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



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.2.20 Str. 10.2.24 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.3.1

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