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HERMIONE or Hermion, Argolid, Greece.

It is found in the Argolic Akte between Troizene and Halieis. Its remote location tended to keep it out of the mainstream of Hellenic affairs, and Lasos is the only even minor notable to have originated there. Reputed to be one of the Dryopian cities of the Peloponnese (Hdt. 8.73.2), it was part of Diomedes' realm in heroic times (Il. 2.560), and was a member of the Kalaurian amphictyony (Strab. 8.6.14). Hermione sent three ships to Salamis (Hdt. 8.43) and 300 men to Plataia (Hdt. 9.28.4). During the 5th c. Hermione was a member of the Peloponnesian League, and as a result had its territory plundered by the Athenians in 430 (Thuc. 2.56.5). It remained faithful to Sparta during the 4th c. (and perhaps later), but in 229 was forced to join the Achaian League by Aratos (Strab. 8.7.3). Little is known of Hermione later, though Plutarch (Pomp. 24) tells us that the Temple of Demeter Chthonia was plundered by pirates, and we know from Pausanias (2.34.9-35) that in his time the older part of the town was no longer inhabited.

The ancient city was located on a promontory separating two harbors, but by Pausanias' time had moved W, to approximately the location of the modern town, at the foot of a hill anciently called the Pron. Three stretches of the ancient circuit wall (late 5th c.) of polygonal masonry are preserved, the most easily visible being that on the Kranidi road on the right as one enters the town. The best preserved stretch extends ca. 19 m. Other walls, to be found on the seaward end of the promontory, prove that it was the only defended portion of the city, and that the higher Pron to the W was outside the ancient fortifications. On the promontory there is preserved the euthynteria course of a temple with polygonal joints, probably of the late 6th or early 5th c., and almost certainly to be identified with the Temple of Poseidon mentioned by Pausanias. The Temple of Athena, also mentioned by Pausanias, may have stood on a large conglomerate foundation about 50 m SE of the modern quay. Most of the other sanctuaries mentioned by Pausanias have now disappeared, but it is a highly reasonable assumption that that of Demeter Chthonia lay roughly in the area of the Church of Haghii Taxiarchi on the Pron where there is preserved, both in the church wall and across the street, a wall of ashlar masonry, possibly a peribolos wall. The E portion, preserved only in part, is ca. 10 m from the N portion which extends W at a height of two to three courses for ca. 20 m. Some 25 m N of the church and forming the N wall of the Koinotiko Grapheio, there is preserved to a height of ca. 3 m approximately 20 m of a wall of polygonal ashlar masonry. Another stretch has been reported, which would yield a total length of ca. 95 m. It has the appearance of a retaining wall and seems to be of late 4th c. date, but some scholars assign it a 5th-4th c. date, and connect it either with the Demeter sanctuary or with the Echo Colonnade. There are a number of Late Roman and Early Byzantine mosaics in the area of the municipal school, as well as a section of a Roman brick aqueduct to the N of the Pron. The Mycenaean settlement seems to have lain to the W, near the sea, on a small mound known as Magoula.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

A. Philadelpheus in Praktika (1909) 172-81; A. Frickenhaus and W. Müller, “Hermionis,” AthMitt 36 (1911) 35-38M; RE 15 (1912) 835-41; V. B. & M. H. Jameson, “An Archaeological Survey of the Hermionid” (1950), unpublished paper deposited in the library of the American School of Classical Studies in AthensMPI; M. H. Jameson in Hesperia 22 (1953) 160-67 (on border of Hermionid) M. H. McAllister, “A Temple at Hermione,” Hesperia 38 (1969) 169-73PI, with an historical note (184-85) by M. H. Jameson.

W. F. WYATT, JR.

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