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NW of Thespiai, a fortified post in the Valley of the Muses N of Mt. Helikon. About the middle of the 6th c. B.C. the Thespians withdrew to the site at the time of the Thessalian invasion; the victory of the Boiotians liberated Greece. After the battle of Leuktra (371 B.C.) the Thespians again took refuge in Keressos, which Epaminondas succeeded in capturing. There is no further mention of the site.

Keressos has been placed, variously, on the hill of Erimokastro immediately above Thespiai (Ulrichs), in the village of Neochori 4 km W of Thespiai (Leake, Boelte), on Mt. Marandali above Neochori (Fimmen) and even on the hill of Listi, 2 km N of Mavromati (Buck). It is most commonly identified with the limestone hill of Palaeopyrgos (493 m) ca. 2 km NW of Palaeopanagia, at the entrance to the Valley of the Muses. On top of this hill is a ruined mediaeval tower; the W slope of the hill bears traces of mediaeval houses. However, this hill with its gentle, never steep slopes is not a natural fortress; there are no traces of ancient buildings, and the few potsherds that have been found are late Roman or Byzantine (author's observations). Perhaps the fortress should be placed on the “mountain of Askra,” which has a 4th c. fort on its summit; this steep, strongly fortified hilltop could have served as an acropolis retreat to the citizens of Askra as well as to the inhabitants of the Valley of the Muses and Thespiai. The abandonment of the site would account for Pausanias' and Plutarch's silence on the subject of Keressos, according to Papahadjis.


Paus. 9.14.2-3; Plut. Cam. 19; W. M. Leake, Nor. Gr. (1835) II 500; A. Conze, Philol. 19 (1863) 181M; P. Decharme, ArchMiss 2d sér. IV (1867) 174; J. G. Frazer, Paus. Des. Gr. (1898) V 53-54; D. Fimmen in NJbb (1912) 529; Bölte in RE (1921), s.v. Keressos; G. Roux in BCH 78 (1954) 22; E. Kirsten & W. Kraiker, Griechenlandkunde5 (1967) 238; N. Papahadjis, Pausaniou Hellados Periegesis V (1969) 95, n. 3; 166-67; 172, n. 2MI; R. J. Buck, Proceedings of the Ist lnternational Conference on Boiotian Antiquities, Montreal 1972 (Teiresias, Suppl. I) 31-40M.


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