Pisa, Greece

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Pisa (Ancient Greek: Πῖσα) was a town in Peloponnesus, that was in the most ancient times the capital of an independent district, called Pisatis (ἡ Πισᾶτις), which included Olympia, the site of the Ancient Olympic Games, and Dyspontium. The Pisatis subsequently formed part of the territory of ancient Elis.

Pisa was said to have been founded by an eponymous hero, Pisus, the son of Perieres, and grandson of Aeolus;[1] but others derived its name from a fountain Pisa.[2] Modern writers connect its name with Πῖσος, a low marshy ground, or with Πίσσα, the name of the black fir or pinetree. It was celebrated in mythology as the residence of Oenomaus and Pelops. The Virgilian commentator Servius wrote that the Teuti, or Pelops, the king of the Pisatans, arrived on the Tyrrhenian coast after the Trojan War and founded the Italian (and more famous) Pisa in the 13th century BCE.

It was the head of a confederacy of eight states, of which, besides Pisa, the following names are recorded: Salmone, Heracleia, Harpinna, Cycesium, and Dyspontium.[3] The celebration of the festival of Zeus at Olympia had originally belonged to the Pisatans, in the neighbourhood of whose city Olympia was situated. Upon the conquest of Pisa by the Eleians, the presidency of the festival passed over to their conquerors; but the Pisatans never forgot their ancient privilege, and made many attempts to recover it. In the eighth Olympiad (747 BCE) they succeeded in depriving the Eleians of the presidency by calling in the assistance of Pheidon I, tyrant of Argos, in conjunction with whom they celebrated the festival. But almost immediately afterwards the power of Pheidon was destroyed by the Spartans, who not only restored to the. Eleians the presidency, but are said even to have confirmed them in the possession of the Pisatis and Triphylia.[4][5][6] In the Second Messenian War the Pisatans and Triphylians revolted from Elis and assisted the Messenians, while the Eleians sided with the Spartans. In this war the Pisatans were commanded by their king Pantaleon, who also succeeded in making himself master of Olympia by force, during the 34th Olympiad (644 BCE), and in celebrating the games to the exclusion of the Eleians.[7][8] The conquest of the Messenians by the Spartans must also have been attended by the submission of the Pisatans to their former masters. In the 48th Olympiad (588 BCE) the Eleians, suspecting the fidelity of Damophon, the son of Pantaleon, invaded the Pisatis, but were persuaded by Damophon to return home without committing any further acts of hostility. But in the 52nd Olympiad (572 BCE), Pyrrhus, who had succeeded his brother Damophon in the sovereignty of Pisa, invaded Elis, assisted by the Dyspontii in the Pisatis, and by the Macistii and Scilluntii in Triphylia. This attempt ended in the ruin of these towns, which were razed to the ground by the Eleians.[9] From this time Pisa disappears from history; and so complete was its destruction that the fact of its ever having existed was disputed in later times.[10] Although Pisa ceased to exist as a city from this time, the Pisatans, in conjunction with the Arcadians, celebrated the 104th Olympic festival in 364 BCE.

Pausanias found its site converted into a vineyard.[11] Its situation, however, was perfectly well known to Pindar and Herodotus. Pindar frequently identifies it with Olympia;[12] and Herodotus refers to Pisa and Olympia as the same point in computing the distance from the altar of the twelve gods at Athens.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. 6.22.2.
  2. ^ Strabo. Geographica. viii. p.356. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
    Eustath. ad Dionys. Per. 409.
  3. ^ Strabo. Geographica. viii. p.356, et seq. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  4. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. 6.22.2.
  5. ^ Strabo. Geographica. viii. p.354, et seq. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  6. ^ Herodotus. Histories. 6.127.
  7. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. 6.21.1. -2
  8. ^ Strabo. Geographica. viii. p.362. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  9. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. 6.21.4. et seq.
  10. ^ Strabo. Geographica. viii. p.356. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  11. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. 6.22.1.
  12. ^ e.g. Ol. 2.3
  13. ^ Herodotus. Histories. 2.7.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Pisa". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Elis". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.

Coordinates: 37°38′38″N 21°39′14″E / 37.644°N 21.654°E / 37.644; 21.654

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