ACARNANIA, a district of ancient Greece, bounded on the W. by the Ionian Sea, on the N. by the Ambracian Gulf, on the E. and S. by Mt. Thyamus and the Achelous. The Echinades islands, off the S.W. coast, are gradually being joined up to the mainland. Its most populous region was the plain of the Achelous, commanded by the principal town Stratus; communication with the coast was impeded by mountain ridges and lagoons. Its people long continued in semi-barbarism, having little intercourse with the rest of Greece. In the 5th century B.C. with the aid of Athens they subdued the Corinthian factories on their coast. In 391 they submitted to the Spartan king Agesilaus; in 371 they passed under Theban control. In the Hellenistic age the Acarnanians were constantly assailed by their Aetolian neighbours. On the advice of Cassander they made effective their ancient cantonal league, apparently after the pattern of Aetolla. In the 3rd century they obtained assistance from the Illyrians, and formed a close alliance with Philip V. of Macedonia, whom they supported in his Roman wars, their new federal capital, Lencas, standing a siege in his interest. For their sympathy with his successor Perseus they were deprived of Lencas and required to send hostages to Rome (167). The country was finally desolated by Augustus, who drafted its inhabitants into Nicopolis and Patrae. Acarnania took a prominent part in the national uprising of 1821; it is now joined with Aetolia as a nome. The sites of several ancient towns in Acarnania are marked by well-preserved walls, especially those of Stratus, Oeniadae and Limnaea.
Authorities.—Strabo vii. 7, x. 2; Thucydides; Polybius iv. 40; Livy xxxiii. 16-17; Corpus Inscr. Graecarum, no. 1739; E. Oberhummer, Akarnanien im Altertum (Munich, 1887); Heuzey, Mt. Olympe et l’Acarnanie (Paris, 1860). (M. O. B. C.; E. Gr.)