ECHELIDES (Ancient demos) PIRAEUS
Echelidae (Echelidai), so called from the hero Echelus, lay between Peiraeeus and the Heracleium, in or near a marshy district, and possessed a Hippodrome, in which horse-races took place. (Steph. B. s.v.; Etym. M.s. v. Echelos; Hesych. and Etym. M. s. v. en Echelidon.) It is probable that this Hippodrome is the place to which the narrative in Demosthenes refers (c. Everg. p. 1155, seq.), in which case it was near the city. (Ibid. p. 1162; comp, Xen. de Mag. Eq. 3 § § 1, 10.)
This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
FALIRON (Ancient demos) PIRAEUS
The rocky peninsula of Peiraeeus is said by the ancient writers to have been originally an island, which was gradually connected with the mainland by the accumulation of sand. (Strab. i. p. 59; Plin. iii. 85; Suid. s. v. embaros.) The space thus filled up was known by the name of Halipedum (Halipedon), and continued to be a marshy swamp, which rendered the Peiraeeus almost inaccessible in the winter time till the construction of the broad carriage road (hamaxitos), which was carried across it. (Harpocrat., Suid. s. v. halipedon; Xen. Hell. ii. 4. 30) Under these circumstances the only spot which the ancient Athenians could use as a harbour was the south-eastern corner of the Phaleric bay, now called, as already remarked, Treis Purgoi, which is a round hill projecting into the sea. This was accordingly the site of Phalerum (Phaleron, also Phaleros: Eth. Phalereis), a demus belonging to the tribe Aeantis. This situation secured to the original inhabitants of Athens two advantages, which were not possessed by the harbours of the Peiraic peninsula: first, it was much nearer to the most ancient part of the city, which was built for the most part immediately south. of the Acropolis (Thuc. ii. 15); and, secondly, it was accessible at every season of the year by a perfectly dry road.
The true position of Phalerum is indicated by many circumstances. It is never included by ancient writers within the walls of Peiraeeus and Munychia. Strabo, after describing Peiraeeus and Munychia, speaks of Phalerum as the next place in order along the shore (meta ton Peiraia Phalereis demos en tei ephexes paraliai, ix. p. 398). There is no spot at which Phalerum could have been situated before reaching Treis Purgoi, since the intervening shore of the Phaleric gulf is marshy (to Phalerikon, Plut. Vit. X. Orat. p. 844, Them. 12; Strab. ix. p. 400; Schol. ad Aristoph. Av. 1693). The account which Herodotus gives (v. 63) of the defeat of the Spartans, who had landed at Phalerum, by the Thessalian cavalry of the Peisistratidae, is in accordance with the open country which extends inland near the chapel of St. George, but would not be applicable to the Bay of Phanari, which is completely protected against the attacks of cavalry by the rugged mountain rising immediately behind it. Moreover, Ulrichs discovered on the road from Athens to St. George considerable substructions of an ancient wall, apparently the Phaleric Wall, which, as we have already seen, was five stadia shorter than the two Long Walls.
That there was a town near St. George is evident from the remains of walls, columns, cisterns, and other ruins which Ulrichs found at this place; and we learn from another authority that there may still be seen under water the remains of an ancient mole, upon which a Turkish ship was wrecked during the war of independence in Greece. (Westermann, in Zeitschrift fur die Alterthumswissenschaft, 1843, p. 1009.)
Cape Colias (Kolias), where the Persian ships were cast ashore after the battle of Salamis (Herod. viii. 96), and which Pausanias states to have been 20 stadia from Phalerum (i. 1. § 5), used to be identified with Treis Purgoi, but must now be placed SE. at the present Cape of St. Kosmas: near the latter are some ancient remains, which are probably those of the temple of Aphrodite Colias mentioned by Pausanias. The port of Phalerum was little used after the foundation of Peiraeeus; but the place continued to exist down to the time of Pausanias. This writer mentions among its monuments temples of Demeter Zeus, and Athena Sciras, called by Plutarch (Thes. 17) a temple of Scirus; and altars of the Unknown Gods, of the Sons of Theseus, and of Phalerus. The sepulchre of Aristeides (Plut. Arist. 1) was at Phalerum. The Phaleric bay was celebrated for its fish.
This extact 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
PIRAEUS (Ancient city) GREECE
1. Division of Peiraeeus and Munychia. Peiraeeus (Peiraieus: Eth. Peiraieis) was a demus belonging to the tribe Hippothontis. It contained both the rocky heights of the peninsula, and was separated from the plain of Athens by the low ground called Halipedon, mentioned above. Munychia (Mounuchia) was included in Peiraeeus, and did not form a separate demus. Of the site of Munychia there can no longer be any doubt since the investigations of Curtius (De Portubus Athenarum, Halis, 1842); Ulrichs also had independently assigned to it the same position as Curtius. Munychia was the Acropolis of Peiraeeus. It occupied the hill immediately above the most easterly of the two smaller harbours, that is, the one nearest to Athens. This hill is now called Kastella. It is the highest point in the whole peninsula, rising 300 feet above the sea; and at its foot is the smallest of the three harbours. Of its military importance we shall speak presently. Leake had erroneously given the name of Munychia to a smaller height in the westerly half of the peninsula, that is, the part furthest from Athens, and had supposed the greater height above described to be the Acropolis of Phalerum.
2. Fortifications and Harbours. The whole peninsula of Peiraeeus, including of course Munychia, was surrounded by Themistocles with a strong line of fortifications. The wall, which was 60 stadia in circumference (Thuc. ii. 13), was intended to be impregnable, and was far stronger than that of the Asty. It was carried up only half the height which Themistocles had originally contemplated (Thuc. i. 93); and if Appian (Mithr. 30) is correct in stating that its actual height was 40 cubits, or about 60 feet, a height which was always found sufficient, we perceive how vast was the project of Themistocles. In respect to thickness, however, his ideas were exactly followed: two carts meeting one another brought stones, which were laid together right and left on the outer side of each, and thus formed two primary parallel walls, between which the interior space (of course at least as broad as the joint breadth of the two carts) was filled up, not with rubble, in the usual manner of the Greeks, but constructed, through the whole thickness, of squared stones, cramped together with metal. The result was a solid wall probably not less than 14 or 15 feet thick, since it was intended to carry so very unusual a height. (Grote, vol. v. p. 335; comp. Thuc. i. 93.) The existing remains of the wall described by Leake confirm this account. The wall surrounded not only the whole peninsula, but also the small rocky promontory of Etioneia, from which it ran between the great harbour and the salt marsh called Halae. These fortifications were connected with those of the Asty by means of the Long Walls, which have been already described. It is usually stated that the architect employed by Themistocles in his erection of these fortifications, and in the building of the town of Peiraeeus, was Hippodamus of Miletus; but C. F. Hermann has brought forward good reasons for believing that, though the fortifications of Peiraeeus were erected by Themistocles, it was formed into a regularly planned town by Pericles, who employed Hippodamus for this purpose. Hippodamus laid out the town with broad straight streets, crossing each other at right angles, which thus formed a striking contrast with the narrow and crooked streets of Athens. (Hermann, Disputatio de Hippodamo Milesio, Marburg, 1841.)
The entrances to the three harbours of Peiraeeus were rendered very narrow by means of moles, which left only a passage in the middle for two or three triremes to pass abreast. These moles were a continuation of the walls of Peiraeeus, which ran down to either side of the mouths of the harbours; and the three entrances to the harbours (Ta kleithra ton limenon) thus formed, as it were, three large sea-gates in the walls. Either end of each mole was protected by a tower; and across the entrance chains were extended in time of war. Harbours of this kind were called by the ancients closed ports (kleistoi limenes), and the walls were called chelai, or claws, from their stretching out into the sea like the claws of a crab. It is stated by ancient authorities that the three harbours of the Peiraeeus were closed ports (Hesych. s. v. Zea; Schol. ad Aristoph. Pac. 145; comp. Thuc. ii. 94; Plut. Demetr. 7; Xen. Hell. ii. 2. 4); and in each of them we find remains of the chelae, or moles. Hence these three harbours cannot mean, as Leake supposed, three divisions of the larger harbour since there are traces of only one set of chelae in the latter, and it is impossible to understand how it could have been divided into three closed ports.
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
FALIRON (Ancient demos) PIRAEUS
The most easterly of the harbours of Athens, and the one chiefly used by the Athenians before the time of the Persian Wars. After the establishment by Themistocles of the harbours in the peninsula of Piraeus, Phalerum was not much used.
FREATYS (City quarter) PIRAEUS
A word which indicates both the aggregate judges that sat in court and the place itself in which they held their sittings. For an account of the former, the reader is referred to the article Dicastes; with respect to the latter, our information is very imperfect. In the earlier ages there were five celebrated places at Athens set apart for the sittings of the judges who had cognizance of the graver causes in which the loss of human life was avenged or expiated-- viz., the Areopagites and the Ephetae. These places were on the Areopagus; in the Palladium, a sacred place in the southeastern part of the city; in the Delphinium, a place sacred to the Delphian Apollo in the same district; in the Prytaneum, the ancient sacred hearth of the State, to the northeast of the Acropolis; and finally at Phreatto or Phreattys in the Piraeus, at the inlet of Zea.
This extract is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
PIRAEUS (Ancient city) GREECE
Peiraeus (Peiraieus) or Piraeus. Now Porto Leone or Porto Dracone. The most important of the harbours of Athens, was situated in the peninsula about five miles southwest of Athens. This peninsula, which is sometimes called by the general name of Piraeeus, contained three harbours: Piraeeus proper on the western side, by far the largest of the three; Zea on the eastern side, separated from the Piraeus by a narrow isthmus; and Munychia (Pharnari), still farther to the east. The northern part of the great harbour of the Piraeus was divided into three smaller harbours: Zea for corn-vessels, Aphrodisium for merchant-ships in general, and Cantharus for ships of war. It was through the suggestion of Themistocles that the Athenians were induced to make use of the harbour of Piraeeus. Before the Persian Wars their principal harbour was Phalerum, which was not situated in the Piraean peninsula at all, but lay to the east of Munychia. At the entrance of the harbour of the Piraeus there were two promontories--the one on the right-hand, called Alcimus (Alkimos), on which was the tomb of Themistocles, and Eetionea (Eetioneia), where the Four Hundred built a fortress. The Piraeus had a good-sized population, especially of resident aliens, who were attracted by its facility for trade. The town was strongly fortified by Themistocles, and was connected with Athens by the Long Walls, due to Pericles. The narrow entrance to its harbour was protected by two great mole-heads, across which a huge chain could be drawn to keep out hostile ships.
The town had a fine agora, which stood in the centre of the place, and temples to Zeus Soter, Athene Soteira, and Aphrodite; and fine halls or stoai.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Piraeus is situated in the northern part of the west coastline of Attica peninsula, surrounded by the Saronic gulf. Written evidence by ancient geographers and historians such as Srabo, Suidas and Arpokration, confirm the region's geological history, according to which, Pireaus was an island before the tetartogeni geological period. During that period, the alluvial sedimentation of Kifisos river and of other Attica's torrents led to the formation of the seashore that unified Piraeus with the mainland of Attica and to the creation of Halipedon (a marshy area that covered a great part of the region and resulted in its inaccessibility).
During the classical period, the geomorphology of Attica's coastlines, 24 miles long, was suitable for the docking of ships of that day at many points along the coastline, resulting in the operation of several small ports.
The selection of Piraeus for the development of Athens' main port was made in ancient times, as it happened in modern years (1834), mainly due to the protection that is provided by its location and the geomorphology of its three natural ports as well as its proximity to Athens.
Cantharus, the main harbor of Piraeus, is situated in the western part of the peninsula(Fig. 2 & Fig. 3) and it is a totally protected and secure natural harbour. The other two ports of Zea and Munychia are situated in the eastern part of the Peiraike peninsula and on either side of Munychia hill. Further to the east, the gulf of Phaleron played the role of the main port of the Athenians before the establishment of Piraeus.
The only area of Piraeus from which there is evidence of inhabitance since the early prehistory of Attica (the first finds are neolithic potsherds), is the temple of Artemis Munychia, on the western part of Munychia harbour. (Steinhauer G.A. 2000, p.10-13).
Inhabitance of Piraeus was mainly initiated in 479B.C. with the instigation of the Athenian Deme (Fig. 1) by Themistocles to fortify and develop the most significant port of Athens. He was the first to turn the Athenian's attention to the sea when he became Archon in 493/92B.C. and the one who pointed out the ideal location of Piraeus, navigated a powerful commercial and military fleet and, in a very small period of time, fortified the town and its natural ports. Fortification works for the direct and secure connection of the harbor with Athens were carried on by Kimon who wanted to complete Themistocles' plan and constructed the two Long Walls, the Phaliron Wall and the Northern Wall (fig.5), and later (445B.C.) by Pericles who constructed the Southern (or middle) wall, between Phaliron and the Northern Wall.
Pericles was the one who assigned the design of a plan for the city of Piraeus to the famous architect of that period, Hippodamus from Militos. With the harbour installations already planned and constructed earlier, the town planning took place on a totally unbuilt but well protected area that was destined to become the mercantile marine center of Mediterranean as well as the naval headquarters of Athens. It was designed in direct connection to "asti" and with generative elements of its structure, the geomorphology of its three natural ports, and the diagonal tracing of the Long Walls, which materialized in the attican lanscape the two pole formation of "City-Port" during the thriving period of the Athenian Democracy.
During the 3rd century BC, the Macedonian garrison was established at Munychia and Piraeus became one of the most powerful forts that supported Macedonian conquers of Greece.
During the Macedonian occupation of Piraeus, only the dockyards were in use, while the city is driven to decline. After the harbor's liberation in 229B.C., the connection between the city and its harbor was never again restored, until the modern times.
Prior to Roman times, the harbor was used for a while, cut off from Athens, while in the early Roman times it was destroyed by Syllas in 86B.C. after a long term seize. The complete demolition of the fortifications and the marine installations of the harbor resulted in the lack of safety for seafarers and merchants and lead to the final devastation of the port.
From the remnants of the fortifications, marine installations and buildings, very few have been preserved to this day. It is also known (Angelopoulos H. 1898, p. 43) that for a number of years Piraeus was the commercial center for lime, which was produced in furnaces using architectural parts from the destroyed harbour.
A great part of the ancient harbor installations as well as the post-Roman docks that were still visible under the surface of the water during the early 19th century had already been covered since the end of ancient era due to the rise of sea level.
The planning of the modern city and the harbour of Piraeus was done by Kleanthis and Schaubert after the proclamation of Athens as the capital of the newly formed Greek state in 1834, using the Hippodamian system of town planning once again. The evolution of Piraeus as the main passenger and mercantile harbour of the country, the installation of major industrial units and the construction of modern marine installations along the contemporary coastline, the bombing of the harbour during W.W. II, and the new uncontrolled erection of the city, led to almost total vanishing the most developed marine and urban center of Classical Greece.
Research on the city-harbor of Piraeus began during the early 19th century by foreign travelers, cartographers (E. Dodwell 1801-1806, W. M. Leake 1821), researchers like E. Curtius (1841), H.N. Ulrichs (1843) and topographers like C. von Strantz (1861), while a systematic recording of the visible ancient relics and a very significant representation of the ancient town was conducted by E. Curtius - A. Kaupert in collaboration with topographer G.V. Alten, which lead to the production of the maps of Attica (fig.3) and the attached text by A. Milchofer.
Most of the evidence that was recorded in the early 19th century, does not exist any more since most of the remnants disappeared during the construction work that was done for the new embankment of the modern Piraeus harbor, under grate time pressure that did not permit the recording of monuments.
Archaeological research in the harbour of Piraeus began during the first period of the rapid construction of the modern city and had the character of rescue excavations, which even today are the main option for research in the densely inhabited city, and the harsh interventions that the ancient harbour has undergone, due to the industrialization of its use.
The excavations that were done by Dragatsis, during the first period of construction for the modern city (1880-1920), revealed in the port's area a group of Shipsheds, "neosoikoi", Zea's theatre, the southern portico of the "Emporion" called Serangeion and the residence of the Dionysiasts. The most significant excavation was that of a row of 20 neosoikoi at the eastern part of Zea by Dragatsis. Their recording by Doerpfeld constitutes the main source of our knowledge about the form and dimensions of neosoikoi and about the size of triremes and their launching method. From that group the only part that remains intact today is situated in the basement of a block of flats. (Fig.4)
The results of this period of archaeological research were collected in a volume by W. Judeich, (Topographie von Athen, 1905, 1931).
The most recent discoveries and excavations, that were done by the Service of Antiquities, between 1960 and 1990 regard the Arsenal of Philon in the military port of Zea, the "Makra Stoa" and the Neosoikoi of Munychia, as well as a large number of houses, cisterns and quarries, are collected in V.K v. Eickstedt?s dissertation (Beitrage zur Topographie des antiken Piraeus, 1991).
Α. The main harbour of Cantharus (see Piraeus port)
B. The port of Zea (see Passalimani)
C. The port of Munychia (see Mikrolimano)
Ship sheds of Zea and Munychia.
"The Shipsheds were the most ancient buildings of Piraeus. According to Plato, it was Themistocles who had the first permanent installations built" (Steinhauer, G.A., 2000,p.60). From the registers "diagrammata" of the overseers of the dockyards, we know that the total number of Shipsheds in all three ports was 378, from which 83 were in Munichia, 196 in Zea and the rest 94 in Cantharus.
In Zea the Shipsheds, "neosoikoi" were divided into two groups, east and west , along the coastline of the harbour. At the center of the bay the lack of slopes made it impossible for them to be located there. So 196 Shipsheds, 6.50m wide each, were situated on a coast a total of 1120m.This points to the fact that some of them were situated in two successive rows with one ship tied up behind the other. The existence of two rows of shed is also supported by the fact that traces of them were found in the 19th century and were noted on Kaupert's map (Curtius, E. -Kaupert, J.A., 1881). From the Shipshed of the western side of the harbour no traces have survived today, while from the eastern side a small section is preserved in the basement of an apartment building (on the corner of Akti Moutsopoulou and Sirangiou Street) (Fig.15). That is the only section that remains from the the group of 20 Shipsheds that were excavated in 1880 by Dragatsis and recorded by Doerpfeld. Every couple of "neosoikoi" formed an elongated Shipshed, which was covered by a roof and was closed at its rear end by a continuous wall. (Fig. 16) According to "the layout of the Zea sheds , they were organized in groups of ten, separated with partitions, and served by an entrance from an outside corridor, in the middle of the back wall( the entrance in Munychia has been confirmed)" (Steinhauer, G.A., 2000, p.64). One trireme was moored in each "neosoiko" -or two smaller vessels- on the slip that ships were launched or hauled, with an incline of less than 10% and a total length that extended for a few meters in the sea and exceeded the sheltered space of the shed." In Zea this consisted of two parallel walls 4m. Apart to which a wooden floor was attached, which would be greased along the axis over which the keel would slide, flanked by the side pieces. (Fig.17) In the Munychia sheds described by Von Alten (Curtius, E. - Kaupert, J.A., 1881, p.14-15) which were excavated recently, the slip consisted of stone slabs with sockets in which to secure the wooden floor." (Steinhauer, G.A., 2000,p.63). The sheds were divided in two parallel compartments and from the adjacent shed, by colonnades of unfluted columns on individual cubical bases, which varied in height and number, corresponding to the highest or the lowest part of the roof. The first ones were higher and more sparsely placed, while the second, ones were lower and more densely placed with a buttress wall at the back. Between the slip and the colonnade, there was a corridor for the movement of the personnel and the necessary materials for the restoration of the ships. So the width of each Shipshed was 5.60m in Zea and 5.30m in Munychia, while its length reached the coastline at 42m.
The fortification of the city and the harbour, was established by Themistocles in 493 B.C., before the building of the city, with the two large city gates of entrance to Piraeus from Athens. "At this point, which bore the main weight of the city?s defense, was the thickest (5m) part of the wall, the strongest, most solid construction and the protection by a dense array of enormous circular towers 10m. in diameter" (Steinhauer, G.A., 2000, p.45).(Fig.18)
The gates are the most ancient feature of the Piraeus fortifications while different phases of construction can be identified in the surviving towers. In the remains of the towers that form the western gate, the round towers are attributed to the Themistoclean phase and the reconstruction by rectangular ones to that of Conon. From the walls that surrounded the city from the north, continued on the coastline and extended over the harbour entrances (as it has been described for each pot separately) the westward line of the northern wall, towards the Eetioneian coast, has been confirmed by a series of excavations retaining its solid construction and its width.
The third surviving gate that has been discovered, is the Eetionian gate, situated on the hill of Kastraki on the northwest side of the Main Harbour (Cantharus), overlooking the entrance to Piraeus from the sea." This is a simple type of gate (fig.21& fig. 22), without a recess internal courtyard. It consists of an entrance (3.70m wide) with a two- paneled gate, flanked by two towers which were initially rectangular but which, very likely in the Hellinistic era, were enclosed in circular ones with a diameter of about 10m.The towers have been preserved today to a height of 3.00 and 5.00 meters respectively." (Steinhauer, G.A., 2000, p.48-49)
The walls that extend over the Eetionian coast (fig.19 & fig. 20) as well as the Eetionian gate have preserved at least three different construction phases.
The coastal walls that surrounded the peninsula of Piraeus are preserved today in quite good condition and to a length of approximately 2.5 kilometers from the entrance of the port of Zea to the entrance of Cantharus. The walls constructed by Themistocles (493-404 B.C.) were shorter in length than the surviving Cononian walls that were extended in order to cover the entire, perimeter of the peninsula, and avoid any possibility of landing. The cononian walls were constructed at a distance of 20-40m from the sea and was a lot narrower (3.10-3.40m) than that of the northern fortification of the city and the solid construction of the former was replaced by the "emplecton" method according to which, the two sides of the wall are constructed with blocks of carved stone and the inner part is filled with mud and rocks.
Remnants of the fortification of the harbour and the city are preserved on the peninsula of Piraeus, on the whole length of the Eetioneian coast, northeast of the city as well as behind the area of today's Kastella. (Fig.23) At some points the wall is preserved up to the height of eight courses of stone and along a total of 2 kilometers (at intervals of 45 to 100m, according to the morphology of coastline), 22 rectangular towers (4x6 m) have been preserved. (Steinhauer, G.A., 2000, p.52). From the towers that formed the entrances to the ports one is still standing on the eastern side of Zea, as well as those of the port of Mounychia.
The important element in the socioeconomic structure of this powerful (during the classical period) city-harbour was the simultaneous presence of the Dockyard and the Naval base of Athens with the Mercantile Marine center of eastern Mediterranean. During the drawing of the plans for the city of Piraeus, the dominating functional factors were the three ports and the essential installations to support their use, while the rest of the city (public buildings, temples, houses) was built around them.
The central harbour, Cantharus, served as the commercial port as well as the as the second largest dockyard Athenians. The ports of Zea and Munychia were fully occupied by the use of the Dockyards.
This text is cited Aug 2005 from the R.G.Z.M. Roman-Germanic Central Museum URL below.
FALIRON (Ancient demos) PIRAEUS
Phaleron. Despite the antiquity, size, and importance of Phaleron, little of a precise nature is known of its Classical topography and monuments, even though it is clear from Pausanias especially that the number of its sanctuaries and altars was large. The general location of the deme is, however, well established: Herodotos (6.116) associates Athens' first port and arsenal with Phaleron; Pausanias describes it as on the coast (1.1.2), more specifically, 20 stades from both Athens (8.10.4) and Cape Kolias (1.1.5), the latter to be identified as Haghios Kosmas; and Strabo names it first in his enumeration of the coastal demes E of Piraeus (9.21). These indications, while not in complete harmony, still heavily favor the identification of the area and headland around the Church of Haghios Georgios in Palaion Phaleron as the site of the ancient town, with the broad open roadstead of the Bay of Phaleron between it and Mounychia to the W as the harbor. Discoveries at this location have been, and are still being, made suitable for a deme. Perhaps of greatest significance are the traces of a series of conglomerate blocks that have been followed across the heights of Old Phaleron to the sea, and interpreted as belonging to the Phaleric Wall recorded by Thucydides (1.107.1). Modern development, however, not only has obliterated almost all such ancient remains, but has also changed the very nature and position of the coastline.
C. W. J. Eliot, 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.
PIRAEUS (Ancient city) GREECE
Peiraeus. About 7-8 km SW of the upper city of Athens. The deme and harbor town occupied the spacious peninsula of Akte, the rocky hill of Mounychia to the E, the lower ground in between these two, and a small tongue of land called Eetioneia on the W. The irregularities of the coastline created three natural harbors: Kantharos, the great main harbor on the W, Zea, the small round harbor between Akte and Mounychia, and the little inlet of Mounychia below the hill to the SE.
Hippias, son of Peisistratos, had fortified Mounychia late in the 6th c. B.C., but it was Themistokles who first realized the possibilities of the site and converted it into a strongly fortified harbor town. After the defeat of the Persians at Salamis in 480 B.C., he persuaded the Athenians to complete the scheme he had inaugurated during his archonship in 493-492 B.C. (Thuc. 1.93). Thucydides implies that he even thought of making Peiraeus the main asty in place of the ancient upper town; and in fact it became a kind of duplicate city, not a mere maritime suburb. The well-known Milesian architect Hippodamos was brought in to develop the site according to a systematic plan (Arist. Pol. 2.5).
In 411 B.C. the oligarchs made an abortive attempt to build a fortress on Eetioneia (Thuc. 8.90, 92). After Athens' crushing defeat by the Peloponnesians in 404 B.C., the fortifications of Peiraeus were dismantled, together with the Long Walls which joined the harbor town to the city (Xen. Hell. 2.2.23). But a few years later they were repaired, with Persian help, through the efforts of the admiral Konon (Xen. Hell. 4.8; cf. IG II2 1656.64). The city suffered badly in the assault by the Roman general Sulla in 86 B.C. (Plut. Sulla 14) and this time the walls were not rebuilt. Strabo found the town reduced to a small settlement round the harbors and the shrine of Zeus Soter (126.96.36.1996; ef. 188.8.131.524.).
Finds here have been mainly fortuitous and sporadic; visible and accessible remains are scanty. Bits of the walls, found at many different points, show a nice variety in style of masonry, as analyzed by Scranton, and obviously belong to a number of periods. A stretch of wall on Mounychia hill, in Lesbian masonry, probably belongs to Hippias' fortification. The slight remains which can be assigned to the work of Themistokles do not fully bear out Thucydides' statement that this wall was built wholly of solid masonry throughout, instead of having the usual rubble filling and upper structure of brick. Inevitably the remains belong chiefly to the later phases, to Konon's reconstruction, and to later repairs attested by inscriptions, which show that the maintenance of the walls was indeed an expensive and complicated task (IG II2 244, ca. 337-336 B.C., cf. Dem. 19.125; II2 463, 307-306 B.C.; II2 834, ca. 299-298 B.C.; by this time the Long Walls seem to have been abandoned).
The general line of the fortifications is fairly clear. On the N the Themistoklean Wall included the Kophos Limen (Blind Harbor) a N extension of Kantharos, but the Kononian Wall took a line more to the S, partly on moles, and excluded this area. On Akte have been found slight traces of a cross wall running SE to NW and cutting off the SW segment of the peninsula. This probably belongs to the Themistoklean line. The Kononian Wall followed the coast of Akte closely, and impressive remains have survived in this sector. At all three harbor mouths the fortifications were continued on moles, narrowing the entrances. The wall was provided with stairways and with many projecting towers at close intervals on vulnerable stretches. The principal gate, through which the road to Athens passed, was just to the W of--i.e. outside--the point where the N Long Wall joined the city wall. Another gate was built a little farther E, within the area enclosed by the Long Walls. Similarly access was provided in the neighborhood of the junction with the S Long Wall, by means of a postern inside and a larger gate outside. Another important gate was at the N end of the Peninsula of Eetioneia, near the Shrine of Aphrodite.
The great harbor, Kantharos, was devoted mainly to commerce. On its E side was the emporion, with a line of stoas, of which slight remains have been found. Inscribed boundary stones indicate that the area between a certain street and the sea was designated as public property. It was towards the N part of this area that in 1959 a spectacular find of bronze sculpture, including a fine archaic Apollo, was made; the statues had apparently been mislaid at the time of the destruction by Sulla.
According to Demosthenes (22.76, 23.207) the shiphouses (neosoikoi) were among the glories of Athens. Fourth c. inscriptions (IG, II2, 1627-1631) tell us that there were 94 ship-sheds in Kantharos, 196 in Zea, and 82 in Mounychia. Thus Zea was the main base of the war fleet. Remains have been found at various points, especially in Zea.
An inscription of the second half of the 4th c. B.C. (IG II2 1668) found N of Zea, gives detailed specifications for the construction of a great skeuotheke or arsenal for the storage of equipment, a long rectangular structure divided into three lengthwise by colonnades. Philon is named as the architect.
The general orientation of Hippodamos' rectangular street plan was probably very close to that of the center of the modern town. The lines of two apparently important streets crossing one another have been determined near the Plateia Korais. But there are indications that in some outlying parts a different orientation was used. Various boundary-markers, in addition to those mentioned above (IG I2 887-902), bear witness to the Hippodamian process of nemesis or careful allocation of sites. Peiraeus had two agoras (Paus. 1.1.3): one near the sea and the emporion; the other, called Hippodameia after the planner, in the interior, probably to the W of Mounychia.
The great theater (Thuc. 8.93.1) was built into the W slope of Mounychia; it was used not only for dramatic performances but occasionally for meetings of the Ekklesia. Better preserved and more visible is a smaller theater built in the 2d c. B.C. a little to the W of the Zea harbor. We hear of an Old Bouleuterion (IG II2 1035.43f) and an Old Strategion (ibid., 44). Thus public buildings of the upper city were apparently duplicated in the harbor town.
Of the numerous shrines, some were duplicates of shrines in the upper city; some were peculiar to Peiraeus; several were foreign importations, notably a Shrine of Bendis, which was probably on top of the hill of Mounychia. East of Zea and at the SW foot of Mounychia remains have been found which may be assigned to the Shrine of Asklepios. On the coast to the S of this are niches in which were probably set dedications to Zeus Meilichios and Philios; and a curious bathing establishment which may perhaps be associated with a shrine called the Serangeion, belonging to a healing hero called Serangos. Slight remains at the N end of Eetioneia have been attributed to the Shrine of Aphrodite Euploia, founded by Themistokles and restored by Konon. A colonnaded enclosure whose remains came to light just N of the Plateia Korais seems to have belonged to the Dionysiastai, votaries of Dionysos. Many shrines are known from the ancient authors and from inscriptions. Artemis was worshiped on Mounychia, and Xenophon (2.4.1 1ff) indicates that a broad way led from the Hippodamian agora to the Artemision and the Bendideion. Of all he saw at Peiraeus (admittedly his account is rather sketchy) Pausanias thought the Sanctuary of Athena Soteira and Zeus Soter most worth seeing; its location is not known.
R. E. Wycherley, 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 11 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.Subscribe now!