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Europe > Greece > Central Greece > Evvia > Eretria

Eretria

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Eretria (Ερέτρια) and Malakonta (Μαλακώντα), Magoula (Μαγούλα) are in Evvia.

Understand[edit]

It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC, mentioned by many famous writers and actively involved in significant historical events. The modern town of Eretria is now a popular beachside resort. The historic and archaeological finds from Eretria and Lefkandi are displayed in the Eretria Museum, established by the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece. It's an important station on the way to the south of the island. It has many taverns and a long beach promenade. The archaeological excavations are located on the northern edge of the modern town.

History[edit]

The oldest archaeological finds date the foundation of the city to the 9th century BC. It was probably founded as the harbour of Lefkandi, which is located 15 km to the west. In the 8th century BC, Eretria and her near neighbour and rival, Chalcis, were both powerful and prosperous trading cities. Eretria controlled the Aegean islands of Andros, Tenos and Ceos. They also held territory in Boeotia on the Greek mainland. Eretria was also involved in the Greek colonisation and founded the colonies of Pithekoussai and Cumae in Italy together with Chalcis. At the end of the 8th century BC, however, Eretria and Chalcis fought a prolonged war (known mainly from the account in Thucydides as the Lelantine War) for control of the fertile Lelantine plain. Little is known of the details of this war, but it is clear that Eretria was defeated. The city was destroyed and Eretria lost her lands in Boeotia and her Aegean dependencies. Neither Eretria nor Chalcis ever again counted for much in Greek politics. As a result of this defeat, Eretria turned to colonisation. She planted colonies in the northern Aegean, on the coast of Macedon, in Italy and Sicily. In 490 BC the city was sacked and burned by the Persians under the admiral Darius and the population was deported to Mesopotamia. The temple of Apollo, built around 510 BC, was destroyed by the Persians. Parts of a pediment were found in 1900, including the torso of an Athena statue. The Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, in which Philip II of Macedon defeated the combined armies of the Greeks, marked the end of the Greek cities as independent states and Eretria dwindled to become a provincial town. In 198 BC it was plundered by the Romans. In 87 BC it was finally destroyed in the Mithridatic Wars and abandoned.

Get in[edit]

The town can be reached from Skala Oropou, Attica by ferry or via Chalcis by road.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

  • 1 Archaeological Museum of Eretria, +30 22290 62206. 08:30-15:00. The Eretria Museum is one of the most important archaeological museums of Greek area, which presents findings from various seasons. The Museum is located in close proximity to the site, which helps for better understand. As important exhibits can be considered the sculpture complex of Theseus with Antiope from the west pediment of the temple of Apollo at Eretria, clay statuette Centauri bleach, which is the earliest representation of this mythological being, the bronze horse blinder embossed with representation from northern Syria and Panathenaic amphorae. In the lobby of the Museum houses sculptures of the 4th century. B.C. and inscriptions. The first main hall of the museum include the findings of prehistoric Eretria, as well as three adjacent prehistoric settlements, those of Xeropolis of Amarinthos and cheeks.

Ancient monuments[edit]

Ancient theater of Eretria
Temple of Apollo
  • Temple of Apollo Daphniforos. The temple of Apollo Daphniforos is the most important and wider known monument of Eretria. Construction started at the late sixth century BC (520-490 BC). After the destruction of the city by the Persians, the temple was repaired and remained in use; yet in 198 BC it was destroyed again, this time by the Romans, a fact which initiated the gradual abandonment and dilapidation of the monument until the first century BC. Unfortunately, the majority of architectural parts from this temple and other sanctuaries of the city were re-used as construction material; only a few (column) drums together with fragmented capitals and triglyphs remain from the superstructure of the monument.
  • 2 The ancient theatre of Eretria. The most impressive monument of ancient Eretria, one of the oldest known theatres, lies in the western section of town, between the western gate, the stadium and the upper gymnasium; the temple of Dionysos was found at its south-west end. As indicated by the architectural remains of the scene, the initial construction phase followed the invasion by the Persians and the reconstruction of the city in the fifth century BC. A striking fact is the construction of the cavea (gr.: koilo, auditorium) on an artificial hill surrounded by numerous retaining walls, instead of taking advantage of the citadel's slopes. During the first building phase, the scene looked like a palace, disposed of five adjacent rectangle rooms and found itself at the same level as the circular orchestra, leading to it via three entrances. At its peak (fourth century BC), the theatre suffered transformations and was shaped to a large extent in its present form. Local poros stone was used for the foundation and limestone for the parodoi (passageways), which sloped to the orchestra in order to diminish the difference in height with the cavea. The theatre seated 6,300 spectators and is reminiscent in form to the Theatre of Dionysos in Athens, after transformation of the latter in 330 BC. Following the destruction of Eretria by the Romans in 198 BC, it was rebuilt with lower quality materials and the rooms to the south of the parodos were then apparently decorated with colour mortars of the first Pompeian style. Unfortunately, most benches have been looted. There are still the impressive remains of the scene, especially the vaulted underground passage leading to the orchestra centre. Excavation of the monument was undertaken by the American Archaeological School, while the local Ephorate of Antiquities strived greatly for its restoration.
  • Temple of Isis at Eretria. Among the most interesting monuments of ancient Eretria is the Iseion, a temple sacred to the goddess Isis and other Egyptian deities. Situated to the south of the town, between the baths and the Lower Gymnasium or the palaistra (wrestling area), it extends behind the small harbour, a detail that correlates the temenos with merchants who had their interests in Eretria. According to excavation and inscription testimonies, the temple was probably built in the fourth century BC and was surrounded by other edifices and auxiliary spaces.
  • House with the mosaics. This splendid house was built in ca. 370 B.C. and remained in use for about a century. It is distinguished by its floors, covered with elegant pebble mosaics representing mythological scenes: Nereids on the back of a seahorse, legendary battles between Arimaspians and griffins, sphinxes and panthers. The building is a representative specimen of the Classical and Hellenistic domestic architecture.
  • Macedonian tomb of Erotes. The so called "tomb of Erotes" lies on a hill to the northwest of Eretria city and counts among the most significant monuments of Evia island. Based on the findings, it is dated to the fourth century BC, the time when these characteristic burial monuments of the Macedonian type make their appearance in southern Greece after the descent of the Macedons. More Macedonian tombs were found in the wider area around Eretria, namely in the settlements of Kotroni and Amarynthos. The tomb of Erotes consists of a single vaulted chamber and a dromos (entrance passageway) of stone and bricks. The burial chamber is reminiscent of a residential room; it is built of poros stone plastered with white mortar.
  • Tholos at Eretria. Excavations carried out by the Greek Archaeological Service have revealed the limestone foundations and crepis of a circular building. It was erected in the fifth century BC in the Agora of the city, and underwent several modifications in the fourth and the third centuries BC. A circular bothros has also survived at the centre of the monument.

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