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PHILIA Thessaly, Greece.

A small town in ancient Thessaliotis, on the right bank of the river Sophaditikos (probably ancient Kuarios, Kuralios). It is the site of a recent excavation (1963-67) of a Sanctuary of Athena, probably the Sanctuary of Athena Itonias mentioned by Strabo (9.438). Few architectural remains were found, the most notable being the remains (column drums and architectural fragments) of a stoa (?) of the Hellenistic period, remains of Roman walls, and the foundations and mosaic floor of a room of a 2d c. A.D. building. Architectural remains from the Geometric through Classical periods were virtually nil, leading the excavators to conjecture an open air shrine. Sherds of the Mycenaean through Roman periods were found in considerable quantity. The objects of most interest were a large number of offerings including Mycenaean terracottas, Geometric bronzes similar to those from Pherai: pins, fibulas, birds on openwork stands, human and animal figures, and archaic terracotta figurines, some pieces of ivory and gold, and iron weapons. A marble head of a kouros (early 5th c.) has been found, and earlier a bronze statuette of Perseus of the same period.

The temple is thought to have belonged to Kierion, the old chief city of Thessaliotis, identified in antiquity with Arne, the former capital of the Boiotoi (Steph. Byz. s.v. Ἄρνη). Kierion is most probably identified as an ancient site on a conspicuous hill by the river in the plain near the river Sophaditikos by the S mahala (quarter) of Mataranga, over 12 km N (downstream) of Philia. Remains of a wall circuit (Mycenaean?) are to be seen around the top of the hill, and ancient sherds, tiles, etc. are to be found in the plain below.


W. M. Leake, Nor. Gr. (1835) IV 497-500 (Kierion); F. Stählin, Das hellenische Thessalien (1924) 131 (Kierion); N. I. Giannopoulos, ArchEph (1925-26) 187ff (Perseus)I; V. Milojćić, AA (1955) 229-31; (1960) 168I (Kierion); D. Theocharis, Deltion 18 (1963) chron. 134; 19 (1964) chron. 244-49PI; 20 (1965) chron. 311-13I; 22 (1967) chron. 295fI.


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