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102. During the same winter the Athenian forces at Naupactus, after the Peloponnesian fleet1 had dispersed, made an expedition under the command of Phormio into the centre of Acarnania with four hundred hoplites of their own taken from the fleet2 and four hundred Messenian hoplites. They first coasted along towards Astacus3 and disembarked. From Stratus, Coronta, and other places they expelled those of the inhabitants whom they distrusted, and restoring Cynes the son of Theolytus to Coronta, they returned to their ships. Oeniadae, of which the inhabitants, unlike the rest of the Acarnanians, were their persistent enemies, was unapproachable in winter. [2] For the town4 is in the midst of a marsh formed by the river Achelous, which, rising in Mount Pindus and passing first through the territory of the Dolopians, Agraeans, and Amphilochians, and then through the Acarnanian plain, at some distance from its mouth flows by the city of Stratus and finds an exit into the sea near Oeniadae: an expedition in winter is thus rendered impossible by the water. [3] Most of the islands called Echinades are situated opposite to Oeniadae and close to the mouth of the Achelous. The consequence is that the river, which is large, is always silting up: some of the islands have been already joined to the mainland, and very likely, at no distant period, they may all be joined to it. The stream is wide and strong and full of mud; [4] and the islands are close together and serve to connect the deposits made by the river, not allowing them to dissolve in the water. For, lying irregularly and not one behind the other, they prevent the river from finding a straight channel into the sea. These islands are small and uninhabited. [5] The story is that when Alcmaeon the son of Amphiaraus was wandering over the earth after the murder of his mother, he was told by Apollo that here he should find a home, the oracle intimating that he would never obtain deliverance from his terrors until he discovered some country which was not yet in existence and not seen by the sun at the time when he slew his mother; there he might settle, but the rest of the earth was accursed to him. [6] He knew not what to do, until at last, according to the story, he spied the deposit of earth made by the Achelous, and he thought that a place sufficient to support life must have accumulated in the long time during which he had been wandering since his mother's death. There, near Oeniadae, he settled, and, becoming ruler, left to the country the name of his son Acarnan. Such is the tradition which has come down to us concerning Alcmaeon.

1 The Athenians, under Phormio, make an expedition into Acarnania.

2 Cp. 2.83 init.; 92 fin.

3 Cp. 2.30; 33.

4 Oeniadae was inaccessible, owing to the flooding of the Achelous. Opposite to the town lie the Echinades, islands formed by the deposits of the river. Here Alcmaeon, after the murder of his mother is said to have found a home which was indicated to him by the oracle of Apollo.

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