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HALOS Thessaly, Greece.

A city of Achaia Phthiotis, situated on the W side of the Gulf of Pagasai, 3 km from the shore by a deep bay (modern Sourpi) which is sheltered except from the N by Cape Zelasion (modern Halmyrou, or Perikli). The city lay on the rough shore road which runs from the Gulf of Pagasai to the Maliac gulf around the foot of Mt. Othrys. It controlled the S part of the fertile coastal plain (Krokion); the part around it being called Athamantion. Halos was a seaport (the main one?) for Thessaly in the 5th c. B.C., issued coinage in the 4th, was taken by Philip II of Macedon in 346 B.C. and given to Pharsalos. The city issued coinage again in the 3d c., being probably then free of Pharsalos, and was important in the post-196 B.C. Thessalian League (Hdt. 7.173, 197; Strab. 9.432, 433; Steph. Byz. s. v.; Dem. 19.36, 163; 11.1).

There are city walls above the coastal plain on a spur projecting N from a N peak (Haghios Elias) of Mt. Othrys. On a peak (208 m) near the end of the spur are the walls of a small round fort of Cyclopean masonry, 2 m thick. Around this peak and around the end of the spur to the NE are Classical walls, built of rectangular and trapezoidal blocks of irregular heights, preserved in places to two courses high. There were towers irregularly spaced along the circuit. The NE end of the circuit is missing. A wall of polygonal masonry runs N from the circuit wall down towards the plain, and one of rectangular blocks down to the E, but the ends of these walls cannot be seen. Leake thought they joined the city walls on the hill with those in the plain (see below). The walls on the hill are probably of the 4th c. B.C. No remains of buildings are visible within this circuit.

At the N foot of the spur is a copious, brackish spring (Kephalosis). In the plain five minutes E of the spring are city walls in the form of a rectangle, 750 x 710 m, aligned roughly N-S. The walls are of good Hellenistic masonry, double faced and stone filled, the faces constructed of heavy, rough-faced rectangular blocks laid in regular courses. The wall is some 3 m thick, and had 15 square projecting towers on a side, not including the tower at every corner. The E wall and much of the N is missing; the W and S walls are in good shape, preserved to two to three courses high (1924). There are no gates in the W side; the S and N sides each had a gate flanked by towers and small portals (one? in the N, two in the S). The stream from the spring Kephalosis flows by the N wall and may be the ancient river Amphrysos referred to by Strabo (9.433) as being in this position, although elsewhere he says it flows through the middle of the plain (Krokion), a position better described by the modern Platanos river. The area inside the walls is thick with sherds, and, according to Leake, foundations of buildings. The ruins on the hill are probably those of the Halos of the Trojan War (Il. 2.282), taken in 346 B.C.; the walls in the plain, those of a refounding of the city, possibly connected with Demetrios Poliorketes' activities in Thessaly.

In the plain to the NE of the acropolis, N of the Kephalosis stream, are several tumuli. One of these was excavated in 1912 and contained burials of the Geometric period. NE of the city, on the shore by Paralia 2 hours SE of Halmyros, were visible, according to Vollgraff in 1906, the scanty ruins of a large building of the Classical period within a rectangular temenos wall, apparently a temple belonging to Halos. A brief trial excavation turned up black-glazed sherds.


N. I. Giannopoulos, Τὰ Φθιωτικά (1891) 50ff; id., ArchEph (1925-26) 183ffI (bronze 8th c. B.C. statuette of Zeus Laphystios?); F. Stiihlin, AM 31 (1906) 23-27MI; id., RE (1912) s.v. Halos; id., Das Hellenische Thessalien (1924) 177-80P; BCH 48 (1924) 483; W. Vollgraff, BSA 14 (1907-8) 225; A.J.B. Wace & M. S. Thompson, “Excavations at Halos,” BSA 18 (1911-12) 1-30I; G. Bendinelli, RFC 33 (1955) 294-300 (gold medallion supposed to have come from the site); H. Biesantz, Die Thessalischen Grabreliefs (1965) 135, 138I (4th c. B.C. Artemis torso, bronze Zeus).


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