Information about the place PISSA (Ancient city) ANCIENT OLYMPIA - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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Perseus Project index


Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


   The capital of Pisatis, the middle portion of the province of Elis, in the Peloponnesus. Pisa itself was situated north of the Alphaeus, at a very short distance east of Olympia, and, in consequence of its proximity to the latter place, was frequently identified by the poets with it. The history of the Pisatae consists of their struggle with the Eleans, with whom they contended for the presidency of the Olympic Games. The Pisatae obtained this honour in the eighth Olympiad (B.C. 748), with the assistance of Phidon, tyrant of Argos, and also a second time in the thirty-fourth Olympiad (B.C. 644), by means of their own king Pantaleon. In the fifty-second Olympiad (B.C. 572) the struggle between the two peoples was brought to a close by the conquest and destruction of Pisa by the Eleans.

This text is cited Sep 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

The Catholic Encyclopedia

Archdiocese of Pisa (Pisae)

  Archdiocese in Tuscany, central Italy. The city is situated on the Arno, six miles from the sea, on a fertile plain, while the neighbouring mountains yield marble, alabaster, copper, and other mineral products; mineral waters abound in the province. The famous duomo or cathedral is a basilica in the shape of a Latin cross, with five naves, the columns of which are of oriental granite.
  Pisa is the ancient Pisae, in antiquity held to be a colony of Pisae in Elis. Later, it probably belonged to the Etruscans. The people devoted themselves to commerce and to piracy. From 225 B.C., they were in amicable relations with the Romans, who used the port of Pisae in the Punic War, and against the Ligurians, in 193. By the Julian law, if not earlier, the town obtained Roman citizenship. In 1005, the town was sacked by the Saracens, who, in turn, was vanquished by the Pisans and Genoese, in Sardinia. Meanwhile, the Pisans, who for centuries had had stations in Calabria and in Sicily, had extended their commerce to Africa and to Spain, and also to the Levant. The Pisans obtained great concessions in Palestine and in the principality of Antioch by lending their ships for the transportation of crusaders in 1099, and thereafter people of all nations were to be found in their city. In 1063 they had made an attempt against Palermo, and in 1114 led by the consul, Azzo Marignani, conquered the Balearic Islands. Pisa supported the emperors at an early date.
  Leghorn, Pescia, Pontremoli, and Volterra are the suffragans of Pisa.

U. Benigni, ed.
Transcribed by: Gerald Rossi
This extract is cited June 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.



  City of Elis, in northwestern Peloponnese.
  The city of Pisa was said to owe its name either to the legendary hero Pisus, a son of Perieres, king of Messenia, himself a son of Aeolus, son of Hellen, son of Deucalion, or to Pisa, a daughter of Endymion, king of Elis and son (or grandson) of Zeus.
  But the most famous legendary king of Pisa was Oenomaus, whose story is linked to that of Pelops. Oenomaus was the son of Ares and Harpinna, a daughter of the river-god Asopus. He had a daughter named Hippodamia, who was very beautifull and, as a result, courted by many young men seeking to marry her. But Oenomaus was reluctant to let anybody marry his daughter, either because he was himself in love with her or because of an oracle who would have told him that he would be killed by his son-in-law. So, he had devised a trial to which he subjected all suitors of his daughter: they had to beat him in a chariot race to the altar of Poseidon in Corinth. He would sacrifice a ram to Zeus before starting the race and let his opponent go while so doing. But the fact is, his chariot was drawn by godly horses given him by his father Ares so that they could not be beaten by earthly horses. Besides, the suitor had to take Hippodamia with him on his chariot, which made it heavier and could distract him. Anyway, Oenomaus would always catch up on his opponent and kill him, behead him and nail his head on the door of his palace to deter future suitors.
  It is after twelve suitors had been so defeated and killed that Pelops came to try his luck. When seeing him, Hippodamia fell in love with him and managed to obtain from Myrtilus, her father's chariot driver who was also in love with her, that he sabotage Oenomaus' chariot, which he did by replacing the pins that were fastening the wheels of the chariot to the axle by fake ones made of wax. As a result, the chariot broke during the race and Oenomaus, caught in the reins, was dragged by his horses to his death (unless he was killed by Pelops himself).
  Pelops married Hippodamia who became the mother of Atreus, Thyestes and several other children, and, through Atreus, the grandmother of Agamemnon and Menelaus, and, through one of her daughters, Astydamia, the grandmother of Amphitryon, the “earthly” father of Heracles.
  Pisa was located near the site of Olympia where the Olympic games, insituted by Pelops, were held and, as a result, challenged Elis for the presidence of the games until it was destroyed by the later around 572 B. C.

Bernard Suzanne (page last updated 1999), ed.
This text is cited July 2003 from the Plato and his dialogues URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


  Eth. Pisates, Pisaieus. A town in Peloponnesus, was in the most ancient times the capital of an independent district, called Pisatis (he Pisatis), which subsequently formed part of the territory of Elis. It was celebrated in mythology as the residence of Oenomaus and Pelops, and was the head of a confederacy of eight states, of which, besides Pisa, the following names are recorded:--Salmone, Heracleia, Harpinna, Cycesium, and Dyspontium. (Strab. viii. p. 356, seq.) Pisa had originally the presidency of the Olympic festival, but was deprived of this privilege by the Eleians. The Pisatans, however, made many attempts to recover it; and the history of their wars with the Eleians, which were at last terminated by the destruction of Pisa in B.C. 572, is narrated elsewhere. Although Pisa ceased to exist as a city from this time, the Pisatans, in conjunction with the Arcadians, celebrated the 104th Olympic festival, B.C. . 364. Pisa was said to have been founded by an eponymous hero, Pisus, the son of Perieres, and grandson of Aeolus (Paus. vi. 22. § 2); but others derived its name from a fountain Pisa. (Strab. viii. p. 356; Eustath. ad Dionys. Per. 409.) Modern writers connect its name with Pisos, a low marshy ground, or with Pissa, the name of the black fir or pinetree. So completely was Pisa destroyed by the Eleians, that the fact of its having existed was a disputed point in the time of Strabo; and Pausanias found its site converted into a vineyard (vi. 22. § 1). Its situation, however, was perfectly well known to Pindar and Herodotus. Pindar frequently identifies it with Olympia (e. g. Ol. ii. 3); and Herodotus refers to Pisa and Olympia as the same point in computing the distance from the altar of the twelve gods at Athens (ii. 7). Pisa appears from Pausanias to have occupied a position between Harpinna and Olympia, which were only 20 stadia asunder (Lucian, de Mort. Peregr. 35); and the Scholiast on Pindar (Ol. xi. 51) says that Pisa was only 6 stadia from Olympia. It must therefore be placed a little east of Olympia, and its acropolis probably occupied a height on the western side of the rivulet of Miraka, near its junction with the Alpheius. Strabo says that it lay between the mountains Olympus and Ossa, which can only have been heights on different sides of the river.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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