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Information about the place (5)

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

Onchestus

OGCHISTOS (Ancient city) VIOTIA
  Eth. Onchestios. An ancient town of Boeotia in the territory of Haliartus, said to have been founded by Onchestus, a son of Poseidon. (Paus. ix. 26. § 5; Steph. B. s. v.) It possessed a celebrated temple and grove of Poseidon, which is mentioned by Homer (Ophcheston th, <* >eron Posideion, aglaon alsos, Il. ii. 506), and subsequent poets. (Pind. Isthm. i. 44, iv. 32; Lycophr. 645.) Here an Amphictyonic council of the Boeotians used to assemble. (Strab. ix. p. 412.) Pausanias says that Onchestus was 15 stadia from the mountain of the Sphinx, the modern Faga; and its position is still more accurately defined by Strabo. The latter writer, who censures Alcaeus for placing Onchestus at the foot of Mt. Helicon, says that it was in the Haliartia, on a naked hill near the Teneric plain and the Copaic lake. He further maintains that the grove of Poseidon existed only in the imagination of the poets; but Pausanias, who visited the place, mentions the grove as still existing. The site of Onchestus is probably marked by the Hellenic remains situated upon the low ridge which separates the two great Boeotian basins, those of lake Copais and of Thebes, and which connects Mount Fay with the roots of Helicon. (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. ii. p. 213, seq.; Gell, Itiner. p. 125.)

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


Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

Onchestus

An ancient town of Boeotia, situated a little south of Lake Copais, near Haliartus, said to have been founded by Onchestus, son of Poseidon.

Perseus Project

Onchestos, Onchestus

Present location

Steni

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites

Onchestos

  A town NW of Thebes with a very ancient cult of Poseidon, the center of an amphictyony. It was the meeting place for the Boiotian confederacy in the Macedonian period. The town was burned by the Persians under Xerxes, and probably again by the Romans in 171 B.C. when nearby Haliartos was destroyed. Among the ruins, Pausanias saw the Temple of Poseidon, whose worship as inventor of the chariot was combined with that of the hero Hippodetes (Horsebreaker); divination was based on the behavior of unguided horses hitched to a chariot. The site, described by Pausanias as 15 furlongs (3 km) from the mountain of the Sphinx (Mt. Phaga), is generally agreed to be on the ridge between the two Boiotian plains. The road and railroad use the S and N passes over it; in the former there are a few blocks of an ancient wall at an angle to the road. Here Lauffer reported finding the limestone foundations of the temple.

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.


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