|Neighborhood of South Athens, Greece|
Euonymeia (Greek: Ευωνύμεια, Evonímia), also known by its Medieval name Trachones (Greek: Τράχωνες), and by its modern colloquial Ano Kalamaki (Greek: Άνω Καλαμάκι, Upper Kalamaki), is a historic settlement, and current residential neighborhood within Alimos, a municipality on the South Side of Athens, Greece. The area displays some of the earliest urban settlements in Europe, with archeological sites showing significant development from the Neolithic, and Bronze Age periods. Major archeological finds include Early Helladic fortifications, Mycenaean era workshops and necropolis, a classical era amphitheater, and Paleochristian and Byzantine temples. Some of the earliest, and best preserved specimens of Athenian Geometric pottery have been attributed to the Trachones workshop, and are featured in museum collections, including two kraters on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
The name Euonymeia is documented in the Ethnica (Greek: Ἐθνικά), the gazetteer by 6th century CE scholar Stephanus of Byzantium, considered the earliest authoritative work on Mediterranean toponyms. Therein, Stephanus attributes the name to Euonymus of Greek Mythology –son of Gaia with either Uranus or Cephissus. The name itself derives from the Greek root-words eû (Greek: εὖ) "good, well”, and onoma (Greek: όνομα) “name”. Alternative interpretations for the origin of the name are that it simply is a euphemistic reference to being “well-named”, “of good repute”, or that it comes from the spindle tree Euonymus europaeus.
The medieval name Trachones derives from the Greek word trachoni (Greek: τραχώνι) meaning rock. The modern colloquial name Ano Kalamaki (upper Kalamaki) refers to the modern administrative linkage of Euonymeia with the coastal settlement of Kalamaki to form the contemporary Municipality of Alimos.
Systematic archeological excavation of the area has not been conducted, yet numerous construction projects during intensive urban development of the later half of the twentieth century led to important circumstantial discoveries, which shed light on the historic timeline of the settlement.
Prehistoric and Bronze Age
The hills of Euonymeia, together with the coastal promontory of Agios Kosmas –situated less than 4 km Southwest– are the two most important sites of early Bronze Age development in the area of Athens prior to ca. 3000 BCE. Ceramics, and tools from obsidian found on both sites indicate close ties of these settlements with the obsidian-rich islands of the cycladic civilization. The obsidian from these sites has been identified as originating from the island of Melos. The commonality of findings in Agios Kosmas and Euonymeia also suggests that the two sights were functionally linked as coastal, and inland settlements of one community.
The earliest signs of prehistoric settlement in Euonymeia were recognized in the 1950s and 60s at the Kontopigado site, where Neolithic era masonry was identified during expansion work on the Vouliagmenis Avenue around a small hill, rising 6 meters above the surrounding ground. In 2012, prehistoric masonry, which has yet to be dated, was recognized on the summit of Pan's Hill (Greek: λόφος Πανί, "lofos Pani"), the highest elevation point in Euonymeia. Several thousand obsidian tool specimens were collected from both Kontopigado, and Pan's Hill. Excavations at construction sites adjacent to the Kontopigado hill in the 1980s and 1990s led to the discovery of an Early Helladic settlement (third millennium BCE), and an overlying Mycenaean complex dated from Late Helladic IIIB to Late Helladic IIIC (ca. 1300 BCE). In 2006, work on the "Alimos" Metro station 300 meters South from the hill unearthed a large workshop complex from the same era with installations for ceramic production, including a kiln and potters wheel. This workshop included hydraulic installations with wells and water conduits used in the processing of flax into textiles for the production of table wares, and for sails and ropes used on Mycenaean era ships. Altogether, the Mycenaean complex at Kontopigado, 5 km south of the Mycenaean Palace on the Acropolis of Athens, is one of the largest of its kind, and is thought to have had close links with the central authority at Athens, possibly supplying the sails and ropes for the 50 ships that Athens is said to have contributed to the Trojan war.
During the Geometric period of the Hellenic Dark Ages (10th to 8th centuries BCE), the area continued to be inhabited, with notable pottery production from the Trachones workshop. Geometric era finds in Euonymeia concentrate 500 meters to the West of the Myceneaen site at Kontopigado, on a hill by the Trachones stream on the current Geroulanou Estate, where the community was protected behind Geometric fortifications. Geometric graves, and pottery have been found on the estate, while there is evidence that unlike in Athens and neighboring communities, Euonymeia and Anavyssos were peculiar in practicing cremation as the main burial rite during this period. Nonetheless, the 8th century ceremonial Kraters attributed to the Trachones workshop, and used in tombs throughout Geometric Greece, are considered some of the best examples of Athenian Geometric Pottery that have been discovered. In 1914, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City acquired two specimens, which are on display as part of its collection of Greek and Roman Art.
Classical: Deme of Euonymos
The area was recognized as the site of the ancient Deme of Euonymos (Greek: Δῆμος Εὐώνυμος) in 1975, when construction work uncovered a 4th-century BCE theater, with an inscription to the god Dionysus identifying it as Euonymos Theater, previously known only from ancient texts as one of the Deme Theaters of Attica. The theater at Euonymos was constructed in the mid 5th century BCE (making it one of the earliest known Deme theaters) with "Hymettian" Marble from quarries in nearby Mount Hymettus. It had an estimated capacity of 2000-3000 spectators, and is unique among ancient theaters found in Greece owing to the rectangular shape of its orchestra. Two headless statues of Dionysus were found on the site of the Theater, and together with the recent discovery of Dionysian depictions on Red-figure pottery from the area, and undated finds from the Kontopigado site of clay figures seemingly representing Maenades, the rabid female companions of Dionysus, suggest a possible early affiliation of Euonymeia with the Cult of Dionysus, and Pan.
The town was on the Urban Way (Greek: Αστική Ὁδός, ‘’Astiki Hodós’’), the major ancient road linking Athens to the temple of Poseidon at Sounion, and the all-important silver mines at Laurium. Remains of the Urban Way have been unearthed in multiple sites along the modern Vouliagmenis Avenue, positioning this ancient thoroughfare adjacent to the most important installations in Euonymos. The old Mycenaean hydraulic installations at the Kontopigado site (300 meters Northeast of the theater) show continued use through the classical era. Water flowing through the installations from the Trachones stream and wells were used primarily for agriculture, stockbreeding, and cottage industries. The hill with Geometric fortifications on the Geroulanou Estate 300 meters Northwest of the theater is thought to have been the site of the Acropolis of Euonymos. In 2003, work at the Argyroupolis Metro station (1.5 km South of the theater) unearthed a cemetery at the Hasani site, with over 150 graves dating from the 7th to the 4th centuries BCE, and inscriptions identifying it as the cemetery of the Deme of Euonymos. Together, these findings conclusively position the center and extent of the classical Deme of Euonymos as a continuation of the early Euonymeia settlements.
The Deme of Euonymos was designated as one of the 139 Athenian Demes by the Reform of Cleisthenes. Euonymos was a “city” deme (Asty) of the Erechtheis tribe, the first in the hierarchy of the Athenian democracy. The Deme contributed 10 bouleutai (increased to 12 in 306 BCE) to the 500 member-strong Boule, and as such was one of Athens’ largest demes. Several Euonymeans were notable military figures in Classical Athens, including ones holding the titles of Nauarch, and Strategos.
Euonymeia declined in medieval times together with Athens after Christian reforms brought on the Decline of Greco-Roman polytheism. At some point during this time the settlement's name changed to the village of Trachones. Nonetheless, it retained urban settlement throughout the Early Christian and Byzantine eras as testified by the ruins of the Paleochristian Basilica of Saint Anargyroi (ca. 7th-9th centuries CE) that can be found 200 meters North of Euonymos Theater in the courtyard of the contemporary Greek Orthodox Church of Zoodochos Pigi.
During the later Middle Ages, Athens was conquered by the fourth crusade, which established the 13th century crusader state of the Duchy of Athens. During this time, in defiance of the Roman Catholic allegiance of the Frankish lord of Athens Othon de la Roche, the Orthodox church of the “Presentation of Mary of Trachones” (Greek: Εισοδίων Θεοτόκου Τραχώνων, Isodíon Theotókou Trachónon) was constructed  300 meters West of the Euonymos Theater. This church is currently in operation within the grounds of the Geroulanou Estate, making it one of the oldest continuously operational churches in Athens.
After the invasion of Greece by the Ottoman Turks, the area of Trachones was turned into a Chiflik, and administered according to the Ottoman feudal system, with the local population becoming mandatory land peasants (koligoi). The church of the Presentation of Mary appears to remain the center of the area’s civic life in the following centuries of Ottoman rule.
19th and 20th centuries
Modern written use of the toponym “Trachones” appears right before the Greek Revolution in a 1820 tax record of villages in Attica, while its location (corresponding to the area of Euonymeia) is revealed in 19th century maps, including John Thomson's 1814 map of Attica (therein labeled as "Traconi"), and an 1881 map from the German Archeological Institute. During the preceding years, the Trachones Estate, corresponding to a large part of what is now South Athens, was sold to Mufti Hamza, an 18th-century Muslim religious leader of Athens. Records show that the feudal estate had a small population of landless farmers, and that ownership passed on through the Mufti’s progeny. In 1912, the settlement of Trachones was incorporated into the Municipality of Athens, while the land of the estate was sold in 1918 by the Greek State to the Geroulanou family against 680.000 drachma. In 1952, a large part of the estate is converted from farm to urban plots, including land for the creation of the Hellenicon Airport. This leads to a rapid urbanization following the expanding urban sprawl of the Greek capital, and to the establishment of the current residential community. In 1968, the modern Municipality of Alimos was established administratively linking the community of Trachones with the coastal community of Kalamaki 2.5 km to the West, and giving rise to the term Ano Kalamaki (upper Kalamaki) to refer to the area of Euonymeia.
The neighborhood is approximately bounded by the contemporary avenues of Vouliagmenis in the East, Ionias in the North and West, and Alimou in the South, and includes the "Alimos" Metro station. The area is rocky, a feature that gave it its medieval name, Trachones (from Greek trachoni meaning rock). The main physical features of Euonymeia are several small limestone hills, the largest of which is Pan's Hill (Lofos Pani), and the Trachones stream that runs from the Western slopes of Hemyttus, through Euonymeia, to the Saronic gulf at Alimos beach. Mount Hymettus to the East is the dominant backdrop visible from most areas of the neighborhood.
Euonymeia is largely a residential area, with small shops and businesses along Ionias and Dodecanesou avenues. The central public space of the community stretches along the path of the Trachones stream, most of which now runs underground. This area features Karaiskakis square and park, which includes the "Klouva" outdoor public basketball court, and the municipal amphitheater, where the major community events take place. Contingent to the square is a large school complex with two public elementary schools, and the 2nd Lyceum of Alimos public high school. Next to the school complex is the Municipal Covered Gymnasium with a capacity for 350 seated spectators, the home court of the three local Basketball teams Ένωση Τραχωνών-Δία, Α.Λ.Φ. Αλίμου, Α.Ο. Καλαμακίου, and the Trachones Volleyball team. Along the same axis next to the Geroulanou Estate is Trachones Field, a 457-seat track and field stadium that is the seat of the local soccer team, FC Trachones.
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Ευωνύμεια πόλις Καρίας. το έθνικόν Ευωνυμεύς. ἔστι καὶ δημος Ἀθηναίων. από Ευωνύμου τοῦ Γης καὶ Ουρανοϋ ή Κηφισοῦ. 6 δημότης Ευωνυμεύς. τα τοπικά ἐξ Ευωνυμέων [είς Ευωνυμέων ἐν Ευωνυμέων] λέγεται καὶ ὁ δημος Ευώνυμος.
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