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Aetolia is a division of Greece, bounded on the west by Acarnania, from which it was separated by the river Achelous; on the north by Epirus and Thessaly; on the east by the Ozolian Locrians; and on the south by the entrance to the Corinthian Gulf. It was divided into two parts: Old Aetolia, from the Achelous to the Evenus and Calydon; and New Aetolia, or the Acquired, from the Evenus and Calydon to the Ozolian Locrians. On the coast the country is level and fruitful, but in the interior mountainous and unproductive. The mountains contained many wild beasts, and were celebrated in Greek mythology for the hunt of the Calydonian Boar.

The country was originally inhabited by Curetes and Leleges, but was at an early period colonized by Greeks from Elis, led by the mythical Aetolus. The Aetolians took part in the Trojan War, under their king Thoas. They continued for a long time a rude and uncivilized people, living to a great extent by robbery; and even in the time of Thucydides (410 BC) many of their tribes spoke a language which was not Greek, and were in the habit of eating raw flesh. They appear to have been early united by a kind of league, but this league first acquired political importance about the middle of the third century BC, and became a formidable rival to the Macedonian monarchs and the Achaean League. The Aetolians took the side of Antiochus III against the Romans, and on the defeat of that monarch, 189 BC, they became virtually the subjects of Rome. Following the conquest of the Achaeans, 146 BC, Aetolia was included in the Roman province of Achaea.

This entry was based on H.T. Peck's Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)