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Archaeological site of Hyampolis

Hyampolis[pronunciation?] (Ὑάμπολις) was a city in Phocis, Ancient Greece. A native of this city was called a Hyampolites. Some ancient authors record that the city was also called simply Hya.[1]

Hyampolis lay in a valley in east Phocis, about eight kilometers from Abae, north-northwest of Orchomenus and southwest of Atalanti. The city is mentioned in Homer's Iliad (Catalogue of Ships).[2] Until today only a wall from the 4th century BC and some other substantial remains survive. William Martin Leake in the 19th century described the archaeological site as follows:[3]

The entire circuit of the fortifications is traceable, but they are most complete on the western side. The masonry is of the third order, nearly approaching to the most regular kind. The circumference is about three-quarters of a mile. The direct distance to this ruin from the summit of Abae is not more than a mile and a half in a north-west direction. Below Vogdháni, on the side of a steep bank which falls to the valley of Khúbavo, a fountain issuing from the rock is discharged through two spouts into a stone reservoir of ancient construction, which stands probably in its original place.

In the ancient tradition, the city was said to have been founded by the Hyantes after their expulsion from Boeotia.[4] Yet a scholiast on Euripides mentions Hyamus, son of Lycorus, as the eponymous founder of Hyampolis.[5]

Hyampolis was situated by the main road leading from North to Central Greece,[6] at the entrance of a valley which formed a convenient passage from Locris into Phocis and Boeotia. Therefore, the city was of strategic importance and is often mentioned in works on military history.

In 480 BC, during the Greco-Persian Wars, the city was destroyed by the army of Xerxes.[7] In 395 BC, the Boeotians besieged the city, but failed to sack it. In 371, Jason, tyrant of Pherae, destroyed the unprotected lower town (sometimes identified with the village Cleonae) as he was returning from Boeotia after the Battle of Leuctra.[8] In the year 346 BC the city was attacked once more, this time by Philip II of Macedon, who destroyed the city; Pausanias states that the ruins of the ancient agora, a small council chamber building, and theatre were still remaining in his time, having survived destruction by Philip.[9] Excavations held in the early 20th century failed to uncover these.[10] After reconstruction, the city was once again captured in 198 BC by Titus Quinctius Flamininus[11] and fell under Roman rule. Hadrian had a Stoa constructed in the city;[9] the Emperor Septimius Severus is mentioned in a local inscription. Pausanias notes that a single well in the whole city was the only freshwater source for the citizens unless they were able to collect rainwater.[9] This well was claimed to have been recognized in a big cistern of Hellenistic times uncovered at the site.[12]

Five kilometers north of Hyampolis, near Kalapodi, remains of a temple belonging to a sanctuary of Artemis Elaphebolos were discovered.[13] Artemis Elaphebolos was the chief deity of the area, and the festival Elaphebolia was celebrated in her honor. On the basis of inscriptions and votive offerings, the oldest building phase of the sanctuary can be dated back to the Geometric period. In 575/550 BC, the temple was rebuilt in the classical style. In 426 BC, it was damaged by an earthquake. The damage was repaired by the end of the century.

The city was populated and the sanctuary functioned by the times of the Roman Empire. In the vicinity of the sanctuary was found a burial site from the Byzantine period.


  1. ^ Strabo, Geography, 9. 3. 15; Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, 16. 56. 1
  2. ^ Iliad 2. 521
  3. ^ Travels in Northern Greece (1835), vol. 2, pp. 167 ff as quoted in Smith, vol. 1 p. 1099
  4. ^ Strabo, Geography, 9. 2. 3; 9. 3. 15
  5. ^ Scholia on Euripides, Orestes, 1094
  6. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 35. 5: on the road connecting Orchomenus and Opus. Cf. also Strab. 9. 2. 42
  7. ^ Herodotus, Histories, 8. 33
  8. ^ Xenophon, Hellenica, 6. 4. 27
  9. ^ a b c Paus. 10. 35. 6
  10. ^ Realencyclopädie, ss. 19 - 20
  11. ^ Livy, History of Rome, 32. 18
  12. ^ Realencyclopädie, s. 20, referring to Leake, Northern Greece 169, see quotation above.
  13. ^ The temple is mentioned in Paus. 10. 35. 7.


Coordinates: 38°35′30″N 22°54′55″E / 38.59167°N 22.91528°E / 38.59167; 22.91528