in insc. and coins, Ἐρχομενός
, Eth. Ἐρχομένιος
), usually called the MINYEAN ORCHOMENUS (Ὀρχομενὸς Μινύειος,
Hom. Il. 2.511
; Thuc. 4.76
; Strab. ix. p.414
), a city in the north of Boeotia, and in ante-historical times the capital of the powerful kingdom of the Minyae.
This people, according to tradition, seem to have come originally from Thessaly. We read of a town Minya in Thessaly (Steph. B. sub voce Μινύα
), and also of a Thessalian Orchomenus Minyeus. (Plin. Nat. 4.8. s. 15
The first king of the Boeotian Orchomenus is said to have been Andreus, a son of the Thessalian river Peneius, from whom the country was called Andreis. (Paus. 9.34.6
; οἱ Ὀρχομένιοι ἀποικοί ἐ̂σι Θεσσαλῶν,
Schol. ad Apoll. Rhod.
2.1190.) Andreus assigned part of his territory to the Aetolian Athamas, who adopted two of the grandchildren of his brother Sisyphus: they gave their names to Haliartus and Coroneia. Andreus was succeeded in the other part of his territory by his son Eteocles, who was the first to worship the Charites (Graces)) in Greece. Upon the death of Eteocles the sovereignty devolved upon the family of Halmus or Almus, a son of Sisyphus. (Paus. 9.34.7
.) Halmus had two daughters, Chryse and Chrysogeneia. Chryse by the god Ares became the mother of Phlegyas, who succeeded the childless Eteocles, and called the country Phlegyantis after himself.
He also gave his name to the fierce and sacrilegious race of the Phlegyae, who separated themselves from the other Orchomenians, and attempted to plunder the temple of Delphi. They were however all destroyed by the god, with the exception of a few who fled into Phocis. Phlegyas died without children, and was succeeded by Chryses, the son of Chrysogeneia by the god Poseidon. Chryses was the father of the wealthy Minyas, who built the treasury, and who gave his name to the Minyan race. Minyas was succeeded by his son Orchomenus, after whom the city was named. (Paus. 9.36
. § § 1-6.) Some modern scholars have supposed that the Minyae were Aeolians (Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece,
vol. i. p. 91); but as they disappeared before the historical period, it is impossible to predicate anything certain respecting them.
There is, however, a concurrence of tradition to the fact, that Orchomenus was in the earliest times not only the chief city of Boeotia, but one of the most powerful and wealthy cities of Greece.
It has been observed that the genealogy of Orchomenus glitters with names which express the traditional opinion of his unbounded wealth (Chryses, Chrysogeneia). Homer even compares the treasures which flowed into the city to those of the Egyptian Thebes (Il..
9.381; comp. Eustath. l.c.
) It would seem that at an early period Orchomenus ruled over [p. 2.488]
the whole of Northern Boeotia; and that even Thebes was for a time compelled to pay tribute to Erginus, king of Orchomenus. From this tribute, however, the Thebans were delivered by Hercules, who made war upon Orchomenus, and greatly reduced its power. (Paus. 9.37.2
; Strab. ix. p.414
; Diod. 4.18
In the Homeric catalogue Orchomenus is mentioned along with Aspledon, but distinct from the other Boeotian towns, and as sending 30 ships to the Trojan War (Il. 2.511
). Sixty years after the Trojan War, according to the received chronology, the sovereignty of the Minyae seems to have been overthrown by the Boeotian immigrants from Thessaly; and Orchomenus became a member of the Boeotian confederacy. (Strab. ix. p.401
; comp. Thuc. 1.12
The city now ceased to be the Minyeian and became the Boeotian Orchomenus (Thuc. 4.76
); but it still remained a powerful state, and throughout the whole historical period was second only to Thebes in the Boeotian confederacy.
The town of Chaeroneia appears to have been always one of its dependencies. (Thuc. 4.76
In the Persian War Orchomenus, together with the other Boeotian towns, with the exception of Thespiae and Plataeae, deserted the cause of Grecian independence. Orchomenus possessed an aristocratical government, and continued on friendly terms with Thebes, as long as the aristocratical party in the latter city had the direction of public affairs.
But when, after the close of the Peloponnesian War, a revolution placed the government of Thebes in the hands of the democracy, Orchomenus became opposed to Thebes. Accordingly, when war broke out between Sparta and Thebes, and Lysander invaded Boeotia in B.C. 395, Orchomenus revolted from Thebes, and sent troops to assist Lysander in his siege of Haliartus (Plut. Lys. 28
; Xen. Hell. 3.5. 6
, seq.; Diod. 14.81
; Corn. Nepos, Lys. 3
In the following year (B.C. 394), when all the other Boeotians joined the Thebans and Athenians at the battle of Coroneia, the Orchomenians fought in the army of Agesilaus, who arrayed them against the Thebans. (Xen. Hell. 4.3. 15
It was now the object of the Spartans to deprive Thebes of her supremacy over the Boeotian cities.
This they effected by the peace of Antalcidas, B.C. 387, by which Thebes was obliged :to acknowledge the independence of Orchomenus and of the cities of Boeotia. (Xen. Hell. 5.1. 31
) The battle of Leuctra (B.C. 371) changed the position of:affairs, and made Thebes .the undisputed master of Boeotia. Orchomenus was now at the mercy of the Thebans, who were anxious to destroy the city, and reduce the inhabitants to slavery. Epaminondas, however, dissuaded them from carrying their wishes into effect, and induced them to pardon Orchomenus, and readmit it as a member of the Boeotian confederation. (Diod. 15.57
.) The Thebans appear to have yielded with reluctance to the generous advice of Epaminondas; and they took advantage of his absence in Thessaly, in B.C. 368, to carry their original design into effect.
The pretext was that the 300 knights at Orchomenus had entered into a conspiracy with some Theban exiles to overthrow the democratical constitution of Thebes.
It is not improbable that the whole story was a fiction; but the Thebans eagerly listened to the accusation, condemned the 300 Orchomenians, and decreed that the city should be destroyed. A Theban army was immediately sent against it, which burnt it to the ground, put all the male inhabitants to the sword, and sold all the women and children into slavery. (Diod. 15.79
; Paus. 9.15.3
This atrocious act of vengeance remained as an indelible stigma upon the Theban character (Dem. c. Leptin.
Orchomenus remained a long time in ruins, though the Athenians were anxious for its restoration, for the purpose of humbling Thebes. (Dem. Megal.
pp. 203, 208.)
It appears to have been rebuilt during the Phocian War, when the Phocians endeavoured to expel the Thebans from the northern parts of Boeotia. In B.C. 353 we find the Phocian leader Onomarchus in possession of Orchomenus and Coroneia (Diod. 16.33
); and in the following year Phayllus was defeated in the neighbourhood of these towns. (Diod. 16.37
.) Orchomenus, Coroneia, and Corsiae were the three fortified places in Boeotia, which the Phocians had in their power (Diod. 16.58
); and from which they made their devastating inroads into the other parts of Boeotia. On the conclusion of the Sacred War, B.C. 346, Orchomenus was given by Philip to its implacable enemy the Thebans, who, under Philip's eyes, destroyed the city a second time, and sold all its inhabitants as slaves. (Aesch. de Fals. Leg.
p. 309; Dem. Phil.
ii. p. 69, de Pace,
p. 62, de Fals. Leg.
It did not, however, remain long in ruins; for after the defeat of the Thebans and Athenians at the battle of Chaeroneia, B.C. 338, it was rebuilt by Philip's order (Paus. 4.27.10
; according to Arrian, Arr. Anab. 1.9
, it was rebuilt by Alexander the Great after the destruction of Thebes). From this time the name of Orchomenus is seldom mentioned in history Under the Romans it shared the common fate of the Boeotian towns, all of which were, in Strabo's time, only ruins and names, with the exception of Thespiae and Tanagra.
Orchomenus was famous for the worship of the Charites or Graces, and for the festival in their honour, celebrated with musical contests, in which poets and musicians from :all parts of Greece took part. Hence Pindar calls Orchomenus the city of the Charites (Pyth.
12.45), and Theocritus describes them as the goddesses who love the Minyeian Orchomenus (16.104).
An ancient inscription records the names of the victors in this festival of the Charites. (Müller, Orchomenos,
p. 172, seq.) Pindar's fourteenth Olympic ode, which was written to commemorate the victory of Asopichus, an Orchomenian, is in reality a hymn in honour of these goddesses, and was probably sung in their temple.
It was in the marshes in the neighbourhood of Orchomenus that the auletic or flute-reeds grew, which exercised an important influence upon the development of Greek music. [See Vol. I. p. 414b.]
The ruins of Orchomenus are to be seen near the village of Skripú.
The city stood at the edge of the marshes of the Copaic lake, and occupied the triangular face of a steep mountain. The Cephissus “winds like a serpent” round the southern base of the mountain (δι᾽ Ὀρχομενοῦ εἰλιγμένος εἶσι, δράκων ὥς,
Hes. ap. Strab. ix. p.424
At its northern base are the sources of the river Melas. [See Vol. I. p. 413a.] Leake observes that the “upper part of the hill, forming a very acute angle, was fortified differently from the customary modes. Instead of a considerable portion of it having been enclosed to form an acropolis, there is only a small castle on the summit, having a long narrow approach to it from the body of the town, between walls which, for the last 200 yards, are almost parallel, and not more than 20 or 30 yards asunder. Below this approach to thea citadel the breadth of the hill gradually [p. 2.489]
widens, and in the lowest part of the town the enclosed space is nearly square.
It is defended on the lowest side by a wall, which crossed the slope of the hill along the crest of a ledge of rock, which there forms a division in the slope.
In this wall, which is at three-fourths of the distance from the castle to the monastery, there are some foundations of the gate which formed the lower entrance into the city; and on the outside are many large masses of wrought stone, the remains, apparently, of some temple or other public building.
The southern wall of the city, which follows a line parallel to the Cephissus, is traceable, with scarcely any intermission, through a distance of three-quarters of a mile; and in many places several courses of masonry are still extant.
The wall derives its flank defence from square towers, placed for the most part at long intervals, with an intermediate short flank or break, in the line of wall.
In a few places the masonry is of a very early age, but in general it is of the third kind, or almost regular.” The former belongs to the earlier Orchomenus, the latter to the later city, and dates from the time of its restoration either by Philip or the Phocians. “Towards the middle of the northern side the hill of Orchomenus is most precipitous, and here the walls are not traceable.
The circumference of the whole was about 2 miles.
The citadel occupies a rock about 40 yards. in diameter, and seems to have been an irregular hexagon; but three sides only remain, no foundations being visible on the eastern half of the rock.
At the northern angle are the ruins of a tower, and parallel to the north-western side there is a ditch cut in the rock, beyond which are some traces of an outwork.
The hill is commanded by the neighbouring part of Mount Acontium, but not at such a distance as to have been of importance in ancient warfare.
The access to the castle from the city was first by an oblique flight of 44 steps, 6 feet wide, and cut out of the rock; and then by a direct flight of 50 steps of the same kind.”
|PLAN OF ORCHOMENUS.
- A A. The Cephissus.
- B B. The Melas.
- C. Mount Acontium.
- D. Orchomenus.
- 1. The Acropolis.
- 2. Treasury of Minyas.
- 3. Monastery.
- 4. Village of Skripú.
- a a. Road from Livadhía.
- b b. Road to Tálanda.
The monuments, which Pausanias noticed at Orchomenus, were temples of Dionysus and the Charites,--of which the latter was a very ancient building,--a fountain, to which there was a descent, the treasury of Minyas, tombs of Minyas and Hesiod, and a brazen figure bound by a chain of iron to a rock, which was said to be the ghost of Actaeon. Seven stadia from the town, at the sources of the river Melas, was a temple of Hercules. The Treasury of Atreus was a circular building rising to a summit not very pointed, but terminating in a stone, which was said to hold together the entire building. (Paus. 9.38
.) Pausanias expresses his admiration of this building, and says there was nothing more wonderful either in Greece or in any other country.
The remains of the treasury still exist at the eastern extremity of the hill towards the lake, in front of the monastery.
It was a building similar to the Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae.
It was a circular vault of massive masonry embedded in the hill, with an arched roof, surmounted probably by a tumulus.
The whole of the stone-work of the vault has now disappeared, but its form is vouched for by the circular cavity of the ground and by the description of Pausanias.
It had a side-door of entrance, which is still entire, though completely embedded in earth up to the base of the architrave.
There were probably two great slabs in the architrave, as at Mycenae, though one only is left, which is of white marble, and of which the size, according to Leake, is 16 feet in its greatest length, 8 in its greatest breadth, and 3 feet 2 1/2 inches in thickness.
The diameter of the vault seems to have been about 41 feet. Respecting the origin and destination of this, and other buildings of the same class, some remarks are made under MYCENAE. [Vol. II. p. 383.] Strabo remarks (ix. p. 416) that the Orchomenus of his time was supposed to stand on a different site from the more ancient city, the inundations of the lake having forced the inhabitants to retire from the plain towards Mt. Acontium, And Leake observes, that this seems to accord with the position of the treasury on the outside of the existing walls, since it can hardly have been placed there originally.
The acropolis, however, must always have stood upon the hill; but it is probable, that the city in the height of its power extended to the Cephissus.
|COIN OF ORCHOMENUS.|
The monastery of Skripú,
which stands about midway between the treasury and the river, probably occupies the site of the temple of the Charites; for the pedestal of a tripod dedicated to the Charites, which is now in the church, was found in an excavation made upon the spot. Some very ancient inscriptions, of which two are now in the British Museum, were found in the church of the monastery. They are in the Orchomenian-Aeolic dialect, in which the digamma was used. (K. O. Müller, Orchomenos und die Minyer,
Breslau, 1844, 2nd ed.; Dodwell, Classical Tour,
vol. i. p. 227, seq.; Leake, Northern Greece,
vol. ii. p. 144, seq.; Mure, Tour [p. 2.490]in Greece,
vol. i. p. 223, seq.; Ulrichs, Reisen in Griechenland,
p. 178, seq.)
An ancient city of Arcadia, called by Thucydides (5.61
) the ARCADIAN (ὁ Ἀρκαδικός
), to distinguish it from the Boeotian town.
It was situated in a plain surrounded on every side by mountains.
This plain was bounded on the S. by a low range of hills, called Anchisia, which separated it from the territory of Mantineia; on the N. by a lofty chain, called Oligyrtus, through which lie the passes into the territories of Pheneus and Stymphalus; and on the E. and W. by two parallel chains running from N. to S., which bore no specific name in antiquity: the eastern range is in one part 5400 feet high, and the western about 4000 feet.
The plain is divided into two by hills projecting on either side from the eastern and western ranges, and which approach so close as to allow space for only a narrow ravine between them.
The western hill, on account of its rough and rugged form, was called Trachy (Τραχύ
) in antiquity; upon the summit of the western mountain stood the acropolis of Orchomenus.
The northern plain is lower than the southern; the waters of the latter run through the ravine between Mount Trachy and that upon which Orchomenus stands into the northern plain, where, as there is no outlet for the waters, they form a considerable lake. (Paus. 8.13.4
The acropolis of Orchomenus, stood upon a lofty, steep, and insulated hill, nearly 3000 feet high, resembling the strong fortress of the Messenian Ithome, and, like the latter, commanding two plains. [See Vol. II. p. 338.] From its situation and its legendary history, we may conclude that it was one of the most powerful cities of Arcadia in early times. Pausanias relates that Orchomenus was founded by an eponymous hero, the son of Lycaon (8.3.3); but there was a tradition that, on the death of Areas, his dominions were divided among his three sons, of whom Elatus obtained Orchomenus as his portion. (Schol. ad. Dionys. Per.
The kings of Orchomenus are said to have ruled over nearly all Arcadia. (Heraclid. Pont. ap. Diog. Laert. 1.94.) Pausanias also gives a list of the kings of Orchomenus, whom he represents at the same time as kings of Arcadia. One of these kings, Aristocrates, the son of Aechmis, was stoned to death by his people for violating the virgin priestess of Artemis Hymnia. Aristocrates was succeeded by his son Hicetas, and Hicetas by his son Aristocrates II., who, having abandoned the Messenians at the battle of the Trench in the second war against Sparta, experienced the fate of his grandfather, being stoned to death by the Arcadians.
He appears to have been the last king of Orchomenus, who reigned over Arcadia, but his family was not deprived of the kingdom of Orchomenus, as is stated in some authorities, since we find his son Aristodemus represented as king of the city. (Paus. 8.5
; Plb. 4.3
; Heracl. Pont. l.c.
) It would appear, indeed, that royalty continued to exist at Orchomenus long after its abolition in most other Grecian cities, since Theophilus related that Peisistratus, king of Orchomenus, was put to death by the aristocracy in the Peloponnesian War. (Plut. Parall.
Orchomenus is mentioned by Homer, who gives it the epithet of πολύμηλος
); and it is also called ferax
by Ovid (Ov. Met. 6.416
), and ἀφνεός
by Apollonius Rhodius (3.512).
In the Persian wars Orchomenus sent 120 men to Thermopylae (Hdt. 8.102
), and 600 to Plataeae (9.28).
In the Peloponnesian War, the Lacedaemonians deposited in Orchomenus the hostages they had taken from the Arcadians; but the walls of the city were then in a dilapidated state; and accordingly, when the Athenians and their Peloponnesian allies advanced against the city in B.C. 418, the Orchomenians dared not offer resistance, and surrendered the hostages. (Thuc. 5.61
At the time of the foundation of Megalopolis, we find the Orchomenians exercising supremacy over Theisoa, Methydrium, and Teuthis; but the inhabitants of these cities were then transferred to Megalopolis, and their territories assigned to the latter. (Paus.8.27.4.) The Orchomenians, through their enmity to the Mantineians, refused to join the Arcadian confederacy, and made war upon the Mantineians. (Xen. Hell. 6.5. 11
, seq.; Diod. 15.62
.) Henceforth Orchomenus lost its political importance; but, from its commanding situation, its possession was frequently an object of the belligerent powers in later times.
In the war between Cassander and Polysperchon, it fell into the power of the former, B.C. 313. (Diod. 19.63
It subsequently espoused the side of the Aetolians, was taken by Cleomenes (Plb. 2.46
), and was afterwards retaken by Antigonus Doson, who placed there a Macedonian garrison. (Plb. 2.54
; Plut. Arat. 5
It was given back by Philip to the Achaeans. (Liv. 32.5
.) Strabo mentions it among the Arcadian cities, which had either disappeared, or of which there were scarcely any traces left (viii. p. 338); but this appears from Pausanias to have been an exaggeration. When this writer visited the place, the old city upon the summit of the mountain was in ruins, and there were only some vestiges of the agora and the town walls; but at the foot of the mountain there was still an inhabited town.
The upper town was probably deserted at a very early period; for such is the natural strength of its position, that we can hardly suppose that the Orchomenians were dwelling there in the Peloponnesian War, when they were unable to resist an invading force. Pausanias mentions, as the most remarkable objects in the place, a source of water, and temples of Poseidon and Aphrodite, with statues of stone. Close to the city was a wooden statue of Artemis, enclosed in a great cedar tree, and hence called Cedreatis. Below the city were several heaps of stones, said to have been erected to some persons slain in battle. (Paus. 8.13
The village of Kalpáki
stands on the site of the lower Orchomenus. On approaching the place from the south the traveller sees, on his left, tumuli, chiefly composed of collections of stones, as described by Pausanias. Just above Kalpáki
are several pieces of white marble columns, belonging to an ancient temple.
There are also some remains of a temple at a ruined church below the village, near which is a copious fountain, which is evidently the one described by Pausanias. On the summit of the hill are some remains of the walls of the more ancient Orchomenus.
In the territory of Orchomenus, but adjoining that of Mantineia, consequently on the northern slope of Mt. Anchisia, was the temple of Artemis Hymnia, which was held in high veneration by all the Arcadians in the most ancient times. (Paus. 8.5.11
.) Its site is probably indicated by a chapel of the Virgin Mary, which stands east of Levídhi.
In the southern plain is an ancient canal, which conducts the waters from the surrounding mountains [p. 2.491]
through the ravine into the lower or northern plain, which is “the other Orchomnenian plain” of Pausanias (8.13.4
After passing the ravine, at the distance of 3 stadia from Orchomenus, the road divides into two. One turns to the left along the northern side of the Orchomenian acropolis to Caphyae, the other crosses the torrent, and passes under Mt. Trachy to the tomb of Aristocrates, beyond which are the fountains called Teneiae (Τενεῖαι
). Seven stadia further is a place called Amilus (Ἄμιλος
). Here, in ancient times, the road divided into two, one leading to Stymphalus and the other to Pheneus. (Paus. 8.13.4
The above-mentioned fountains are visible just beyond Trachy, and a little further are some Hellenic ruins, which are those of Amilus. (Dodwell, Classical Tour,
vol. ii. p. 425, seq.; Leake, Morea,
vol. iii. p. 99, seq.; Boblaye, Récherches, &c.
p. 149; Curtius, Peloponnesos,
vol. i. p. 219, seq.)
A town in Thessaly. [See above, p. 487.]
A town in Euboea near Carystus. (Strab. ix. p.416