Ephorus says that Aetolus, after he had been driven by Salmoneus, the king of the Epeians and the Pisatans, out of Eleia into Aetolia, named the country after himself and also united the cities there under one metropolis; and Oxylus, a descendant of Aetolus and a friend of Temenus and the Heracleidae who accompanied him, acted as their guide on their way back to the Peloponnesus, and apportioned among them that part of the country which was hostile to them, and in general made suggestions regarding the conquest of the country; and in return for all this he received as a favor the permission to return to Eleia, his ancestral land; and he collected an army and returned from Aetolia to attack the Epeians who were in possession of Elis; but when the Epeians met them with arms,1
and it was found that the two forces were evenly matched, Pyraechmes the Aetolian and Degmenus the Epeian, in accordance with an ancient custom of the Greeks, advanced to single combat. Degmenus was lightly armed with a bow, thinking that he would easily overcome a heavy-armed opponent at long range, but Pyraechmes armed himself with a sling and a bag of stones, after he had noticed his opponent's ruse (as it happened, the sling had only recently been invented by the Aetolians); and since the sling had longer range, Degmenus fell, and the Aetolians drove out the Epeians and took possession of the land; and they also assumed the superintendence, then in the hands of the Achaeans, of the temple at Olympia; and because of the friendship of Oxylus with the Heracleidae, a sworn agreement was promptly made by all that Eleia should be sacred to Zeus, and that whoever invaded that country with arms should he under a curse, and that whoever did not defend it to the extent of his power should be likewise under a curse; consequently those who later founded the city of the Eleians left it without a wall, and those who go through the country itself with an army give up their arms and then get them back again after they have passed out of its borders; and Iphitus celebrated 2
the Olympian Games, the Eleians now being a sacred people; for these reasons the people flourished, for whereas the other peoples were always at war with one another, the Eleians alone had profound peace, not only they, but their alien residents as well, and so for this reason their country became the most populous of all; but Pheidon the Argive, who was the tenth in descent from Temenus and surpassed all men of his time in ability (whereby he not only recovered the whole inheritance of Temenus, which had been broken up into several parts, but also invented the measures called "Pheidonian,"3
and weights, and coinage struck from silver and other metals)—Pheidon, I say, in addition to all this, also attacked the cities that had been captured previously by Heracles, and claimed for himself the right to celebrate all the games that Heracles had instituted. And he said that the Olympian Games were among these; and so he invaded Eleia and celebrated the games himself, the Eleians, because of the Peace, having no arms wherewith to resist him, and all the others being under his domination; however, the Eleians did not record this celebration in their public register, but because of his action they also procured arms and began to defend themselves; and the Lacedaemonians cooperated with them, either because they envied them the prosperity which they had enjoyed on account of the peace, or because they thought that they would have them as allies in destroying the power of Pheidon, for he had deprived them of the hegemony over the Peloponnesus which they had formerly held; and the Eleians did help them to destroy the power of Pheidon, and the Lacedaemonians helped the Eleians to bring both Pisatis and Triphylia under their sway. The length of the voyage along the coast of the Eleia of today, not counting the sinuosities of the gulfs, is, all told, twelve hundred stadia.4
So much for Eleia.