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OINOE (Myoupolis) Attica, Greece.

There are two Attic demes of this name.

1) The site of one presents little difficulty. Belonging first to the Aiantis tribe then later to the tribes of Attala and Hadrian (Imperial period), it is situated in the Marathon Plain 4 km W of the village of the same name and S of the stream known as Charadra. On the N slope of the acropolis is the grotto of Pan and the nymphs described by Pausanias (1.32.7). Nearby is a copious spring, known as Kephalari or Ninoe (whence the popular local name Ninoi). The deme formed part of the tetrapolis along with Marathon, Probalinthos, and Trikorynthos (Strab. 8.7.1).

2) The second deme belonged to the tribe Hippothontis, later to the tribe Ptolemais; its site is still disputed. It is probably somewhere along the boundary between Attica and Boiotia, in the NW part of Attica.

Herodotos (5.74) writes that in 507 Kleomenes, king of Sparta, eager to take revenge on the Athenian people and to set up Isagoras as a despot, “invaded the territory of Eleusis, while the Boiotians, as had been agreed with him, seized Oinoe and Hysini, demes on the borders of Attica.” When Euboia revolted in 446, Pericles learned that Megara had defected. The Peloponnesians made ready to invade Attica and the Athenian garrisons were massacred by the Megarians, except for one which had taken refuge in Nisaia (Thuc. 1.114). The Peloponnesians invaded Attica, penetrating as far as Eleusis and Thria: this was not only the direct route, blocking the passage from Pagai to Athens, but also the shortest, as it went through Panakton and Eleutheres as well as Oinoe. Finally, when war broke out, Thucydides (2.18) shows King Archidamos invading Attica by way of Oinoe, the first point of contact between the Peloponnese and Attica—which is unexpected, to say the least, seeing that the direct route went through Megara and Eleusis and along the coast. Thucydides notes unmistakably: “Oinoe, which is on the frontier of Attica and Boiotia, was in fact fortified, and Athens used it as an advance post in time of war. They therefore organized these assaults and, in this way among others, lingered there” (Thuc. 2.18.2). “The Athenians, as is well known, took advantage of this delay to carry all their possessions in to safety, and the Peloponnesians grew impatient at this period of waiting imposed on them by their king, Archidamos.” In spite of the pessimism of one scholar: “Its site is uncertain; for we have no specific archaeological evidence, and the literary evidence is vague,” this important text allows us to select a site from those that have been suggested. Oinoe is clearly in the region of Boiotia and Attica, belonging now to one, now to the other (Strab. 9.2.31). Myoupolis, slightly E of Eleutheres, meets the topographical qualifications and possesses some notable ruins; it seems likely to be the site of Oinoe.


1) G. J. Frazer, Pausanias II (1898) 438-39; Philippson, Gr. Landschaften I, 3 (1952) 787; J. Wiesner, RE Suppltbd. 8 (1956) s.v.; R. Hope Simpson, A Gazetteer and Atlas of Mycenaean Sites (1965) 108-9, no. 379; W. K. Pritchett, Studies in Ancient Greek Topography I (1965) 83-88; II (1969) 9-11 and map p. 10, fig. 1; J. R. McCredie, Hesperia Suppl. 11 (1966) 37 n. 58.

2) Frazer 517; L. Chandler, JHS 44 (1926) 8-9, 15, figs. 4-5; Wrede, AthMitt (1933) 25; A. W. Gomme, A hist. Comm. to Thuc. I (1945) 341; 11 (1956) 66-69; III (1956)MP; Philippson I, 2 (1950) 525-26 (site of Mazi); I, 3, 975-76; W. Wallace, Phoenix Suppl. 1 (1952) 80-84; N.G.L. Hammond, BSA 44 (1954) 103-22 esp. 120-22MIP; J. de Romilly, ed. & trans. Thuc. (1962); id., REA 64 (1962) 287-98; E. Meyer, Der kleine Pauly (1970) s.v. Oinoe, 3.


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