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Olynthus

Ὄλυνθος). A town of Chalcidicé, at the head of the Toronaic Gulf, and the most important of the Greek cities on the coast of Macedonia. It was at the head of a confederacy of all the Greek towns in its neighbourhood, and maintained its independence, except for a short interval, when it was subject to Sparta (379-375), till it was taken and destroyed by Philip, B.C. 347. The Olynthiac orations of Demosthenes were delivered by the orator to urge the Athenians to send assistance to the city when it was attacked by Philip. When the supremacy of Sparta was destroyed by the Thebans, Olynthus recovered its independence, and even received an accession of power from Philip, who was anxious to make Olynthus a counterpoise to the influence of Athens in the north of the Aegean. With this view Philip gave Olynthus the territory of Potidaea, after he had wrested this town from the Athenians in 356. But when he had sufficiently consolidated his power to be able to set at defiance both Olynthus and Athens, he threw off the mask, and laid siege to the former city. The Olynthians earnestly besought Athens for assistance, and were warmly supported by Demosthenes in his Olynthiac orations; but as the Athenians did not render the city any effectual assistance, it was taken and destroyed by Philip, and all its inhabitants sold as slaves (347 B.C.). Olynthus was never restored. Olynthus used the town of Mecyberna as its port. See Demosthenes; Philippus.

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