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Information about the place (5)
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
A city in the central part of the region, near modern Haliartos, 20
km W of Thebes on the Levadhia road, at the edge of ancient Lake Kopais.
Founded before the Mycenaean period and contemporary with Orchomenos,
the city very soon passed under the control of Thebes; it was one of the first
to mint silver coins bearing the Boiotian shield, the emblem of the Confederacy
(6th c. B.C.). Spared by the Persians in 480, it became one of the 11 Boiotian
districts, with Koronea and Lebadeia, from 447 to 387 and then from 371 to 338.
At the beginning of the Corinthian War (395) Lysander and the Spartan army joined
battle with the Boiotians under the walls of Haliartos, and he was killed there.
During the Third Macedonian War Haliartos joined forces with Perseus against Rome:
the praetor C. Lucretius razed the town, destroyed the garrison, and sold 2,500
citizens as slaves. Its territory was given to Athens, which administered it through
an epimeletes and sent colonists there. The city was never rebuilt.
The acropolis is on a low hill to the W of the modern town between
the highway and the railroad; it controlled traffic between N and S Greece. The
Mycenaean acropolis (ca. 250 x 150 m) is situated at the highest point of the
hill; its rampart is well preserved to the S and W. On the W side of the hill
is a second type of wall composed of large quadrangular blocks laid in more or
less horizontal courses; it dates from the 7th c. B.C. On the S slope and at the
SE corner are remains of two towers; the masonry here is polygonal and very workmanlike,
the stones being laid on one or two courses of wide, flat rectangular blocks.
It possibly dates from the end of the 6th or beginning of the 5th c. A fourth
type of wall, of which only the foundations remain, was made of blocks of crumbly
red or yellow limestone (tower near the SW corner). To the W, 100 m from the NW
corner, was a gate 3.50 m wide. Built in the 4th c., this rampart was razed by
the Romans in 171 B.C. On its surface can be seen significant traces of an Imperial
or Byzantine wall made of small rocks bonded with mortar.
At the very top of the acropolis, excavations have uncovered (1926-30)
a Temple of Athena surrounded by a peribolos wall, a large building, and the passageway
that served both; everything had been razed, no doubt in 171 B.C. The temple,
which was built in the 6th c., was distyle in antis; it was of the archaic elongated
shape (7.10 x 18 m) and open to the E. Several regular courses of limestone have
been preserved, on poros foundations. Fragments of poros columns and some architectural
terracottas were found to the E. Along the N wall are the foundations of an earlier
temple (7th c.?). The peribolos wall, which is rectilinear to the S (36 m) and
a flat semicircle to the N, is of fine polygonal masonry laid in horizontal courses.
To the S of the temple is a large building (21 m N-S, 8.90 m E-W) with polygonal
walls of the same type, dressed on both sides. Two doorways opened in the E wall.
Inside the building four wooden pillars on square stone bases supported the roof.
Its purpose is unknown. A large store of vases, lamps, and terracottas at the
W foot of the peribolos shows that the Temple of Athena was used from the 6th
to the beginning of the 2d c. B.C. A small necropolis, SE of the acropolis, provides
evidence that the site was occupied in Roman times.
E of Haliartos, on the chain dividing Lake Kopais from the Teneric
Plain, was the very ancient Temple of Poseidon Onchestios; it was the center of
the Boiotian Confederacy from 338 to 146.
This is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites,
Princeton University Press 1976. Cited from
Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
An ancient town in Boeotia, south of the lake Copais, destroyed by Xerxes in his invasion of Greece (B.C. 480), but afterwards rebuilt. Under its walls Lysander lost his life (395).
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
Haliartus, Haliartos, Aliartos, Haliartia
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Haliartos: Eth. Haliartios. A town of Boeotia, and one of the cities
of the confederation, was situated on the southern side of the lake Copais in
a pass between the mountain and the lake. (Strab. ix. p. 411.) It is mentioned
by Homer, who gives it the epithet poieeis in consequence of its well-watered
meadows. (Hom. Il. ii. 503, Hymn. in Apoll. 243.) In the invasion of Greece by
Xerxes (B.C. 484) it was the only town that remained true to the cause of Greece,
and was in consequence destroyed by the Persians. (Paus. ix. 32. § 5.) It was,
however, soon rebuilt, and in the Peloponnesian War appears as one of the chief
cities of Boeotia. (Thuc. iv. 95.) It is chiefly memorable in history on account
of the battle fought under its walls between Lysander and the Thebans, in which
the former was slain, B.C. 395. (Xen. Hell. iii. 5. 17, seq.; Diod. xiv. 81; Plut.
Lys. 28, 29; Paus. iii. 5. §3, ix. 32. § 5). In B.C. 171 Haliartus was destroyed
a second time. Having espoused the cause of Perseus, it was taken by the Roman
praetor Lucretius, who sold the inhabitants as slaves, carried off its statues,
paintings, and other works of art, and razed it to the ground. Its territory was
afterwards given to the Athenians, and it never recovered its former prosperity.
(Polyb. xxx. 18; Liv. xlii. 63; Strab. ix. p. 411.) Strabo speaks of it as no
longer in existence in his time, and Pausanias, in his account of the place, mentions
only a heroum of Lysander, and some ruined temples which had been burnt by the
Persians and had been purposely left in that state. (Paus. ix. 33. § § 1,3, x.
The Haliartia, or territory of Haliartus, was a very fertile plain,
watered by numerous streams flowing into the lake Copais, which in this part was
hence called the Haliartian marsh. (Strab. ix. pp. 407, 411.) These streams, which
bore the names of Ocalea, Lophis, Hoplites, Permessus, and Olmeius, have been
spoken of elselwhere. The territory of Haliartus extended westward to Mt. Tilphossium,
since Pausanias says that the Haliartians had a sanctuary of the goddesses called
Praxidicae situated near this mountain. (Paus. ix. 33. § 3.) The towns Peteon,
Medeon, Ocalea, and Onchestus were situated in the territory of Haliartus.
The remains of Haliartus are situated upon a hill about a mile from
the village of Mazi, on the road from Thebes to Lebadeia, and at the distance
of about 15 miles from either place. The hill of Haliartus is. not more than 50
feet above the lake. Leake says, that towards the lake the hill of Haliartus terminates
in rocky cliffs, but on the other sides has a gradual acclivity. Some remains
of the walls of the Acropolis, chiefly of polygonal masonry, are found on the
summit of the hill; and there are several sepulchral crypts in the cliffs, below
which, to the north, issues a copious source of water, flowing to the marsh, like
all the other streams near the site of Haliartus. Although the walls of the exterior
town are scarcely anywhere traceable, its extent is naturally marked to the east
and west by two small rivers, of which that to the west issues from the foot of
the hill of Mazi; the eastern, called the Kefalari, has its origin in Mount Helicon.
Near the left bank of this stream, at a distance of 500 yards from the Acropolis,
are a ruined mosque and two ruined churches, on the site of a village which, though
long since abandoned, is shown by these remains to have been once inhabited by
both Greeks and Turks. Here are many fragments of architecture and of inscribed
stones, collected formerly from the ruins of Haliartus. From this spot there is
a distance of about three-quarters of a mile to a tumulus westward of the Acropolis,
where are several sarcophagi and ancient foundations near some sources of waters,
marking probably the site. of the western entrance of the city.
The stream which flowed on the western side of the city is the one
called Hoplites by Plutarch, where Lysander fell, and is apparently the same as
the Lophis of Pausanias. (Plut. Lys. 29; Paus. ix. 33. § 4.) The stream on the
eastern side, called Kefalari, is formed by the union of two rivulets, which appear
to be the Permessus and Olmeius, which are described by Strabo as flowing from
Helicon, and after their union entering the. lake Copais near Haliartus. (Strab.
ix. pp. 407, 411.) The tumulus, of which Leake speaks, perhaps covers those who
were killed along with Lysander, since it was near this spot that the battle was
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited May 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)