town of Alos
is located at the south part of the plain of Almyros
between the foot of mount Othrys
and the bay of Pagasitic Gulf
in a narrow strip of earth. Its location in ancient times was strategic and obstructed
the route leading from northern to southern Greece.
According to mythology, Alos was founded by king Athamas, whose children,
Phrixos and Elli, have flown on a golden-haired ram to overseas Kolchis
Homer (rapsody στ) mentions that the inhabitants of Alos, Aleis, took part in
the Argonautic expedition with their ships. The historical evidence concerning
Alos is scarce; Herodotus mentions that Xerxis, the king of the Persians, went
round the town in his march from Tempi to Thermopylae
at 480 B.C. Classical Alos was destroyed by Parmenion, general of the army of
Macedonian king Philip II at 346 B.C. Hellenistic Alos was founded at about 302
B.C. and has been one of the three Macedonian cities founded by Demetrius Poliorketes
at the innest part of Pagasitic Gulf.
The archaeological excavations at Alos led by the 13th Ephorate of
Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Volos and the Dutch Archaeological Institute
since 1976 have revealed part of its excellent fortification and its houses.
The imposing fortification
of the town was strengthened with towers and gates, which surrounded the lower
part of the town in the plain, wisely street-planned, and the rest, situated on
the neighbouring hill.
A network consisting of small streets and comfortable roads divided
the quarters of the town into blocks and permitted the convenient flow of the
inhabitants and passers-by. It is estimated that the town consisted of 1400 houses
and 9000 inhabitants. Its cemetery was located near its fortification and in the
outer part of it and was connected with one main street, leading from the internal
part of the town to its suburbs.
Alos seams to be a small town, whose economy was based on agriculture
and stock-breeding. It made use of its own coin
where the myth of Kolchis was depicted for its commercial trade. The vibration
of everyday-life in the town was violently interrupted probably due to an earthquake
at 265 B.C. After the destruction of the town only few inhabitants continued living
for a little while in temporary houses or small places round the central gates
of the fortification.
of the excavations at Alos are exhibited at the Museum of the town of Almyros
(7km west of ancient Alos) in groups according to a subject: private dwellings,
burial customs, coinage and commercial contacts.
Text: Zoe Malakasioti
13th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical