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AIDEPSOS (Loutra) Euboia, Greece.

Remains of the ancient site are to be found in the neighborhood of the modern resort community of Loutra Aidepsou, about 5 km to the S of the town of Aidepsos in the NW part of the region.

Aidepsos was best known in antiquity for its health-giving thermal springs, which still flow today. Although legend connected these springs with Herakles (Strab. 9.4.2), the earliest reference to them in literature belongs to the 4th c. B.C. (Arist. Meteor. 2.8). Yet it was not until the late Hellenistic period or early Roman Imperial times that the site came to be widely known as a health resort. Sulla, seeking relief from gout, is said to have spent a holiday there (Plut. Sulla 26; cf. also Strab. 10.1.9, where the springs visited by Sulla are erroneously placed in the Lelantine Plain near Chalkis). By the 2d c. A.D. it had become an elegant spa frequented by artists, statesmen, and the idle rich—some in search of a quick cure, but many apparently interested only in a good time (Plut. Quaest. conv. 4.1 and De frat. amor. 487).

Owing partly to the proximity of the modern resort and partly to the lack of excavation, little is known of the grand public and private buildings referred to in our sources. Yet small-scale investigations in the early years of this century produced remains of a bathing establishment possibly belonging to the 2d and 3d c. A.D. The finds from this complex, which seems to have drawn its water from the nearby thermal springs, indicate that it continued to be used into the Christian period. There is some slight evidence to indicate that the town was also the source of both copper and iron and the home of a metal-working industry (Steph. Byz. s.v. Αἴδηψος). At the site of Khironisi—a headland not far from modern Aidepsos—crucible fragments, slag, and pieces of malachite and azurite in quartz (of which one sample contained ca. 15 percent copper and over 5 percent iron) have been found on the surface. Other surface finds indicate that this site was occupied in Classical and earlier times, thus suggesting an explanation for the tradition related by Stephanos.


F. Geyer, Topographie und Geschichte der Insel Euböa (1903); G. A. Papavasileiou, Ἀνασκαφαί ἐν Εὐβοίᾳ, Praktika (1904) 31-32; A. Philippson, GL 1.2 (1951); L. Sackett et al., “Prehistoric Euboea: Contributions Toward a Survey,” BSA 61 (1966)M.


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