A city on the S side of the Kephissos Plain, where the ground rises to Mt. Parnassos; the local olive oil was noted for color and sweetness. It has been identified with Velitsa by 3d and 2d c. B.C. inscriptions, dated by the archon of Tithorea. Several refer to Isis, Serapis, and Anubis, recalling the sanctuary that Pausanias (10.32) said was the holiest of those built to Isis in Greece. Varying opinions have arisen from Herodotos' statement (8.32) that a number of Phokians fleeing Xerxes took refuge on the isolated peak of Tithorea, near Neon. It is probable that Velitsa was then called Neon, Tithorea referring to the heights above the great cliff rising S of the village, later applied by extension to the whole district. Others, however, have supposed Velitsa was the refuge site, and that Neon is to be identified with the remains of a walled site of considerable size at Palnia Pheva on the right bank of the Kephissos about 5 km to the N. Plutarch (Sull. 15) described Tithorea as merely a fortress in the early 1st c. B.C. but of much greater importance a century later. It had declined again by the time of Pausanias, who saw a theater, an ancient market, a Temple and Grove of Athena, and the tomb of Antiope and Phokos. In the vicinity, there was also a Temple of Asklepios Archagetos (Founder). Scattered theater seats have been noted outside the walls as well as other foundations for large buildings. The most important remains are those of the fortifications, classed with Messene and Eleutherai as the finest examples of 4th c. work. The walls, supplementing the natural defenses of cliff to the S and gorge to the E, are of trapezoidal ashlar masonry, as much as 14 courses high. On the steep W slope, the top is both inclined and stepped, and crowned with coping blocks. The towers are square with windows and loopholes. Neon is listed by Pausanias as one of the Phokian towns razed in 346 B.C.; the walls were probably rebuilt soon after the battle of Chaironeia eight years later.
M. H. Mc Allister, 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.
An ancient town in Phocis, at the eastern side of Mount Tithorea, a branch of Mount Parnassus, destroyed by the Persians under Xerxes, but rebuilt and named Tithorea (Tithorea), after the mountain on which it was situated.
Eth. Neonios. An ancient town of Phocis, said to have been built after
the Trojan war (Strab. ix. p. 439), was situated at the foot of Mt. Tithorea,
one of the peaks of Mt. Parnassus. Herodotus relates that, when the Persian army
invaded Phocis, many of the Phocians took refuge in Tithorea near Neon (viii.
32), and that the latter city was destroyed by the Persians (viii. 33). It was,
however, afterwards rebuilt; but was again destroyed, with the other Phocian towns,
at the end of the Sacred War. (Paus. x. 3. § 2.) In its neighbourhood, Philomelus,
the Phocian general, was defeated, and perished in the flight by throwing himself
down from a lofty rock. (Paus. x. 2. § 4.) Neon now disappears from history, and
in its place we read of a town TITHOREA, which is described by Pausanias (x. 32.
§ 8, seq.). This writer regards Tithorea as situated on the same site as Neon
; and relates that Tithorea was the name anciently applied to the whole district,
and that when the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages were collected in the
city, the name of Tithorea was substituted for that of Neon. This, however, is
not in accordance with the statement of Plutarch, according to whom Tithorea,
in the time of the Mithridatic war, was a fortress surrounded by precipitous rocks,
where the Phocians took refuge from Xerxes. He further states that it was not
such a city as the one existing in his day. (Plat. Sull. 15.) If the view of Plutarch
is correct, that the fortress, the site of which was afterwards occupied by the
city Tithorea, was the place where the Phocians took refuge from Xerxes, we may
conclude that Tithorea and Neon were two different places.
The city, which existed in the time of Plutarch and Pausanias, was a place of some importance, though it had begun to decline for a generation before the time of Pausanias. The latter writer mentions, however, a theatre, the enclosure of an ancient agora, a temple of Athena, and the tomb of Antiope and Phocus. A river flowed by Tithorea, called Cachales (Kachales), to which the inhabitants had to descend in order to obtain water. In the territory of Tithorea, but at the distance of 70 stadia from the city, was a temple of Asclepius, and also, at the distance of 40 stadia, a shrine of Isis. (Paus. x. 32. §§ 8 - 13.) The name is written Tithorea in Herodotus and Pausanias, Tithoraia in Stephanus B., Tithora in Plutarch, but Tithorra in inscriptions. The Ethnic name in Pausanias is Tithoreeus, in Stephanus Tithoraieus, but in inscriptions Tithoreus.
The ruins of Tithorea are situated at Velitza, a village at the NE. foot of Mt. Parnassus. The site is fixed by an inscription found at Velitza, in which the name of Tithorea occurs. Two-thirds of the modern village stand within the ruined walls of the ancient city. A considerable portion of the walls, and many of the towers, still remain. The town was carefully fortified towards the W. and NW., and was sufficiently protected towards the NE. and E. by the precipitous banks of the Cachales, and towards the S. by the steep sides of Mt. Parnassus. The walls are almost 9 feet broad. The Cachales, which now bears the name of Kakoreuma, or the evil torrent, flows in a ravine below the village, and thus illustrates the statement of Pausanias, that the inhabitants descended to it in order to obtain water. Behind Velitza, ascending the Cachales, there is a cavern on the steep side of the rock, which, during the last war of independence, received a great number of fugitives. It is very spacious, is supplied with excellent water, and is quite impregnable. This is probably the place where the inhabitants of Neon and the surrounding places took refuge in the Persian invasion, as the Delphians did in the Corycian cave, more especially as the height immediately above Velitza is not adapted for such a purpose. A difficult mule path leads at present through the ravine of the Cachales across the heights of Parnassus to Delphi. In the time of Pausanias there were two roads from Tithorea across the mountain to Delphi, one direct, the other longer, but practicable for carriages. Pausanias assigns 80 stadia as the length of the shorter road; but this number cannot be correct, as Leake observes, since the direct distance is hardly less than 12 geographical miles.
Most modern writers have followed Pausanias in identifying Tithorea and Neon; but Ulrichs, for the reasons which have been already stated, supposes them to have been different cities, and places Neon at the Hellenic ruins on the Cephissus, called Palea Fiva, distant 1 1/2 hour, or 3 1/2 English miles, from Velitza. (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. ii. p. 77, seq.; Ulrichs, in Rheinisches Museum, 1843, p. 544, seq.)
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
Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.Subscribe now!