Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.3.2 Str. 10.3.6 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.3.9


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). 10.3.7

There [Note]

are others more remote from the subject of this

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work, which have been erroneously placed by historians under one head on account of the sameness of name: for instance, accounts relating to Curetic affairs and concerning the Curetes have been considered as identical with accounts concerning the people (of the same name) who inhabited ætolia and Acarnania. But the former differ from the latter, and resemble rather the accounts which we have of Satyri and Silenes, Bacchæ and Tityri; for the Curetes are represented as certain dæmons, or ministers of the gods, by those who have handed down the traditions respecting Cretan and Phrygian affairs, and which involve certain religious rites, some mystical, others the contrary, relative to the nurture of Jupiter in Crete; the celebration of orgies in honour of the mother of the gods, in Phrygia, and in the neighbourhood of the Trojan Ida. There is however a very great variety [Note] in these accounts. According to some, the Corybantes, Cabeiri, Idæan Dactyli, and Telchines are repre- sented as the same persons as the Curetes; according to others, they are related to, yet distinguished from, each other by some slight differences; but to describe them in general terms and more at length, they are inspired with an enthusiastic and Bacchic frenzy, which is exhibited by them as ministers at the celebration of the sacred rites, by inspiring terror with armed dances, accompanied with the tumult and noise of cymbals, drums, and armour, and with the sound of pipes and shouting; so that these sacred ceremonies are nearly the same as those that are performed among the Samothracians in Lemnus, and in many other places; since the ministers of the god are said to be the same. [Note] The whole of this kind of

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discussion is of a theological nature, and is not alien to the contemplation of the philosopher.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.3.2 Str. 10.3.6 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.3.9

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