Phigalia

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For the geometer moth genus named by Duponchel in 1829, see Apocheima. For the elachistid moth genus invalidly named by Chambers in 1880, see Elachista.

Phigalia or Phigaleia (Greek: Φιγαλεία or Φιγάλεια) is an ancient Greek city in the south-west corner of Arcadia. It is also the present name of a nearby modern village, known up to the early 20th century as Pavlitsa (Παύλιτσα). In modern geography it is located in southeastern Elis. It is situated on an elevated rocky site, among some of the highest mountains in the Peloponnese, the most conspicuous being Mt Cotylium and Mt Elasum; the identification of the latter is uncertain.

In 659 BC Phigalia was taken by the Lacedaemonians, but soon after recovered its independence by the help of the Oresthasians. During the struggle between the Achaean and Aetolian leagues in 221 BC it was held by Dorimachus, who left it on the approach of Philip V of Macedon. In common with the other cities of Arcadia, it appears in Strabo to have fallen into utter decay under Roman rule.

Several curious cults were preserved near Phigalia, including that of the fishtailed goddess Eurynome and the Black Demeter with a horse's head, whose image was renewed by Onatas. Notices of it in Greek history are rare and scanty. Though its existing ruins and the description of Pausanias show it to have been a place of considerable strength and importance, no autonomous coins of Phigalia are known. Nothing remained above ground of the temples of Artemis or Dionysus and the numerous statues and other works of art which existed at the time of Pausanias' visit, about AD 170.

A great part of the city wall, built in fine Hellenic masonry, partly polygonal masonry and partly isodomic ashlar, and a large square central fortress with a circular projecting tower, are the only remains now traceable, at least without the aid of excavation. The walls, once nearly 2 m. in circuit, are strongly placed on rocks, which slope down to the little river Neda.

Sources[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.