[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail:
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]
Italiano

[Link to a series of help pages]
Help
[Link to the next level up]
Up
[Link to my homepage]
Home

[image ALT: link to previous section]
X.1

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Geography

of
Strabo

published in Vol. V
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,
1928

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
X.3

(Vol. V) Strabo
Geography

p23 Book X, Chapter 2

1 (449) Now the Aetolians and the Acarnanians border on one another, having between them the Acheloüs River, which flows from the north and from Pindus on the south through the country of the Agraeans, an Aetolian tribe, 450 and through that of the Amphilochians, the Acarnanians holding the western side of the river p25as far as that part of the Ambracian Gulf which is near Amphilochi and the temple of the Actian Apollo, but the Aetolians the eastern side as far as the Ozalian Locrians and Parnassus and the Oetaeans. Above the Acarnanians, in the interior and the parts towards the north, are situated the Amphilochians, and above these the Dolopians and Pindus, and above the Aetolians are the Perrhaebians and Athamanians and a part of the Aenianians who hold Oeta. The southern side, of Acarnania and Aetolia alike, is washed by the sea which forms the Corinthian Gulf, into which empties the Acheloüs River, which forms the boundary between the coast of the Aetolians and that of Acarnania. In earlier times the Acheloüs was called Thoas. The river which flows past Dymê bears the same name as this, as I have already said,1 and also the river near Lamia.2 I have already stated, also, that the Corinthian Gulf is said to begin at the mouth of this river.3

2 As for cities, those of the Acarnanians are Anactorium, which is situated on a peninsula near Actium and is a trading-centre of the Nicopolis of to‑day, which was founded in our times;4 Stratus, where one may sail up the Acheloüs River more than two hundred stadia; and Oeneiadae, which is also on the river — the old city, which is equidistant from the sea and from Stratus, being uninhabited, whereas that of to‑day lies at a distance of about seventy stadia above the outlet of the river. There are also other cities, Palaerus, Alyzia, Leucas,5 Argos p27Amphilochicum, and Ambracia, most of which, or rather all, have become dependencies of Nicopolis. Stratus is situated about midway of the road between Alyzia and Anactorium.6

3 The cities of the Aetolians are Calydon and Pleuron, which are now indeed reduced, though in early times these settlements were an ornament to Greece. Further, Aetolia has come to be divided into two parts, one part being called Old Aetolia and the other Aetolia Epictetus.7 The Old Aetolia was the seacoast extending from the Acheloüs to Calydon, reaching for a considerable distance into the interior, which is fertile and level; here in the interior lie Stratus and Trichonium, the latter having excellent soil. Aetolia Epictetus is the part which borders on the country of the Locrians in the direction of Naupactus and Eupalium, being a rather rugged and sterile country, and extends to the Oetaean country and to that of the Athamanians and to the mountains and tribes which are situated next beyond these towards the north.

4 Aetolia also has a very large mountain, Corax, which borders on Oeta; and it has among the rest of its mountains, and more in the middle of the country than Corax, Aracynthus, 451 near which New Pleuron was founded by the inhabitants of the Old, who abandoned their city, which had been situated near Calydon in a district both fertile and level, at the time when Demetrius, surnamed Aetolicus,8 laid waste the country; above Molycreia are Taphiassus p29and Chalcis, rather high mountains, on which were situated the small cities Macynia and Chalcis, the latter bearing the same name as the mountain, though it is also called Hypochalcis. Near Old Pleuron is the mountain Curium, after which, as some have supposed, the Pleuronian Curetes were named.

5 The Evenus River begins in the territory of those Bomians who live in the country of the Ophians, the Ophians being an Aetolian tribe (like the Eurytanians and Agraeans and Curetes and others), and flows at first, not through the Curetan country, which is the same as the Pleuronian, but through the more easterly country, past Chalcis and Calydon; and then, bending back towards the plains of Old Pleuron and changing its course to the west, it turns towards its outlets and the south. In earlier times it was called Lycornas. And there Nessus, it is said, who had been appointed ferryman, was killed by Heracles because he tried to violate Deïaneira when he was ferrying her across the river.

6 The poet also names Olenus and Pylenê as Aetolian cities.9 Of these, the former, which bears the same name as the Achaean city, was rased to the ground by the Aeolians; it was near New Pleuron, but the Acarnanians claimed possession of the territory. The other, Pylenê, the Aeolians moved to higher ground, and also changed its name, calling it Proschium. Hellanicus does not know the p31history of these cities either, but mentions them as though they too were still in their early status; and seeming the early cities he names Macynia and Molycreia, which were founded even later than the return of the Heracleidae, almost everywhere in his writings displaying a most convenient carelessness.

7 Upon the whole, then, this is what I have to say concerning the country of the Acarnanians and the Aetolians, but the following is also to be added concerning the seacoast and the islands which lie off it: Beginning at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf, the first place which belongs to the Acarnanians is Actium. The temple of the Actian Apollo bears the same name, as also the cape which forms the mouth of the Gulf and has a harbour on the outer side. Anactorium, which is situated on the gulf, is forty stadia distant from the temple, whereas Leucas is two hundred and forty.

8 In early times Leucas was a peninsula of Acarnania, but the poet calls it "shore of the mainland,"10 using the term "mainland" for the country which is situated across from Ithaca and Cephallenia; 452 and this country is Acarnania. And therefore, when he says, "shore of the mainland," one should take it to mean "shore of Acarnania." And to Leucas also belonged, not only Nericus, which Laertes says he took ("verily I took Nericus, well-built citadel, shore of the mainland, when I was lord over the p33Cephallenians"),11 but also the cities which Homer names in the Catalogue ("and dwelt in Crocyleia and rugged Aegilips").12 But Corinthians sent by Cypselus13 and Gorgus took possession of this shore and also advanced as far as the Ambracian Gulf; and both Ambracia and Anactorium were colonised at this time; and the Corinthians dug a canal through the isthmus of the peninsula and made Leucas an island; and they transferred Nericus to the place which, though once an isthmus, is now a strait spanned by a bridge, and they changed its name to Leucas, which was named, as I think, after Leucatas; for Leucatas is a rock of white14 colour jutting out from Leucas into the sea and towards Cephallenia, and therefore it took its name from its colour.

9 It contains the temple of Apollo Leucatas, and also the "Leap," which was believed to put an end to the longings of love. "Where Sappho is said to have been the first," as Menander says, "when through frantic longing she was chasing the haughty Phaon, to fling herself with a leap from the far‑seen rock, calling upon thee in prayer, O lord and master." Now although Menander says that Sappho was the first to take the leap, yet those who are better versed than he in antiquities say that it was Cephalus, who was in love with Pterelas the son of p35Deïoneus. It was an ancestral custom among the Leucadians, every year at the sacrifice performed in honour of Apollo, for some criminal to be flung from this rocky look‑out for the sake of averting evil, wings and birds of all kinds being fastened to him, since by their fluttering they could lighten the leap, and also for a number of men, stationed all round below the rock in small fishing-boats, to take the victim in, and, when he had been taken on board,15 to do all in their power to get him safely outside their borders. The author of the Alcmaeonis16 says that Icarius, the father of Penelope, had two sons, Alyzeus and Leucadius, and that these two reigned over Acarnania with their father; accordingly, Ephorus thinks that the cities were named after these.

10 But though at the present time only the people of the island Cephallenia are called Cephallenians, Homer so calls all who were subject to Odysseus, among whom are also the Acarnanians. For after saying, "but Odysseus led the Cephallenians, who held Ithaca and Neritum with quivering foliage"17 (Neritum being the famous mountain on the island, as always when he says, "and those from Dulichium and the sacred Echinades,"18 Dulichium itself being one of the Echinades; 453 and "those who dwelt in Buprasium and Elis,"19 Buprasium being in Elis; and "those who held Euboea and Chalcis and Eiretria,"20 meaning that these cities p37were in Euboea; and "Trojans and Lycians and Dardanians,"21 meaning that the Lycians and Dardanians were Trojans) — however, after mentioning "Neritum,"22 he says, "and dwelt in Crocyleia and rugged Aegilips, and those who held Zacynthos and those who dwelt about Samos, and those who held the mainland and dwelt in the parts over against the islands." By "mainland,"23 therefore, he means the parts over against the islands, wishing to include, along with Leucas, the rest of Acarnania as well,24 concerning which he also speaks in this way, "twelve herd on the mainland, and as many flocks of sheep,"25 perhaps because Epeirotis extended thus far in early times and was called by the general name "mainland." But by "Samos" he means the Cephallenia of to‑day, as, when he says, "in the strait between Ithaca and rugged Samos";26 for by the epithet he differentiates between the objects bearing the same name, thus making the name apply, not to the city, but to the island. For the island was a Tetrapolis,27 and one of its four cities was the city called indifferently either Samos or Samê, bearing the same name as the island. And when the poet says, "for all the nobles who hold sway over the islands, Dulichium and Samê and woody Zacynthos,"28 he is evidently making an enumeration of the islands and calling "Samê" that island which he had formerly29 called Samos. But p39Apollodorus,30 when he says in one passage that ambiguity is removed by the epithet when the poet says "and rugged Samos,"31 showing that he meant the island, and then, in another passage, says that one should copy the reading, "Dulichium and Samos,"32 instead of "Samê," plainly takes the position that the city was called "Samê" or "Samos" indiscriminately, but the island "Samos" only; for that the city was called Samê is clear, according to Apollodorus, from the fact that, in enumerating the wooers from the several cities, the poet33 said, "from Samê came four and twenty men,"34 and also from the statement concerning Ktimenê, "they then sent her to Samê to wed."35 454 But this is open to argument, for the poet does not express himself distinctly concerning either Cephallenia or Ithaca and the other places near by; and consequently both the commentators and the historians are at variance with one another.

11 For instance, when Homer says in regard to Ithaca, "those who held Ithaca and Neritum with quivering foliage,"36 he clearly indicates by the epithet that he means the mountain Neritum; and in other passages he expressly calls it a mountain; "but I dwell in sunny Ithaca, wherein is a mountain, Neritum, with quivering leaves and conspicuous from afar."37 But whether by Ithaca he means the p41city or the island, is not clear, at least in the following verse, "those who held Ithaca and Neritum";38 for if one takes the word in its proper sense, one would interpret it as meaning the city, just as though one should say "Athens and Lycabettus," or "Rhodes and Atabyris," or "Lacedaemon and Taÿgetus"; but if he takes it in a poetical sense the opposite is true. However, in the word, "but I dwelt in sunny Ithaca, wherein is a mountain Neritum,"39 his meaning is clear, for the mountain is in the island, not in the city. But when he says as follows, "we have come from Ithaca below Neïum,"40 it is not clear whether he means that Neïum is the same as Neritum or different, or whether it is a mountain or place. However, the critic who writes Nericum41 instead of Neritum, or the reverse, is utterly mistaken; for the poet refers to the latter as "quivering with foliage,"42 but to the former as "well-built citadel,"43 and to the latter as "in Ithaca,"44 but to the former as "shore of the mainland."45

12 The following verse also is thought to disclose a sort of contradiction: "Now Ithaca itself lies chthamalê, panypertatê on the sea";46 for chthamalê means "low," or "on the ground," whereas panypertatê means "high up," as Homer indicates in several places when he calls Ithaca "rugged."47 And so when he refers to the road that leads from p43the harbour as "rugged path up through the wooded place,"48 and when he says "for not one of the islands which lean upon the sea is eudeielos49 or rich in meadows, and Ithaca surpasses them all."50 Now although Homer's phraseology presents incongruities of this kind, yet they are not poorly explained; for, in the first place, writers do not interpret chthamalê as meaning "low‑lying" here, but "lying near the mainland," since it is very close to it, and, secondly, they do not interpret panypertatê as meaning "highest," but "highest towards the darkness," that, farthest removed towards the north beyond all the others; for this is what he means by "towards the darkness," but the opposite by "towards the south," as in 455 "but the other islands lie aneuthe towards the dawn and the sun,"51 for the word aneuthe is "at a distance," or "apart," implying that the other islands lie towards the south and farther away from the mainland, whereas Ithaca lies near the mainland and towards the north. That Homer refers in this way to the southerly region is clear also from these words, "whether they go to the right, towards the dawn and the sun, or yet to the left towards the misty darkness,"52 and still more clear from these words, "my friends, lo, now we know not where is the place of darkness, nor of dawn, nor where the sun, that gives light to men, goes beneath the earth, nor where he rises."53 For p45it is indeed possible to interpret this as meaning the four "climata,"54 if we interpret "the dawn" as meaning the southerly region (and this has some plausibility), but it is better to conceive of the region which is along the path of the sun as set opposite to the northerly region, for the poetic words are intended to signify a considerable change in the celestial phenomena,55 not merely a temporary concealment of the "climata," for necessarily concealment ensues every time the sky is clouded, whether by day or by night; but the celestial phenomena change to a greater extent as we travel farther and farther towards the south or in the opposite direction. Yet this travel causes a hiding, not of the western or eastern sky, but only of the southern or northern, and in fact this hiding takes place when the sky is clear; for the pole is the most northerly point of the sky, but since the pole moves and is sometimes at our zenith and sometimes below the earth, the arctic circles also change with it and in the course of such travels sometimes vanish with it,56 so that you cannot know where the northern "clima" is, or even where it begins.57 And if this is true, p47neither can you know the opposite "clima." The circuit of Ithaca is about eighty stadia.58 So much for Ithaca.

13 As for Cephallenia, which is a Tetrapolis, the poet mentions by its present name neither it nor any of its cities except one, Samê or Samos, which now no longer exists, though traces of it are to be seen midway of the passage to Ithaca; and its people are called Samaeans. The other three, however, survive even to this day in the little cities Paleis, Pronesus, and Cranii. And in our time Gaius Antonius, the uncle of Marcus Antonius, founded still another city, when, after his consulship, which he held with Cicero the orator, he went into exile,59 sojourned in Cephallenia, and held the whole island in subjection as though it were his private estate. However, before he could complete the settlement he obtained permission to return home,60 and ended his days amid other affairs of greater importance.

14 Some, however, have not hesitated to identify Cephallenia with Dulichium, 456 and others with Taphos, calling the Cephallenians Taphians, and likewise Teleboans, and to say that Amphitryon made an expedition thither with Cephalus, the son of Deïoneus, whom, an exile from Athens, he had taken along with him, and that when Amphitryon seized the island he gave it over to Cephalus, and that the island was named after Cephalus and the cities after his children. But this is not in accordance with Homer; for the Cephallenians were subject to Odysseus and Laertes, whereas Taphos was subject p49to Mentes: "I declare that I am Mentes the son of wise Anchialus, and I am lord over the oar‑loving Taphians."61 Taphos is now called Taphius. Neither is Hellanicus62 in accordance with Homer when he identifies Cephallenia with Dulichium, for him63 makes Dulichium and the remainder of the Echinades subject to Meges; and their inhabitants were Epeians, who had come there from Elis; and it is on this account that he calls Otus the Cyllenian "comrade of Phyleides64 and ruler of the high-hearted Epeians";65 "but Odysseus led the high-hearted Cephallenians."66 According to Homer, therefore, neither is Cephallenia Dulichium nor is Dulichium a part of Cephallenia, as Andron67 says; for the Epeians held possession of Dulichium, whereas the Cephallenians held possession of the whole of Cephallenia and were subject to Odysseus, whereas the Epeians were subject to Meges. Neither is Paleis called Dulichium by the poet, as Pherecydes writes. But that writer is most in opposition to Homer who identifies Cephallenia with Dulichium, if it be true that "fifty‑two" of the suitors were "from Dulichium" and "twenty-four from Samê";68 for in that case would not Homer say that fifty‑two came from the island as a whole and a half of that number less two from a single one of its four cities? However, if one grants this, I shall ask what Homer can mean by "Samê" in the passage, "Dulichium and Samê and woody Zacynthos."69

p51 15 Cephallenia lies opposite Acarnania, at a distance of about fifty stadia from Leucatas (some say forty), and about one hundred and eighty from Chelonatas. It has a perimeter of about three hundred70 stadia, is long, extending towards Eurus,71 and is mountainous. The largest mountain upon it is Aenus, whereon is the temple of Zeus Aenesius; and where the island is narrowest it forms an isthmus so low‑lying that it is often submerged from sea to sea. Both Paleis and Cranii are on the gulf near the narrows.

16 Between Ithaca and Cephallenia is the small island Asteria (the poet calls it Asteris), which the Scepsian72 says no longer remains such as the poet describes it, "but in it are harbours safe for anchorage with entrances on either side";73 457 Apollodorus, however, says that it still remains so to this day, and mentions a town Alalcomenae upon it, situated on the isthmus itself.

17 The poet also uses the name "Samos" for that Thrace which we now call Samothrace. And it is reasonable to suppose that he knows the Ionian Samos, for he also appears to know of the Ionian migration; otherwise he would not have differentiated between the places of the same name when referring to Samothrace, which he designates at one time by the p53epithet, "high on the topmost summit of woody Samos, the Thracian,"74 and at another time by connecting it with the islands near it, "unto Samos and Imbros and inhospitable75 Lemnos." And again, "between Samos and rugged Imbros." He therefore knew the Ionian island, although he did not name it; in fact it was not called by the same name in earlier times, but Melamphylus, then Anthemis, then Parthenia, from the River Parthenius, the name of which was changed to Imbrasus. Since, then, both Cephallenia and Samothrace were called Samos at the time of the Trojan War (for of which Hecabe would not be introduced as saying that he76 was for selling her children whom he might take captive "unto Samos and unto Imbros"),77 and since the Ionian Samos had not yet been colonised, it plainly got its name from one of the islands which earlier bore the same name. Whence that other fact is also clear, that those writers contradict ancient history who say that colonists came from Samos after the Ionian migration and the arrival of Tembrion78 and named Samothrace Samos, since this story was fabricated by the Samians to enhance the glory of their island. Those writers are more plausible who say that the island came upon this name from the fact that lofty places are called "samoi,"79 "for thence all Ida was plain to see, and plain to see were the city of Priam and the ships of the Achaeans."80 But some say that the island was p55called Samos after the Saïi, the Thracians who inhabited it in earlier times, who also held the adjacent mainland, whether these Saïi were the same people as the Sapaeï or Sinti (the poet calls them Sinties) or a different tribe. The Saïi are mentioned by Archilochus: "One of the Saïi robbed me of my shield, which, a blameless weapon, I left behind me beside a bush, against my will."81

18 Of the islands classified as subject to Odysseus, Zacynthos remains to be described. It leans slightly more to the west of the Peloponnesus than Cephallenia 458 and lies closer to the latter. The circuit of Zacynthos is one hundred and sixty stadia.82 It is about sixty stadia distant from Cephallenia. It is indeed a woody island, but it is fertile; and its city, which bears the same name, is worthy of note. The distance thence to the Libyan Hesperides is three thousand three hundred stadia.

19 To the east of Zacynthos and Cephallenia are situated the Echinades Islands, among which is Dulichium, now called Dolicha, and also what are called the Oxeiae, which the poet called Thoae.83 Dolicha lies opposite Oeneiadae and the outlet of the Acheloüs, at a distance of one hundred stadia from p57Araxus, the promontory of the Eleians; the rest of the Echinades (they are several in number, all poor-soiled and rugged) lie off the outlet of the Acheloüs, the farthermost being fifteen stadia distant and the nearest five. In earlier times they lay out in the high sea, but the silt brought down by the Acheloüs has already joined some of them to the mainland and will do the same to others. It was this silt which in early times caused the country called Paracheloïtis,84 which the river overflows, to be a subject of dispute, since it was always confusing the designated boundaries between the Acarnanians and the Aetolians; for they would decide the dispute by arms, since they had no arbitrators, and the more powerful of the two would win the victory; and this is the cause of the fabrication of a certain myth, telling how Heracles defeated Acheloüs and, as the prize of his victory, won the hand of Deïaneira, the daughter of Oeneus, whom Sophocles represents as speaking as follows: "For my suitor was a river‑god, I mean Acheloüs, who would demand me of my father in three shapes, coming now as a bull in bodily form, now as a gleaming serpent in coils, now with trunk of man and front of ox."85 Some writers add to the myth, saying that this was the horn of Amaltheia,86 which Heracles broke off from Acheloüs and gave to Oeneus as a wedding gift. Others, conjecturing the p59truth from the myths, say that the Acheloüs, like the other rivers, was called "like a bull" from the roaring of its waters, and also from the bendings of its streams, which were called Horns, and "like a serpent" because of its length and windings, and "with front of ox"87 for the same reason that he was called "bull-faced"; and that Heracles, who in general was inclined to deeds of kindness, but especially for Oeneus, since he was to ally himself to him by marriage, regulated the irregular flow of the river by means of embankments and channels, 459 and thus rendered a considerable part of Paracheloïtis dry, all to please Oeneus; and that this was the horn of Amaltheia.88 Now, as for the Echinades, or the Oxeiae, Homer says that they were ruled over in the time of Trojan War by Meges, "who was begotten by the knightly Phyleus, dear to Zeus, who once changed his abode to Dulichium because he was wroth with his father."89 His father was Augeas, the ruler of the Eleian country and the Epeians; and therefore the Epeians who set out for Dulichium with Phyleus held these islands.

20 The islands of the Taphians, or, in earlier times, of the Teleboans, among which was Taphos, now called Taphius, were distinct from the Echinades; not in the matter of distances (for they lie near them), but in that they are classified as under different commanders, Taphians and Teleboans.90 Now in earlier times Amphitryon made an expedition p61against them with Cephalus the son of Deïoneus, an exile from Athens, and gave over their government to him, but the poet says that they were marshalled under Mentes,91 calling them pirates,92 as indeed all the Teleboans are said to be pirates. So much, then, for the islands lying off Acarnania.

21 Between Leucas and the Ambracian Gulf is a salt-lake, called Myrtuntium. Next after Leucas one comes to Palaerus and Alyzia, cities of Acarnania; of these, Alyzia is fifteen stadia distant from the sea, where is a harbour sacred to Heracles and a sacred precinct. It is from this precinct that one of the commanders carried to Rome the "Labours of Heracles," works of Lysippus, which were lying out of place where they were, because it was a deserted region. Then one comes to Cape Crithotê, and the Echinades, and the city Astacus, which bears the same name as the city near Nicomedeia and Gulf Astacenus,93 the name being used in the feminine gender. Crithotê also bears the same name as one of the little cities in the Thracian Chersonesus.94 All parts of the coast between these places have good harbours. Then one comes to Oeniadae and the Acheloüs; then to a lake of the Oeniadae, called Melitê, which is thirty stadia in length and twenty in breadth; and to another lake, Cynia, p63which is twice the size of Melitê, both in length and in breadth; and to a third, Uria, which is smaller than those. Now Cynia empties into the sea, but the others lie about half a stadium above it. Then one comes to the Evenus, to which the distance from Actium is six hundred and seventy stadia. After the Evenus one comes to the mountain Chalcis, which Artemidorus has called Chalcia; then to Pleuron; then to the village Halicyrna, above which, thirty stadia in the interior, lies Calydon; and near Calydon is the temple of the Laphrian Apollo. Then one comes to the mountain Taphiassus; 460 then to the city Macynia; then to Molycreia and, near by, to Antirrhium, the boundary between Aetolia and Locris, to which the distance from the Evenus is about one hundred and twenty stadia. Artemidorus, indeed, does not give this account of the mountain, whether we call it Chalcis or Chalcia, since he places it between the Acheloüs and Pleuron, but Apollodorus, as I have said before,95 places both Chalcis and Taphiassus above Molycreia, and he also says that Calydon is situated between Pleuron and Chalcis. Perhaps, however, we should postulate two mountains, one near Pleuron called Chalcis, and the other near Molycreia called Chalcis. Near Calydon, also, is a lake, which is large and p65well supplied with fish; it is held by the Romans who live in Patrae.

22 Apollodorus says that in the interior of Acarnania there is a people called Erysichaeans, who are mentioned by Alcman: "nor yet an Erysichaean nor shepherd, but from the heights of Sardeis."96 But Olenus, which Homer mentions in the Aetolian catalogue, was in Aetolia, though only traces of it are left, near Pleuron at the foot of Aracynthus. Near it, also, was Lysimachia; this, too, has disappeared; it was situated by the lake now called Lysimachia, in earlier times Hydra, between Pleuron and the city Arsinoê. In early times Arsinoê was only a village, and was called Conopa, but it was first founded as a city by Arsinoê, who was both wife and sister of Ptolemy the Second;97 it was rather happily situated at the ford across the Acheloüs. Pylenê98 has also suffered a fate similar to that of Olenus. When the poet calls Calydon both "steep"99 and "rocky,"100 one should interpret him as referring to the country; for, as I have said,101 they divided the country into two parts and assigned the mountainous part, or Epictetus,102 to Calydon and the level country to Pleuron.

23 At the present time both the Acarnanians and the Aetolians, like many of the other tribes, have been exhausted and reduced to impotence by their p67continual wars. However, for a very long time the Aetolians, together with the Acarnanians, stood firm, not only against the Macedonians and the other Greeks, but also finally against the Romans, when fighting for autonomy. But since they are often mentioned by Homer, as also both by the other poets and by historians, sometimes in words that are easy to interpret and about which there is no disagreement, and sometimes in words that are less intelligible (this has been shown in what I have already said about them), I should also add some of those older accounts which afford us a basis of fact to begin with, or are matters of doubt.

24 461 For instance, in the case of Acarnania, Laertes and the Cephallenians acquired possession of it, as I have said;103 but as to what people held it before that time, many writers have indeed given an opinion, but since they do not agree in their statements, which have, however, a wide currency, there is left for me a word of arbitration concerning them. They say that the people who were called both Taphians and Teleboans lived in Acarnania in earlier times, and that their leader Cephalus, who had been set up by Amphitryon as master over the islands about Taphos, gained the mastery over this country too. And from this fact they go on to add the myth that Cephalus was the first to take the leap from Leucatas which became the custom, as I have said before.104 But the poet does not say that the Taphians were ruling the Acarnanians before the Cephallenians and Laertes came over, but only that they were friends to the Ithacans, and therefore, according to the poet, they either had not ruled over the region at all, or had yielded Acarnania to the p69Ithacans voluntarily, or had become joint-occupants with them. It appears that also a colony from Lacedaemon settled in Acarnania, I mean Icarius, father of Penelope, and his followers; for in the Odyssey the poet represents both Icarius and the brothers of Penelope as living: "who105 shrink from going to the house of her father, Icarius, that he himself may exact the bride-gifts for his daughter,"106 and, concerning her brothers, "for already her father and her brothers bid her marry Eurymachus";107 for, in the first place, it is improbable that they were living in Lacedaemon, since in that case Telemachus would not have lodged at the home of Menelaüs when he went to Lacedaemon, and, secondly, we have no tradition of their having lived elsewhere. But they say that Tyndareus and his brother Icarius, after being banished by Hippocoön from their home-land, went to Thestius, the ruler of the Pleuronians, and helped him to acquire possession of much of the country on the far side of the Acheloüs on condition that they should receive a share of it; that Tyndareus, however, went back home, having married Leda, the daughter of Thestius, whereas Icarius stayed on, keeping a portion of Acarnania, and by Polycastê, the daughter of Lygaeus, begot both Penelope and her brothers. Now I have already set forth that the Acarnanians were enumerated in the Catalogue of Ships,108 that they took part in the p71expedition to Ilium, and that among these were named "those who lived on the 'shore,' "109 and also "those who held the mainland and dwelt in parts opposite."110 But as yet neither had the mainland been named "Acarnania" nor the shore "Leucas."

25 462 Ephorus denies that they joined the Trojan expedition, for he says that Alcmaeon, the son of Amphiaraüs, made an expedition with Diomedes and the other Epigoni, and had brought to a successful issue the war against the Thebans, and then joined Diomedes and with him took vengeance upon the enemies of Oeneus, after which he himself, first giving over Aetolia to them,111 passed into Acarnania and subdued it; and meanwhile Agamemnon attacked the Argives and easily prevailed over them, since the most of them had accompanied the army of Diomedes; but a little later, when the expedition against Ilium confronted him, he conceived the fear that, when he was absent on the expedition, Diomedes and his army might come back home (and in fact it was reported that a great army had gathered round him) and seize the empire to which they had the best right, for one112 was the heir of Adrastus and the other113 of his father;114 and accordingly, after thinking this all over, Agamemnon invited them both to resume possession of Argos and to take part in the war; and although Diomedes was persuaded to take part in the expedition, Alcmaeon was vexed and refused to heed the invitation; and for this reason the Acarnanians alone refused to share in the expedition p73with the Greeks. And it was probably by following this account that the Acarnanians tricked the Romans, as they are said to have done, and obtained from them their autonomy, urging that they alone had had no part in the expedition against the ancestors of the Romans, for they were named neither in the Aetolian catalogue115 nor separately, and in fact their name was not mentioned in the Epic poems at all.

26 Ephorus, then, makes Acarnania subject to Alcmaeon even before the Trojan War; and he not only declares that the Amphilochian Argos was not founded by him, but also says that Acarnania was named after Alcmaeon's son Acarnan, and the Amphilochians after Alcmaeon's brother Amphilochus; therefore his account is to be cast out amongst those contrary to Homeric history. But Thucydides116 and others say that Amphilochus, on his return from the Trojan expedition, was displeased with the state of affairs at Argos, and took up his abode in this country, some saying that he came by right of succession to the domain of his brother, others giving a different account. So much may be said of the Acarnanians specifically; I shall now speak of their history in a general way, in so far as their history is interwoven with that of the Aetolians, relating next in order the history of the Aetolians, in so far as I have thought best to add to my previous narrative.


The Editor's Notes:

1 8.3.11.

2 9.5.10.

3 8.2.3.

4 This Nicopolis ("Victory City") was founded by Augustus Caesar in commemoration of his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 B.C. See 7.7.5.

5 Amaxiki, now in ruins.

6 An error either of Strabo or of the MSS. "Stratus" and "Alyzia" should exchange places in the sentence.

7 i.e. the Acquired.

8 Son of Antigonus Gonatas; reigned over Macedonia 239‑229 B.C.

9 Iliad 2.639.

10 Homer specifically mentions Leucas only once, as the "rock Leucas" (Odyssey 24.11). On the Ithaca-Leucas problem, see Appendix in this volume.

11 Od. 24.377.

12 Iliad 2.633.

13 See Dictionary in Vol. IV.

14 "leuca."

15 Or perhaps "resuscitated."

16 The author of this epic poem on the deeds of Alcmaeon is unknown.

17 Iliad 2.631.

18 Iliad 2.625.

19 Iliad 2.615.

20 Iliad 2.536.

21 Iliad 8.173.

22 Iliad 2.632.

23 "epeirus" (cp. "Epeirus").

24 On Homer's use of this "poetic figure," in which he specifies the part with the whole, cp. 8.3.8 and 1.2.23.

25 Od. 14.100.

26 Od. 4.671.

27 i.e. politically it was composed of four cities.

28 Od. 1.245.

29 Iliad 2.634.

30 See Dictionary in Vol. I.

31 Od. 4.671.

32 Od. 1.246.

33 In the words of Telemachus.

34 Od. 16.249.

35 Od. 15.367.

36 Iliad 2.632.

37 Od. 9.21.

38 Iliad 2.632.

39 Od. 9.21.

40 Od. 3.81.

41 Accusative of "Nericus."

42 Iliad 2.632.

43 Od. 24.377.

44 Od. 9.21.

45 Od. 24.378.

46 Od. 9.25 (see 1.2.20 and foot-note).

47 Iliad 3.201; Od. 1.247; 9.27; 10.417, 463; 15.510; 16.124; 21.346.

48 Od. 14.1.

49 On eudeielos, see 9.2.41 and foot-note.

50 Od. 4.607; but in this particular passage the Homeric text has hippêlatos ("fit for driving horses") instead of eudeielos, although in Od. 9.21, and elsewhere, Homer does apply the latter epithet to Ithaca.

51 Od. 9.26.

52 Iliad 12.239.

53 Od. 10.190.

54 But in this passage "climata" is used in a different sense from that in 1.1.10 (see also foot-note 2 ad loc., Vol. I, p22). It means here the (four) quarters of the sky, (1) where the sun sets, (2) where it rises, (3) the region of the celestial north pole, and (4) the region opposite thereto south of the equator.

55 Odysseus was at the isle of Circe when he uttered the words in question, and hence, relatively, the celestial phenomena had changed (see 1.1.21).

56 i.e. the infinite number of possible northern arctic circles vanish when the traveller (going south) crosses the equator, and, in the same way, the corresponding quarter of the southern sky vanishes when the traveller, going north, crosses the equator (see Vol. I, p364, note 2).

57 See critical note.

58 See critical note.

59 59 B.C.

60 Probably from Caesar. He was back in Rome in 44 B.C.

61 Od. 1.180.

62 See Dictionary in Vol. I.

63 Iliad 2.625.

64 Son of Phyleus (Meges).

65 Iliad 15.519.

66 Iliad 2.631.

67 See foot-note on Andron, 10.4.6.

68 Od. 16.247, 249.

69 Od. 1.246.

70 See critical note.

71 i.e. towards the direction of winter sunrise (rather south-east) as explained by Poseidonius (see discussion in 1.2.21).

72 Demetrius of Scepsis.

73 Od. 4.846.

74 Iliad 13.12.

75 Or "smoky"; the meaning of the Greek word is doubtful.

76 Achilles.

77 Iliad 24.752.

78 See 14.1.3.

79 See 8.3.19.

80 Iliad 13.13.

81 Bergk, Frag. 6 (51). Two more lines are preserved: "but I myself escaped the doom of death. Farewell to that shield! I shall not get another one as good."

82 See critical note.

83 In Greek "Oxeiai" and "Thoai," both words meaning "sharp" or "pointed" (see 8.3.26 and foot-note, and Od. 15.299).

84 i.e. "along the Acheloüs."

85 Trachiniae 7‑11. One vase-painting shows Acheloüs fighting with Achilles as a serpent with the head and arms of a man, and with ox‑horn, and another as a human figure, except that he had the forehead, horns, and ears of an ox (Jebb, note ad loc.).

86 Cf. 3.2.14 and foot-note.

87 Literally, "ox‑prowed" (see Jebb, loc. cit.).

88 Cp. 3.2.14.

89 Iliad 2.628.

90 The latter name is not found in the Iliad or Odyssey.

91 Od. 1.80.

92 Od. 15.427.

93 Gulf of Ismid (see 12.4.2).

94 See Frag. 55 (56), Vol. III, p377.

95 10.2.4.

96 Frag. 24 (Bergk).

97 She married him in 279 B.C.

98 Cf. 10.2.6.

99 Iliad 13.217.

100 Iliad 2.640.

101 10.2.3.

102 i.e. Aetolia the "acquired" (10.2.3).

103 10.2.810.

104 Cf. 10.2.9.

105 The suitors.

106 Od. 2.52.

107 Od. 15.16.

108 10.2.25; but Homer nowhere specifically mentions the "Acarnanians."

Thayer's Note: So the Loeb edition footnote, but there must be something wrong with it that I've failed to untangle, since (a) this note cites a subsequent passage, but Strabo says "I have already set forth"; (b) 10.2.25 specifically says that the Acarnanians are not mentioned in the Catalogue of Ships (or at least that the Acarnanians showed the Romans that they were not).

109 "Shore of the mainland," Od. 24.378.

110 See 10.2.8.

111 Diomedes and Oeneus.

112 Diomedes.

113 Alcmaeon.

114 Amphiaraüs.

115 Iliad 2.638 ff.

116 2.68.


[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 22 Sep 12