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The ancient Region of Acarnania, Greece

Acarnania is a region of west-central Greece that lies along the Ionian Sea, west of Aetolia, with the Achelous River for a boundary, and north of the gulf of Calydon, which is the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth. Today it forms the western part of the prefecture of Aetolia-Acarnania. The capital and principal city in ancient times was Stratos.

Acarnania's foundation was traditionally ascribed to Acarnan, son of Alcmaeon.





There is some evidence the region was used by Phoenician sailors for shelter on their journeys west, but there is otherwise little to indicate any large scale prehistorical settlement. In 7th century BC, Greek influence in the region becomes prominent when Corinth settled Anactorium, Sollium and Leucas, and Kefalonia settled Astacus. Settlements in Alyzeia, Coronta, Limnaea, Medion, Oeniadae, Palaerus, Phytia and Stratus are also mentioned by Thucydides, this latter city being the seat of a loose confederation of Acarnanian powers that was maintained until the late 1st century BC.

Epirus in antiquity

Because it is located strategically on the maritime route to Italy, Acarnania was emmired in many wars. In 5th century BC, the Corinthians were forced out of their Acarnanian settlements by Athens. In 4th century BC, c. 390 BC, the cities of Acarnania surrendered to the Spartans under King Agesilaus, and continued to be Spartan allies until joining the Second Athenian Empire in 375 BC. The Acarnanians later sided with Boeotia in their fight against Sparta, and with Athens against Philip II of Macedon at Chaeronea.

Acarnania thereafter came under Macedonian rule. In 314 BC, at the behest of Macedonian king Cassander, the settlements of Acarnania lying near the Aetolian border were conglomerated into fewer, larger settlements. Still, border conflicts with the Aetolians were frequent, and led to Acarnania's territory being partitioned between Aetolia and Epirus, c. 250 BC. After the fall of the king of Epirus, the Acarnanian territory that had been given to Epirus regained its independence, and gained Leucas from Epirus, which became the capital of the region.

Acarnania allied itself with Philip V of Macedon against Rome in 200 BC, although it lost Leucas because of this, and the city of Thyrreion was anointed the new capital.

In the 1st century BC, Acarnania suffered greatly at the hands of pirates, and in Rome's civil wars. Afterwards, the towns and settlements of Acarnania fell under the rule of Nicopolis.


When the Byzantine Empire broke up (1204), Acarnania passed to the Despotate of Epirus and in 1480 to the Ottoman Empire. Since 1832 it has been part of Greece.


Acarnania is composed of three main regions: 1) a rocky coastline, 2) a rugged strip of mountain range that follows the coastline, and 3) plains lying between these mountains and the Achelous River.

List of Acarnanians


  • Hornblower, Simon (1996). "Acarnania". The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 2–3.  

See also

List of traditional Greek place names.

External links

Wikisource-logo.svg "Acarnania". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.  

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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