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HALIEIS Argolid, Greece.

On an excellent harbor near the S tip of the peninsula. Occupied from Protogeometric times, it enters recorded history with Athens unsuccessful attack in 460 B.C. Not long before, refugees from Tiryns in the Argive Plain had settled here, probably without displacing the natives. Sometime before 431 B.C. the town was captured by Sparta but with the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War it was subject to further raids by the Athenians to whom the use of acropolis and harbor was granted in 424-423 B.C. by treaty. In the next century Halieis appears as a Spartan ally through 370-369 B.C., after which there is no sure historical reference. Under the name Tirynthioi coinage was issued in the 4th c. as from an independent city-state. The site was abandoned near the end of the century. Scattered remains, including a calidarium built on classical fortifications, testify to some occupation in late Roman times.

The town is located on the slopes and shore below a low hill on the S side of the circular harbor, across from the modern village of Porto Cheli. From at least the 8th c. B.C. mudbrick walls enclosed a small acropolis, the site of the shrine of an unidentified goddess. The military role of the hill is shown by a series of fortifications and associated structures, culminating before the mid 4th c. in an impressive semicircular tower. By the shore a settlement from at least the early 7th c. had a separate wall. In the Classical period a circuit with no less than four gates and a number of rectangular and round towers ran down from the acropolis to, and along, the shore. Private houses and workshops of mudbrick on stone socles have been found over the whole site, affording a rare glimpse at the plan of a provincial town. Changes in sea level have covered up to 50 m of the town along the shore; there appears to have been a small war harbor enclosed within the circuit of the walls.

On the E side of the bay, some 500 m from the city, a Sanctuary of Apollo has been found at a depth of ca. 2 m below sea level. A temple (27 x 4 m) divided into three chambers was probably in existence by ca. 675 B.C.; it has yielded quantities of metal and votive pottery and much of a marble statue of the god. To the S of the temple are the foundations of a long altar and a stadium with two stone starting lines, 167 m apart. The temple appears to have been destroyed near the mid 5th c., perhaps in the Athenian attack, and never rebuilt on that site. Athletic activities occasioned the construction of various other buildings and flourished until close to the end of the city's life. Finds from the city, sanctuary, and necropolis are kept in the Nauplion Museum.


M. H. Jameson, “Excavations at Porto Cheli and Vicinity, Preliminary Report, I: Halieis, 1962-68,” Hesperia 38 (1969) 311-42MPI and reports for subsequent years in Deltion & Chronika.


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