A city on the site of the modern village, E of the ancient Lake Kopais.
lt lies at the foot of a tall hill linked to Mt. Ptoos to the E by a long rocky
The site does not seem to have been occupied until the Geometric age. The earliest finds, on the W slope of the acropolis, are Geometric terracottas, particularly some small horses (now in the Thebes Museum)--a reminder that the Kopais region was noted for horse-breeding. The city enjoyed a certain autonomy in the 6th and 5th c. B.C., minted its coins, and. made a number of dedications to the Ptoios Hero (cf. Ptoion). From 447 to 387 and from 378 to 338 it joined Kopai and Chaironeia to form one of the 11 Boiotian districts. Independent in the Boiotian Koinon, the city was untouched by the invasions and was responsible for administering the Sanctuary of Ptoan Apollo. Even in the 1st c. A.D. it still had some prestige, thanks to the influential Epaminondas, son of Epaminondas (IG VII 2711-13).
The city of Akraiphia has not yet been excavated. The lower city was on the N foothills of the Kriaria ridge; foundations dating from the Classical and Hellenistic eras could still be seen at the end of the 19th c. An altar dedicated to Zeus Soter, the city's chief divinity, stood on the agora; in his honor the city organized the Soteria festivals, with their gymnastic and musical contests. The Haghios Georgios Church, on the foothills of the mountain, seems to have been erected on the site of the Temple of Dionysos; it is built largely with ancient materials: monumental stone blocks, Ionic capitals and inscriptions, notably two large stelai honoring Epaminondas of Akraiphia, and one stele bearing the text of a speech delivered by Nero on November 28, A.D. 67 (in the Thebes Museum).
The acropolis, on the top of the hill, is built into the city ramparts. A wall climbs straight from the lower city to the summit; it has no towers or gates and is built of large rectangular blocks placed in regular courses. At the top of the hill, the wall tums at an angle and starts to run SW along the wide flat crest of the ridge; then it joins the narrow pass leading to Akraiphia from the S (there is a gate in the rampart here), spans it, and climbs N again. After that it disappears. In the most uneven parts of the wall a curious polygonal masonry of nearly regular courses, slightly convex in surface is combined, at the wall base, with regular masonry of horizontal courses with vertical or oblique facing joints (SW and W section of the wall). The rampart, of gray limestone, is ca. 2 m thick. Despite the differences in masonry it dates from no earlier than the 4th c. B.C.d
A number of necropoleis have been discovered: W of the acropolis (late and proto-Corinthian Geometric ware), E of it (Roman period), and in the plain now crossed by the new national highway, between the Kopaic basin and Lake Iliki (7th-4th c. B.C.).
P. Roesch, 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.
Ptoion belonged to Thebes up to 335 except in the two periods when Akraiphia was autonomous (550-480 and 456-446); after the cities were made independent it became part of the territory of Akraiphia.
(Akraiphia) or Acraephiae (Akraiphiai). A town in Boeotia at Lake Copais, in which the Thebans took refuge after their town had been destroyed by Alexander. It contained a temple of Dionysus.
Akraiphia (Steph. B. s. v.; Herod. viii. 135), Acraephia (Liv. xxxiii. 29; Plin. iv. 7. s. 12), Akraiphiai (Strab. p. 410), Akraiphion (Strab. p. 413), Akraiphnion (Paus. ix. 23. § 5: Ta Akaiphnia, Theopomp. ap. Steph. B. s. v.), Eth. Akraiphiaios, Akraiphios, Akraiphnios, Akraiphniotes, Akraiphnieus, (Steph. B. s. v.), Akraiphieus (Bockh, Inscr. 1587: nr. Kardhitza). A town of Boeotia on the slope of Mt. Ptoum (Ptoon) and on the eastern bank of the lake Copais, which was here called Akraiphis limne from the town. Acraephia is said to have been founded by Athamas or Acraepheus, son of Apollo; and according to some writers it was the same as the Homeric Arne. Here the Thebans took refuge, when their city was destroyed by Alexander. It contained a temple of Dionysus. (Steph. B. s. v.; Strab. p. 413; Paus. l. c.) At the distance of 15 stadia from the town, on the right of the road, and upon Mt. Ptoum, was a celebrated sanctuary and oracle of Apollo Ptous. This oracle was consulted by Mardonius before the battle of Plataea, and is said to have answered his emissary, who was a Carian, in the language of the latter. The name of the mountain was derived by some from Ptous, a son of Apollo and Euxippe, and by others from Leto having been frightened ptoeo by a boar, when she was about to bring forth in this place. Both Acraephia and the oracle belonged to Thebes. There was no temple of the Ptoan Apollo, properly so called; Plutarch (Gryllus, 7) mentions a tholos, but other writers speak only of a temenos, hieron, Chresterion or manteion. (Steph. B. s. v.; /Strab. l. c.; Paus. l. c., iv. 32. § 5; Herod. viii. 135; Plut. Pelop. 16.) According to Pausanias the oracle ceased after the capture of Thebes by Alexander; but the sanctuary still continued to retain its celebrity, as we see from the great Acraephian inscription, which Bockh places in the time of M. Aurelius and his son Commodus after A.D. 177. It appears from this inscription that a festival was celebrated in honour of the Ptoan Apollo every four years. (Bockh, Inscr. No. 1625.) The ruins of Acraephia are situated at a short distance to the S. of Kardhitza. The remains of the acropolis are visible on an isolated hill, a spur of Mt. Ptoum, above the Copaic sea, and at its foot on the N. and W. are traces of the ancient town. Here stands the church of St. George built out of the stones of the old town, and containing many fragments of antiquity. In this church Leake discovered the great inscription alluded to above, which is in honour of one of the citizens of the place called Epaminondas. The ruins near the fountain, which is now called Perdikobrysis, probably belong to the sanctuary of the Ptoan Apollo. The poet Alcaeus (ap. Strab. p. 413) gave the epithet trikaranon to Mt. Ptoum, and the three summits now bear the names of Palea, Strutzina, and Skroponeri respectively. These form the central part of Mt. Ptoum, which in a wider signification extended from the Tenerian plain as far as Larymna and the Euboean sea, separating the Copaic lake on the E. from the lakes of Hylae and Harma.
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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