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Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

NAFPLIA (Ancient city) NAFPLIO

Nauplia

Nauplia: Eth. Nauplieus. The port of Argos, was situated upon a rocky peninsula, connected with the mainland by a narrow isthmus. It was a very ancient place, and is said to have derived its name from Nauplius, the son of Poseidon and Amymone, and the father of Palamedes, though it more probably owed its name, as Strabo has observed, to its harbour (apo tou tais nausi prospleisthai, Strab. viii. p. 368; Paus. ii. 38. § 2.) Pausanias tells us that the Nauplians were Egyptians belonging to the colony which Danaus brought to Argos (iv. 35. § 2); and from the position of their city upon a promontory running out into the sea, which is quite different from the site of the earlier Grecian cities, it is not improbable that it was originally a settlement made by strangers from the East. Nauplia was at first independent of Argos, and a member of the maritime confederacy which held its meetings in the island of Calaureia. (Strab. viii. P. 374.) About the time of the Second Messenian War, it was conquered by the Argives; and the Lacedaemonians gave to its expelled citizens the town of Methone in Messenia, where they continued to reside even after the restoration of the Messenian state by Epaminondas. (Paus. iv. 24. § 4, iv. 27. § 8, iv. 35. § 2.) Argos now took the place of Nauplia in the Calaureian confederacy; and from this time Nauplia appears in history only as the seaport of Argos (ho Nauplios limen, Eurip. Orest. 767; limenes Nauplioi, Electr. 451). As such it is mentioned by Strabo (l. c.), but in the time of Pausanias the place was deserted. Pausanias noticed the ruins of the walls of a temple of Poseidon, certain forts, and a fountain named Canathus, by washing in which Hera was said to have renewed her virginity every year. (Paus. ii. 38. § 2.)
  In the middle ages Nauplia was called to Nauplion, to Anaplion, or ta Anaplia, but has now resumed its ancient name. It became a place of considerable importance in the middle ages, and has continued so down to the present day. In the time of the Crusades it first emerges from obscurity. In 1205 it was taken by the Franks, and became the capital of a small duchy, which commanded the plain of Argos. Towards the end of the 14th century it came into the hands of the Venetians, who regarded it as one of their most important places in the Levant, and who successfully defended it both against Mahomet II. and Soliman. They ceded it to the Turks in 1540, but wrested it from them again in 1686, when they constructed the strong fortifications on Mt. Palamidhi. This fortress, although reckoned impregnable, was stormed by the Turks in 1715, in whose hands it remained till the outbreak of the war of Grecian independence. It then became the seat of the Greek government, and continued such, till the king of Greece removed his residence to Athens in 1834.
  The modern town is described by a recent observer as having more the air of a real town than any place now existing in Greece under that title; having continuous lines of houses and streets, and offering, upon the whole, much the appearance of a second-rate Italian seaport. It is built on the peninsula; and some remains of the Hellenic fortifications may be seen in the site of the walls of Fort Itslale, which is the lower citadel of the town, and occupies the site of the ancient Acropolis. The upper citadel, called Palamidhi (Ralamedion), is situated upon a steep and lofty mountain, and is one of the strongest fortresses in Europe. Although its name is not mentioned by any ancient writer, there can be little doubt, from the connection of Palamedes with the ancient town, that this was the appellation of the hill in ancient times.

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


Perseus Project index

Nauplia, Nauplion


The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites

Nauplia

  The name derives from the legends associated with the original Nauplius of tradition, son of Amymone and Poseidon. The two imposing rocks of the peninsula, Its Kale and Palamedi, face one another across an inner bay of the Gulf of Argolis. The town is on the flat N side of the harbor, with N-S streets which climb by steps to the higher S level. Pronoia is on the E land side of the strong fortress of Palamedi which can now be approached by a motor road, though formerly only by steps (857).
  Archaeology: The Classical acropolis was presumably on Its Kale. Blocks from the original walls, ca. 300 B.C., the earliest now visible, some polygonal, have been reused in later fortifications and there are traces of cuttings and steps. The earliest excavations in the Pronoia area revealed Mycenaean chamber tombs and recently work there has added rich examples. In the 1950's Geometric finds outnumbered Mycenaean. In 1970-71 excavations in the area produced evidence of Neolithic and of Early and Middle Helladic occupation. The presence of cavernous holes seems to confirm Strabo's reference to a man-made labyrinth and caves. Continued excavation here may well prove this region to have been an important center of the EH period.
  History and Chronology: Nauplia was a member of the Kalaurian Maritime League, but in the 7th c. B.C. was conquered by Argos, its natural rival. Its succeeding history, disturbed by conflicts, is meager. It includes a transference of population during the Messenian Wars; Pausanias found the site deserted.

H. Wace, 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 bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


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