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

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.2.1 Str. 10.2.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.2.11

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