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But since also the historians, because of the identity of name of the Curetes, have classed together things that are unlike, neither should I myself shrink from discussing them at greater length, by way of digression, adding such account of their physical habits as is appropriate to history. And yet some historians even wish to assimilate their physical habits with those others, and perhaps there is something plausible in their undertaking. For instance, they say that the Curetes of Aetolia got this name because, like "girls,"1 they wore women's clothes, for, they add, there was a fashion of this kind among the Greeks, and the Ionians were called "tunic-trailing,"2 and the soldiers of Leonidas were "dressing their hair"3 when they were to go forth to battle, so that the Persians, it is said, conceived a contempt for them, though in the battle they marvelled at them. Speaking generally, the art of caring for the hair consists both in its nurture and in the way it is cut, and both are given special attention by "girls" and "youths";4 so that there are several ways in which it is easy to derive an etymology of the word "Curetes." It is reasonable to suppose, also, that the war-dance was first introduced by persons who were trained in this particular way in the matter of hair and dress, these being called Curetes, and that this dance afforded a pretext to those also who were more warlike than the rest and spent their life under arms, so that they too came to be called by the same name, "Curetes "—I mean the Curetes in Euboea, Aetolia, and Acarnania. And indeed Homer applied this name to young soldiers,“choose thou the noblest young men5 from all the Achaeans, and bring the gifts from the swift ship, all that we promised yesterday to Achilles";
6and again,“the young men of the Achaeans brought the gifts.
7 So much for the etymology of the word "Curetes." The war-dance was a soldiers' dance; and this is plainly indicated both by the "Pyrrhic dance,"8 and by "Pyrrichus," who is said to be the founder of this kind of training for young men, as also by the treatises on military affairs.9

1 "Corai" (see footnote on "girls" and "youths," p. 91).

2 e.g., Hom. Il. 13.685.

3 Hdt. 7.208, 209.

4 "Corai" and "Coroi." But the corresponding Homeric forms (κοῦροι, κοῦραι) yield English "Curae" and "Curoe"; and Strabo evidently had those forms in mind (see note on 10. 3. 11).

5 "Curetes."

6 Hom. Il. 19.193

7 Hom. Il. 19.248

8 "The Pyrrhic dance of our time seems to be a sort of Dionysiac dance, being more respectable than that of early times, for the dancers have thyrsi instead of spears, and hurl them at one another, and carry fennel-stalks and torches" (Athenaeus 14.631b).

9 Or, following the conjecture of Kramer (see critical note), we should have, instead of but . . . affairs," simply in the work of a soldier."

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