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This oracle, according to Ephorus, was founded by the Pelasgi. And the Pelasgi are called the earliest of all peoples who have held dominion in Greece. And the poet speaks in this way: ““O Lord Zeus, Dodonaean, Pelasgian”;
1 and Hesiod: ““He came to Dodona and the oak-tree, seat of the Pelasgi.”
2 The Pelasgi I have already discussed in my description of Tyrrhenia;3 and as for the people who lived in the neighborhood of the temple of Dodona, Homer too makes it perfectly clear from their mode of life, when he calls them “men with feet unwashen, men who sleep upon the ground,”4 that they were barbarians; but whether one should call them “Helli,” as Pindar does, or “Selli,” as is conjectured to be the true reading in Homer, is a question to which the text, since it is doubtful, does not permit a positive answer. Philochorus says that the region round about Dodona, like Euboea, was called Hellopia, and that in fact Hesiod speaks of it in this way: ““There is a land called Hellopia, with many a corn-field and with goodly meadows; on the edge of this land a city called Dodona hath been built.”
5 It is thought, Apollodorus says, that the land was so called from the marshes6 around the temple; as for the poet, however, Apollodorus takes it for granted that he did not call the people who lived about the temple “Helli,” but “Selli,” since (Apollodorus adds) the poet also named a certain river Selleeïs. He names it, indeed, when he says, ““From afar, out of Ephyra, from the River Selleeïs”
7; however, as Demetrius of Scepsis says, the poet is not referring to the Ephyra among the Thesprotians, but to that among the Eleians, for the Selleeïs is among the Eleians, he adds, and there is no Selleeïs among the Thesprotians, nor yet among the Molossi. And as for the myths that are told about the oak-tree and the doves, and any other myths of the kind, although they, like those told about Delphi, are in part more appropriate to poetry, yet they also in part properly belong to the present geographical description.

1 Hom. Il. 16.233

2 Hes. Fr. 212 (Rzach)

3 5. 2. 4.

4 Hom. Il. 16.235.

5 Hes. Fr. 134 (Rzach)

6 The Greek for marshes is “Hele.”

7 Hom. Il. 2.659; 15.531

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load focus Greek (1877)
load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
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