: Eth. Πλευρώνιος
, also Πλευρωνεύς
, Steph. B. sub voce
Pleuronius), the name of two cities in Aetolia, the territory of which was called Pleuronia. ( Strab. x. p.465
; Auson. Epitaph.
OLD PLEURON ( ἡ παλαιὰ Πλευρών, Strab. x. p.451
), was situated in the plain between the Achelous and the Evenus, W. of Calydon, at the foot of Mount Curium, from which the Curetes are said to have derived their name. Pleuron and Calydon were the two chief towns of Aetolia in the heroic age, and are said by Strabo (x. p.450
) to have been the ancient ornament (πρόσχημα
) of Greece. Pleuron was originally a town of the Curetes, and its inhabitants were engaged in frequent wars with the Aetolians of the neighbouring town of Calydon. The Curetes, whose attack upon Calydon is mentioned in an episode of the Iliad (9.529
), appear to have been the inhabitants of Pleuron.
At the time of the Trojan War, however, Pleuron was an Aetolian city, and its inhabitants sailed against Troy under the command of the Aetolian chief Thoas, the son (not the grandson) of Oeneus. (Hom. Il. 2.639
, comp. 13.217, 14.116.) Ephorus related that the Curetes were expelled from Pleuronia, which was formerly called Curetis, by Aeolians (ap. Strab. x. p.465
); and this tradition may also be traced in the statement of Thucydides (3.102
) that the district, called Calydon and Pleuronia in the time of the Peloponnesian War, formerly bore the name of Aeolis. Since Pleuron appears as an Aetolian city in the later period of the heroic age, it is represented in some traditions as such from the beginning. Hence it is said to have derived its name from Pleuron, a son of Aetolus ; and at the very time that some legends represent it as the capital of the Curetes, and engaged in war with Oeneus, king of Calydon, others suppose it to have been governed by the Aetolian Thestius, the brother of Oeneus. Thestius was also represented as a descendant of Pleuron; and hence Pleuron had an heroum or a chapel at Sparta, as being the ancestor of Leda, the daughter of Thestius.
But there are all kinds of variations in these. traditions. Thus we find in Sophocles Oeneus, and not Thestius, represented as king of Pleuron. (Apollod. 1.7.7
; Paus. 3.14.8
; Soph. Trach. 7
.) One of the tragedies of Phrynichus, the subject of which appears to have been the death of Meleager, the son of Oeneus, was entitled Πλευρώνιαι,
or the “Pleuronian Women;” and hence it is not improbable that Phrynichus, as well as Sophocles, represented Oeneus as king of Pleuron. (Paus. 10.31.4
.) Pleuron is rarely mentioned in the historical period.
It was abandoned by its inhabitants, says Strabo, in consequence of the ravages of Demetrius, the Aetolian, a surname probably given to Demetrius II., king of Macedonia (who reigned B.C. 239--229), to distinguish him from Demetrius Poliorcetes. (Strab. x. p.451
The inhabitants now built the town of
NEW PLEURON (ἡ νεωτέρα Πλευρών
which was situated at the foot of Mt. Aracynthus. Shortly before the destruction of Corinth (B.C. 146), we find Pleuron, which was then a member of the Achaean League, petitioning the Romans to be dissevered from it. (Paus. 7.11.3
.) Leake supposes, on satisfactory grounds, the site of New Pleuron to be represented by the ruins called τὸ Κάστρον τῆς Κυρίας Εἰρήνης,
or the Castle of Lady Irene
about one hour's ride from Mesolonghi.
These ruins occupy the broad summit of one of the steep and rugged heights of Mt. Zyqos
(the ancient Aracynthus), which bound the plain of Mesolonghi
to the north. Leake says that the walls were about a mile in circumference, but Mure and Dodwell describe the circuit as nearly two miles.
The most remarkable [p. 2.642]
remains within the ruined walls are a theatre about 100 feet in diameter, and above it a cistern, 100 feet long, 70 broad, and 14 deep, excavated on three sides in the rock, and on the fourth constructed of masonry.
In the acropolis Leake discovered some remains of Doric shafts of white marble, which he conjectures to have belonged to the temple of Athena, of which Dicaearchus speaks (1. 55) ; but the temple mentioned by Dicaearchus must have been at Old Pleuron, since Dicaearchus was a contemporary of Aristotle and Theophrastus, and could not have been alive at the time of the foundation of New Pleuron. Dodwell, who visited the ruins of this city, erroneously maintains that they are those of Oeniadae, which were, however, situated among the marshes on the other side of the Achelous. Leake places Old Pleuron further south, at a site called Ghyfto-kastro,
on the edge of the plain of Mesolonghi,
where there are a few Hellenic remains. (Leake, Northern Greece,
vol. i. p. 115, seq., vol. iii. p. 539; Dodwell, Tour through Greece,
vol. i. p. 96, seq.; Mure, Tour in Greece,
vol. i. p. 140, seq.)