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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites

Halai

  Located near Haghios Theologos, on a deep sheltered bay on the E side of the gulf below Atalandi (Opus). Like many other coastal sites, Halai was evidently heavily damaged by the great earthquakes of 426-425 (Thuc. 3.89; Diod. Sic. 12.59). In Late Classical or Early Hellenistic times it passed into the Boiotian orbit, and was sacked by Sulla in 85 but immediately resettled (Plut. Sulla 26.3ff). The city area beside the sea, and the cemeteries to the N and E, were excavated between 1911 and 1935. The lower levels of the site yielded Bronze Age and Neolithic material. Iron Age Halni may have been one of the strongholds of the notorious Lokrian pirates. The sheltered deepwater harbor would have been an excellent pirate's nest, the existence of which would account both for the modest size of the settlement and for its having been heavily fortified at quite an early period.
   The fortified area is not an acropolis in the normal sense, for it lies on virtually level ground right on the seashore, with the highest point only a few meters above the ancient sea level. As a result of the rise in sea level since antiquity, the preserved lower courses of some of the walls are now under water. Clearly the natural strength of the site was less important than ready access to the sea. The wall circuit in its final form was approximately a rectangle, measuring about 325 m E-W and 160 m N-S.
   The main entrance was always at the NE corner; there was also a secondary gate towards the W end of the N wall. Two distinct styles of construction are represented. The first circuit seems to have been built in the early 6th c. and remodeled towards the end of the century. The second wall, of massive ashlar with internal cross walls, is probably early Hellenistic work; it had additional towers, of square plan except for the S tower of the NE gate, and enclosed additional territory at the SE corner. The NE gate was rebuilt on a much larger scale.
   From this gate a street always led W towards the Temenos of Athena Poliouchos, located just inside the W wall of the citadel (identified by votive inscriptions). The first temple and altar were built soon after the first wall circuit. The temple was quite small, with very flat archaic Doric capitals. Abundant deposits of pottery, terracottas, sculpture, and other objects came to light, including an inscribed base in the form of an archaic Doric shaft and capital.
   The second temple, built ca. 510, was apparently destroyed in the earthquakes of 426-425. The surviving elements were broken up and spread over the temenos as part of a new pavement, and a third temple then constructed. Unlike its predecessors, which were rather rough provincial work, Temple III was built in good late 5th c. style and technique.
   Also excavated were the E and W buildings, on either side of the street leading in from the N gate. The latter building was built in the late 4th c., and remodeled in the early 2d. In late Roman times a small bath was built over the ruins of the NE corner defenses.
   The N and E cemeteries probably flanked roads leading out from the N and NE gates. The graves yielded a long series of terracottas ranging in date from the late 6th c. to ca. 200 B.C.

F. E. Winter, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Sep 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains 2 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Perseus Project index

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

Halae, Halai

A town on the Opuntian Gulf.


Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

Halae

A town situated upon the Opuntian gulf, but belonging to Boeotia in the time of Strabo and Pausanias. It is described by Pausanias as situated to the right of the river Platanius, and as the last town of Boeotia. It probably derived its name from some salt springs which are still found in its neighbourhood. Leake places it on the cape which projects to the northward beyond Malesina and Proskyna, where some ruins are said to exist at a church of St. John Theologus.

This text 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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