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GORTYS or KORTYS (e.g. Hesychius) Arkadia, Greece.

An ancient city of Kynouria, lay on the banks of the Gortynios river, ca. 7 km N of presentday Eliniko. Little is known of the history of the place. After the founding of Megalopolis (Paus. 8.27.3) Gortys had to give up some of its population, and sank to the status of a village. It nonetheless had enough power, and was prestigious enough, to build its imposing fortifications and to hire Skopas to do the sculpture for one of the two Asklepios temples. Later a member of the Achaian League, it was no more than a village in Pausanias' day (8.28.1).

After crossing a bridge to the W side of the river, one finds one's self in a Sanctuary of Asklepios. The sanctuary included a large temple (23.6 x 13.2 m) with pronaos but no opisthodomos. The building dates from the 4th c., and if the marble fragments of Doric columns found in the vicinity belong, this was the temple for which Skopas did the sculpture. To the S on the banks of a ravine, and partially destroyed by the ravine, are the remains of a smaller temple. Nearby there are also the remains of a bathing establishment with hypocausts and pool. The structure was first built in the 4th c. B.C. on the plan of a large house around a court containing a large bathing pool. The second stage of the building, with hypocausts, dates from the first half of the 3d c. To the S of the ravine are the remains of a portico and a watch tower. About 40 m SE of the portico, across a second ravine, are remains of houses in use from the 4th c. B.C. to the 1st or 2d A.D.

Following the course of the river S, one comes upon the acropolis of Gortys. There are two sections, completely separate and distinct from each other: a N acropolis and a S fortress. The acropolis runs SE-NW for ca. 425 m, and varies in width between 100 and 160 m. There are three gates preserved, and five round towers, these latter in the W corner, the best preserved portion. The N-NE section had no towers, but was built with a more or less saw-toothed design. This portion of the walls seems to be of 4th-3d c. date, while the rest of the circuit is earlier 4th c. The S fortress, on the high banks of the Gortynius, has square towers, and seems later, possibly 3d c. It seems that the two fortifications did not coexist, and that the blocks of the S fort may well have come from the SE wall of the acropolis, no trace of which is to be found today.

To the SW of the S fortification there are the remains of still another Sanctuary of Asklepios, also inscriptionally assured. The sanctuary contained the foundations of a temple (27.09 x 13.5 m) of 5th-4th c. date, a bath, and an adyton. A deposit of military-related equipment was also found in the sanctuary.


J. G. Frazer, Paus. Des. Gr. (1898) IV 307-11; Reports in BCH 64-65 (1940-41) 274-86; 66-67 (1942-43) 334-39; 71-72 (1947-48) 81-147 (walls)MPI; 75 (1951) 130-34; 76 (1952) 245-49; 77 (1953) 263-71; 79 (1955) 130-34; 80 (1956) 399-406; R. Ginouvès, L'établissement thermal de Gortys d'Arcadie (1959)PI; F. W. Winter, Greek Fortifications (1971) passim.


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