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Destinations Guide


Information on the area

Homeric world (1)

Greeks of the Homeric Catalogue of Ships

Trojan War

Epidaurus participated in the war of Troy and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships. The poet calls it "vine-clad" (Il. 2.561).

Mythology (10)

Historic figures


Epidaurus (Epidauros), the mythical founder of Epidaurus, a son of Argos and Evadne, but according to Argive legends a son of Pelops, and according to those of Elis a son of Apollo. (Apollod. ii. 1.2; Paus. ii. 26.3.)

Gods & demigods

Artemis Cotyphaea

Cotyphaea (Koruphaia), the goddess who inhabits the summit of the mountain, a surname of Artemis, under which she had a temple on mount Coryphaeon, near Epidaurus. (Paus. ii. 281. § 2.) It is also applied to designate the highest or supreme god, and is consequently given as an epithet to Zeus. (Paus. ii. 4.5.)

Auxesia & Damia

The Epidaurians' land bore no produce. For this reason they inquired at Delphi concerning this calamity, and the priestess bade them set up images of Damia and Auxesia,(1) saying that if they so did their luck would be better. The Epidaurians then asked in addition whether they should make the images of bronze or of stone, and the priestess bade them do neither, but make them of the wood of the cultivated olive. So the men of Epidaurus asked the Athenians to permit them to cut down some olive trees, supposing the olives there to be the holiest.(2) Indeed it is said that at that time there were no olives anywhere save at Athens. The Athenians consented to give the trees, if the Epidaurians would pay yearly sacred dues to Athena, the city's goddess, and to Erechtheus. The Epidaurians agreed to this condition, and their request was granted. When they set up images made of these olive trees, their land brought forth fruit, and they fulfilled their agreement with the Athenians.
1. Damies kai Auxesies. They were goddesses of increase and fertility.
These deities were also worshipped at Troezen and Epidaurus, and in Laconia. Auxesie is clearly connected with 'Increase' (auxein, cf. the Attic deity Auxo), but the derivation of Damie remains a problem. Most probably it may be connected with Mother-Earth, Demeter, since at Rome and in Italy the Bona Dea, an earth-goddess, worshipped exclusively by women (Ovid, Fast. v. 150 f.), was called Damia, her victim damium, and her priestess damiatrix. These names must be of Greek origin, and seem to show that the Greek deity Damia migrated from Tarentum, where the feast of Dameia was celebrated, to Rome, and was there engrafted on the Italian Bona Dea = Fauna (Warde Fowler, Roman Festivals, pp. 102-6). In any case it can hardly be doubtful that these goddesses are concerned with the increase of the fruits of the earth, and with child-birth in women. Their worship resembled that of Demeter and Persephone in the raillery practised at both by the women (ch. 83. 3 n.), in the throwing of stones as a religious rite, and in the manner of sacrifice (Paus. ii. 30. 4, 32. 2). In the fact that the statues were made of wood we may perhaps see a relic of the supposed fertilizing power of trees (cf. the May-pole). For parallel spring customs in many lands and their explanation cf. Frazer, Paus. ii. 492; iii. 266 f.
2. The moriai at Athens were held sacred and protected by law (Lysias, peri sekou, 2, 7). The first olive, still to be seen in the days of H. in the Erechtheum (viii. 55 n.), was the gift of Athena to Attica; hence the view that olives were once found in Attica only. The image of Athena Polias in the Erechtheum was made of olive-wood (Athenagoras, Leg. 17); indeed, primitive statues were generally made of wood (Paus. viii. 17. 2).



Descendant of Ion, last king of Epidauria before Dorian invasion, father of Procles.

Deiphontes & Hyrnetho

Deiphontes, a son of Antimachus, and husband of Hyrnetho, the daughter of Temenus the Heracleide, by whom he became the father of Antimenes, Xanthippus, Argeius, and Orsobia. When Temenus, in the division of Peloponnesus, had obtained Argos as his share, he bestowed all his affections upon Hyrnetho and her husband, for which lie was murdered by his sons, who thought themselves neglected. But after the death of Temenus, the army declared Deiphontes and Hyrnetho his rightful successors (Apollod. ii. 8. 5.) According to Pausanias (ii. 19.§ 1), the sons of Temenus formed indeed a conspiracy against their father and Deiphontes; but after Temenus death it was not Deiphontes that succeded him, but Ceisus. Deiphontes on tile other hand, is said to have lived at Epidaurus, whither lie went with the army which was attached to him, and from whence he expelled the Ionian king, Pityreus (Pais. ii. 26.2.) His brothers-in-law, however, who grudged him the possession of their sister Hyrnetho, went to Epidaurus, and tried to persuade her to leave her husband; and when this attempt failed, they carried her off by force. Deiphontes pursued them, and after having killed one of them, Cerynes, he wrestled with the other, who held his sister in his arms. In this struggle, Hyrnetho was killed by her own brother, who then escaped. Deiphontes carried her body back to Epidaurus, and there erected a sanctuary to her. (Paus. ii. 28.3)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Hyrnetho (Hurnetho), a daughter of Temenus, and wife of Deiphontes. Her tomb and a heroum, with a sacred grove, were shown at Epidaurus and Argos. (Paus. ii. 23, 3, 28.3; Apollod. ii. 8.5)



The physician of Adrastus, of Epidaurus: Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary


Procles. The son of Pityreus, was the leader of the Ionians who settled in the island of Sanos. He was an Epidaurian by birth, and led with him a considerable number of Epidaurian exiles. Androclus and the Ephesians attacked Procles and his son Leogorus, who shared the royal power with him and expelled them. (Paus. vii. 4.2.)

Famous robbers


Periphetes. A son of Hephaestus and Anticleia, was surnamed Corynetes, [p. 202] that is, Club-bearer, and was a robber at Epidaurus, who slew the travellers he met with an iron club. Theseus at last slew him and took his club for his own use. (Apollod. iii. 16.1; Plut. Thes 38; Paus ii. 1.4; Ov. Met. vii. 437.)

Name of the location (1)

Ancient authors' reports

Epidaurus (Epicarus)

Epidaurus used to be called Epicarus, for Aristotle says that Carians took possession of it, as also of Hermione, but that after the return of the Heracleidae the Ionians who had accompanied the Heracleidae from the Attic Tetrapolis to Argos took up their abode with these Carians.

Ancient literary sources (7)

Perseus Encyclopedia

Epidauros (Epidaurus)

In Argolis; Dorian, its situation, Aesculapius born in, worship of Aesculapius derived from, city of, Epidaurians, being expelled by Argives, settle in Samos, revolt from Macedonia, join Achaean League, dedicate image of Apollo at Delphi, taken by Periander, quarrel with Athens, its colonies, Epidaurians in the Greek forces against Xerxes and Mardonius, Periphetes the Clubman in, Limera, city of Free Laconians


  At Lessa the Argive territory joins that of Epidaurus. But before you reach Epidaurus itself you will come to the sanctuary of Asclepius. Who dwelt in this land before Epidaurus came to it I do not know, nor could I discover from the natives the descendants of Epidaurus either. But the last king before the Dorians arrived in the Peloponnesus was, they say, Pityreus, a descendant of Ion, son of Xuthus, and they relate that he handed over the land to Deiphontes and the Argives without a struggle.
  He went to Athens with his people and dwelt there, while Deiphontes and the Argives took possession of Epidauria. These on the death of Temenus seceded from the other Argives; Deiphontes and Hyrnetho through hatred of the sons of Temenus, and the army with them, because it respected Deiphontes and Hyrnetho more than Ceisus and his brothers. Epidaurus, who gave the land its name, was, the Eleans say, a son of Pelops but, according to Argive opinion and the poem the Great Eoeae,1 the father of Epidaurus was Argus, son of Zeus, while the Epidaurians maintain that Epidaurus was the child of Apollo.
  That the land is especially sacred to Asclepius is due to the following reason. The Epidaurians say that Phlegyas came to the Peloponnesus, ostensibly to see the land, but really to spy out the number of the inhabitants, and whether the greater part of them was warlike. For Phlegyas was the greatest soldier of his time, and making forays in all directions he carried off the crops and lifted the cattle.
  When he went to the Peloponnesus, he was accompanied by his daughter, who all along had kept hidden from her father that she was with child by Apollo. In the country of the Epidaurians she bore a son, and exposed him on the mountain called Nipple at the present day, but then named Myrtium. As the child lay exposed he was given milk by one of the goats that pastured about the mountain, and was guarded by the watch-dog of the herd. And when Aresthanas (for this was the herdsman's name) discovered that the tale of the goats was not full, and that the watch-dog also was absent from the herd, he left, they say, no stone unturned, and on finding the child desired to take him up. As he drew near he saw lightning that flashed from the child, and, thinking that it was something divine, as in fact it was, he turned away. Presently it was reported over every land and sea that Asclepius was discovering everything he wished to heal the sick, and that he was raising dead men to life.
  There is also another tradition concerning him. Coronis, they say, when with child with Asclepius, had intercourse with Ischys, son of Elatus. She was killed by Artemis to punish her for the insult done to Apollo, but when the pyre was already lighted Hermes is said to have snatched the child from the flames.
  The third account is, in my opinion, the farthest from the truth; it makes Asclepius to be the son of Arsinoe, the daughter of Leucippus. For when Apollophanes the Arcadian, came to Delphi and asked the god if Asclepius was the son of Arsinoe and therefore a Messenian, the Pythian priestess gave this response:

Asclepius, born to bestow great joy upon mortals,
Pledge of the mutual love I enjoyed with Phlegyas' daughter,
Lovely Coronis, who bare thee in rugged land Epidaurus.

  This oracle makes it quite certain that Asclepius was not a son of Arsinoe, and that the story was a fiction invented by Hesiod, or by one of Hesiod's interpolators, just to please the Messenians.
  There is other evidence that the god was born in Epidaurus for I find that the most famous sanctuaries of Asclepius had their origin from Epidaurus. In the first place, the Athenians, who say that they gave a share of their mystic rites to Asclepius, call this day of the festival Epidauria, and they allege that their worship of Asclepius dates from then. Again, when Archias, son of Aristaechmus, was healed in Epidauria after spraining himself while hunting about Pindasus, he brought the cult to Pergamus.
  From the one at Pergamus has been built in our own day the sanctuary of Asclepius by the sea at Smyrna. Further, at Balagrae of the Cyreneans there is an Asclepius called Healer, who like the others came from Epidaurus. From the one at Cyrene was founded the sanctuary of Asclepius at Lebene, in Crete. There is this difference between the Cyreneans and the Epidaurians, that whereas the former sacrifice goats, it is against the custom of the Epidaurians to do so.
  That Asclepius was considered a god from the first, and did not receive the title only in course of time, I infer from several signs, including the evidence of Homer, who makes Agamemnon say about Machaon:

Talthybius, with all speed go summon me hither Machaon, Mortal son of Asclepius. (Hom. Il. 4.193)

As who should say, "human son of a god." (Paus. 2.26.1-10)



Epidaurus used to be called Epicarus, for Aristotle says that Carians took possession of it, as also of Hermione, but that after the return of the Heracleidae the Ionians who had accompanied the Heracleidae from the Attic Tetrapolis (1) to Argos took up their abode with these Carians. Epidaurus, too, is an important city, and particularly because of the fame of Asclepius, who is believed to cure diseases of every kind and always has his temple full of the sick, and also of the votive tablets on which the treatments are recorded, just as at Cos and Tricce. The city lies in the recess of the Saronic Gulf, has a circular coast of fifteen stadia, and faces the summer risings of the sun. It is enclosed by high mountains which reach as far as the sea, so that on all sides it is naturally fitted for a stronghold. Between Troezen and Epidaurus there was a strong hold called Methana, and also a peninsula of the same name. In some copies of Thucydides the name is spelled "Methone," the same as the Macedonian city (2) in which Philip, in the siege, had his eye knocked out. And it is on this account, in the opinion of Demetrius of Scepsis, that some writers, being deceived, suppose that it was the Methone in the territory of Troezen against which the men sent by Agamemnon to collect sailors are said to have uttered the imprecation that its citizens might never cease from their wall-building, since, in his opinion, it was not these citizens that refused, but those of the Macedonian city, as Theopompus says; and it is not likely, he adds, that these citizens who were near to Agamemnon disobeyed him. (Strabo 8.6.15)
1. Attic Tetrapolis = Marathon, Oenoe, Probalinthus, Tricorythus
2. Macedonian city = Methone


Atheneans attack Epidaurus

Arriving at Epidaurus in Peloponnese they ravaged most of the territory, and even had hopes of taking the town by an assault: in this however they were not successful.from which incursions were henceforth made upon the country of Troezen, Haliae, and Epidaurus. After walling off this spot the fleet sailed off home.

Epidaurus - Peloponnesean war

Argives attack Epidaurus

In compliance with this suggestion they went and brought back the Argives from Epidaurus, and afterwards reassembled, but without succeeding any better in coming to a conclusion; and the Argives a second time invaded Epidaurus and plundered the country.



[...] Artemisia was her name, and she was the daughter of Lygdamis; on her fathers' side she was of Halicarnassian lineage, and on her mothers' Cretan. She was the leader of the men of Halicarnassus and Cos and Nisyrus and Calydnos, and provided five ships. Her ships were reputed to be the best in the whole fleet after the ships of Sidon, and she gave the king the best advice of all his allies. The cities that I said she was the leader of are all of Dorian stock, as I can show, since the Halicarnassians are from Troezen, and the rest are from Epidaurus.

History (5)

Colonizations by the inhabitants

The Epidaurians found the island of Samos

The inhabitants of the island Samos received the Ionians as settlers more of necessity than through good.will. The leader of the Ionians was Procles, the son of Pityreus, Epidaurian himself like the greater part of his followers, who had been expelled from Epidauria by Deiphontes and the Argives. This Procles was descended from Ion, son of Xuthus.

Participation in the fights of the Greeks

Battle of Plataea

On the right of the pedestal are inscribed the cities which took part in the engagement: first the Lacedaemonians, after them the Athenians, third the Corinthians, fourth the Sicyonians, fifth the Aeginetans; after the Aeginetans, the Megarians and Epidaurians, (Paus. 5.23.1-2)

Naval Battle of Salamis

The following took part in the war: from the Peloponnese, [...] the Epidaurians furnished ten ships

Naval Battle of Artemisium

The Epidaurians furnished eight ships


Corinthians & Epidaurians against Atheneans

During this year a war arose between the Corinthians and Epidaurians on the one hand and the Athenians on the other, and the Athenians took the field against them and after a sharp battle were victorious.

Information about the place (4)

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.

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

Perseus Project index

Epidauros, Epidaurus, Epidauria

Local government WebPages

Ancient Epidavros

Archaeological sites (1)

Ancient theatres

The Small Theatre

On the acropolis of the ancient city of Epidavros and at the south west side there was, in the ancient age of Asklepios, a small theater for the public necessities, but the main reason that this theater was used was to honor the god Dionisios. From the dedicated inscriptions it is known that the construction of the theatre was finished in the 4th century, aided by the donations of the local lords and famous people of that age. At the concave of the theater, at the time, 9 benches were arranged with 18 series of images at each one. When the theatre was first built, it had a capacity of about 5000 seats. Characteristic of the theatre were the inscriptions that they made it to look like a museum.
After 23 centuries of silence, in 1971, the excavation began. Every July here, in Epidavros, music performances take place under the auspices of the Ministry of Development.

This text is cited Jan 2003 from the Municipality of Epidavros URL below, which contains images.

Archaeological findings (2)

Perseus Coin Catalog

Hemidrachm, Silver, ca. 350 BC

Collection: Arthur S. Dewing Collection. Obverse Type: Laureate head of Asklepios, profile to the left

Perseus Sculpture Catalog

Satyr (Bronze, Free-standing statue)

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Subject: Satyr with one arm raised, another on his hip. Findspot: Said to be from Epidauros

Monuments reported by ancient authors (8)

Ancient temples

Temples of Dionysus & Artemis

There is also in the city a temple of Dionysus and one of Artemis. The figure of Artemis one might take to be the goddess hunting. (Paus. 2.29.1)

Ancient sanctuaries

Sanctuary of Maleatian Apollo

  Above the grove (of Asclepius) are the Nipple and another mountain called Cynortium; on the latter is a sanctuary of Maleatian Apollo. The sanctuary itself is an ancient one, but among the things Antoninus made for the Epidaurians are various appurtenances for the sanctuary of the Maleatian, including a reservoir into which the rain-water collects for their use.   The serpents, including a peculiar kind of a yellowish color, are considered sacred to Asclepius, and are tame with men. These are peculiar to Epidauria, and I have noticed that other lands have their peculiar animals. For in Libya only are to be found land crocodiles at least two cubits long; from India alone are brought, among other creatures, parrots. But the big snakes that grow to more than thirty cubits, such as are found in India and in Libya, are said by the Epidaurians not to be serpents, but some other kind of creature. (Paus.+2.27.7-28.1)

Sanctuary of Artemis Coryphaea

As you go up to Mount Coryphum you see by the road an olive tree called Twisted. It was Heracles who gave it this shape by bending it round with his hand, but I cannot say whether he set it to be a boundary mark against the Asinaeans in Argolis, since in no land, which has been depopulated, is it easy to discover the truth about the boundaries. On the Top of the mountain there is a sanctuary of Artemis Coryphaea (of the Peak), of which Telesilla made mention in an ode. (Paus. 2.28.2)

Hero-shrine sacred to Hyrnetho

On going down (from Mount Coryphum) to the city of the Epidaurians, you come to a place where wild olives grow; they call it Hyrnethium. I will relate the story of it, which is probable enough, as given by the Epidaurians. Ceisus and the other sons of Temenus knew that they would grieve Deiphontes most if they could find a way to part him and Hyrnetho. So Cerynes and Phalces (for Agraeus, the youngest, disapproved of their plan) came to Epidaurus. Staying their chariot under the wall, they sent a herald to their sister, pretending that they wished to parley with her.
  When she obeyed their summons, the young men began to make many accusations against Deiphontes, and besought her much that she would return to Argos, promising, among other things, to give her to a husband in every respect better than Deiphontes, one who ruled over more subjects and a more prosperous country. But Hyrnetho, pained at their words, gave as good as she had received, retorting that Deiphontes was a dear husband to her, and had shown himself a blameless son-in-law to Temenus; as for them, they ought to be called the murderers of Temenus rather than his sons.
  Without further reply the youths seized her, placed her in the chariot, and drove away. An Epidaurian told Deiphontes that Cerynes and Phalces had gone, taking with them Hyrnetho against her will; he himself rushed to the rescue with all speed, and as the Epidaurians learned the news they reinforced him. On overtaking the runaways, Deiphontes shot Cerynes and killed him, but he was afraid to shoot at Phalces, who was holding Hyrnetho, lest he should miss him and become the slayer of his wife; so he closed with them and tried to get her away. But Phalces, holding on and dragging her with greater violence, killed her, as she was with child.
  Realizing what he had done to his sister, he began to drive the chariot more recklessly, as he was anxious to gain a start before all the Epidaurians could gather against him. Deiphontes and his children--for before this children had been born to him, Antimenes, Xanthippus, and Argeus, and a daughter, Orsobia, who, they say, after-wards married Pamphylus, son of Aegimius--took up the dead body of Hyrnetho and carried it to this place, which in course of time was named Hyrnethium.
T  hey built for her a hero-shrine, and bestowed upon her various honors; in particular, the custom was established that nobody should carry home, or use for any purpose, the pieces that break off the olive trees, or any other trees, that grow there; these are left there on the spot to be sacred to Hyrnetho. (Paus .2.28.2-7)

Sanctuaries of Aphrodite & Hera

There is also a sanctuary of Aphrodite, while the one at the harbor, on a height that juts out into the sea, they say is Hera's. (Paus. 2.29.1)

Sanctuary of Athena Cissaea

The Athena on the citadel, a wooden image worth seeing, they surname Cissaea (Ivy Goddess). (Paus. 2.29.1)

Ancient tombs

Tomb of Melissa

Not far from the city is the tomb of Melissa, who married Periander, the son of Cypselus, and another of Procles, the father of Melissa. He, too, was tyrant of Epidaurus, as Periander, his son-in-law, was tyrant of Corinth (ca 600 BC). (Paus. 2.28.8)

Ancient statues

Precinct of Asclepius, with images

The most noteworthy things which I found the city of Epidaurus itself had to show are these. There is, of course, a precinct of Asclepius, with images of the god himself and of Epione. Epione, they say, was the wife of Asclepius. These are of Parian marble, and are set up in the open. (Paus. 2.29.1)

Biographies (2)



Pamphila (Pamphile), a female historian of considerable reputation, who lived in the reign of Nero. According to Suidas she was an Epidaurian (s. v. Pamphile), but Photius (Cod. 175) describes her as an Egyptian by birth or descent: the two statements, however, may be reconciled by supposing that she was a native of Epidaurus, and that her family came from Egypt. She related in the preface to her work, for an account of which we are indebted to Photius (I.c.), that, during the thirteen years she had lived with her husband, from whom she was never absent for a single hour, she was constantly at work upon her book, and that she diligently wrote down whatever she heard from her husband and from the many other learned men who frequented their house, as well as whatsoever she herself read in books. Hence we can account for the statement of Suidas, that some authorities ascribed her work to her husband. The name of her husband is differently stated. In one passage Suidas (s.v. Pamphile), speaks of her as the daughter of Soteridas and the wife of Socratidas, but in another passage he describes her (s. v. Soteridas) as the wife of Soteridas. The passage in Photius (cod. 161), where we read ek ton Soterida Pamphiles epitomon,leaves the question undecided, as Soteridas may there indicate either the father or the husband.
  The principal work of Pamphila is cited by various names; sometimes simply as hupomnemata, and at other times as hupomnemata historika, but its fill title seems to have been the one which is preserved by Photius, namely, summikton historikon hupomnematon logoi. The latter title gives a general idea of the nature of its contents, which are still further characterized by Photius. The work was not arranged according to subjects or according to any settled plan, but it was more like a commonplace book, in which each piece of information was set down as it fell under the notice of the writer, who stated that she believed this variety would give greater pleasure to the reader. Photius considers the work as one of great use, and supplying important information on many points in history and literature. The estimation in which it was held in antiquity is shown, not only by the judgment of Pliotius, but also by the references to it in the works of A. Gellius and Diogenes Laertius, who appear to have availed themselves of it to a considerable extent. Modern scholars are best acquainted with the name of Pamphila, from a statement in her work, preserved by A. Gellius (xv. 23), by which is ascertained the year of the birth of Hellanicus, Herodotus, and Thucydides respectively.But this account, though received by most scholars, is rejected by Kriiger, in his life of Thucydides (p. 7), on account of the little confidence that can be placed in Pamphila's authority. The history of Pamphila was divided into many books. Photius speaks only of eight, but Suidas says that it consisted of thirty-three. The latter must be correct, since we find A. Gellius quoting the eleventh (xv. 23) and twenty-ninth (xv. 17), and Diogenes Laertius the twenty-fifth (iii. 23) and thirty-second (v. 36). Perhaps no more than eight hooks were extant in the time of Photius. The work is likewise referred to by Diogenes Laertius in other passages (i. 24, 68, 76, 90, 98, ii. 24).
  Besides the history already mentioned, Pamphila wrote several other works, the titles of which are given by Suidas. 1. An Epitome of Ctesias, in three books. 2. Epitomes of histories and of other works, epitomai historion te kai heteron biblion, from which world Sopater appears to have drawn his materials (Phot. cod. 161). It is, however, not impossible that this work is the same as the hupomnemata, and that Suidas has confounded the two. 3. Peri amphisbeteseon. 4. Peri aphrodision.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



Procles. Tyrant of Epidaurus, the father of Lysis or Melissa, the wife of Periander. Having revealed to the son of the latter the secret of his mother's death, he incurred the implacable resentment of Periander, who attacked and captured Epidaurus, and took Procles prisoner. (Herod. iii. 50--52; Paus. ii. 28.8.)

Olympic games (6)

Ancient olympic champions, stadium

Polus, 712 B.C., 17th Olympiad

, , -712

Cleon, 612 B.C., 43rd Olympiad

, , -612

Anticrates, 600 B.C., 45th Olympiad

, , -600

Apollonius, 33rd A.D., 203rd Olympiad

, , 33

Ancient olympic champions, double foot-race

anonymous, 472 B.C., 77th Olympiad

, , -472

Ancient olympic champions, boxing


, , -368
Olympic victor, 368 BC, 103rd Olypiad

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