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KONTOPOREIA Corinthia, Greece.

One of the most important passes leading S from the Corinthia (Polyb. 16.16.4-5). Ptolemy Euergetes recorded that he drank from a spring “colder than snow” at the top of the pass although his soldiers were afraid of being frozen if they drank from it (Ptol. apud Athenaeus: FGrH 234 F6). The road through the pass, which connected Argolis and the Corinthia, was evidently steep in parts since the Κοντοπορεῖα (“staff-road”) implies that a walking staff would be useful.

The Kontoporeia has been identified by most commentators as the pass of Haghionorion which leads S from ancient Tenea, but that route is in no part steep. The Kontoporeia is more likely the track that ascends a narrow gorge under the walls of the Frankish castle of Haghios Vasileios to the W of the pass of Hagionorion. At the top of the pass is the spring of Kephalari whose copious waters are cold even in midsummer. Near the spring is a polygonal tower and the ruined walls of what was probably a small military station or border post in the 5th-4th c. B.C. The route S descends from the spring to Mycenae and the Argive plain.


Geiger, RE XI (1922) 1343-44, s.v. Kontoporeia; J. R. Wiseman, The Land of the Ancient Corinthians (forthcoming).


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