyleus, beloved of Jupiter, who formerly repaired to Dulichium on account of a quarrel with his father. [Note] The father of Phyleus was Augeas, king of Elis, and of the Epeii. The Epeii then, who possessed these islands, were those who had migrated to Dulichium with Phyleus. 10.2.20

The islands of the Taphii, and formerly of the Teleboæ, among which was Taphus, now called Taphius, were distinct from the Echinades, not separated by distance, (for they lie near one another,) but because they were ranged under different chiefs, Taphii and Teleboæ. In earlier times Amphitryon, in conjunction with Cephalus, the son of Deioneus, an exile from Athens, attacked, and then delivered them up to the government of Cephalus. But the poet says that

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Mentes was their chief, and calls them robbers, which was the character of all the Teleboæ.

So much then concerning the islands off Acarnania. 10.2.21

Between Leucas and the Ambracian gulf is a sea-lake, called Myrtuntium. [Note] Next to Leucas followed Palerus, and Alyzia, cities of Acarnania, of which Alyzia is distant from the sea 15 stadia. Opposite to it is a harbour sacred to Hercules, and a grove from whence a Roman governor transported to Rome the labours of Hercules, the workmanship of Lysippus, which was lying in an unsuitable place, being a deserted spot. [Note]

Next are Crithote, [Note] a promontory, and the Echinades, and Astacus, used in the singular number, a city of the same name as that near Nicomedia, and the Gulf of Astacus, Crithote, a city of the same name as that in the Thracian Chersonesus. All the coast between these places has good harbours. Then follows $Oeniadæ, and the Achelous; then a lake belonging to the $Oeniadæ, called Melite, 30 stadia in length, and in breadth 20; then another Cynia, of double the breadth and length of Melite; a third Uria, [Note] much less than either of the former. Cynia even empties itself into the sea; the others are situated above it at the distance of about half a stadium.

Next is the river Evenus, which is distant from Actium 670 stadia.

Then follows the mountain Chalcis, which Artemidorus calls Chalcia; [next Pleuron, then Licyrna, a village, above which in the interior is situated Calydon at the distance of 30 stadia. Near Calydon is the temple of Apollo Laphrius;] [Note] then the mountain Taphiassus; then Macynia, a city; then Molycria, and near it Antirrhium, the boundary of ætolia and of Locris. To Antirrhium from the Evenus are about 120 stadia.

Artemidorus does not place the mountain, whether Chalcis or Chalcia, between the Achelous and Pleuron, but Apollo-

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dorus, as I have said before, places Chalcis and Taphiassus above Molycria; and Calydon between Pleuron and Chalcis. Are we then to place one mountain of the name of Chalcia near Pleuron, and another of the name of Chalcis near Molycria?

Near Calydon is a large lake, abounding with fish. It belongs to the Romans of Patræ. 10.2.22

Apollodorus says, that there is in the inland parts of Acarnania, a tribe of Erysichæi, mentioned by Aleman, not an Erysichæan, nor a shepherd; but I came from the extremities of Sardis. Olenus belonged to ætolia; Homer mentions it in the ætolian Catalogue, [Note] but traces alone remain of it near Pleuron below Aracynthus. [Note]

Lysimachia also was near Olenus. This place has disappeared. It was situated upon the lake, the present Lysimachia, formerly Hydra, between Pleuron and the city Arsinoë, [Note] formerly a village of the name of Conopa. It was founded by Arsinoë, wife and also sister of the second Ptolemy. It is conveniently situated above the passage across the Achelous.

Pylene has experienced nearly the same fate as Olenus.

When the poet describes Calydon [Note] as lofty, and rocky, we must understand these epithets as relating to the character of the country. For we have said before, that when they divided the country into two parts, they assigned the mountainous portion and the Epictetus [Note] to Calydon, and the tract of plains to Pleuron. 10.2.23

The Acarnanians, and the ætolians, like many other nations, are at present worn out, and exhausted by continual wars. The ætolians however, in conjunction with the Acarnanians, during a long period withstood the Macedonians and the other Greeks, and lastly the Romans, in their contest for independence.

But since Homer, and others, both poets and historians, frequently mention them, sometimes in clear and undisputed terms, and sometimes less explicitly, as appears from what we have already said of these people, we must avail ourselves of some of the more ancient accounts, which will supply us with

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a beginning, or with an occasion of inquiring into what is controverted. 10.2.24

First then with respect to Acarnania. We have already said, that it was occupied by Lærtes and the Cephallenians; but as many writers have advanced statements respecting the first occupants in terms sufficiently clear, indeed, but contradictory, the inquiry and discussion are left open to us.

They say, that the Taphii and Teleboæ, as they are called, were the first inhabitants of Acarnania, and that their chief, Cephalus, who was appointed by Amphitryon sovereign of the islands about Taphus, was master also of this country. Hence is related of him the fable, that he was the first person who took the reputed leap from Leucatas. But the poet does not say, that the Taphii inhabited Acarnania before the arrival of the Cephallenians and Lærtes, but that they were friends of the Ithacenses; consequently, in his time, either they had not the entire command of these places, or had voluntarily retired, or had even become joint settlers.

A colony of certain from Lacedæmon seems to have settled in Acarnania, who were followers of Icarius, father of Penelope, for the poet in the Odyssey represents him and the brothers of Penelope as then living; who did not dare to go to the palace of Icarius with a view of his disposing of his daughter in marriage. [Note] And with respect to the brothers; for now a long time both her father and her brothers were urging her to marry Eurymachus. [Note] Nor is it probable that they were living at Lacedæmon, for Telemachus would not, in that case, have been the guest of Menelaus upon his arrival, nor is there a tradition, that they had any other habitation. But they say that Tyndareus and his brother Icarius, after being banished from their own country by Hippocoon, repaired to Thestius, the king of the Pleuronii, and assisted in obtaining possession of a large tract of country on the other side of the Achelous on condition of receiving a portion of it; that Tyndareus, having espoused Leda the daughter of Thestius, returned home; that Icarius continued there in possession of a portion of Acarnania, and had Penelope and her brothers by his wife Poly- casta, daughter of Lygæus.

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We lave shown by the Catalogue of the Ships in Homer, that the Acarnanians were enumerated among the people who took part in the war of Troy; and among these are reckoned the inhabitants of the Acté, and besides these, they who occupied Epirus, and cultivated the land opposite.
But Epirus was never called Acarnania, nor Acté, Leucas. 10.2.25

Ephorus does not say that they took part in the expedition against Troy; but he says that Alcmæon, the son of Amphiaraus, who was the companion of Diomede, and the other Epigoni in their expedition, having brought the war against the Thebans to a successful issue, went with Diomede to assist in punishing the enemies of Œneus, and having delivered up ætolia to Diomede, he himself passed over into Acarnania, which country also he subdued. In the mean time Agamemnon attacked the Argives, and easily overcame them, the greatest part having attached themselves to the followers of Diomede. But a short time afterwards, when the expedition took place against Troy, he was afraid, lest, in his absence with the army, Diomede and his troops should return home, (for there was a rumour that he had collected a large force,) and should regain possession of a territory to which they had the best right, one being the heir of Adrastus, the other of his father. Reflecting then on these circumstances, he invited them to unite in the recovery of Argos, and to take part in the war. Diomede consented to take part in the expedition, but Alcmæon was indignant and refused; whence the Acarnanians were the only people who did not participate in the expedition with the Greeks. The Acarnanians, probably by following this account, are said to have imposed upon the Romans, and to have obtained from them the privilege of an independent state, because they alone had not taken part in the expedition against the ancestors of the Romans, for their names are neither in the ætolian Catalogue, nor are they mentioned by themselves, nor is their name mentioned anywhere in the poem. 10.2.26

Ephorus then having represented Acarnania as subject to Alcmeon before the Trojan war, ascribes to him the foundation of Amphilochian Argos, and says that Acarnania had its name from his son Acarnan, and the Amphilochians from his brother Amphilochus; thus he turns aside to reports contrary to the history in Homer. But Thucydides and other

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writers say, that Amphilochus, on his return from the Trojan expedition, being displeased with the state of affairs at Argos, dwelt in this country; according to some writers, he obtained it by succeeding to the dominions of his brother; others represent it differently. So much then respecting the Acarnanians considered by themselves. We shall now speak of their affairs where they are intermixed in common with those of the ætolians, and we shall then relate as much of the history of the ætolians as we proposed to add to our former account of this people.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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