Information about the place ERMIONI (Ancient city) ARGOLIS - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  It is found in the Argolic Akte between Troizene and Halieis. Its remote location tended to keep it out of the mainstream of Hellenic affairs, and Lasos is the only even minor notable to have originated there. Reputed to be one of the Dryopian cities of the Peloponnese (Hdt. 8.73.2), it was part of Diomedes' realm in heroic times (Il. 2.560), and was a member of the Kalaurian amphictyony (Strab. 8.6.14). Hermione sent three ships to Salamis (Hdt. 8.43) and 300 men to Plataia (Hdt. 9.28.4). During the 5th c. Hermione was a member of the Peloponnesian League, and as a result had its territory plundered by the Athenians in 430 (Thuc. 2.56.5). It remained faithful to Sparta during the 4th c. (and perhaps later), but in 229 was forced to join the Achaian League by Aratos (Strab. 8.7.3). Little is known of Hermione later, though Plutarch (Pomp. 24) tells us that the Temple of Demeter Chthonia was plundered by pirates, and we know from Pausanias (2.34.9-35) that in his time the older part of the town was no longer inhabited.
  The ancient city was located on a promontory separating two harbors, but by Pausanias' time had moved W, to approximately the location of the modern town, at the foot of a hill anciently called the Pron. Three stretches of the ancient circuit wall (late 5th c.) of polygonal masonry are preserved, the most easily visible being that on the Kranidi road on the right as one enters the town. The best preserved stretch extends ca. 19 m. Other walls, to be found on the seaward end of the promontory, prove that it was the only defended portion of the city, and that the higher Pron to the W was outside the ancient fortifications. On the promontory there is preserved the euthynteria course of a temple with polygonal joints, probably of the late 6th or early 5th c., and almost certainly to be identified with the Temple of Poseidon mentioned by Pausanias. The Temple of Athena, also mentioned by Pausanias, may have stood on a large conglomerate foundation about 50 m SE of the modern quay. Most of the other sanctuaries mentioned by Pausanias have now disappeared, but it is a highly reasonable assumption that that of Demeter Chthonia lay roughly in the area of the Church of Haghii Taxiarchi on the Pron where there is preserved, both in the church wall and across the street, a wall of ashlar masonry, possibly a peribolos wall. The E portion, preserved only in part, is ca. 10 m from the N portion which extends W at a height of two to three courses for ca. 20 m. Some 25 m N of the church and forming the N wall of the Koinotiko Grapheio, there is preserved to a height of ca. 3 m approximately 20 m of a wall of polygonal ashlar masonry. Another stretch has been reported, which would yield a total length of ca. 95 m. It has the appearance of a retaining wall and seems to be of late 4th c. date, but some scholars assign it a 5th-4th c. date, and connect it either with the Demeter sanctuary or with the Echo Colonnade. There are a number of Late Roman and Early Byzantine mosaics in the area of the municipal school, as well as a section of a Roman brick aqueduct to the N of the Pron. The Mycenaean settlement seems to have lain to the W, near the sea, on a small mound known as Magoula.

W. F. Wyatt, Jr., 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 3 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Perseus Project index

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


A town on the eastern coast of Argolis on a bay deriving its name (Hermionicus Sinus) from the town. It was originally founded by the Dryopes, and was long a flourishing city, famous for its temple of Demeter Cthonia. It belonged to the Achaean League.

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


  Hermion (Hermione, Herod., Xen., Strab.; Hermion Eurip. Here. Fur. 615; Polyb. ii. 52; Hermion, Scylax, p. 20: Eth. Hermioneus; fem. Hermionis: Adj. Hermionikos, Hermioneus, Hermionius, Hermionicus). The territory Hermionis a town at the southern extremity of Argolis, in the wider use of this term, but an independent city during the flourishing period of Grecian history, and possessing a territory named Hermionis. The sea between the southern coast of Argolis and the island of Hydrea was called after it the Hermionicus Sinus (Hermionikos kolpos, Strab. viii. p. 335), which was regarded as distinct from the Argolic and Saronic gulfs.
  Hermione was founded by the Dryopes, who are said to have been driven out of their original abodes on Mount Oeta and its adjacent valleys by Heracles, and to have settled in the Peloponnesus, where their three chief towns were Hermione, Asine, and Eion. (Herod. viii. 43. 47; Diod. iv. 37.) Hermione is mentioned by Homer along with its kindred city Asine. (Hom. Il. ii. 560.) Asine and Eion were conquered at an early period by the Dorians, but Hermione continued to exist as an independent Dryopian state long afterwards. Hermione appears to have been the most important of the Dryopian towns, and to have been in possession at one time of a larger portion of the adjacent coast, as well as of several of the neighboring islands. Strabo, following ancient authorities, places the promontory Scyllaeum in Hermionis (Strab. viii. p. 373), and the Helnionic gulf extended along the coast of Troezen as far as this promontory. Hermione is mentioned first among the cities of the Amphictyony, the representatives of which were accustomed to meet in the adjacent island of Calaureia (Strab. viii. p. 374), from which it has been inferred that Hermione had the presidency of the confederacy, and that the island belonged to this city. It is expressly stated that Hydreia belonged to the Hermionians, and that they surrendered this island to the Samian pirates, who gave it into the charge of the Troezenians. (Herod. iii. 59.) The Hermionians are mentioned as Dryopes at the time of the Persian wars: they sent three ships to Salamis, and 300 men to Plataea. (Herod. viii. 43, ix. 28.) Subsequently the Argives took possession of Hermione, and settled there an Argive colony. There is no account of its conquest, and Pausanias supposes that the Argives obtained peaceable possession of the town; but it probably came into their power about the same time that they subdued Mycenae and Tiryns, B.C. 464. Some of the expelled Hermionians took refuge at Halieis, where the Tirynthians had also settled; and it was perhaps at this time that the lower city was deserted. (Paus. ii. 34. § 5; Strab. viii. p. 373; comp. Steph, B. s. v.) Hermione now became a Doric city; but the inhabitants still retained some of the ancient Dryopian customs. Thus it continued to be the chief seat of the worship of Demeter Chthonia, who appears to have been the principal deity of the Dryopians; and we learn from a remarkable inscription that the Asinaeans, who had settled in Messenia after their expulsion from Argolis, continued to send offerings to Demeter Chthonia at Hermione. (Bockh, Inscr. no. 1193.) Although Hermione had fallen into the hands of the Argives, it did not continue permanently subject to Argos, and it is mentioned subsequently as an independent town and an ally of Sparta. (Thuc. ii. 56, viii. 3) After the capture of the Acrocorinthus by Aratus, the tyrant who governed Hermione voluntarily surrendered his power, and the city joined the Achaean league. (Polyb. ii. 44.) Hermione continued to exist long afterwards, as is proved by its numerous coins and inscriptions
  Pausanias describes Hermione at considerable length. The old city, which was no longer inhabited in his time, stood upon a promontory seven stadia in length, and three in breadth at its widest part; and on either side of this promontory there was a convenient harbour. There were still several temples standing on this promontory in the time of Pausanias, of which the most remarkable was one sacred to Poseidon. The later town, which Pausanias visited, stood at the distance of four stadia from this temple upon the slopes of the hill Pron. It was entirely surrounded by walls, and was in earlier times the Acropolis of the city. Among its ruins lies the modern village of Kastri. Of the numerous temples mentioned by Pausanias the most important was the ancient Diyopian sanctuary of Demeter Chthonia, situated on a eight of Mount on, said to have been founded by Chthonia, daughter of Phoroneus, and Clymenus her brother. (Eur. Herc. Fur. 615.) It was an inviolable sanctuary; but it was plundered by there Cilician pirates. (Phot. Lex. s. v. Hermione; Plut. Pomp. 24.) Opposite this temple was one sacred to Clymenus and to tie right was the Stoa of Echo, which repeated the voice three times. In the same neighbourhood there were three sacred places surrounded with stone fences; one named the sanctuary of Clymenus, the second that of Pluto, and the third that of the Acherusian lake. In the sanctuary of Clymenus there was an opening in the earth which the Hermionians believed to be the shortest road to Hades, and consequently they put no money in the mouths of their dead to pay the ferryman of the lower world. (Paus. ii. 35; Strab. viii. p. 373.)   From Hermione a peninsula, now called Kranidhi, extends towards the south and west It contains two promontories, on each of which there are Hellenic remains. Pausanias names two ancient places, called Halice and Mases, on the road from Hermione to Asine, both of which must have been situated in this peninsula, but he gives no further indication of their position. It has been conjectured that the Hellenic remains near C. Muzaki, on the more easterly of the two promontories above mentioned, are those of Halice; and that the remains on the more westerly promontory at Port Kheli represent Mases. but there are good reasons for believing that the ruins near C. Muzaki are those of some town the name of which has not been recorded; that Halice, or, as it is also called, Halieis, stood at Port Kheli; and that Mases was situated more to the north, on the western coast, at Port Kiladhia. In the time of Pausanias, Mases served as the harbour of Hermione. Towards the east the frontier of the Hermionis and Troezenia was marked by a temple of Demeter Thermasia, close to the sea, 80 stadia westward of Cape Scyllaeum, the name of which has been preserved in that of Thermisi. (Pans. ii. 34. § 6.) Near this temple, on the road from Troezen to Hermione, was a small place called Eilei (Eileoi), the name of which has been preserved in the modern Ilio. Westward the Hermionis seems to have extended as far as the territory of Asine. On the road from Mases to Asine, Pausanias mentions the promontory Struthus (Struthous); at the distance of 250 stadia from which, by a mountain path, were Philanorium (Philanorion) and Bolei (Boleoi), the latter being the name of a heap of stones: 20 stadia beyond Bolei was a place called Didymi.

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

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