: Eth. Μυκαλήσσιος
), an ancient town of Boeotia, mentioned by Homer. (Il. 2.498
, Hymn. Apoll.
It was said to have been so called, because the cow, which was guiding Cadmus and his comrades to Thebes, lowed (ἐμυκήσατο
) in this place. (Paus. 9.19.4
.) In B.C. 413, some Thracians, whom the Athenians were sending home to their own country, were landed on the Euripus, and surprised Mycalessus. They not only sacked the town, but put all the inhabitants to the sword, not sparing even the women and children. Thucydides says that this was one of the greatest calamities that had ever befallen any city. (Thuc. 7.29
; Paus. 1.23.3
.) Strabo (ix. p.404
) calls Mycalessus a village in the territory of Tanagra, and places it upon the road from Thebes to Chalcis.
In the time of Pausanias it had ceased to exist; and this writer saw the ruins of Harma and Mycalessus on his road to Chalcis. (Paus. 9.19.4
.) Pausanias mentions a temple of Demeter Mycalessia, standing in the territory of the city upon the sea-coast, and situated to the right of the Euripus, by which he evidently meant south of the strait.
The only other indication of the position of Mycalessus is the statement of Thucydides (l.c.
), that it was 16 stadia distant from the Hermaeum, which was on the sea-shore near the Euripus.
It is evident from these accounts, that Mycalessus stood near the Euripus; and Leake places it, with great probability, upon the height immediately above the southern bay of Égripo,
where the ruined walls of an ancient city still remain. (Northern Greece,
vol. ii. pp. 249, seq., 264.)
It is true, as Leake remarks, that this position does not agree with the statement of Strabo, that Mycalessus was on the road from Thebes to Chalcis, since the above-mentioned ruins are nearly two miles to the right of that road; but Strabo writes loosely of places which he had never seen. Mycalessus is also mentioned in Strab. ix. pp. 405, 410; Paus. 4.7. s. 12