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CA´LYDON

CA´LYDON (Καλυδών: Eth. Καλυδώνιος, Eth. Calydonius: Kurt-agá), the most celebrated city of Aetolia, in the heroic age, was founded by Aetolus in the land of the Curetes, and was called Calydon, after the name of his son. Calydon and the neighbouring town of Pleuron are said by Strabo to have been once the ornament (πρόσχημα) of Greece, but to have sunk in his time into insignificance. Calydon was situated in a fertile plain near the Evenus, and at the distance of 7 1/2 (Roman) miles from the sea, according to Pliny It is frequently mentioned by Homer, who gives it the epithet of πετρήεσσα and αἰπεινή, from which we might conclude that the city was situated on a, rocky height; but Strabo says that these epithets were to be applied to the district and not to the city itself. Homer also celebrates the fertility of the plain of the “lovely” (ἐραννή) Calydon. (Apollod 1.7.7; Plin. Nat. 4.3; Hom. il. 2.640, 9.577, 13.217, 14.116; Strab, pp. 450, seq., 460.) In the earliest times the inhabitants of Calydon appear to have been engaged in incessant hostilities with the Curetes, who continued to reside in their ancient capital Pleuron, and who endeavoured to expel the invaders from their country. A vivid account of one of the battles between the Curetes and Calydonians is given in ran episode of the Iliad (9.529, seq.). The heroes of Calydon are among the most celebrated of the heroic age. It was the residence of Oeneus, father of Tydeus and Meleager, and grandfather of Diomedes. In the time of Oeneus Artemis sent a monstrous boar to lay waste the fields of Calydon, which was hunted by Meleager and numerous other heroes. (See Dict. of Myth. art. Meleager.) The Calydonians took part in the Trojan war under their king Thoas, the son (not the grandson) of Oeneus. (Hom. Il. 2.638.

Calydon is not often mentioned in the historical period. In B.C. 391 we find it in the possession of the Achaeans, but we are not told how it came into their hands; we know, however; that Naupactus was given to the Achaeans at the close of the Peloponnesian war, and it was probably the Achaeans settled at Naupactus who gained possession of the town. In the above-mentioned year the Achaeans at Calydon, were so hard pressed by the Acarnanians that they applied to the Lacedaemonians for help; and Agesilaus in consequence was sent with an army into Aetolia. Calydon remained in the hands of the Achaeans till the overthrow of the Spartan supremacy by the battle of Leuctra (B.C. 371), when Eparninondas restored, the town to the Aetolians. In the civil war between Caesar. and Pompey (B.C. 48) it still appears as a considerable place; but a few years afterwards its inhabitants were removed by Augustus to Nicopolis, which he founded to commemorate his victory at Actium (B.C. 31). It continues however to be mentioned by the later geographers. (Xen. Heil. 4.6. 1; Paus.3.10.2; Diod. 15.75 ;, Caes. B.C. 3.35; Mel. 2.3.10; Plin. Nat. 4.3; Ptol. 3.15.14.) Calydon was the head-quarters of the worship of Artemis Laphria, and when, the inhabitants of the town were removed to Nicopolis, Augustus gave to Patrae in Achaia the statue of this goddess which had belonged to Calydon. (Paus. 4.31.7, 7.18.8.) There was also a statue of Dionysus at Patrae which had been removed from Calydon. (Paus. 7.21.) Near Calydon there was a temple of Apollo Laphrius (Strab. p. 459, with Kramer's note); and in the neighbourhood of the city there was also a lake celebrated for its fish. [See p. 64a.]

In the Roman poets we find Calydōnis, a woman of Calydon, i. e. Deïanīra, daughter of Oeneus, king of Calydon (Ov. Met. 9.112); Calydonius hers, i. e Meleager (Ibid. 8.324); Calydonius amnis, i. e. the Achelous, separating Acarnania and Aetolia, because Calydon was the chief town of Aetolia (Ibid. 8.727, 9.2); Calydonia regna, i. e. Apulia, because Diomedes, the son of Tydeus, and, grandson of Oeneus, king of. Calydon, afterwards obtained Apulia as his kingdom. (Ibid. 14.512.)

There has been some dispute respecting the site of Calydon. The Peutingerian Table places it east of the Evenus, and 9 miles from this river; but this is clearly a mistake. It is evident from Strabo's account (p. 450, seq.), and from all the legends relating to Calydon, that both this city and Pleuron lay on the western side of the Evenus, between this [p. 1.485]river and the Achelous.1 Leake supposes the ruins which he discovered at Kurt-agá, a little to the E. of the Evenus, to be those of Calydon. They are distant a ride of 1 hour and 35 minutes from Mesolonghi, and are situated on one of the last slopes of Mt. Aracynthus at the entrance of the vale of the Evenus, where that river issues from the interior valleys into the maritime plain. They do not stand on any commanding height, as the Homeric epithets above mentioned would lead us to suppose, and it is perhaps for this reason that Strabo, supposes these epithets to apply to the surrounding country. Thee remains of the walls are traceable in their whole circuit of near two miles and a half; and outside the walls Leake discovered some ruins, which may have been the peribolus of the temple of, Artemis Laphria. (Leake, Northern Greece, vol..iii. p. 533, seq.)

1 The passage in Strabo (p. 459, sub fin.), in which Pleuron and Calydon are both described as E. of the Evenus, does not agree with his previous description, and cannot have been written as it now stands. (See Kramer's note.)

hide References (13 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (13):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.75
    • Homer, Iliad, 9.577
    • Homer, Iliad, 14.116
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.640
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4.31.7
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 7.21
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 7.18.8
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 4.6.1
    • Homer, Iliad, 13.217
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.638
    • Homer, Iliad, 9.529
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 9.112
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.3
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