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AKRAIPHIA (Akraifnion, formerly Kardhitsa) Boiotia, Greece.

A city on the site of the modern village, E of the ancient Lake Kopais. lt lies at the foot of a tall hill linked to Mt. Ptoos to the E by a long rocky ridge.

The site does not seem to have been occupied until the Geometric age. The earliest finds, on the W slope of the acropolis, are Geometric terracottas, particularly some small horses (now in the Thebes Museum)—a reminder that the Kopais region was noted for horse-breeding. The city enjoyed a certain autonomy in the 6th and 5th c. B.C., minted its coins, and. made a number of dedications to the Ptoios Hero (cf. Ptoion). From 447 to 387 and from 378 to 338 it joined Kopai and Chaironeia to form one of the 11 Boiotian districts. Independent in the Boiotian Koinon, the city was untouched by the invasions and was responsible for administering the Sanctuary of Ptoan Apollo. Even in the 1st c. A.D. it still had some prestige, thanks to the influential Epaminondas, son of Epaminondas (IG VII 2711-13).

The city of Akraiphia has not yet been excavated. The lower city was on the N foothills of the Kriaria ridge; foundations dating from the Classical and Hellenistic eras could still be seen at the end of the 19th c. An altar dedicated to Zeus Soter, the city's chief divinity, stood on the agora; in his honor the city organized the Soteria festivals, with their gymnastic and musical contests. The Haghios Georgios Church, on the foothills of the mountain, seems to have been erected on the site of the Temple of Dionysos; it is built largely with ancient materials: monumental stone blocks, Ionic capitals and inscriptions, notably two large stelai honoring Epaminondas of Akraiphia, and one stele bearing the text of a speech delivered by Nero on November 28, A.D. 67 (in the Thebes Museum).

The acropolis, on the top of the hill, is built into the city ramparts. A wall climbs straight from the lower city to the summit; it has no towers or gates and is built of large rectangular blocks placed in regular courses. At the top of the hill, the wall tums at an angle and starts to run SW along the wide flat crest of the ridge; then it joins the narrow pass leading to Akraiphia from the S (there is a gate in the rampart here), spans it, and climbs N again. After that it disappears. In the most uneven parts of the wall a curious polygonal masonry of nearly regular courses, slightly convex in surface is combined, at the wall base, with regular masonry of horizontal courses with vertical or oblique facing joints (SW and W section of the wall). The rampart, of gray limestone, is ca. 2 m thick. Despite the differences in masonry it dates from no earlier than the 4th c. B.C.d

A number of necropoleis have been discovered: W of the acropolis (late and proto-Corinthian Geometric ware), E of it (Roman period), and in the plain now crossed by the new national highway, between the Kopaic basin and Lake Iliki (7th-4th c. B.C.).


J. G. Frazer, Paus. Des. Gr. V (1898) 97-99M; M. Holleaux, Études d'Éipigraphie et d'Histoire grecques I (1938) 165-85; P. Guillon, Les trépieds du Ptoion, 2 vols. (1943)MI; La Béotie antique (1948) 105 & pls. 11, 32MI; S. Lauffer in RE (1959), s.v. Ptoion, 1524-26M; P. Roesch, Thespies et Ia Confédération béotienne (1965)M; N. Papahadjis, Pausaniou Hellados Periegesis V (1969) 132-33; Y. Garlan, BCH 98 (1974) 95-118; id., Recherches de poliorcétique grecque (1974) 13, 333.


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