Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.2.2 Str. 10.2.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.2.12


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.

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