An ancient site on a ridge just SE of modern Volo. The ridge stretches
down from the mass of Pelion to the sea, and cuts off the plain of Volo from that
of (modern) Agria to the SE; thus the site on it controls the road from Thessaly
along the inner coast of Magnesia. This site and Demetrias across the way control
shipping into the innermost recess of the Gulf of Pagasai, now the harbor of Volo.
The site used to be thought Demetrias but Stahlin suggested that it was Orminion.
Strabo (9.438) says Orminion is 27 stades (ca. S m) distant from Demetrias by
land, and 20 (ca. 4 km) from the site of Iolkos, which is on the road between
the two. This is approximately correct for equating Orminion with Goritsa. Orminion
was one of the cities incorporated into Demetrias in 293 B.C., but otherwise nothing
is known of its history.
A considerable amount of the wall circuit remains on the hill, in form an oval with pointed ends running roughly SW-NE, and ca. 2,480 m around. The NW long wall runs along the irregular spine of the ridge, and the SE wall along its sloping side, close above the sea. The old road from Volo to Agria ran through the center of the walled city, but a new road has been built along the shore, below the walls. The wall is double faced, with tie blocks, the interior filled with earth. The faces are built of large rectangular or trapezoidal blocks laid in fairly regular courses. Like the fortifications of Demetrias, the wall consisted of a stone socle and upperworks of earth or mudbrick. The wall was furnished with 26 projecting square towers. The highest point of the ridge, about in the middle of the long wall, is enclosed to make a fortified acropolis of very small area; this now contains a Church of the Panaghia. Here are a cistern and, before the rebuilding of the church, the foundation of a building 14 x 10 m. In 1931 some tests in the church foundations revealed ancient blocks (part of this foundation?). The city wall presently visible is successor to an earlier one of much the same construction. A stretch of this earlier wall is visible outside the later one to the S of the city's W gate, another section at the middle of the long SE wall where the earlier wall lies along the edge of a ravine, partly outside and partly inside the later one. The original wall included a small hill at the NE end of the city, which the later wall excluded. The later wall had gates well protected by towers at the SW end of the circuit, a N gate between the acropolis and the outlying hill mentioned above, a SE gate at the head of a ravine just above the W end of the Agria plain (where there used to be a marshy area, perhaps an ancient boat landing or harbor, but then by the 1930s a cement factory) and a narrow gate at the head of the ravine where the earlier wall is visible, in the middle of the SE wall. At the NE end of the circuit where the later wall was built considerably inside the line of the earlier one are the remains of a powerful bastion built to protect this rather accessible section. This bastion was partially excavated in 1931, but only described in 1956. It consisted of a thick stretch of wall flanked by two projecting rectangular towers with half-round outer faces. The towers inside had each a rectangular room; the outer semicircle was solid. There was a door into each tower from the city, and small entrances into each from the outside, at the corner between the tower and the wall between them. The whole bastion is ca. 34 m wide and 14 m deep.
In the center of the city is a square level area 61 x 61 m, probably the ancient agora. A water channel cut in the rock and covered with slabs can be seen along the N side, and for a little way down the E side. Near the NE corner of this area is a small (9 x 6 m) foundation, probably of a temple. The street pattern of the ancient town was a grid, oriented NS by EW. Streets and house remains can be made out in many places.
Outside the walls, above the modern road from Volo to Agria, on the slope of the hill, a private excavation in 1931 revealed some ancient tombs--one containing objects of silver, bronze, and alabaster--of the Hellenistic period, now in the Volo Museum. In 1962 a cist grave of the same period was excavated here. In the SE end of the Volo plain under the Goritsa hill, and near the beach could be seen (1930s) some Roman and/or Byzantine wall remains.
It has been suggested by Meyer that the fortifications of the city were constructed at the same time as those of Demetrias as part of the same scheme. The later wall is of problematic date, but may, with the bastion, have been constructed by Antiochus III in 192-191 B.C., in connection with his use of Demetrias as a headquarters in his war with the Romans.
T. S. Mackay, 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 14/8/2001: 11
A town of Thessaly, mentioned in the Catalogue of Ships along with Hypereia and Asterium as belonging to Eurypylus (Hom. Il. ii. 734). It was said to have been founded by Ormenus, the grandson of Aeolus, and was the birthplace of Phoenix. (Demetr. Scepsius, ap. Strab. ix. p. 438, seq.) Strabo identifies this town with a place in Magnesia named Orminium, situated at the foot of Mt. Pelion, at the distance of 27 stadia from Demetrias, on the road passing through Iolcus, which was 7 stadia from Demetrias and 20 from Orminium. (Strab. l. c.) Leake, however, observes that the Ormenium of Homer can hardly have been the same as the Orminium of Strabo, since it appears from the situation of Asterium that Eurypylus ruled over the plains of Thessaliotis, which are watered by the Apidanus and Enipeus. (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. iv. p. 434, 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
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