The port of Ambrakia on the bank of a lagoon by the Gulf of Arta, where the foundations of a circuit wall ca. 1200 m long are awash. A gap in the foundation marks the exit of the harbor, which led into the course of the river Arachthos. It was a locked harbor with fortifications (Scylax 33 and Polyb. 4.61.7), and there was a small town there (StBiz. s.v.).
N.G.L. Hammond, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Ambracus (Ambrakos) is described by Polybius as a place well fortified by ramparts and outworks, and as surrounded by marshes, through which there was only one narrow causeway leading to the place. It was taken by Philip V., king of Macedonia, in B.C. 219, as a preliminary to an attack upon Ambracia. (Pol. iv. 61, 63.) Scylax probably alludes to this place, when he says that Ambracia had a fortress near its harbour; for near the western shore of the old mouth of the river Arachthus (Arta) some ruins have been discovered, whose topographical situation accords with the description of Polybius. They are situated on a swampy island, in a marshy lake near the sea. They inclosed an area of about a quarter of a mile in extent, and appeared to be merely a military post, which was all that the swampy nature of the ground would admit of. (Wolfe, Ibid. p. 84.) This fortress commanded the harbour, which is described by Scylax and Dicaearchus (ll. cc.) as a kleistos limen, or a port with a narrow entrance, which might be shut with a chain. The harbour must have been an artificial one; for the present mouth of the Arta is so obstructed by swamps and shoals as scarcely to be accessible even to boats. In ancient times its navigation was also esteemed dangerous, whence Lucan (v. 651) speaks of orae malignos Ambraciae portus.
This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited May 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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