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LEONTION Peloponnesos, Greece.

It is located in Achaia at the N foot of Erymanthos (Olonos), ca. 3 km from the modern village of Vlasia, at the 51st km on the Patras-Kalavryta road. It lies on a hill (present Kastritsi) 750-800 m above sea level, flanked by two parallel ravines to the E and NW. This site commands the roads from Aigion to Psophisa and from Patras to Kleitoria. The ruins, which were already known to 19th c. travelers, were investigated in 1954, 1957, and 1958.

The walls of Leontion, carelessly made of local limestone in polygonal masonry (beginning of the 3d c. B.C.) are preserved along most of their length in the lower layers, and to some height particularly along the NW side. They are strengthened at intervals by several rectangular towers and one semicircular one. In one of the gates, which was excavated with a section of wall, the carbonized remains of the wooden door leaves were found together with the metal sheathing of iron plates and iron nails with wide, disk-shaped heads. In the stone of the threshold were found the bronze sockets for the door pivots. These are, with the rest of the finds, in the Patras Museum. Inside the walls are preserved a number of terrace walls, the foundations of several monumental buildings, a temple (?), a small theater, and numerous house remains. Most of the pottery sherds were Classical and Hellenistic, but some archaic and prehistoric pottery was also found.

The best preserved building, the theater, touches the N corner of the wall. The lower part of the cavea was partially dug from the living rock and partly built up of hewn blocks. The walls of the parodos and scene building are preserved to a height of 1.50 m. The theater must be dated to the end of the 4th c. B.C. In the area of the ancient city were found tombs of the Roman period, which, with the carbonized door excavated in the gate, show that the city was destroyed in the Hellenistic period and was thereafter used as a cemetery. The settlement seems to have moved a little to the S where evidences of its existence have long been known. Leontion may have been destroyed in 217 B.C. by the Aitolians when, as allies of the Eleians, they invaded and plundered Achaia (Polyb. 5.94). In Classical times Leontion was not independent, but probably belonged in the territory of Rhypai. It seems to have become autonomous only in the Hellenistic period, and was a member of the Achaian League (Polyb. 2.41.8). In 275 B.C. Antigonos Gonatas refounded the city (Strab. 8.7.5, p. 388).


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Duhm, AthMitt (1878) 70ff; M. F. Bölte, “Leontion in Achaia,” AthMitt 50 (1925) 71ffM; id., RE Suppl. IX 390, s.v.; E. Meyer, Peloponnesische Wanderungen (1939) 111ffMPI; id. in KI. Pauly (1969) s.v.; Reports in BCH 79 (1955) 252; 82 (1958) 725; 83 (1959) 620; in AJA 62 (1958) 323.

N. YALOURIS

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