AMFIGENIA (Ancient city) KYPARISSIA
Eth. Amphigeneus. One of the towns belonging to Nestor (Horn. Il. ii. 593), was placed by some ancient critics in Messenia, and by others in Macistia, a district in Triphylia. Strabo assigns it to Macistia near the river Hypsoeis, where in his time stood a temple of Leto.
KYPARISSIIS (Ancient city) KYPARISSIA
Cyparissia. Kuparissia, Kuparisseeis, Kuparissiai, Kuparissai, Kuparissos, Eth. Kuparissieus, Kuparisseus. A town on the western coast of Messenia, situated a little south of the river Cyparissus, upon the bay to which it gave the name of the Cyparissian gulf. (Plin. Mela, ll. cc.) This gulf was 72 miles in circuit according to Pliny, and was bounded by the promontory of Ichthys on the north, and by that of Cyparissium on the south. Cyparissia was the only town of importance upon the western coast of Messenia between Pylus and Triphylia. It is mentioned in the Homeric catalogue (Il. l. c.), and appears to have been inhabited from the earliest to the latest times. It was beautifully situated upon the sides of one of the offshoots of the range of mountains, which run along this part of the Messenian coast. Upon the narrow summit of the rocks now occupied by a castle built in the middle ages, stood the ancient acropolis. There is no harbour upon the Messenian coast north of Pylos; but Leake remarks that the roadstead at Cyparissia seems to be the best on this part of the coast; and in ancient times the town probably possessed an artificial harbour, since traces of a mole may still be seen upon the sea-shore. This was probably constructed on the restoration of Messene by Epaminondas; for it was necessary to provide the capital of the new state with a port, and no spot was so suitable for this object as Cyparissia. Hence we find Messene and the harbour Cyparissia mentioned together by Scylax. Pausanias found in the town a temple of Apollo, and one of Athena Cyparissia. The town continued to coin money down to the time of Severus. In the middle ages it was called Arkadia, a name which was transferred from the interior of the peninsula to this place upon the coast. It continued to bear this name till its destruction by Ibrahim in 1825, and when rebuilt it resumed its ancient name Cyparissia, by which it is now called. Some remains of ancient walls may be traced around the modern castle; and below the castle on the slope of the hill, near the church of St. George, are some fragments of columns. On the south side of the town, close to the sea-shore, a fine stream rushes out of the rock and flows into the sea; and a little above is a basin with a spring of water, near which are some stones belonging to an ancient structure. This is the ancient fountain sacred to Dionysus, which Pausanias perceived near the entrance of the city, on the road from Pylus.
Stephanus calls Cyparissia a city of Triphylia, and Strabo (viii.) also distinguishes between the Triphylian and Messenian Cyparissia, but on what authority we do not know.
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
Kyparissia is the capital of the area of Trifylia and stretches between
the Ionian sea and the mountain «Psichro(=cold)», of the Kontovounion mountain
range, on the narrowest part of the valley of Trifyllia. It is a much-praised
City with splendid sunsets on the blue background of the Ionian Sea.
Kyparissia took part in the Trojan War under the guidance of King Nestoras, and in the historical years its bay is referred to as «Kyparissies». During the classical years, when the Thebans of general Epaminondas ruled, it meets with great financial prosperity. It was also a member of the Achaic Confederacy during the Roman years and because of its position it became a commercial and financial centre. In the 10th century A.D. it is named «Arkadia» and during the Frank rule (1205-1430) it is driven into decline. In 1432 it is passed on to the Byzantines and stays like that until 1460, when the Turks become the lords of the area. The Turkish rule lasted until 1821 with a pause during the years 1685 to 1715, the rule by the Eneti, when the city prospered again. It was one of the first cities which took part in the Greek Revolution of 1821 and it was destroyed by Ibrahem Pasha in 1825 and 1827.
The city, today, has 5500 inhabitants and is an admistrative and financial centre for Northwest Messinia which looks like two cities from high up. One seems to be wedged down at the feet of the Frank castle with its old paths, the old mansions and the proud old castle. The other city seems to stretch comfortably on the coastline of the bay which is sandy and bright on the resplendent wave of the Ionian Sea.
This text is cited March 2003 from the Messenia Prefecture Tourism Promotion Commission URL below, which contains image.
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