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Listed 7 sub titles with search on: Information about the place for destination: "ORCHOMENOS Archaeological site VIOTIA".

Information about the place (7)

Present location

It is where the mouth of the Kifissos river used to be, at the drained lake Copais, where Schleman conducted an excavation. His wife published a description of the monuments translated in Greek.

Names of the place


Old name of Orchomenus in Boeotia.


Kingdom of Phlegyas, formerly called Andreis.

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  One of the oldest and richest cities of heroic Greece, situated close by the village of Skripou (now Orchomenos) 13 km NE of Levadhia, at the E end of Mt. Akontion, which plunges like a javelin (whence its name) into the former Lake Kopais.
  Inhabited from Neolithic times, the site became one of the most influential Mycenaean cities. It was the capital of the Minyans, a half-legendary people from the Thessalian seaboard, and its authority spread over the whole of the Kopaic basin and possibly as far as Thebes. The legends that sprang up about it (the buildings of Agamedes and Trophonios), its great engineering achievements (the first draining of the Kopais, erection of fortresses such as Gla), and its original pottery (the gray or yellow Minyan ware) all are proof that a brilliant civilization flourished there from the 15th to the 12th c. B.C. Its place was gradually won over by Thebes and it joined the Boiotian League in the 7th c. Allied with Sparta against Thebes at Koroneia (395) and Haliartos (394), it was destroyed by the Thebans in 364 B.C. Restored by the Phokaians in 353, again destroyed by Thebes in 349 Orchomenos was rebuilt by Philip II and Alexander and became one of the leading cities of the Boiotian League from 338 onward. Sulla fought Archelaos and Mithridates' army there in 86 B.C. Under the Empire the city rapidly fell into a decline.
  The finds are divided between the Museum of Chaironeia and those of Thebes and Athens.
  Throughout the centuries the different cities sprang up at the E foot of Mt. Akontion and on its E and NE slopes. On the E foothills of the hill Schliemann discovered the "Treasury of Minyas," a Mycenaean cupola tomb with a dromos. In the arched tholos is the gateway to the funerary chamber. In the middle of the tholos are the remains of a great funerary monument of the Macedonian period. The Mycenaean city extended from the plain to the lowest terrace. A little to the N on remains of a pre-Mycenaean or Mycenaean building (about 1700-1450) are the foundations of a temple of the Geometric period. At the foot of the E slope of the acropolis, to the NE of the Treasure of Minyas, the theater of Orchomenos, probably built at the end of the 4th c. B.C., has been recently excavated. Twelve rows of seats are preserved; proedria seats have nice relief decoration. A number of bases of statues and of votive tripods have been discovered.
  Four hundred m to the W on a second, higher terrace, a Temple of Asklepios was built in the Hellenistic period. A peripteral Doric structure (11.50 x 22 m, with six columns in front and 11 on each side), it is surrounded by remains of Classical buildings. On the terraces farther W, stretching to the top of the hill, was the Hellenistic city built by Philip II and Alexander. At the top, 230 m above the plain, is the acropolis; not much more than a large square tower, it was built after 335 B.C. In front of it is a large cistern.
  The ramparts match the growth of the city. The oldest wall (7th c.), which is built around the bottom terrace, is in a poor state of preservation; in some places its masonry is polygonal, in others large blocks are arranged in irregular courses. Starting from the terrace of the Asklepieion, two ramparts, one to the N and the other to the S, climb up the steep slope, moving gradually closer together until they meet at the great tower on the top of the hill, which they fortify. About 2 m thick on an average, these walls have an outer facing in polygonal masonry dating from the 4th c. B.C. There are three gates, to the N and S and near the summit. Three transverse walls link the two outer ramparts: the first runs along the edge of the Asklepieion terrace to the E; the second, which has a square tower in the middle, overlooks this terrace to the W, while the third marked the upper city limit and the beginning of the hilltop fortress with its citadel. The third wall is on a level with the N and S gates.
  At the N foot of the rocky spur below the Asklepieion and the Chapel of Hagioi Anargyroi, is the chief spring of the Melas river. This is the Akidalia or spring of the Charites, who were especially venerated at Orchomenos (the Charitesia festivals and contests). The Sanctuary and Temple of the Charites probably stood where the Convent of the Dormition (Kimisis tis Theotokou) is today; its church, built in 874 A.D., is on the site of the temple. Around the church are many inscriptions discovered at Orchomenos; the other inscribed stones have been removed to the Chaironeia and Thebes Museums.

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 29 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Columbia Encyclopedia

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


   (Orchomenos). An ancient, wealthy, and powerful city of Boeotia, the capital of the Minyans in the ante-historical ages of Greece, and hence called by Homer the Minyan Orchomenos. It was situated northwest of the lake Copa is, on the river Cephissus. Sixty years after the Trojan War it was taken by the Boeotians, and became a member of the Boeotian League. It continued to exist as an independent town till B.C. 367, when it was taken and destroyed by the Thebans; and though subsequently rebuilt by the Phocians, the Thebans again demolished it. Philip of Macedon once more restored it (B.C. 338), but it never recovered its former prosperity. It was famous for its musical festival in honour of the Charites, who were worshipped here. In the vicinity of Orchomenos Sulla defeated Archelaus, the general of Mithridates, in B.C. 85. In 1880, 1881, and 1886 extensive excavations were made here by Dr. Schilemann, who exhumed an ancient "treasury" or mausoleum larger even than the famous one discovered by him at Mycenae.

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

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


  Orchomenos (in insc. and coins, Erchomenos: Eth. Orchomenios, Erchomenios). Usually called the Minyean Orchomenus (Orchomenos Minueios, Horn. Il. ii. 511; Thuc. iv. 76; Strab. ix. p. 414), a city in the north of Boeotia, and in ante-historical times the capital of the powerful kingdom of the Minyae. This people, according to tradition, seem to have come originally from Thessaly. We read of a town Minya in Thessaly (Steph. B. s. v. Minua), and also of a Thessalian Orchomenus Minyeus. (Plin. iv. 8. s. 15.) The first king of the Boeotian Orchomenus is said to have been Andreus, a son of the Thessalian river Peneius, from whom the country was called Andreis. (Paus. ix. 34. § 6; hoi Orchomenioi apoikoi esi Thessalon, Schol. ad Apoll. Rhod. ii. 1190.) Andreus assigned part of his territory to the Aetolian Athamas, who adopted two of the grandchildren of his brother Sisyphus: they gave their names to Haliartus and Coroneia. Andreus was succeeded in the other part of his territory by his son Eteocles, who was the first to worship the Charites (Graces) in Greece. Upon the death of Eteocles the sovereignty devolved upon the family of Halmus or Almus, a son of Sisyphus. (Paus. ix. 34. § 7-ix. 35.) Halmus had two daughters, Chryse and Chrysogeneia. Chryse by the god Ares became the mother of Phlegyas, who succeeded the childless Eteocles, and called the country Phlegyantis after himself. He also gave his name to the fierce and sacrilegious race of the Phlegyae, who separated themselves from the other Orchomenians, and attempted to plunder the temple of Delphi. They were however all destroyed by the god, with the exception of a few who fled into Phocis. Phlegyas died without children, and was succeeded by Chryses, the son of Chrysogeneia by the god Poseidon. Chryses was the father of the wealthy Minyas, who built the treasury, and who gave his name to the Minyan race. Minyas was succeeded by his son Orchomenus, after whom the city was named. (Paus. ix. 36. § § 1-6.) Some modern scholars have supposed that the Minyae were Aeolians (Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece, vol. i. p. 91); but as they disappeared before the historical period, it is impossible to predicate anything certain respecting them. There is, however, a concurrence of tradition to the fact, that Orchomenus was in the earliest times not only the chief city of Boeotia, but one of the most powerful and wealthy cities of Greece. It has been observed that the genealogy of Orchomenus glitters with names which express the traditional opinion of his unbounded wealth (Chryses, Chrysogeneia). Homer even compares the treasures which flowed into the city to those of the Egyptian Thebes (Il.. ix. 381; comp. Eustath. l. c.) It would seem that at an early period Orchomenus ruled over [p. 488] the whole of Northern Boeotia; and that even Thebes was for a time compelled to pay tribute to Erginus, king of Orchomenus. From this tribute, however, the Thebans were delivered by Hercules, who made war upon Orchomenus, and greatly reduced its power. (Paus. ix. 37. § 2; Strab. ix. p. 414; Diod. iv. 18.) In the Homeric catalogue Orchomenus is mentioned along with Aspledon, but distinct from the other Boeotian towns, and as sending 30 ships to the Trojan War (Il. ii. 511). Sixty years after the Trojan War, according to the received chronology, the sovereignty of the Minyae seems to have been overthrown by the Boeotian immigrants from Thessaly; and Orchomenus became a member of the Boeotian confederacy. (Strab. ix. p. 401; comp. Thuc. i. 12.) The city now ceased to be the Minyeian and became the Boeotian Orchomenus (Thuc. iv. 76); but it still remained a powerful state, and throughout the whole historical period was second only to Thebes in the Boeotian confederacy. The town of Chaeroneia appears to have been always one of its dependencies. (Thuc. iv. 76.) In the Persian War Orchomenus, together with the other Boeotian towns, with the exception of Thespiae and Plataeae, deserted the cause of Grecian independence. Orchomenus possessed an aristocratical government, and continued on friendly terms with Thebes, as long as the aristocratical party in the latter city had the direction of public affairs. But when, after the close of the Peloponnesian War, a revolution placed the government of Thebes in the hands of the democracy, Orchomenus became opposed to Thebes. Accordingly, when war broke out between Sparta and Thebes, and Lysander invaded Boeotia in B.C. 395, Orchomenus revolted from Thebes, and sent troops to assist Lysander in his siege of Haliartus (Plut. Lys. 28; Xen. Hell. iii. 5. 6, seq.; Diod. xiv. 81; Corn. Nepos, Lys. 3.) In the following year (B.C. 394), when all the other Boeotians joined the Thebans and Athenians at the battle of Coroneia, the Orchomenians fought in the army of Agesilaus, who arrayed them against the Thebans. (Xen. Hell. iv. 3. 15, Ages. 2. § 9.) It was now the object of the Spartans to deprive Thebes of her supremacy over the Boeotian cities. This they effected by the peace of Antalcidas, B.C. 387, by which Thebes was obliged :to acknowledge the independence of Orchomenus and of the cities of Boeotia. (Xen. Hell. v. 1. 31) The battle of Leuctra (B.C. 371) changed the position of:affairs, and made Thebes .the undisputed master of Boeotia. Orchomenus was now at the mercy of the Thebans, who were anxious to destroy the city, and reduce the inhabitants to slavery. Epaminondas, however, dissuaded them from carrying their wishes into effect, and induced them to pardon Orchomenus, and readmit it as a member of the Boeotian confederation. (Diod. xv. 57.) The Thebans appear to have yielded with reluctance to the generous advice of Epaminondas; and they took advantage of his absence in Thessaly, in B.C. 368, to carry their original design into effect. The pretext was that the 300 knights at Orchomenus had entered into a conspiracy with some Theban exiles to overthrow the democratical constitution of Thebes. It is not improbable that the whole story was a fiction; but the Thebans eagerly listened to the accusation, condemned the 300 Orchomenians, and decreed that the city should be destroyed. A Theban army was immediately sent against it, which burnt it to the ground, put all the male inhabitants to the sword, and sold all the women and children into slavery. (Diod. xv. 79; Paus. ix. 15. § 3.) This atrocious act of vengeance remained as an indelible stigma upon the Theban character (Dem. c. Leptin. p. 490.)
  Orchomenus remained a long time in ruins, though the Athenians were anxious for its restoration, for the purpose of humbling Thebes. (Dem. Megal. pp. 203, 208.) It appears to have been rebuilt during the Phocian War, when the Phocians endeavoured to expel the Thebans from the northern parts of Boeotia. In B.C. 353 we find the Phocian leader Onomarchus in possession of Orchomenus and Coroneia (Diod. xvi. 33, 35); and in the following year Phayllus was defeated in the neighbourhood of these towns. (Diod. xvi. 37.) Orchomenus, Coroneia, and Corsiae were the three fortified places in Boeotia, which the Phocians had in their power (Diod. xvi. 58); and from which they made their devastating inroads into the other parts of Boeotia. On the conclusion of the Sacred War, B.C. 346, Orchomenus was given by Philip to its implacable enemy the Thebans, who, under Philip's eyes, destroyed the city a second time, and sold all its inhabitants as slaves. (Aesch. de Fals. Leg. p. 309; Dem. Phil. ii. p. 69, de Pace, p. 62, de Fals. Leg. p. 375.) It did not, however, remain long in ruins; for after the defeat of the Thebans and Athenians at the battle of Chaeroneia, B.C. 338, it was rebuilt by Philip's order (Paus. iv. 27. § 10, ix. 37. § 8; according to Arrian, Anab. i. 9, it was rebuilt by Alexander the Great after the destruction of Thebes). From this time the name of Orchomenus is seldom mentioned in history Under the Romans it shared the common fate of the Boeotian towns, all of which were, in Strabo's time, only ruins and names, with the exception of Thespiae and Tanagra.
  Orchomenus was famous for the worship of the Charites or Graces, and for the festival in their honour, celebrated with musical contests, in which poets and musicians from :all parts of Greece took part. Hence Pindar calls Orchomenus the city of the Charites (Pyth. xii. 45), and Theocritus describes them as the goddesses who love the Minyeian Orchomenus (xvi. 104). An ancient inscription records the names of the victors in this festival of the Charites. Pindar's fourteenth Olympic ode, which was written to commemorate the victory of Asopichus, an Orchomenian, is in reality a hymn in honour of these goddesses, and was probably sung in their temple. It was in the marshes in the neighbourhood of Orchomenus that the auletic or flute-reeds grew, which exercised an important influence upon the development of Greek music...

This extract 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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