Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.7.5 Str. 7.7.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.7.10


Then follows the entrance of the Ambracian Gulf,

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which is a little more than four stadia in width. The circuit of the gulf is 400 stadia, and the whole has good harbours. On sailing into it, on the right hand are the Acarnanes, who are Greeks; and here near the entrance of the gulf is a temple of Apollo Actius, situated on an eminence; in the plain below is a sacred grove, and a naval station. Here Augustus Cæsar [Note] dedicated as offerings one-tenth of the vessels taken in war, from vessels of one bank to vessels of ten banks of oars. The vessels, and the buildings destined for their reception, were destroyed, it is said, by fire.

On the left hand are Nicopolis, [Note] and the Cassopæi, a tribe of the Epirotæ, extending as far as the recess of the gulf at Ambracia. Ambracia [Note] is situated a little above the recess of the bay, and was founded by Gorgus, (Torgus, Tolgus,) the son of Cypselus. The river Arathus flows beside it, which may be navigated up the stream to the city, a distance of a few stadia. It rises in Mount Tymphe, and the Paroræa. This city was formerly in a very flourishing condition, and hence the gulf received its name from the city. Pyrrhus, however, embellished it more than any other person, and made it a royal residence. In later times, [Note] the Macedonians and Romans harassed this and other cities by continual wars, caused by the refractory disposition of the inhabitants, so that Augustus, at length perceiving that these cities were entirely deserted, collected their remaining inhabitants into one city, which he called Nicopolis, situated upon the gulf. He called it after the victory which he obtained in front of

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the gulf, over Antony, and Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, who was present in the engagement.

Nicopolis is well peopled, and is improving every day. It has a large territory, and is adorned with the spoils of war. In the suburbs is a sacred enclosure; part of it is a grove, containing a gymnasium and a stadium, intended for the celebration of quinquennial games; the other part, on a rising ground overhanging the grove, is sacred to Apollo. The Olympian game, called the Actia, [Note] is instituted there in honour of Apollo Actius. It is under the superintendence of the Lacedæmonians. The other surrounding settlements are dependent on Nicopolis. The Actian games [Note] were formerly celebrated in honour of the god by the neighbouring people; it was a contest in which the victor was crowned; but Cæsar has conferred on it greater honours. 7.7.7

After Ambracia follows the Amphilochian Argos, founded by Alcmæon and his sons. According to Ephorus, Alcmæon, after the expedition of the Epigoni [Note] against Thebes, upon the solicitation of Diomed, accompanied him in his invasion of ætolia, and obtained joint possession of this country and of Acarnania. When Agamemnon invited them to come to the siege of Troy, Diomed went, but Alcmaeon remained in Acarnania, founded Argos, and gave it the name Amphilochian, after his brother Amphilochus. On the same authority the river Inachus, which flows through the country and empties itself into the bay, received its name from the river in the Argive territory. Thucydides, however, says that Amphilochus himself, upon his return from Troy, dissatisfied with the state of things at Argos, passed over into Acarnania, and having succeeded to the dynasty of his brother, founded the city which is called after his name. 7.7.8

The Amphilochians are Epirotæ, as also are those nations who inhabit a rugged country situated above and close to the Illyrian mountains, the Molotti, Athamanes, æthices, Tymphæi, Orestæ Paroræi, and Atintanes, some of whom approach nearer to Macedonia, others to the Ionian Gulf. It is said that Orestes possessed the territory Orestias at the time of his flight, after the murder of his mother, and left the country

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bearing his name, where also he had built a city called Orestic Argos. With these people are intermixed Illyrian nations, some of whom are situated on the southern part of the mountainous district, and others above the Ionian Gulf. For above Epidamnus and Apollonia, as far as the Ceraunian mountains, live the Bulliones, Taulantii, Parthini, and Brygi. [Note]

Somewhere near are the silver mines of Damastium. Here the Perisadyes had established their sway, and Enchelii, who are also called Sesarethii. Then come the Lyncestæ, the territory Deuriopus, Pelagonia-Tripolitis, the Eordi, Elimia, and Eratyra. Formerly each of these nations was under its own prince. The chiefs of the Enchelii were descendants of Cadmus and Harmonia, and scenes of the fables respecting these persons are shown in the territory. This nation, therefore, was not governed by native princes. The Lyncestæ were under Arrhabæus, who was of the race of the Bacchiadæ. Irra was his daughter, and his grand-daughter was Eurydice, the mother of Philip Amyntas.

The Molotti also were Epirotæ, and were subjects of Pyrrhus Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles, and of his descendants, who were Thessalians. The rest were governed by native princes. Some tribes were continually endeavouring to obtain the mastery over the others, but all were finally subdued by the Macedonians, except a few situated above the Ionian Gulf. They gave the name of Upper Macedonia to the country about Lyncestis, Pelagonia, Orestias, and Elimia. Later writers called it Macedonia the Free, and some extend the name of Macedonia to all the country as far as Corcyra, at the same time assigning as their reasons, the mode of cutting their hair, their language, the use of the chlamys, and similar things in which they resemble the Macedonians; some of them, however, speak two languages. On the dissolution of the Macedonian empire, they fell under the power of the Romans.

The Egnatian Way, from Epidamnus and Apollonia, passes through the territory of these people. Near the road to Candavia are the lakes about Lychnidus, which furnish large supplies of fish for salting, and rivers, some of which empty

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themselves into the Ionian Gulf. Some flow towards the south, as the Inachus, the Arathus, (Ratoiis,) the Achelous, and the Evenus, formerly called Lycormas. The Ratous discharges its waters into the Ambracian Gulf, the Inachus into the Achelous, the Achelous itself into the sea, as also the Evenus; the former traverses Acarnania, the latter ætolia. The Erigon, after having received many streams which flow from the Illyrian mountains, and through the territories of Lyncestæ, Brygi, Deuriopes, and Pelagonians, empties itself into the Axius.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.7.5 Str. 7.7.8 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.7.10

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