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CA´PHYAE (Καφύαι: Eth.Καφυάτης, Eth. Καφυεύς), a town of Arcadia situated in a small plain, NW. of the lake of Orchomenus. It was protected against inundations from this lake by a mound or dyke, raised by the inhabitants of Caphyae. The city is said to have been founded by Cepheus, the son of Aleus, and pretended to be of Athenian origin. (Paus. 8.23.2; Strab. xiii. p.608.) Caphyae subsequently belonged to the Achaean league, and was one of the cities of the league, of which Cleomenes obtained possession. (Pol. 2.52.) In its neighbourhood a great battle was fought in B.C. 220, in which the Aetolians, gained a decisive victory over the Achaeans and Aratus. (Pol. 4.11, seq.) The name of Caphyae also occurs in the subsequent events of this war. (Pol. 4.68, 70.) Strabo (viii. p.388) speaks of the town as in ruins in his time; but it still contained some temples when visited by Pausanias (l.c.). The remains of the walls of Caphyae are visible upon a small insulated height at the village of Khotússa, which stands near the edge of the lake. Polybius, in his description of the battle of Caphyae, refers “to a plain in front of Caphyae, traversed by a river, beyond which were trenches (τάφροι), a description of the place which does not correspond with present appearances. The τάφροι were evidently ditches for the purpose of draining the marshy plain, by conducting the water towards the katavóthra, around which there was, probably, a small lake. In the time of Pausanias we find that the lake covered the greater part of the plain; and that exactly in the situation in which Polybius describes the ditches, there was a mound of earth. Nothing is more probable than that during the four centuries so fatal to the prosperity of Greece, which elapsed between the battle of Caphyae and the visit of Pausanias, a diminution of population should have caused a neglect of the drainage which had formerly ensured the cultivation of the whole plain, and that in the time of the Roman empire an embankment of earth had been thrown up to preserve the part nearest to Caphyae, leaving the rest uncultivated and marshy. At present, if there are remains of the embankment, which I did not perceive, it does not prevent any of the land from being submerged during several months, for the water now extends very nearly to the site of Caphyae.” (Leake.)

Pausanias says that on the inner side of the embankment there flows a river, which, descending into a chasm of the earth, issues again at a place called NASI (Νάσοι); and that the name of the village where it issues is named RHEUNUS (Ῥεῦνος). From this place it forms the perennial river TRAGUS (Τράγος). He also speaks of a mountain in the neighbourhood of the city named CNACALUS (Κνάκαλος), on which the inhabitants celebrate a yearly festival to Artemis Cnacalesia. Leake remarks that the mountain above Khotússa, now called Kastaniá, seems to be the ancient Cnacalus. The river Tara is probably the ancient Tragus. (Leake, Morea, vol. iii. p. 118, seq., Peloponnesiaca, p. 226; Boblaye, Recherches, p. 150.)

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