A gigantic limestone wall (Sion) that runs ca. 15 km in a SE direction
parallel to Mt. Othrys and forms the S boundary of the Valley of the Spercheios.
It has two peaks, Oeta proper (2116 m) and Pyrgos (2153 m). Several massifs can
be discerned in the chalk face which rises S of Lamia and measures altogether
35 km from Liascovo to above Thermopylai. Mt. Oeta can be crossed by byroads,
as Strabo says (9.4.14), either W of Hypati, whence the summit can be reached
in 6 hours, or else by way of the valley of the Asopos and Mavrolithari. M. Acilius
Glabrio's action in 191 B.C. provides a clear example: after taking Heraklea he
advanced into the interior of Mt. Oeta and sacrificed at Herakles' funeral pyre.
The legend states, that after defeating Eurytos and seizing Oechalia, Herakles
wished to sacrifice to Zeus and sent his faithful companion, Lichas, to ask Deinaira
for a fresh garment. Deinaira then learned that Herakles, who was madly in love
with Iole, Eurytos' daughter, was in danger of forgetting her, and she stained
the tunic in the blood of Nessos the centaur. This was supposed to be a love potion,
but in fact it was a poison that devoured Herakles' flesh. Deinaira killed herself
at Trachis. Herakles, for his part, entrusted Iole to Lichas' care, then left
Trachis and had a funeral pyre built for himself on Mt. Oeta. Philoktetes finally
set it alight. During the fire thunder was heard: it was Zeus summoning Herakles
up to Olympos.
The site of the pyre was discovered in 1919-21, 1800 m up the mountainside and a 2-hour journey from Pavliani, less than an hour from Trachis. One can see the hexagonal-shaped funeral pyre (15-20 m each side) as well as a little Doric temple and the remains of small monuments. 150 m from the pyre is a stoa (32.5 x 5 m deep) where the faithful and priests could take shelter from storms, which are frequent in the region. Finally, a small monument may possibly be a Philokteteion: the hero Philoktetes is said to have consecrated near the funeral pyre his offering of part of the booty he had seized after the sack of Troy (Soph. Phil. 1431-33).
Archaeological finds are at the Thebes museum in Boiotia.
Y. Bequignon, 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.
Total results on 25/4/2001: 159 for Oeta, 2 for Oete, 18 for Mt;Oeta.
or Oete (Oite). Now Katavothra; a rugged pile of mountains in
the south of Thessaly, an eastern branch of Mount Pindus, extending along the
southern bank of the Sperchius to the Maliac Gulf at Thermopylae, thus forming
the northern barrier of Greece proper. Respecting the pass of Mount Oeta, see
Thermopylae. Oeta was celebrated in mythology as the mountain on which Heracles
burned himself to death. From this range, the southern part of Thessaly was called
Oeta (Oite: Eth. Oitaios), a mountain in the south of Thessaly, which branches off from Mt. Pindus,: runs in a south-easterly direction, and forms the northern barrier of Central Greece. The only entrance into Central Greece from the north is through the narrow opening left between Mt. Oeta and the sea, celebrated as the pass of Thermopylae. Mt. Oeta is now called Katavothra, and its highest summit is 7071 feet. (Journal of Geogr. Soc. vol. vii. p. 94.) The mountain immediately above Thermopylae is called Callidromon both by Strabo and Livy. (Strab. ix. p. 428; Liv. xxxvi. 15.) The latter writer says that Callidromon is the highest summit of Mt. Oeta; and Strabo agrees with him in describing the summit nearest to Thermopylae as the highest part of the range; but in this opinion they were both mistaken, Mt. Patriotiko, which lies more to the west, being considerably higher. Strabo describes the proper Oeta as 200 stadia in length. It is celebrated in mythology as the scene of the death of Hercules, whence the Roman poets give to this hero the epithet of Oetaeus. From this mountain the southern district of Thessaly was called Oetaea (Oitaia, Strab. ix. pp. 430, 432, 434), and its inhabitants Oetaei (Oitaioi, Herod. vii. 217; Thuc. iii. 92; Strab. ix. p. 416). There was also a city, Oeta, said to have been founded by Amphissus, son of Apollo and Dryope (Anton. Liberal. c. 32), which Stephanus B. (s. v.) describes as a city of the Malians. Leake places it at the foot of Mt. Patriotiko, and conjectures that it was the same as the sacred city mentioned by Callimachus. (Hymn. in Del. 287.) (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. ii. p. 4, seq.)
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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