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The archaeological site

Abae (Ancient Greek: Ἄβαι, Abai)[1] is an ancient town in the northeastern corner of Phocis, in Greece. It was famous in antiquity for its oracle of Apollo Abaeus,[2] one of those consulted by Croesus, king of Lydia,[3][4][5] and Mardonius, among others.[6]


It was rich in treasures,[7] but was destroyed by the Persians in the invasion of Xerxes in 480 BCE, and a second time by the Boeotians and remained in a ruined state.It was rebuilt by Hadrian.[8]

The oracle was, however, still consulted, e.g. by the Thebans before Leuctra in 371 BCE.[5][9] The temple, along with the village of the same name, may have escaped destruction during the Third Sacred War (355–346 BCE), due to the respect given to the inhabitants;[10] however it was in a very dilapidated state when seen by Pausanias in the 2nd century CE,[11] though some restoration, as well as the building of a new temple, was undertaken by Emperor Hadrian.[12]

The sanctity of the shrine ensured certain privileges to the people of Abae,[13] and these were confirmed by the Romans. The Persians did not reflect this opinion and would destroy all the temples that they overcame, Abae included. The Greek pledged to not rebuild them as a memorial of the ravages of the Persians.[14]

Among the most exciting recent archaeological discoveries in Greece is the recognition that the sanctuary site near the modern village of Kalapodi is not only the site of the oracle of Apollon at Abai but that it was in constant use for cult practices from early Mycenaean times to the Roman period. It is thus the first site where the archaeology confirms the continuity of Mycenaean and Classical Greek religion, which has been inferred from the presence of the names of Classical Greek divinities on Linear B texts from Pylos and Knossos.[nb 1]

The fortified site described below, originally identified as Abae by Colonel William Leake in the 19th century, is much more likely to be that of the Sanctuary of Artemis at Hyampolis.

The polygonal walls of the acropolis may still be seen in a fair state of preservation on a circular hill standing about 500 ft (150 m) above the little plain of Exarcho; one gateway remains, and there are also traces of town walls below. The temple site was on a low spur of the hill, below the town. An early terrace wall supports a precinct in which are a stoa and some remains of temples; these were excavated by the British School at Athens in 1894, but little was found.


  1. ^ See reports of the excavations of the German Archaeological Institute in Archaeological Reports for 2008/9 43-45, Archaeological Reports for 2007/8 47-49, Archaeological Reports for 2006/7 41-43, Archaeological Reports for 2005/6 68-69, Archaeological Reports for 2004/5 55-56.


  1. ^ Avery 1962, p. 1
  2. ^ Schmitz 2013, p. 1
  3. ^ Herodotus 1920, p. 53
  4. ^ Hesychius & Schmidt 1867, p. 2
  5. ^ a b Pausanias 1898, p. 439
  6. ^ Bell 1989, p. 1
  7. ^ Herodotus 2003, p. 33
  8. ^ Smith 2011, p. 1
  9. ^ Henderson 2000, p. 351
  10. ^ Henderson 2000a, p. 381
  11. ^ Pausanias 1898, p. 440
  12. ^ Hoiberg 2010, p. 7
  13. ^ Bilco 1882, p. 172
  14. ^ Henderson 2000a, p. 581


  • Avery, Catherine A., ed. (1962). "Abae". The New Century Classical Handbook. New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc. LCCN 62-10069. 
  • Bell, Robert E. (1989). Place-Names in Classical Mythology. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0874365078. 
  • Bilco, J. (1882). "Lettre du roi Philippe aux habitants d'Abae". Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique. 6: 171–175. doi:10.3406/bch.1882.4191. 
  • Henderson, Jeffrey, ed. (2000) [1926]. Pausanian Description of Greece. II: Books III-V. Translated by W. H. S. Jones; H. A. Ormerod. Cambridge, UK: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-99207-5. 
  • Henderson, Jeffrey, ed. (2000a) [1935]. Pausanian Description of Greece. IV: Books VIII §22 — X. Translated by W. H. S. Jones; H. A. Ormerod. Cambridge, UK: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-99328-4. 
  • Herodotus (1920). Herodotus. I: Books I and II. Translated by Godley, A. D. London, UK: William Heinemann. 
  • Herodotus (2003) [1939]. Powell, J. Enoch, ed. Herodotus, Book VIII. Herodotus (in Ancient Greek). London, UK: Duckworth Publishers. ISBN 978-0862920043. 
  • Hesychius; Schmidt, Mauricius (1867). "Ἄβαι". Hesychii Alexandrini lexicon (in Ancient Greek) (2nd ed.). Sumptibus Hermanni Dufftii (Libraria Maukiana). 
  • Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abae". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. ISBN 0-85229-961-3. LCCN 2002113989. 
  • Pausanias (1898). Pausanias's Description of Greece. V. Translated by Frazer, J. G. London, UK: Macmillan and Company, Limited. 
  • Schmitz, Leonhard (2013) [1867]. "Abaeus". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Cambridge Library Collection - Classics. 1: Abaeus - Dysponteus. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1108060820. Archived from the original on 2008-07-14. 
  • Smith, William (2011) [1850]. "Abæ". A new classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography, partly based on the "Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology". Nabu Press. ISBN 978-1172756001. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°34′49″N 22°54′54″E / 38.58028°N 22.91500°E / 38.58028; 22.91500