Carians, Galatians, Halizonians, and others: Ephoros and Apollodoros of Athens on Anatolian peoples (mid-fourth century BCE on)

Citation with stable link: Philip A. Harland, 'Carians, Galatians, Halizonians, and others: Ephoros and Apollodoros of Athens on Anatolian peoples (mid-fourth century BCE on),' Ethnic Relations and Migration in the Ancient World, last modified May 28, 2024,

Ancient authors: Ephoros of Kyme (mid-fourth century), Histories = FGrHist 70 F162, and Apollodoros of Athens (second century BCE), FGrHist 244 F170, 171, 207 (link to FGrHist), as discussed by Strabo, Geography 14.5.21-29; 12.3.24-25; and, 14.2.28 (link)

Comments: In these passages, Strabo engages with Apollodoros of Athens’ (second century BCE) discussion of peoples in Anatolia or Asia Minor, and it seems that Apollodoros himself was interacting with the mid-fourth century work of Ephoros of Kyme in some cases as well. Strabo likes to draw attention to how his own views differ from both of these other ethnographic writers. Particularly notable is Strabo’s objection to Ephoros’ suggestion that the populations of Asia Minor were mixed, namely that Greeks and “barbarians” had for considerable time been intermarrying (at least that seems to be the sense of “mixed” here). Strabo seems to be fine with the notion that the various “barbarian” peoples had been mixing for some time to the point of difficulties in distinguishing them, however. Strabo’s engagement with Apollodoros primarily pertains to the critique of Homer’s knowledge of peoples and places, but also the question of where peoples mentioned in Homer were actually located within Anatolia.

Works consulted: D.W. Roller, A Historical and Topographical Guide to the Geography of Strabo (Cambridge: CUP, 2018); M.F. Williams,  “Apollodoros of Athens (244),” in Jacoby Online, Part II, edited by Ian Worthington. Brill: Leiden, 2018.


Ephoros (F162) and Apollodoros (F170)

[Context of assessing the ethnographic accuracy of Homer]

(14.5.21) . . . Since the Kilikians in the Troad whom Homer mentions are far distant from the Cilicians beyond the Taurus mountains, some represent those in Troy as original colonizers of the latter [Cilicia in the southeast], and point out certain places of the same name there, as, for example, Thebe and Lyrnessos in Pamphylia. Yet others with the contrary opinion point out also an Aleian plain in the former. Now that the part of the previously-mentioned peninsula beyond the Taurus mountains have been described, I must add what follows:

[Apollodoros’ Commentary on the Catalogue of Ships]

(14.5.22 = FGrHist 244 F170) Apollodoros, in his work On the Catalogue of Ships, goes on to say to this effect, that all the allies of the Trojans from Asia were enumerated by the poet [Homer] as being inhabitants of the peninsula [i.e. the western half of Anatolia / Turkey as a peninsula]. The narrowest isthmus of this peninsula is that between the innermost recess at Sinope [i.e. Sinop, in central Turkey on the Black Sea] and Issos [at the southeastern edge of Turkey, almost straight south of Sinope]. And the outer sides of this peninsula, he says, which is triangular in shape, are unequal in length, one of them extending from Cilicia to the Chelidonian islands, another from the Chelidonian islands to the mouth of the Euxine [Black Sea], and the third from there back to Sinope.

Now the assertion that the allies of the Trojans were the only ones living on the peninsula can be proved wrong by the same arguments by which I have previously shown that the allies were not the only ones living this [western] side the Halys [Kızılırmak] river [12.3.24]. . . [omitted lengthy geographical discussion of the shape of Anatolia, particularly the question of where the “peninsula” – namely the western portion – of Anatolia as a whole begins, with Apollodoros drawing a line from Sinope on the Black Sea down to Issos in southeastern Cilicia and Strabo drawing the line from Amisos, slightly further east, and Issos].

[Ephoros on the sixteen descent groups of western Asia Minor]

(14.5.23) Now Ephoros said that this peninsula was inhabited by sixteen descent groups (genē), of which three were Greek and the rest barbarian with the exception of those that were mixed, adding that the Cilicians, Pamphylians, Lycians, Bithynians, Paphlagonians, Mariandynians, Trojans, and Carians lived on the sea, but the Pisidians, Mysians, Chalybians, Phrygians, and Milyans in the interior.

[Apollodoros’ interpretation and expansion of Ephoros]

However, Apollodoros, who makes his judgements on this matter, says that the descent group of the Galatians, which is more recent than the time of Ephoros, is a seventeenth. Apollodoros also says that, of the previously mentioned descent groups, the Greeks had not yet, in the time of the Trojan war, settled there, and that the barbarian descent groups are very mixed together because of the lapse of time. He also says that the poet [Homer] names in his Catalogue the descent groups of the Trojans and of the Paphlagonians, as they are now named, and of the Mysians and Phrygians, Carians and Lycians, as well as Meionians, instead of the Lydians, and other unknown peoples like the Halizonians and Kaukonians, for instance. Furthermore, beyond the Catalogue, he speaks about the Keteians, Solymians, and Cilicians from the plain of Thebe and the Lelegians, but nowhere names the Pamphylians, Bithynians, Mariandynians, Pisidians, Chalybians, Milyans, or Cappadocians. Some he omits because they had not yet settled in this region and others because they were included among other descent groups, such as the Hidrieians and the Termilians among the Carians and the Dolionians and Bebrykians among the Phrygians.

(14.5.24) But obviously Apollodoros does not make a fair judgment on the statement of Ephoros, and also confuses and falsifies the words of the poet [Homer]. Apollodoros should have first asked Ephoros this question: Why he placed the Chalybians inside the peninsula when they were so far distant towards the east from both Sinope and Amisos? For those who say that the isthmus of this peninsula is the line from Issos to the Euxine [Black Sea] make this line a kind of meridian, which some [like Apollodoros] think should be the line to Sinope and others [like Strabo] think it should be to Amisos. But no one thinks it should be to the land of the Chalybians, which is absolutely oblique. In fact, the meridian through the land of the Chalybians would be drawn through Lesser Armenia and the Euphrates, cutting off on this side of it the whole of Cappadocia, Commagene, mount Amanos, and the Issic gulf. If, however, we should concede that the oblique line bounds the isthmus, at least most of these places, and Cappadocia in particular, would be cut off on this side, as also the country now called Pontus in the special sense of the term, which is a part of Cappadocia towards the Euxine. The rsult is that, if the land of the Chalybians must be considered part of the peninsula, much more should Kataonia and both Cappadocias, as also Lykaonia, which is itself omitted by Apollodoros.

[Ephoros’ omissions]

Again, why did Ephoros place in the interior the Chalybians, whom the poet called Halizonians, as I have already demonstrated?​ For it would have been better to divide them and set one part of them on the sea and the other in the interior, as should also be done in the case of Cappadocia and Cilicia. However, Ephoros does not even name Cappadocia, and speaks only of the Cilicians on the sea.

Now as for the people who were subject to Antipater Derbetes, and the Homonadians (Homonadeis) and several other peoples who border on the Pisidians, “men who do not know the sea and even do not eat food mingled with salt” [Homer, Odyssey 11.122] where are they to be placed? Neither does he say in regard to the Lydians or Meionians whether they are two peoples or the same, or whether they live separately by themselves or are included within another descent group. For it would be impossible to lose from sight a descent group that is so significant. And if Ephoros says nothing about that descent group, would he not seem to have omitted something most important?

[Strabo objects to Ephoros speaking about “mixed” peoples ]

(14.5.25) And who are the “mixed” (migades) ones [according to Ephoros]? For we would be unable to say that, as compared with the previously-mentioned places, others were either named or omitted by Ephoros which we will assign to the “mixed” descent groups. Neither can we call “mixed” any of those whom he has mentioned or omitted because, even if they had become mixed, still the predominant element has made them either Greeks or barbarians. I know nothing of a third descent group (genos) that is “mixed.”

[Strabo objects to Ephoros speaking about three Greek descent groups in Anatolia]

(14.5.26) And how can there be three Greek descent groups [i.e. Ionians, Dorians, and Aiolians] that live on the peninsula [i.e. in western Asia Minor / Turkey]? For if it is because the Athenians and the Ionians were one and the same in ancient times, let the Dorians and the Aiolians also be called the same as one another, and so there would only be two descent groups. But if one should make distinctions in accordance with the customs of later times, as, for example, in accordance with dialects, then the descent groups, like the dialects, would be four in number [i.e. Ionic, Attic, Doric, Aeolic].

However, this peninsula, particularly in accordance with the division of Ephoros, is inhabited, not only by Ionians, but also by Athenians, as I have shown in my account of the several places.​ Now although it is worth while to raise such questions as these with reference to Ephoros, Apollodoros nonetheless took no thought for them and also goes on to add to the sixteen tribes a seventeenth, that of the Galatians. In general this would be a useful thing to do, but unnecessary for the passing of judgment upon what is said or omitted by Ephoros. But Apollodoros states the reason himself, that all this takes place later than the time of Ephoros.

[Changes in barbarian descent groups since the Trojan war]

(14.5.27) Passing to the poet, Apollodoros rightly says that much confusion of the barbarian descent groups has taken place from Trojan times to the present because of the changes, for some of them have been added to, others have vanished, others have been dispersed, and others have been combined into one descent group. But Apollodoros incorrectly presents as twofold the reason why the poet [Homer] does not mention some of them: either because a country was not yet inhabited by this or that descent group, or because this or that descent group was encompassed within another. For instance, the poet fails to mention Cappadocia, Kataonia, and likewise Lykaonia, but for neither of these reasons, for we have no history of this kind in their case. Further it is ridiculous that Apollodoros would concern himself about the reason why Homer omitted the Cappadocians and Lykaonians and speak in his defence, and yet should himself omit to tell the reason why Ephoros omitted them, and that too when he had cited the statement of the man for the very purpose of examining it and passing judgment upon it. Also it is ridiculous to teach us why Homer mentioned Meionians instead of Lydians, but not to remark that Ephoros mentions neither Lydians nor Meionians.

[Halizonians, according to Apollodoros]

(14.5.28) After saying that the poet mentions certain unknown descent groups, Apollodoros rightly names the Kaukonians, the Solymians, the Keteians, the Lelegians, and the Cilicians of the plain of Thebe. However, the Halizonians are fabrication of his own, or rather of the first men who, not knowing who the Halizonians were, wrote the name in several different ways​ and fabricated the “birthplace of silver”​ and many other mines, all of which have given out. And in furtherance of their emulous desire they also collected the stories cited by Demetrios of Skepsis from Kallisthenes and certain other writers, who were not free from the false notions about the Halizonians. . . [omitted list of mines and which royal figures became wealthy from them].

[Askania and migration of Phrygians, according to Apollodoros]

(14.5.29) Still further one might find fault with Apollodoros, because, when the more recent writers make numerous innovations contrary to the statements of Homer, he is accustomed to frequently put these innovations to the test. However, in the present case he not only has made small account of them, but also, on the contrary, identifies things that are not meant alike. For instance, Xanthos the Lydian says that it was after the Trojan war that the Phrygians came from Europe and the western side of the Pontos [Black Sea], and that Skamandrios led them from the Berekyntes and Askania.

But Apollodoros adds to this the statement that Homer refers to this Askania that is mentioned by Xanthos: “Phorkys and godlike Askanios led the Phrygians from far away, from Askania.”​ However, if this is so, the migration must have taken place later than the Trojan war, whereas the allied force mentioned by the poet [Homer] came from the opposite mainland, from the Berekyntes and Askania. Who, then, were the Phrygians, “who were then encamped along the banks of the Sangarios river,” when Priam says, “for I too, being an ally, was numbered among these”? And how could Priam have sent for Phrygians from the Berekyntes, with whom he had no compact, and yet leave uninvited those who lived on his borders and to whom he had formerly been ally? And after speaking in this way about the Phrygians he adds also an account of the Mysians that is not in agreement with this; for he says that there is also a village in Mysia which is called Askania, near a lake of the same name, from which flows the Askanios river, which is mentioned by Euphorion, “beside the waters to Mysian Askanios,” and by Alexander the Aitolian, “who have their homes on the Askanian streams, on the lips of the Askanian lake, where Dolion, the son of Silenos and Melia lived.” And he says that the country around Kyzikos, as one goes to Miletoupolis, is called Dolionis and Mysia. If this is so, and if witness to this is borne both by the places now pointed out and by the poets, what could have prevented Homer from mentioning this Askania, and not the Askania spoken of by Xanthos? I have discussed this before, in my account of the Mysians and Phrygians. So let this be the end of that subject.


Apollodoros (F171)

[Critique of Homer and debates about Halizonians and their location this side of the Halys river in Anatolia according to Apollodoros and beyond that river according to Strabo]

[For context, see the preceding passages at this link.]

(12.3.24 = Apollodoros, FGrHist F171) Regarding Apollodoros, who discusses the same subject in his Marwilling of the Trojan Forces, I have already answered him to a considerable degree. However, I must address this again now, because he does not think that we should take the Halizonians as living beyond [northeast of] the Halys [Kızılırmak] river. Apollodoros says that no allied force came to the Trojans from beyond the Halys river. First, therefore, we will ask him who are the Halizonians this side the Halys river and “from Alybe far away, where is the birth-place of silver” [Homer, Iliad 2.857]. For Apollodoros will be unable to tell us. Next we will ask him the explain why he does not concede that an allied force also came from the country on the far side of the [Halys] river [i.e. in or beyond northeastern Asia Minor / Anatolia]. For if it is the case that all the rest of the allied forces except the Thracians lived this side the river, there was nothing to prevent this one allied force from coming from the far side of the Halys, from the country beyond the White Syrians [Cappadocians].​ Or was it possible for peoples who fought the Trojans to cross over from these regions and from the regions beyond, as he says the Amazons, Trerians and Kimmerians did, and yet impossible for people who fought as allies with them to do so? Now the Amazons would not fight on Priam’s side because of the fact that he had fought against them as an ally of the Phrygians, against the “Amazons, peers of men, who came at that time” [Homer, Iliad 3.189], as Priam says, “for I too, being their ally, was numbered among them.” However, since the peoples whose countries bordered on that of the Amazons were not even far enough away to make difficult the Trojan summons for help from their countries and since there was also no underlying cause for hatred, there was nothing to prevent them, I think, from being allies of the Trojans.

[Enetians in relation to Halizonians]

(12.3.25) Neither can Apollodoros impute such an opinion to the early writers, as though every one of them expressed the opinion that no peoples from the far side of the Halys river took part in the Trojan war. One might rather find evidence to the contrary. Anyways, Maiandrios says that the Enetians first set out from the country of the White Syrians [Cappadocians] and allied themselves with the Trojans. Maiandros also says that they sailed away from Troy with the Thracians and settled around the recess of the Adrias,​ but that the Enetians who did not have a part in the expedition had become Cappadocians. The following information might seem to agree with this account: I mean the fact that the whole of that part of Cappadocia near the Halys river which extends along Paphlagonia uses two languages which abound in Paphlagonian names, such as “Bagas,” “Biasas,” “Ainiates,” “Rhatotes,” “Zardokes,” “Tibios,” “Gasys,” “Oligasys,” and “Manes,” for these names are prevalent in Bamonitis,​ Pimolitis,​ Gazelonitis, Gazakene and most of the other districts. Apollodoros himself quotes the Homeric verse as written by Zenodotos, stating that Homer writes it as follows: “from Enete, where the breed of the wild mules comes from” [Homer, Iliad 2.852]. Zenodotos also says that Hekataios of Miletos takes Enete to be Amisos [city in north-central Turkey; FGrHist 1 199]. But, as I have already stated,​ Amisos belongs to the White Syrians [Cappadocians] and is beyond the Halys river.

(12.3.26) Apollodoros somewhere states, also, that the poet [Homer] got an account of those Paphlagonians who lived in the interior from men who had passed through the country on foot, but that he was ignorant of the Paphlagonian coast, just as he was ignorant of the rest of the Pontic coast [southern coast of the Black Sea], because otherwise he would have named them. On the contrary, one can retort and say, on the basis of the description which I have now given, that Homer traverses the whole of the coast and omits nothing of the things that were then worth recording. Furthermore, it is not at all remarkable if he does not mention Herakleia, Amastris, and Sinope, cities which had not yet been founded, and that it is not at all strange if he has mentioned no part of the interior.

[Homer’s general ignorance about peoples, according to Apollodoros]

Also, the fact that Homer does not name many of the known places is no sign of ignorance, as I have already demonstrated in the foregoing part of my work. For Apollodoros says that Homer was ignorant of many of the famous things around the Pontos, for example, rivers and peoples, because, if Homer had knew them, he would have named them. One might grant this in the case of certain very significant things, such as the Scythians, Maiotis lake [Sea of Azov], and the Ister [Danube] river. Otherwise Homer would not have described the nomads by significant characteristics as “Galaktophagians” (“Milk-eaters”) and “Abians” and as “men most just,” and also as “proud Hippemolgians.”  Yet to fail to call the Scythians either Sauromatians or Sarmatians, if indeed they were so named by the Greeks, nor yet, when he mentions the Rhodians and Mysians near the Ister, pass by the Ister in silence, greatest of the rivers, and especially when he is inclined to mark the boundaries of places by rivers, nor yet, when he mentions the Kimmerians, omit any mention of the Bosporos or Maiotis lake.

[Homer and contemporaries did not have the categories Asia and Europe or the notion of three continents, according to Strabo]

(12.3.27) However, in the case of less significant matters, either not at that time or for the purposes of his work, how could anyone find fault with Homer for omitting them? For example, for omitting the Tanais [Don] river, which is well known for no other reason than that it is the boundary between Asia and Europe. But the people of that time were not yet using either the name “Asia” or “Europe,” nor yet had the inhabited world been divided into three continents as now. Otherwise Homer would have named them somewhere because of their very great significance, just as he mentions Libya and also the Lips, the wind that blows from the west parts of Libya. But since the cliffs had not yet been distinguished, there was no need of mentioning the Tanais river either. Many things were indeed worthy of mention, but they did not occur to him. For there are many accidental things both in one’s discourse and in one’s actions. From all these facts it is clear that every man who judges from the poet’s failure to mention anything that he is ignorant of that thing uses faulty evidence. . . [omitted many of Strabo’s examples of this situation].

Nor yet, surely, was Homer ignorant of peoples that were equally near, some of which he names and some not. For example, he names the Lycians and the Solymians, but not the Milyans, Pamphylians or Pisidians. Even though he names the Paphlagonians, Phrygians, and Mysians, he does not name Mariandynians,Thynians, Bithynians or Bebrykians. Homer mentions the Amazons, but not the White Syrians or Syrians, or Cappadocians, or Lykaonians, even though he repeatedly mentions the Phoenicians, Egyptians and Ethiopians. And although he mentions the Aleian plain and the Arimians, he is silent as to the people to which both belong. Such a test of the poet, therefore, is false. But the test is true only when it is shown that some false statement [i.e. rather than omission] is made by him. But Apollodoros has not been proved correct in this case either, I mean when he was bold enough to say that the “proud Hippemolgians” and “Galaktophagians” were fabrications of the poet. So much for Apollodoros. I now return to the part of my description that comes next in order. . . [omitted following sections]


Apollodoros (F207)

[Carians as “barbarians”]

(14.2.28) When the poet  [Homer] says, “Masthles [Nastes] in turn led the Carians, of barbarian speech” [Homer, Iliad 2.867], we have no reason to ask how it is that, although he knew so many barbarian peoples (ethnē), he speaks of the Carians alone as being “of barbarian speech,” but nowhere speaks of “barbarians.” Thucydides [1.3], therefore, is not correct, because he says that Homer “did not use the term ‘barbarians’ either, because the Greeks on their part had not yet been distinguished under one name as opposed to them.” The poet himself refutes the statement that the Greeks had not yet been so distinguished when he says, “My husband, whose fame is wide through Greece and mid-Argos.” And again, “And if you wanted to journey through Greece and mid-Argos.” Further, if they were not called “barbarians,” how could they properly be called a people “of barbarian speech”?

So neither Thucydides nor Apollodoros [of Athens] the grammarian is correct. Apollodoros says that the general term [“barbarians”] was used by the Greeks in a peculiar and abusive sense against the Carians, and in particular by the Ionians [i.e. Ionian Greeks], who hated them because of their enmity and the continuous military campaigns. For it was right to name them barbarians in this sense. But I raise a question: Why does Homer call them people “of barbarian speech,” but not even once calls them “barbarians”? Apollodoros replies, “because the plural does not match with the metre; this is why Homer does not call them ‘barbarians’.” But though this case [i.e. genitive plural, “barbarōn”] does not fall in with metre, the nominative case [i.e. plural, “barbaroi”] does not differ metrically from that of “Dardanians” (Dardanoi): “Trojans, Lycians and Dardanians.” So, also, the word “Trojan,” in “of what kind the Trojan horses are” [cf. Homer, Iliad 5.222].

Neither is Apollodoros correct when he says that the language of the Carians is very harsh. It is not, but even has very many Greek words mixed in with it, according to the Philippos [of Theangela], who wrote Carian Matters [FGrHist 741; third century BCE]. I suppose that the word “barbarian” was at first uttered onomatopoetically in reference to people who enunciated words only with difficulty and talked harshly and raucously, like our words battarizein [“to stutter”], traulizein [“to lisp”], and psellizein [“to speak in a faltering manner”]. For we are by nature very much inclined to denote sounds by words that sound like them, on account of their sameness. Therefore, onomatopoetic words abound in our language. So, for example, we have kelaryzein [“to babble”], as well as klangē [“clang”], psophos [“inarticulate sound”], boē [“shout”], and krotos [“rattling/clapping noise”], most of which are by now used in their proper sense. Accordingly, when all who pronounced words thickly were being called “barbarians” onomatopoetically, it appeared that the pronunciations of other peoples were likewise thick (I mean those peoples that were not Greek). Those, therefore, they called “barbarians” in the special sense of the term, at first derisively, meaning that they pronounced words thickly or harshly. Subsequently, we misused the word as a general term for peoples, thus making a logical distinction between the Greeks and all other peoples. The fact is, however, that through our long acquaintance and intercourse with the barbarians this effect was at last seen to be the result, not of a thick pronunciation or any natural defect in the vocal organs, but of the peculiarities of their several languages. . . [omitted following sections here with more examples from Strabo].

The term “to barbarize” (barbarizein), also, has the same origin. We are also inclined to use this term in reference to those who speak Greek poorly, not to those who speak Carian. So, therefore, we must interpret the terms “to speak barbarously” (barbarophōnein) and “those who speak barbarously” (barbarophōnoi) as applying to those who speak Greek poorly. And it was from the term “to Carianize” (karizein) [i.e. to speak Carian] that the term “barbarize” was used in a different sense in literary works on the art of speaking Greek. So was the term “to Solicize” (soloikizein) whether derived from Soloi [a city in Cilicia or on Cypros], or made up in some other way.


Source of translation: H.L. Jones, Strabo, 8 volumes, LCL (Cambridge, MA: HUP, 1917-28), public domain (passed away in 1932), adapted by Harland.

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