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Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


CHERONIA (Ancient city) VIOTIA
  Eth. Chaironeus, fem. Chaironis: Adj. Chaironikos: Kapurna. A town of Boeotia, situated near the Cephissus, upon the borders of Phocis. The town itself does not appear to have been of much importance; but it has obtained great celebrity in consequence of the battles which were fought in its neighbourhood. Its position naturally rendered it the scene of military operations, since it stood in a small plain, which commanded the entrance from Phocis into Boeotia, and which accordingly would be occupied by an army desirous of protecting Boeotia from an invading force. Chaeroneia was situated at the head of the plain, shut in by a high projecting rock, which formed, in ancient times, the citadel of the town, and was called Petrachus or Petrochus (Petrachos, Paus. ix. 41. § 6 ; Petrochos, Plut. Sull. 17). The town lay at the foot of the hill, and is said to have derived its name from Chaeron, who, according to the statement of Plutarch, built it towards the east, whereas it had previously faced the west. (Paus. ix. 40. § 5; Steph. B. s. v.; Plut. de Curiosit. 1.)
  Chaeroneia is not mentioned by Homer; but by some of the ancient writers it was supposed to be the same town as the Boeotian Arne. (Hom. Il. ii. 507.) In the historical period it was dependent upon Orchomenus (Thuc. iv. 67). It is first mentioned in B.C. 447, when an important battle was fought near the town, in consequence of which the Athenians lost the supremacy which they had exercised for a short period in Boeotia. Chaeroneia had previously been in the hands of the party favourable to the Athenians; but having been seized by the opposite party, Tolmides, at the head of a small Athenian force, marched against it. He succeeded in taking the town, but was shortly afterwards defeated by the Boeotians in the neighbourhood, and fell in the battle. (Thuc. i. 113; Diod. xii. 6.) In B.C. 424 a plot was formed to betray the town to the Athenians, but the project was betrayed, and the place was occupied by a strong Boeotian force. (Thuc. iv. 76, 89.) In the Phocian war Chaeroneia was unsuccessfully besieged by Onomarchus, the Phocian leader, but it was afterwards taken by his son Phalaecus. (Diod. xvi. 33, 39.)
  Another and much more celebrated battle was fought at Chaeroneia on the 7th of August, B.C. 338, in which Philip, by defeating the united forces of the Athenians and Boeotians, crushed the liberties of Greece. Of the details of this battle we have no account, but an interesting memorial of it still remains. We learn from Pausanias (ix. 40. § 10) and Strabo (ix. p. 414) that the sepulchre of the Thebans who fell in the battle, was near Chaeroneia; and the former writer states that this sepulchre was surmounted by a lion, as an emblem of the spirit of the Thebans. The site of the monument is marked by a tumulus about a mile, or a little more, from the khan of Kapurna, on the right side of the road towards Orchomenus; but when the spot was visited by Leake, Dodwell and Gell, the lion had completely disappeared. A few years ago, however, the mound of earth was excavated, and a colossal lion discovered, deeply imbedded in its interior. This noble piece of sculpture, though now strewed in detached masses about the sides and interior of the excavation, may still be said to exist nearly in its original integrity. It is evident, from the appearance of the fragments, that it was composed from the first of more than one block, although not certainly of so many as its remains now exhibit... This lion may, upon the whole, be pronounced the most interesting sepulchral monument in Greece. It is the only one dating from the better days of Hellas--with the exception perhaps of the tumulus of Marathon--the identity of which is beyond dispute.
  The third great battle fought at Chaeroneia was the one in which Sulla defeated the generals of Mithridates in B.C. 86. Of this engagement a long account is given by Plutarch, probably taken almost verbatim from the commentaries of Sulla. (Plut. Sull. 17, seq,) The narrative of Plutarch is illustrated by Col. Leake with his usual accuracy and sagacity. Mount Thurium, called in the time of Plutarch, Orthophagium, the summit of which was seized by Sulla, is supposed by Leake to be the highest point of the hills behind Chaeroneia; and the torrent Morius, below Mount Thurium, is probably the rivulet which joins the left bank of the Cephissus, and which separates Mt. Hedylium from Mt. Acontium.   Chaeroneia continued to exist under the Roman empire, and is memorable at that period as the birthplace of Plutarch, who spent the later years of his life in his native town. In the time of Pausanias Chaeroneia was noted for the manufacture of perfumed oils, extracted from flowers, which were used as a remedy against pain. (Paus. ix. 41. § 6.)
  Chaeroneia stood upon the site of the modern village of Kapurna. There are not many remains of the ancient city upon the plain; but there are some ruins of the citadel upon the projecting rock already described; and on the face of this rock, fronting the plain, are traces of the ancient theatre. In the church of the Panaghia, in the village, are several remains of ancient art, and inscriptions. From the latter we learn that Serapis was worshipped in the town. Pausanias does not mention the temple of this deity; but he states that the principal object of veneration in his time was the sceptre of Zeus, once borne by Agamemnon, and which was considered to be the undoubted work of the god Hephaestus. At the foot of the theatre there rises a small torrent, which flows into the Cephissus. It was called in ancient times Haemon or Thermodon, and its water was dyed by the blood of the Thebans and Boeotians in their memorable defeat by Philip. (Plut. Dem. 19)

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

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


   A town in Boeotia, on the Cephissus, near the frontier of Phocis, memorable for the defeat of the Athenians and the Boeotians by Philip of Macedon, which crushed the liberties of Greece, B.C. 338, and for Sulla's victory over the army of Mithridates, B.C. 86. Chaeronea was the birthplace of Plutarch. Several remains of the ancient city are to be seen at Capraena, more particularly a theatre excavated in the rock, an aqueduct, and the marble lion (broken in pieces) which adorned the sepulchre of the Boeotians who fell at the battle of Chaeronea.

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

Perseus Project

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  Situated at the NW entrance to the region in the narrow Kephissos plain lying between Mt. Thourion and Mt. Akontion, at the modern village of Chaironeia (formerly Kapraina).
  The gateway to Boiotia, Chaironeia had a Neolithic settlement but apparently none in the Mycenaean age. Whether it is the Amne of Homer is doubtful. Chaironeia was subject to Orchomenos up to the end of the 5th c. B.C., then with Akmaiphia and Kopai formed one of the 11 Boiotian districts until 387 and again, after a period of autonomy, from 371 to 338 B.C. It then enjoyed independence in the Boiotian Koinon and was granted the status of a civitas libera by the Romans. Three famous battles were fought in the Chaironeian plain: in 338 Philip II's Macedonians carried off a decisive victory over the Athenians, the Boiotians, and their allies; in 245 the army of the Aitolian League fought that of the Boiotian League; and in 86 B.C. Sulla and his 20,000 Romans crushed Mithnidates' forces, over 100,000 strong, commanded by Archelaos.
  The city of Chaironeia, of which there are only insignificant remains, lies at the foot of Mt. Petrachos, on top of which is the acropolis. Plutarch (ca. 46-120) was born and died here. In the Church of the Panagia can be seen a marble Roman seat, the so-called seat of Plutarch, and many inscribed stones in the walls. At the foot of the N summit of Mt. Petrachos is a little theater completely cut in the rock; its 14 tiers are arranged in two unequal blocks. Above the last tier is a dedication to Apollo Daphnaphonios and Artemis Soodina. The Chapel of Hagia Paraskevi is built on the site of a Temple of Herakles on the slopes of Mt. Thourion. The sanctuary of Sarapis, where many slaves were freed from the 3d to 1st c. B.C., has not been traced.
  The acropolis occupies both summits of Mt. Petrachos and dominates the Kephissos valley from a height of 150 m. Around it is a 4th c. rampart, well preserved and >built in regular courses except on the W slope where the >old wall has been preserved and strengthened with cyclopean masonry. To the E a ramp cut in the rock led to the only gate. Several towers fortified the rampart. The field where the battle of 338 took place is 2 km E of the village, between Mt. Thourion and the Kephissos, along the banks of the Haimon brook. The victorious Spartans burned their dead close by the Kephissos. Excavation of a tumulus at this spot revealed a pyre, 10 m in diameter and 0.75 m high, with bones and fragments of weapons in the ashes; it was covered over by a conical mound of earth 70 m in diameter and 7 m high. The bodies of the Sacred Band of Thebans that was crushed by Alexander were buried several days after the battle. From ancient times the Lion of Chaironeia was believed to be their funeral monument. Discovered in 1818, then smashed, restored, and replaced on a plinth 3 m high, the lion stands 5.50 m high; it is made of five blocks of marble, three of them hollow. It is a replica of the lion on the polyandrion of Thespini. The monument is on the N side of a rectangular penbolos (approximately 24 x 15 m). Within this area was found a tomb 4.30 x 3.60 m ringed by a wall 2.30 m high and containing 254 skeletons arranged in seven layers; two of the bodies had been incinerated. The weapons had been removed (the skeletons are at the National Museum in Athens, the other finds at the Chaironeia Museum).

P. Roesch, 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 7 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

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