View of Argos, seen from the ancient theatre
|• Mayor||Dimitrios Kamposos|
|• Municipal unit||138.138 km2 (53.335 sq mi)|
|Elevation||42 m (138 ft)|
|• Municipal unit||29,228|
|• Municipal unit density||210/km2 (550/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
Argos (/, /; Modern Greek: Άργος [ˈarɣos]; Ancient Greek: Ἄργος [árɡos]) is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it has been part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres (7 miles) from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour. A settlement of great antiquity, Argos has been continuously inhabited as at least a substantial village for the past 7,000 years. The city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.
A resident of the city of Argos is considered an Argive (pronounced //, "AHR-gahyv"). However, this term is most often used to refer to those Ancient Greeks generally who assaulted the city of Troy during the Trojan War, many of whom came from Argos.
At a strategic location on the fertile plain of Argolis, Argos was a major stronghold during the Mycenaean era. In classical times Argos was a powerful rival of Sparta for dominance over the Peloponnese, but was eventually shunned by other Greek city-states after remaining neutral during the Greco-Persian Wars. Numerous ancient monuments can be found in the city today, the most famous of which is the Heraion of Argos, though agriculture (particularly citrus production) is the mainstay of the local economy.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 As part of Greek mythology
- 4 City characteristics
- 5 Important monuments
- 6 Education
- 7 Sports
- 8 Notable people
- 9 International relations
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes
- 12 External links
The name of the city is very ancient and several etymological theories have been proposed as an explanation to its meaning. The most popular one maintains that the name of the city is a remainder from the pelasgian language, i.e. the one used by the people who first settled in the area, in which Argos meant "plain". Alternatively, the name is associated with Argos, the third king of the city in ancient times, who renamed it after himself, thus replacing its older name Foronikon Asty (Φορωνικόν Άστυ). It is also believed that "Argos" is linked to the word "αργός" (argós), which meant "white"; possibly, this had to do with the visual impression given of the argolic plain during harvest time. According to Strabo, It's quite likely that the name could have even originated from the word "αγρός" (=field) via antimetathesis of the consonants.
Argos was first colonized in prehistoric times by the Pelasgian Greeks. Their historical presence in the area can be witnessed in the linguistic remainders that survive up to today, such as the very name of the city and "Larisa", the name of the city's castle located on the hill of the same name, meaning "citadel".
A Neolithic settlement was located near the central sanctuary of Argois, at a distance of 45 stadia (8 km; 5 miles) from Argos, closer to Mycenae. The temple was dedicated to "Argivian Hera". The main festival of that temple was the Hekatombaia, one of the major festivals of Argos itself. Walter Burkert connected the festival to the myth of the slaying of Argus Panoptes by Hermes ("shimmering" or "slow"), and only secondarily associated with mythological Argus (or the toponym).
Argos was a major stronghold of Mycenaean times, and along with the neighbouring acropolis of Mycenae and Tiryns became a very early settlement because of its commanding positions in the midst of the fertile plain of Argolis. Argos experienced its greatest period of expansion and power under the energetic 7th century BC ruler King Pheidon. Under Pheidon Argos regained sway over the cities of the Argolid and challenged Sparta’s dominance of the Peloponnese. During this time of its greatest power, the city boasted a pottery and bronze sculpturing school, pottery shops, tanneries and clothes artisanships. Moreover, at least 25 celebrations took place in the city, in addition to a regular local products exhibition.
The importance of Argos was eclipsed by Sparta after the 6th century BC;[dubious ] because of its refusal to fight or send supplies in the Greco-Persian Wars, Argos was shunned by most other city-states. Argos remained neutral or the ineffective ally of Athens during the 5th century BC struggles between Sparta and Athens.
Roman, Byzantine and Modern
After Christianity became established in Argos, the first bishop documented in extant written records is Genethlius, who in 448 CE took part in the synod called by Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople that deposed Eutyches from his priestly office and excommunicated him. The next bishop of Argos, Onesimus, was at the 451 Council of Chalcedon. His successor, Thales, was a signatory of the letter that the bishops of the Roman province of Hellas sent in 458 to Byzantine Emperor Leo I the Thracian to protest about the killing of Proterius of Alexandria. Bishop Ioannes was at the Third Council of Constantinople in 680, and Theotimus at the Photian Council of Constantinople (879).
In the aftermath of the so-called Fourth Crusade, the Crusaders captured the castle called built on Larissa Hil, the site of the ancient Acropolis, and the area become part of the lordship of Argos and Nauplia. In 1388 it was sold to the Republic of Venice, but was taken by the despot of Mystra Theodore I Palaiologos before the Venetians could take control of the city; he sold it anyway to them in 1394.
In this period, Argos became a Latin Church bishopric, which lasted as a residential see until Argos was taken by the Ottoman Empire in 1483. Today, Argos is listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.
In 1397, the Ottomans plundered Argos, carrying off much of the population, to sell as slaves. The Venetians repopulated the town and region with Albanian settlers, granting them long-term agrarian tax exemptions. Together with the Greeks of Argos, they supplied stratioti troops to the armies of Venice. Some historians consider the French military term "argoulet" to derive from the Greek "argetes", or inhabitant of Argos, as a large number of French stratioti came from the plain of Argos.
Argos was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1463.
At that time, as part of the general uprising, many local regimes were formed in different parts of the country, and the "Consulate of Argos" was proclaimed on 28 March 1821, under the Peloponnesian Senate. It had a single head of state, Stamatellos Antonopoulos, styled "Consul", between 28 March and 26 May 1821.
As part of Greek mythology
The mythological kings of Argos are (in order): Inachus, Phoroneus, Argus, Triopas, Agenor, Iasus, Crotopus, Pelasgus (aka Gelanor), Danaus, Lynceus, Abas, Proetus, Acrisius, Perseus, Megapenthes, Argeus, and Anaxagoras. An alternative version supplied by Tatian of the original 17 consecutive kings of Argos includes Apis, Argios, Kriasos, and Phorbas between Argus and Triopas, explaining the apparent unrelation of Triopas to Argus.
After the original 17 kings of Argos, there were three kings ruling Argos at the same time (see Anaxagoras), one descended from Bias, one from Melampus, and one from Anaxagoras. Melampus was succeeded by his son Mantius, then Oicles, and Amphiaraus, and his house of Melampus lasted down to the brothers Alcmaeon and Amphilochus.
Bias was succeeded by his son Talaus, and then by his son Adrastus who, with Amphiaraus, commanded the disastrous Seven Against Thebes. Adrastus bequeathed the kingdom to his son, Aegialeus, who was subsequently killed in the war of the Epigoni. Diomedes, grandson of Adrastus through his son-in-law Tydeus and daughter Deipyle, replaced Aegialeus and was King of Argos during the Trojan war. This house lasted longer than those of Anaxagoras and Melampus, and eventually the kingdom was reunited under its last member, Cyanippus, son of Aegialeus, soon after the exile of Diomedes.
The city of Argos is delimited to the north and east by dry river Xerias, to the west by the Larisa hill (on top of which is situated the Panagia Katakekrymeni-Portokalousa monastery) and the Aspidos Hill (unofficially Prophetes Elias hill), and to the south by the Notios Periferiakos road. The Agios Petros (Saint Peter) square, along with the omonymous cathedral, make up the town centre, whereas some other characteristical town squares are the Laiki Agora (Open Market) square, officially Dimokratias (Republic) square, where, as implied by its name, an open market takes place twice a week, Staragora (Wheat Market), officially Dervenakia square, and Dikastirion (Court) square. The Park (adjacent to the central square) and Boni's Park are essential green spaces of the city.
Currently, the most commercially active streets of the city are those surrounding the Agios Petros square (Kapodistriou, Danaou, Vasileos Konstantinou streets) as well as Korinthou street. The Pezodromi (Pedestrian Streets), i.e. the paved Michael Stamou, Tsaldari and Venizelou streets, are the most popular meeting point, encompassing a wide variety of shops and cafeterias.
According to the 2001 Greek census, the city has a population of 27,550. It is the largest city in Argolis, larger than the capital Nafplio. Considerable remains of the city survive and are a popular tourist attraction. Agriculture, however, is the primary economic activity in the area, with citrus fruits the predominant crop.
Argos flaunts a wide variety of historical and archaeological monuments, though most of them are currently only partially renovated, unused or abandoned. Some of them are:
- The Larisa castle, built during prehistoric time, which has undergone several repairs and expansions since antiquity and played a significant historical role during the Venetian domination of Greece and the Greek War of Independence. It is located on top of the omonymous Larisa Hill, which also constitutes the highest spot of the city (289 m.). In ancient times, a castle was also found in neighbouring Aspidos Hill. When connected with walls, these two castles fortified the city from enemy invasions.
- The Ancient theatre, built in the 3rd century B.C with a capacity of 20,000 spectators, replaced an older neighbouring theatre of the 5th century BC and communicated with the Ancient Agora. It was visible from any part of the ancient city and the Argolic gulf. In 1829, it was used by Ioannis Kapodistrias for the Fourth National Assembly of the new Hellenic State. Today, cultural events are held at its premises during the summer months.
- The Ancient Agora, adjacent to the Ancient theatre, which developed in the 6th century B.C., was located at the junction of the ancient roads coming from Corinth, Heraion and Tegea. Escavations in the area have uncovered a bouleuterion, built in 460 B.C. when Argos adopted the democratic regime, a Sanctuary of Apollo Lyceus and a palaestra.
- The Hellinikon Pyramid. Dating back to late 4th B.C., there exist many theories as to the purpose it served (tumulus, fortress). Together with the widely accepted scientific chronology, there are some people who claim it was built shortly after the Pharaoh tomb, i.e. the Great Pyramid of Giza, thus a symbol of the excellent relationship the citizens of Argos had with Egypt.
- The chambered tombs of the Aspidos hill.
- The Barracks of Kapodistrias, a preservable building with a long history. Built in the 1690s during the Venetian domination of Greece, they initially served as a hospital run by the Sisters of Mercy. During the Tourkokratia, they served as a market and a post office. Later, in 1829, significant damage caused during the Greek revolution was repaired by Kapodistrias who turned the building into a cavalry barrack, a school (1893-1894), an exhibition space (1899), a shelter for Greek refugees displaced during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey (since 1920) and an interrogation and torture space (during the German occupation of Greece). In 1955-68, it was used by the army for the last time; it now accommodates local corporations and serves as an exhibition space.
- The House of philhellene Thomas Gordon, built in 1829 that served as an all-girls school, a dance school and was home to the 4th Greek artillery regiment. Today it accommodates the French Institute of Athens (Institut Français d' Athènes).
- The House of Spyridon Trikoupis, where the politician was born and spent his childhood. Also located in the estate, which is not open to public, is the Saint Charalambos chapel where Trikoupis was baptized.
- The House of general Tsokris, important military fighter in the Greek revolution of 1821 and later assemblyman of Argos.
- The old Town Hall, built during the time of Kapodistrias in 1830, which originally served as a Justice of the peace, the Dimogerontia of Argos and a prison. From 1987 to 2012, it housed the Town Hall which is now located in Kapodistriou street.
A great number of archaeological findings, dating from the prehistoric ages, can be found at the Argos museum, housed at the old building of Dimitrios Kallergis at Saint Peter's square.
Argos is connected via regular bus services with neighbouring areas as well as Athens. In addition, taxi stands can be found at the Agios Petros as well as the Laiki Agora square. The city also has a railway station which, at the moment, remains closed due to an indefinite halt to all railway services in the Peloponnese area by the Hellenic Railways Organisation. However, in late 2014, it was announced that the station would open up again, as part of an expansion of the Athens suburban railway in Argos, Nafplio and Korinthos.
Argos has a wide range of educational institutes that also serve neighbouring sparsely populated areas and villages. In particular, the city has seven dimotika (primary schools), four gymnasia (junior high), three lyceums (senior high), one vocational school, one music school as well as a Touristical Business and Cooking department and a post-graduate ASPETE department. The city also has two public libraries.
- Acrisius, mythological king
- Acusilaus (6th century BC), logographer and mythographer
- Ageladas (6th–5th century BC), sculptor
- Calchas (8th century BC), Homeric mythological seer
- Pheidon (7th century BC), king of Argos
- Argus (7th century BC), king of Argos
- Polykleitos (5th–4th century BC), sculptor
- Polykleitos the Younger (4th century BC), sculptor
- Telesilla (6th century BC), Greek poet
- Bilistiche, hetaira and lover of pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus
- Eleni Bakopanos (born 1954), Canadian politician
Twin towns — sister cities
Argos is twinned with:
- Veria, Greece
- Abbeville, France
- Ardea, Italy
- Episkopi, Cyprus
- Mtskheta, Georgia (1991)
- Argoncilhe, Portugal
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- Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
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- Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 838
- Contingent countryside: settlement, economy, and land use in the southern Argolid since 1700 Authors Susan Buck Sutton, Keith W. Adams, Argolid Exploration Project Editors Susan Buck Sutton, Keith W. Adams Contributor Keith W. Adams Edition illustrated Publisher Stanford University Press, 2000 ISBN 0-8047-3315-5, ISBN 978-0-8047-3315-1 page 28
- Pappas, Nicholas C. J. "Stradioti: Balkan Mercenaries in Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century Italy". Sam Houston State University.
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- Official site
- The Theatre at Argos, The Ancient Theatre Archive, Theatre specifications and virtual reality tour of theatre