Listed 7 sub titles with search on: Information about the place
for destination: "ORCHOMENOS
Information about the place (7)
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
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.
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
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
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
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)