Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.3.1 Str. 10.3.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.3.8


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. 10.3.6

With respect to the Curetes, some facts are related which belong more immediately, some more remotely, to the history of the ætolians and Acarnanians. The facts more immediately relating to them, are those which have been mentioned before, as that the Curetes were living in the country which is now called ætolia, and that a body of ætolians under the command of ætolus came there, and drove them into Acarnania; and these facts besides, that æolians invaded Pleuronia, which was inhabited by Curetes, and called Curetis, took away their territory, and expelled the possessors.

But Archemachus [Note] of Eubœa says that the Curetes had their settlement at Chalcis, but being continually at war about the plain Lelantum, and finding that the enemy used to seize and drag them by the hair of the forehead, they wore their hair long behind, and cut the hair short in front, whence they had the name of Curetes, (or the shorn,) from eura, (κουά,) or the tonsure which they had undergone; that they removed to ætolia, and occupied the places about Pleuron; that others, who lived on the other side of the Achelous, because they kept their heads unshorn, were called Acarnanians. [Note]

But according to some writers each tribe derived its name from some hero; [Note] according to others, that they had the

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name of Curetes from the mountain Curium, [Note] which is situated above Pleuron, and that this is an ætolian tribe, like the Ophieis, Agræi, Eurytanes, and many others.

But, as we have before said, when ætolia was divided into two parts, the country about Calydon was said to be in the possession of Œneus; and a portion of Pleuronia in that of the Porthaonidæ of the branch of Agrius, [Note] for they dwelt at Pleuron, and the lofty Calydon. [Note]
Il. xiv. 117.
Thestius however, father-in-law of Œneus, and father of Althea, chief of the Curetes, was master of Pleuronia. But when war broke out between the Thestiadæ, Œneus, and Meleager about a boar's head and skin, according to the poet, [Note] following the fable concerning the boar of Calydon, but, as is probable, the dispute related to a portion of the territory; the words are these, Curetes and ætolians, firm in battle, fought against one another. [Note]
Il. ix. 525.
These then are the facts more immediately connected (with geography).

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.3.1 Str. 10.3.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.3.8

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