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Autochthon


Autochthon (o-TOK-thun)  1. A native; aborigine. 2. Something, as a rock, formed or originating in the place where found. From Greek autochthon (of the land itself), from auto- (self) + chthon (earth, land). Ultimately from the Indo-European root dhghem- (earth), which also sprouted human, homicide, humble, homage, chamomile, exhume, inhume, chthonic, disinter, chameleonic, and Persian zamindar (landholder)



Autochthons are reported in mythology of the following regions: In Attica: Amphictyon, Cecrops I, Cranaus, Erichthonius, Periphas. In Boeotia: Ogyges, Alalcomenes, Spartoi. In the Peloponese: Pelasgus of Arcadia, Lelex of Laconia and Aras of Phliasia. Finally, in Atlantis, Evenor.
The practice in ancient Greece of describing legendary heroes and men of ancient lineage as "earthborn" greatly strengthened the doctrine of autochthony. In Thebes, the race of Sparti were believed to have sprung from a field sown with dragons' teeth. The Phrygian Corybantes had been forced out of the hill-side like trees by Rhea, the great mother, and hence were called δενδροφυεῖς. It is clear from the Ancient Greek play, Prometheus Bound, commonly attributed to Aeschylus, that primitive men were supposed to have at first lived like animals in caves and woods, till by the help of the gods and heroes they were raised to a stage of civilization

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