|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 in Attica and currently a residential neighborhood within the municipality of Alimos on the southern suburbs of Athens, Greece. The area is an inland part of the south Athenian plain, situated between the foothills of Mount Hymettus and the southern coastal zone of Athens on the Saronic Gulf. The land is characterized by limestone hills and streams running from Hymettus toward the coast. Situated 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) south of the center of Athens, Euonymeia has been developed and incorporated into the urban sprawl of the Greek capital.
The area displays some of the earliest urban settlements in Europe, with archeological sites showing continuous 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.
At its peak during the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, the area was the center of the Deme of Euonymos, one of the most populous communities of Ancient Athens. Euonymos had its own acropolis, theater, industrial installations, and religious festivals. Several Euonymeians played a major role in Athenian politics and civic life, most notably in the trial of Socrates and in the expeditions of the Peloponnesian War.
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 is a direct reference to the area being "well named" or "of good repute", or that it comes from the spindle tree Euonymus europaeus. The medieval name Trachones derives from the word trachoni (Greek: τραχώνι) meaning "rock", derived from the ancient Greek adjective trachys (Greek: τραχύς) meaning "coarse". The modern colloquial name Ano Kalamaki (upper Kalamaki) arose in 1968 when Euonymeia was administratively linked with the coastal settlement of Kalamaki to the west, creating the contemporary Municipality of Alimos.
Systematic archeological excavation of the area has not been conducted, yet numerous construction projects during the 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 adjacent coastal promontory of Agios Kosmas are the two most important sites of Neolithic and Aegean Bronze Age development in the area of Athens prior to ca. 3000 BCE. Ceramics and obsidian tools found on both sites were identified as originating from the island of Melos, indicating close ties of these settlements with the obsidian-rich islands of the cycladic civilization. The commonality of findings in Agios Kosmas and Euonymeia suggests that the two settlements were functionally linked coastal and inland communities.
The earliest signs of prehistoric settlement in Euonymeia were recognized in the 1950s and '60s at the Kontopigado site. During expansion work on the Vouliagmenis Avenue, neolithic era masonry was identified around a small hill rising 6 metres (20 ft) 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 have been collected from both Kontopigado, and Pan's Hill. Findings from this first settlement period come to an abrupt end around 2000 BCE, indicating a catastrophic event theorized to involve Pelasgian invaders.
Excavations at construction sites adjacent to the Kontopigado mound in the 1980s and '90s 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), marking the second period of intense development in Euonymeia. In 2006, work on the Alimos Metro station 300 metres (980 ft) South from the mound 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 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of the Mycenaean Palace on the Acropolis of Athens, is one of the largest of its kind found to date. This Bronze Age community and installations at Euonymeia are thought to have had close links to the central palatial authority in 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 metres (1,600 ft) to the West of the Myceneaen site at Kontopigado, on a hill by the Trachones stream on the current Geroulanou Estate. While excavations have not yet been performed, the Geroulanou Estate is presumed to have been the site of the Acropolis of Euonymeia, based on surface finds of 8th - 7th century BCE fortifications. Geometric graves and pottery have been found around the estate providing evidence that unlike in Athens and neighboring communities, Euonymeia, together with Anavyssos further south, 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 burial tombs throughout Geometric Greece are considered some of the best examples of Athenian Geometric Pottery that have been discovered to date. In 1914, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City acquired two specimens, which are on display as part of its permanent 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. An inscription to the god Dionysus identified it as the 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. The theatre was destroyed during the Chremonidean War of the 260s BCE and never rebuilt. Two headless statues of Dionysus were found on the site of the theater, and together with the discovery in 2012 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 300 metres (980 ft) Northeast of the theater show continued use through the classical era. In this period, water flowing through the installations from the Trachones stream and wells were used primarily for agriculture, stockbreeding, and cottage industries. The hill with Geometric-era fortifications on the Geroulanou Estate 300 metres (980 ft) Northwest of the theater is thought to have been the site of the Acropolis of Euonymos. Construction in the 1960s and work on the Argyroupoli Metro station 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) South of the theater in 2003 uncovered 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 (Greek: Άστυ, Asty) of the Erechtheis tribe, the first in the hierarchy of the Athenian democracy as descending from Erechtheus, the autochthonous founder of Athens. 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 Euonymeians were notable public officials in Ancient Athens, such as Hieropoios Eunomos of Euonymon, and high-ranking military figures associated with the Peloponnesian Wars, including Taxiarch Strombichides, Nauarch Diotimos of Euonymon, and Strategoi Autocles and Anytus, the latter also known as a main prosecutor in the trial of Socrates.
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 the Holy Apostles (ca. 7th-9th centuries CE) that can be found 200 metres (660 ft) North of Euonymos Theater in the courtyard of the contemporary Church of the Life-giving Spring of Trachones.
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 to 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 metres (980 ft) 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 an 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 for 680.000 drachma. In 1952, a large part of the estate was converted from farm to urban plots, including land for the creation of the Hellenicon Airport. This led 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 kilometres (1.6 mi) to the West, giving rise to the term Ano Kalamaki (upper Kalamaki) to refer to the area of Euonymeia.
The neighborhood is approximately bounded by the 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. 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. Adjacent 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 Indoor Gymnasium of Trachones with a capacity for 350 seated spectators, the home court of the three local Basketball teams Trachones - Dias Union, A.L.F. Alimos, A.O. Kalamaki, and the Trachones Volleyball team. Along the same axis next to the Geroulanou Estate is Trachones Field (Greek: Γήπεδο Τραχώνων, Gipedo Trachonon), a 457-seat track and field stadium that is the seat of the local soccer team, FC Trachones.
- Stephanus Byzantinus (1849). Ethnica quae supersunt ex recensione Augusti Meinekii. - Berolini, Reimerus 1849 (in Greek). Berlin: Reimerus. p. 288.
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. (English: Euonymeia city in Caria. Ethnic is Euonymeus. Is also a Deme of Athens. Derives from Euonymos of Gaia and Uranus or Kephesus. Residents of the deme are Euonymeians… the Deme is also called Euonymos.)
- "Euonymeia or Euonymon" Ευωνύμεια ή Ευώνυμον. Helios New Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Greek) (2nd ed.). Athens, Greece: Εγκυκλοπαιδική Επιθεώρησις 'Ηλιος. 1960.
Ευωνύμεια ή Ευώνυμον: Δήμος της αρχαίας Αττικής ανήκων εις την Ερεχθηΐδα φυλήν, κείμενος δε περί το χωρίον Τράχωνες από της θέσεως "Καρά" μέχρι της θέσεως "Γυρισμός" του Υμηττού και Αγίας Παρασκευής "Χασάνι". Κατά τινα γνώμην το νυν κτήμα Γερουλάνου εις Τράχωνες περιλαμβάνει την ακρόπολιν των Ευωνυμέων, εξ ής σώζονται ίχνη τειχών του 8ου-7ου π.Χ. αιώνος. Γειτονικοί προς τους Ευωνυμείς δήμοι ήσαν ο Αλιμούς και Αιξωνή. (English: Euonymeia or Euonymon: Deme of ancient Attica belonging to the Erechtheis tribe, situated in the vicinity of the village Trachones from the location “Kara”, to the location “Gyrismos” of Hymettus, and “Hasani” of Aghia Paraskevi. By most accounts the current Geroulanou Estate in Trachones contains the acropolis of Euonymon, as there remain ruins of fortifications of the 8th-7th centuries BCE. Neighboring Demes to Euonymon are those of Alimos and Aexoni.)
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Recent excavations at the site of Kontopigado in Alimos, Attica have uncovered a craft production site on a grand scale, five km from the Mycenaean settlement around the Acropolis of Athens. Dating to the end of the Mycenaean period in Attica, Late Helladic IIIB to Late Helladic IIIC early, the industrial installation at Alimos is one of the largest of its kind.
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Among the finds from the fills the fragments of unique or very rare figurine types and figures deserve special attention. Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures represent objects that are primarily connected with official cult activities, and their presence would suggest the existence of one or more cult places in the direct vicinity of the installation.
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... "Αστική Οδό" που συνέδεε την Αθήνα με το Σούνιο. Η κεντρική αυτή αρτηρία των παράλιων δήμων Αλιμούντος, Ευωνύμου, Αιξωνής και Αιξωνίδων Αλών έχει ανασκαφεί τμηματικά. (English: ”Urban Way” that connected Athens with Sounion. This central artery of the seaside Demes of Alimos, Euonymon, Aexoni, and Aexonidon Alon has been excavated in segments)
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Αι Κοινότητες Ελληνικού και Καλαμακίου εν τη Επαρχία και τω Νομώ Αττικής ενουνται και αναγνωρίζονται εις δήμον υπό το όνομα “Δήμος Αλίμου” με περιφέρειαν την των κοινοτήτων τούτων και έδραν τον συνοικισμόν “Καλαμάκιον”. (English: The communities of Hellenikon and Kalamakion in the province and prefecture of Attica are merged and recognized as a municipality under the name “Municipality of Alimos” with the extent of these communities and seat in the community of “Kalamakion”.)
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