Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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Ephorus, after having asserted that the nation of the ætolians were never in subjection to any other people, but, from all times of which any memorial remains, their country continued exempt from the ravages of war, both on account of its local obstacles and their own experience in warfare, says, that from the beginning Curetes were in possession of the whole country, but on the arrival of ætōlus, the son of Endy- nion, from Elis, who defeated them in various battles, the Curetes retreated to the present Acarnania, and the ætolians returned with a body of Epeii, and founded ten of the most ancient cities in ætolia; and in the tenth generation afterwards Elis was founded, in conjunction with that people, by Oxylus, the son of Hæmon, who had passed over from ætolia. They produce, as proofs of these facts, inscriptions, one sculptured on the base of the statue of ætolus at Therma in ætolia, where, according to the custom of the country, they assemble to elect their magistrates; this statue of ætolus, son of Endymion, brought up near the streams of the Alpheius, and in the neighbourhood of the stadia of Olympia, ætolians dedicated as a public monument of his merits. And the other inscription on the statue of Oxylus is in the market-place of Elis; ætolus, having formerly abandoned the original inhabitants of this country, won by the toils of war the land of the Curetes. But Oxylus, the son of Hæmon, the tenth scion of that race, founded this ancient city. 10.3.3

He rightly alleges, as a proof of the affinity subsisting reciprocally between the Eleii and the $Etolians, these inscriptions, both of which recognise not the affinity alone, but also that their founders had established settlers in each other's country. Whence he clearly convicts those of falsehood who assert, that the Eleii were a colony of ætolians, and that the ætolians were not a colony of Eleii. But he seems to exhibit the same inconsistency in his positions here, that we proved with regard to the oracle at Delphi. For after asserting that ætolia had never been ravaged by war from all time of which there was any memorial, and saying, that from the first the Curetes were in possession of this country, he [Note]

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ought to have inferred from such premises, that the Curetes continued to occupy the country of ætolia to his days. For in this manner it might be understood never to have been devastated, nor in subjection to any other nation. But forgetting his position, he does not infer this, but the contrary, that ætolus came from Elis, and having defeated the Curetes in various battles, these people retreated into Acarnania. What else then is there peculiar to the devastation of a country than the defeat of the inhabitants in war and their abandonment of their land, which is evinced by the inscription among the Eleii; for speaking of ætolus the words are, he obtained possession of the country of the Curetes by the continued toils of war. 10.3.4

But perhaps some person may say, that he means ætolia was not laid waste, reckoning from the time that it had this name after the arrival of ætolus; but he takes away the ground of this supposition, by saying afterwards, that the greatest part of the people, that remained among the ætolians, were those called Epeii, with whom ætolians were afterwards intermingled, who had been expelled from Thessaly together with Bœotians, and possessed the country in common with these people. But is it probable that, without any hostilities, they invaded the country of another nation and divided it among themselves and the original possessors, who did not require such a partition of their land? If this is not probable, is it to be believed that the victors agreed to an equal division of the territory? What else then is devastation of a country, but the conquest of it by arms? Besides, Apollodorus says that, according to history, the Hyantes abandoned Bœotia and came and settled among the ætolians, and concludes as confident that his opinion is right by saying it is our custom to relate these and similar facts exactly, whenever any of them is altogether dubious, or concerning which erroneous opinions are entertained. 10.3.5

Notwithstanding these faults in Ephorus, still he is superior to other writers. Polybius himself, who has studiously given him so much praise, has said that Eudoxus has written well on Grecian affairs, but that Ephorus has given the best account of the foundation of cities, of the relationship subsisting between nations, of changes of settlements, and of leaders of colonies, in these words, but I shall explain the

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present state of places, both as to position and distances; for this is the peculiar province of chorography. [Note]

But you, Polybius, who introduce popular hearsay, and rumours on the subject of distances, not only of places beyond Greece, but in Greece itself, have you not been called to answer the charges sometimes of Posidonius, sometimes of Artemidorus, and of many other writers? ought you not therefore to excuse us, and not to be offended, if in transferring into our own work a large part of the historical poets from such writers we commit some errors, and to commend us when we are generally more exact in what we say than others, or supply what they omitted through want of information.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.2.25 Str. 10.3.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.3.7

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