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Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Epidauros: Eth. Epidaurios. A town on the eastern coast of Peloponnesus,
in the district called Argolis under the Romans. Throughout the flourishing period
of Grecian history it was an independent state, possessing a small territory (Epidauria),
bounded on the west by the Argeia, on the north by the Corinthia, on the south
by the Troezenia, and on the east by the Saronic gulf. Epidaurus is situated on
a small peninsula, which projects from a narrow plain, surrounded on the land
side by mountains. In this plain the vine is chiefly cultivated, as it was in
the time of Homer (ampeloent Epidauron, Hom. Il. ii. 561). North of the peninsula
is a well protected harbour; south of it, an open roadstead. The original town
was confined to the peninsula, which is 15 stadia in circumference. (Strab. viii.
p. 374.) The town also extended upon the shore both north and south of the peninsula,
and embraced the small promontory which forms the southern extremity of the northern
harbour. Epidaurus is accurately described by Strabo as situated in a recess of
the Saronic gulf, looking towards the NE., and shut in by high mountains. Epidaurus
possessed only a small territory; but various circumstances contributed to make
it a place of importance at an early period. Of these the principal was its temple
of Asclepius, situated at the distance of five miles from the city, of which we
shall speak presently. Epidaurus lay near Aegina and the other islands in the
Saronic gulf, and nearly opposite the harbours of Athens, from which it was distant
only a six hours' sail. It was likewise nearly due east of Argos, from which there
was a highway to Epidaurus, forming the chief line of communication between Argos
and the Saronic gulf. Epidaurus was said by Aristotle to have been originally
a Carian settlement. Hence it was called Epicarus. Strabo relates that its more
ancient name was Epitaurus. (Strab. l. c. Steph. B. s. v. Epidauros; Eustath.
ad Hom. Il. ii. 561.) It was afterwards colonised by lonians. According, to Aristotle,
it was colonised by Ionians from the Attic tetrapolis, in conjunction with the
Heracleidae on their return to Peloponnesus; but it is more in accordance with
the generally received legend to suppose that Epidaurus had been previously colonised
by Ionians, and that these latter were expelled by the Dorian invaders. Indeed,
this is the statement of Pausanias, who relates that at the time of the Dorian
invasion Epidaurus was governed by Pityreus, a descendant of Ion, who surrendered
the country without a contest to Deiphontes and the Argives, and himself retired
to Athens with his citizens. (Paus. ii. 26. § 1, seq.) Deiphontes is represented
as the son-in-law of Temenus, who obtained Argos as his share of the Dorian conquests,
having married Hyrnetho, the daughter of Temenus. The misfortunes of Deiphontes
afforded materials for the tragic poets. Whatever truth there may be in these
legends, the fact is certain that the Dorians became masters of Epidaurus, and
continued throughout the historical period the ruling class in the state. At an
early period Epidaurus appears to have been one of the chief commercial cities
in the Peloponnesus. It colonised Aegina, which was for a long time subject to
it. It also colonised, near the coasts of Asia Minor, the islands of Cos, Calydnus,
and Nisyrus. (Herod. vii. 99.) But as Aegina grew in importance, Epidaurus declined,
and in the sixth century B.C. almost all the commerce of the mother-city had passed
into the hands of the Aeginetans.
Epidaurus was originally governed by kings, the reputed descendants
of Deiphontes; but, as in most of the other Grecian states, monarchy was succeeded
by an oligarchy, which was in its turn superseded for a time by a tyranny. Amongst
the tyrants of Epidaurus was Procles, whose daughter Melissa was married to Periander,
tyrant of Corinth; and when Procles resented the murder of his daughter by Periander,
the latter marched against his father-in-law and led him away into captivity after
taking Epidaurus. (Herod. iii. 50 - 52.) After the abolition of the tyranny the
government of Epidaurus again reverted to the oligarchy. who retained possession
of it during the whole historical period. For this reason the Epidaurians were
always firm allies of Sparta, and severed their connection with their mother-city,
Argos, since the latter had adopted a democratical constitution. Of the exact
form of the Epidaurian government we have no particulars. We only read of magistrates
called Artynae, who were presidents of a council of 180 members. (Plut. Quaest.
[p. 841] Graec. 1.) The original inhabitants of the country were called Konipodes
or dusty-feet, and cultivated the land for their Dorian masters in the city. (Plut.
l. c.; Hesych. s. v. Konipodes; Muller, Dor. vol. ii. pp. 57, 151, transl.) In
the Peloponnesian War (B.C. 419) the Argives made war upon the Epidaurians and
attempted to take their city, but they were repulsed and obliged to retreat into
their own territories. (Thuc. v. 53 - 57.) In the time of the Romans, Epidaurus
was little more than the harbour of the temple of Asclepius. Pausanias gives only
a brief account of its public buildings. He mentions a temple of Athena Cissaea
on the acropolis; temples of Dionysus, Artemis, and Aphrodite, in the city; a
sacred enclosure of Asclepius in the suburbs; and a temple of Hera on a promontory
at the harbour, which promontory is doubtless the one forming the northern entrance
to the harbour, and now called C. Nikolao. (Paus. ii. 29. § 1.) The name of Epidaurus
is still preserved in the corrupted form of Pidhavro, which is the name of a neighbouring
village. The foundations of the ancient walls may be traced in many parts along
the cliffs of the peninsula. Here Dodwell noticed some fragments of columns, and
a draped statue of a female figure, forming apparently the cover of a sarcophagus.
The sea has encroached upon the shore on either side of the peninsula, and some
remains of the outer city may still be seen under water.
The temple of Asclepius was situated at the distance of 5 miles west
of Epidaurus on the road to Argos. (Liv. xlv. 28.) It was one of the most celebrated
spots in Greece, and was frequented by patients from all parts of the Hellenic
world for the cure of their diseases. The temple itself was only a small part
of the sacred spot. Like the Altis at Olympia, and the Hierum of Poseidon at the
Isthmus, there was a sacred enclosure, usually called the grove (alsos) of Asclepius,
and containing several public buildings. It stood in a small plain entirely surrounded
by mountains. (Paus. ii. 27. § 1.) The sacred enclosure was less than a mile in
circumference; it was confined on two sides by steep hills, and on the other two
by a wall, which appears to have formed a right angle in the lowest and most level
part of the valley, and is still traceable in several places. (Leake.) The recollection
of the sacred character of this valley has been preserved down to the present
name. It is still called Hieron (hieron), or the Sanctuary; and it is a curious
circumstance that the village, through which the road leads to the Hieron, bears
the name of Koroni, evidently derived from Coronis, the mother of Asclepius, and
which it must have preserved from ancient times, although the name is not mentioned
by ancient writers. Of the mountains surrounding the sanctuary the highest lies
to the north: it is now called Bolonidia, and bore in ancient times the name of
Titthium (Titthion), because the child of Coronis, which was exposed upon this
mountain, was here suckled by a goat. (Paus. ii. 26. § 4, 27, § 7.) Mount Cynortium
(Kunortion, Paus. ii. 27. § 7), on which stood a temple of Apollo Maleatas, is
probably the hill in the southeast of the valley, above the theatre, on the way
to Troezen. Pausanias also mentions a hill called Coryphaeum, on the summit of
which was a temple of Artemis Coryphaea. It appears to have been the height in
the south-west of the valley, since some believed that an olive tree on the ascent
to the mountain was the boundary of the territory of Asine. (Paus. ii. 28. § 2.)
The buildings in the sacred grove are described by Pausanias. He mentions first
the temple of Asclepius, containing a chryselephantine statue of the god, the
work of Thrasymedes of Paros, and half the size of the temple of Zeus at Olympia.
The god sat upon a throne, holding a staff in one hand, and resting the other
upon the head of a serpent; a dog lay at his feet. On one side of the temple there
were dormitories for those who came to consult the god. Near the temple was the
Tholus, a circular building of white marble, built by Polycleitus of Argos, and
containing pictures by Pausias. In the sacred enclosure there was a theatre, also
built by Polycleitus, which Pausanias considered particularly worthy of attention.
The other objects within the sacred enclosure specified by Pausanias were temples
of Artemis, Aphrodite, and Themis, a stadium, a fountain covered with a roof,
and several works erected by Antoninus Pius before he became emperor of Rome,
of which the most important were the bath of Asclepius, a temple of the gods called
Epidotae, a temple dedicated to Hygieia, Asclepius, and Apollo surnamed the Aegyptian,
and a building beyond the sacred enclosure for the reception of the dying and
of women in labour, because it was unlawful for any one to die or to be born within
the sanctuary. (Paus. ii. 27.) A festival was celebrated in the sacred grove in
honour of Asclepius with musical and gymnastic games: it took place every four
years, nine days after the Isthmian games. (Schol, ad Pind. Nem. iii. 145; Plat
Ion, init.; Dict. of Ant. art. Asclepieia.) The site of the sacred enclosure is
now covered with ruins, which it is difficult for the most part to assign to any
definite buildings. The position of the Tholus is clearly marked by its foundations,
from which it appears that it was about 20 feet in diameter. In its neighbourhood
are some foundations of a temple, which was probably the great temple of Asclepius.
The ruins of the theatre are the most important. Leake observes that this theatre
is in better preservation than any other temple in Greece, except that which exists
near Trametzus in Epirus, not far from Ioannina. The orchestra was about, 90 feet
in length, and the entire theatre about 370 feet in diameter: 32 rows of seats
still appear above ground in a lower division, which is separated by a diazoma
from an upper, consisting of 20 seats. Twenty-four scalae, or flights of steps,
diverging in equidistant radii from the bottom to the top, formed the communications
with the seats. The theatre, when complete, was capable of containing 12,000 spectators.
Of the stadium there remain the circular end and a part of the adjacent sides,
with 15 rows of seats. Near it are the ruins of two cisterns and a bath.
When L. Aemilius Paulus visited Epidaurus in B.C. 167 after the conquest
of Macedonia, the sanctuary was still rich in gifts presented by those who had
recovered from diseases; but it had been robbed of most of these votive offerings
before the. time of Livy. (Liv. xlv, 28.) It suffered most from the depredations
of Sulla at the same time that he robbed the temples of Olympia and Delphi. (Diod.
Exc. p. 614, ed. Wess.) It is described by Strabo as a place renowned for the
cure of all diseases, always full of invalids, and containing votive tablets descriptive
of the cures, as at Cos and Tricca. (Strab. viii. p. 374.)
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
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)
Local government Web-Sites
Ancient Epidavros Development Committee
Municipality of Epidavros
Local government WebPages
Dimena is a village belonging to the Municipality of Epidavros. There are about 630 residents, but the remarkable thing is, is the fact that more and more young people return to their birthplace, with the result we see an increase in the number of the residents of the Municipality. The altitude of the village is 150 meters above sea level. Previously the villagers lived in Aggelokasrto of Korinthos and at Aranxnaio during the summer period and in the winter they lived in Dimena. But for 70 years now they are living permanently at Dimena .. In the area of Dimena there are many churches of great interest to tourists and locals alike each having their own traditional celebrations. The most important of May the 21st, St. Constantine and St. Helene day which there is a local festival. Also there are others festivals such 2nd of Feb. Jesus Candle mass holiday and St. George. It is worthwhile for every visitor to try the famous Giosa (a traditional oven baked meal with goat meat) a pleasant surprise for meat eaters.
- Municipality of Epidavros WebPage
- Municipality of Epidavros WebPages
Koliaki is not as old as Trachea it's inhabitants coming mainly from Arkedes around the 1850s. Mainly a farming community, the main types being sheep/goat/poultry farming with olive groves and small market gardens. Bread and cheese making have spread to this town also. Is a very graphic village with old small buildings and picturesque views, it is positioned between Trachea and Ancient Epidavros.
In the area of New Epidavros, cottages first appeared during the Modern Greek age, circa Early Mycenaean. In ancient times it was part of Epidavros, connecting with the other villages through common history. With the passing of time, New Epidauros came to own three important monasteries, one vitally significant Byzantine castle, more than 20 churches together with the large area of land constituting, during the Byzantine period, the central core of Epidavros. The intent is for an attractive, tourist village with traditional rural architecture. Its pretty, narrow streets are built into one of the slopes of the "Akros" outcrop and on the next rocky outcrop are the ruins of the Byzantine castle; at the base of this there is a gorge unique for its natural beauty, known as the "Gorge of Vothila". The village stretches out, down to the sea, ending at two beautiful natural bays with clean water for swimming and fishing. Pine trees, olives and orange trees encompass the village and the port.
The villagers of New Epidavros are, in the first instance, farmers who cultivate olive and citrus trees, while the fishing is also important to them. The visitor could take pleasure in the natural and historical beauties of the area, staying at the local hotels or camping sites and there are also rooms to let. Also the area has, in addition, restaurants, bars and one disco, for nightlife. During the summer, on the lovely beaches, the festival of Redeemer's Day takes place on the 6th of August.
- Municipality of Epidavros WebPage
One of the older -if not the oldest- village of our municipality. In the past, Trachea was one of the Turkish communities, which after 1821 when Greece took back their freedom, people from North Greece (Epirotes) came to stay here. The new residents grew up with success in the art of cheese making and soon they flourished. As time passed, they created the tradition of producing cheese products within the area of Argolida. With the finest quality and taste resulting in them now being one of the best producers in Greece.
Today Trachea owns 11 traditional family cheese factories, keeping the secrets they took from their ancestors. Also they grew up the art of making bread following the old traditional recipes and they have 12 bakeries famous for their bread and paximadia.
Here you can eat in one of the 8 excellent taverns, with specialty in boiled goat and roast lamb. The people here are very polite and hospitable and hence it is a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike. It is one of the most beautiful stopping points for the travelers on their way towards to Ermioni, Kranidi, Spetses, Poros and many other places.
- Municipality of Epidavros WebPage
Perseus Project index
Epidauros, Epidaurus, Epidauria
- Epidauros: Perseus Lookup Tool, text search
- Epidauria: Perseus Lookup Tool, text search
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
A city in a recess of the S arm of the Saronic Gulf. Its territory reached to the Gulf of Argos on the W, on the N to the boundaries of Corinth, and on S and E to Hermione and Troezen. In its few well-watered valleys the vine flourished (vine growing Epidauros in Hom. Il. 2.561).
The city was founded on the rocky hill of the small peninsula of Akte (Nisi) near modern Palaia Epidauros. There are remains on the acropolis of the peninsula (walls and houses), in the sea (submerged remains of the ancient harbor and several buildings belonging to the lower city), and in the neighboring area at Nea Epidauros. Numerous prehistoric and Geometric finds have come from these areas.
Epidauros took part in the Trojan War (Il. 2.561) and was a member of the Kalaurian Amphictyony during the 7th and 6th c. B.C. (Strab. 8.374). At the end of the 6th c. B.C. its ruler Prokles married his daughter Melissa to Periander, the tyrant of Corinth, who murdered her and annexed Epidauros (Hdt. 3.50-52; Paus. 2.28.8). In the Persian Wars Epidauros sent eight ships to the sea battle off Artemision, 800 men to the battle of Plateia, and ten ships to the battle of Salamis (Hdt. 8.2, 43, 72; 9.28, 31). Afterwards the city was consistently unfriendly to Athens and continued steadfastly in alliance with Sparta throughout the Peloponnesian War and later on, even after the battles of Leuktra (371 B.C.) and Mantinea (369 B.C.). Epidauros was involved in the Lamian War (323-322 B.C.: Diod. Sic. 18.11.2), and in 243 B.C. was a member of the Achaian League (Paus. 2.8.5; Plut. Arat. 24). From 115-114 B.C. on, Epidauros was allied to Rome as a friend. The last mention of Epidauros is in the 6th c. A.D. when it was included in the Synekdemos of Hierokles.
- The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (eds. Richard Stillwell, William L. MacDonald, Marian Holland McAllister)