AUTOCHTHONES (Gr. αὐτός, and χθών, earth, i.e. people sprung from
earth itself; Lat. terrigenae; see also under Aborigines), the original inhabitants of a country as
opposed to settlers, and those of their descendants who kept themselves
free from an admixture of foreign peoples. The practice in ancient Greece
of describing legendary heroes and men of ancient lineage as "earthborn"
greatly strengthened the doctrine of autochthony; for instance, the
Athenians wore golden grasshoppers in their hair in token that they were
born from the soil and had always lived in Attica (Thucydides i. 6;
Plato, Menexenus, 245). 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 Aeschylus (Prometheus, 447) 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
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