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Said by some ancient authors to be the nearest site to the battle where Caesar defeated Pompey in 48 B.C. (notably Bell. Alex. 48.1; Strab. 17.796; Frontinus, Strateg., 2.3.22, etc.). The battle was apparently fought near Pharsalos, on the left (S) bank of the Enipeus, but the site is much disputed. It is otherwise mentioned as being near the Thetideion (Strab. 9.431, s.v. Pharsalos), and as having been sacked by Philip V in 198 B.C. (Livy 32.13.9; 44.1.5). Two sites in the Pharsalos area seem possible for Palaiopharsalos. At Ktouri, an isolated hill (211 m) on the left bank of the Enipeus ca. 13 km NW of Pharsalos are two fortress walls around the hill, the lower made of two-faced rough polygonal masonry, 1693 m in circuit, which appears to be at least in part Cyclopean, the upper of small irregular stones and blocks. The plan of the upper fortification was determined; it is roughly oval, ca. 125 in in circuit, with square towers. Inside this were a few small walls. It was apparent that the hill housed a garrison only. At the W foot of the hill is a mound (magoula). At the N of this were the foundations of a small, rectangular building (6 x 14 m) probably a temple. Two fragments of marble palmettes (acroteria?) of the archaic period were found here. Sherds from the magoula and E of it were mainly Mycenaean and Protogeometric. A handsome archaic bronze statuette of a warrior (Athens NM 15,409) was found by chance. Excavations by the nearby Chapel of Haghios Ioannis revealed an ancient peribolos wall around the chapel, which had evidently been erected over a Classical building. The site at Ktouri has variously been identified as Palaiopharsalos and Euhydrion (the latter favored by Béquignon and Stählin). Euhydrion is little known, and was destroyed in 198 B.C. by Philip V.

At Palaiokastro, a hill on the left bank of the Enipeus, which flows at its foot, by Ambelia (Derengli), some 9 km E of Pharsalos brief excavations were carried out by Béquignon in 1931. Traces of a circuit wall were discovered on the E and W sides of the hilltop. Only a foundation of small stones remained. Inside the circuit were parts of foundation walls, probably of houses. By one of these was found a black-figure dinos fragment signed by Sophilos (ABV 39.16). A number of tombs were discovered within the circuit. Sherds found range from Middle Helladic to black-glazed, and the site seems to have been abandoned around the end of the 6th c. B.C. The excavator identifies it as Palaiopharsolos, an identification favored also by Stählin. Near Ambelia a trial excavation in 1963 uncovered two graves and terracotta stamped plaques and figurines of the archaic-Classical period.


F. Stählin, Das hellenische Thessalien (1924) 142f; Y. Béquignon in BCH 52 (1928) 9-44MPI; 56 (1932) 89-191MPI; V. Milojćić in AA (1955) 228 (Cyclop. wall at Ktouri); D. Theocharis in Deltion 18 (1963) chron. 143I.


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