Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.7.7 Str. 7.7.9 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.fragments.3


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. 7.7.9

There were formerly cities among these nations. The district Pelagonia-Tripolitis contained (as the name signifies) three cities, of which Azorus was one. All the cities of the Deuriopes were situated on the banks of the Erigon; among which were Bryanium, Alalcomenæ, [Note] and Stymbara. [Note] Cydriæ belonged to the Brygi, and æginium on the confines of æthicia, and Tricca, to the Tymphæi. Near Macedonia and Thessalia, about the mountains Pœus and Pindus, are the æthices, and the sources of the Peneus, which are a subject of dispute between the Tymphei and the Thessalians, who are situated below Pindus.

On the banks of the river Ion is Oxynia, a city distant from Azorus in the Tripolitis 120 stadia. Near Oxynia are Alalcomenæ, æginium, Europus, and the confluence of the Ion with the Peneus.

At that time then, as I said before, the whole of Epirus and Illyria were well peopled, although the country is rugged and full of mountains, such as Tomarus, and Polyanus, and many others. At present the greater part is uninhabited, and the inhabited parts are left in the state of villages, or in ruins. Even the oracle at Dodona has almost been deserted, like the rest. 7.7.10

This oracle, according to Ephorus, was established by Pelasgi, who are said to be the most ancient people that were sovereigns in Greece. Thus the poet speaks, O great Pelasgic Dodonæan Jove; [Note]
Iliad, book xvi. 233.
and Hesiod, He went to Dodona, the dwelling of the Pelasgi, and to the beech tree.

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I have spoken of the Pelasgi in the account of Tyr- rhenia.

With respect to Dodona, Homer clearly intimates that the people who lived about the temple were barbarians, from their mode of life, describing them as persons who do not wash their feet, and who sleep on the ground. Whether we should read Helli, with Pindar, or Selli, as it is conjectured the word existed in Homer, the ambiguity of the writing does not permit us to affirm confidently. Philochorus says, that the country about Dodona was called, like Eubœa, Hellopia; for these are the words of Hesiod, There is a country Hellopia, rich in corn-fields and pastures; at its extremity is built Dodona. It is supposed, says Apollodorus, that it had this name from the hele, or marshes about the temple. He is of opinion that the poet did not call the people about the temple Helli, but Selli, adding, that Homer mentions a certain river (near) of the name of Selleis. He specifies the name in this line, At a distance far from Ephyra, from the river Selleis. [Demetrius of Skepsis contends that] Ephyra of Thesprotia is not here meant, but Ephyra of Elis. For the river Selleis is in Elis, and there is no river of this name either in Thesprotia or among the Molotti. The fable of the oak and the doves, and other similar things, like the stories connected with Delphi, although they are subjects more adapted to engage the attention of a poet, yet are appropriate to the description of the country with which we are now occupied.

Dodona was formerly subject to the Thesproti, as was the mountain Tomarus, or Tmarus, (both names are in use,) be low which the temple is situated. The tragic writers and Pindar give the epithet of Thesprotis to Dodona. It was said to be subject, in later times, to the Molotti. Those called by the poet Jove's interpreters, [Note] and described by him as men with unwashen feet, who slept on the ground, were, it is said called Tomuri [Note] from Mount Tomarus, and the passage in the

Odyssey containing the advice of Amphinomus to the suitors

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not to attack Telemachus before they had inquired of Jupiter is as follows, If the Tomuri of great Jove approve, I myself will kill him, and I will order all to join in the deed; but if the god forbid it, I command to withhold.Odys. xvi. 403. For it is better, it is asserted, to write Tomuri [Note] than The- Mistæ, [Note] because in no passage whatever are oracles called by the poet Themistæ, this term being applied to decrees, [Note] or statutes and rules of civil government; and the persons are called Tomuri, [Note] which is the contracted form of Tomaruri, [Note] or guardians of Tomarus.

In Homer, however, we must understand θέμιστες in a more simple sense, and, like βουλαί, by the figure Catachresis, as meaning commands and oracular injunctions as well as laws; for such is the import of this line: To listen to [Note] the will of Jove, which comes forth from the lofty and verdant oak.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.7.7 Str. 7.7.9 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.fragments.3

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