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The sites mentioned below may be considered as fortresses; however, their purpose seems to have been not so much to halt an enemy invasion as to forestall it by signaling the approach of a hostile army, hampering its movements, or slowing it down by harassment. In short, their role was one of dissuasion. Occupation of the sites varies, sometimes going back to the Mycenaean period, but in most cases only to Hellenistic times. This occupation gives an idea of the frontier between Attica and Boiotia but no more than an idea since there was never any line of demarcation in the modern sense of the term: the notion of a frontier or plotted border was always foreign to the Greeks, for whom a mountain or valley, very rarely a stream or, most often, the limits of a city marked a boundary.


An Attic deme N of Tatoi, on the Athens-Oropos road near the Chapel of Zoodochos Piyi, not far W of the artificial Lake Marathon, on the hill called Kotroni (125 x 40 m). Aphidna was one of the 12 townships of Kekrops. According to legend, Theseus hid Helen there after carrying her off from Sparta; this provoked the Tyndarid War and the Dioskouroi's destruction of Aphidnai (Hdt. 9.73; Plut. Thes. 31-32). The city was occupied by the Spartans in 412, with the result that Athens suffered a serious wheat supply crisis (Thuc. 7.28).


A limestone shelf in the region of Aphidnai, near Kiourka (Haghios Meletios); ht. 841 m.


Thought to be situated on the road from Eleusis to Thebes, on the N slope of Mt. Kithairon near Kriekouki on the Pantanassa peak. Noted as early as Kleomenes' Invasion in 507 B.C., it played an important role in the Plataians' invasion (Hdt. 5.74, 6.108). It was in ruins in Pausanias' day (9.1.6; 2.1; cf. Strab. 9.2.12).


A fort S of Mt. Parnes, situated N of Menidi on the Boiotian border. The Alkmeonides took refuge there in 513. The site is rarely mentioned in Athenian history. The walls have been preserved to a height of ca. 1.2 m.


A fortified site on the Thebes-Eleusis road, SE of Gyphtokastro, linked with Myoupolis.


A fortified deme on the N slope of Mt. Kithairon, considered to be Korynokastro. It is rarely mentioned in the ancient texts. A gushing stream near Haghios Meletios would seem to explain Statius, Theb. 12.619: viridesque Melaenae, linked to Panakton.


The port of Megara; linked to Megara from 411 on by ramparts, and disputed between Athens and Megara.


A fortified port on the Gulf of Corinth near Alepokhori on a hill overlooking the sea (ht. 15 m). A rampart was erected by Athens in 460.

Paliochori and Plakoto. Two forts dominating the Thriasian Plain and the road from Eleusis to Oinoe.

1. On the hill N of what is known as the Sarantapotamos valley is a trace of ramparts 1.8 m high and 1.8 m thick, built of roughly squared masonry. The site is also called Palaiokastro.

2. A fortress near the one mentioned above, 21 x 36 m; with a circular tower (2.9 m) and SW wall.


A fort on the N flank of Mt. Kithairon on the frontier between Attica and Boiotia. It is usually placed near Kavasala, which is easily recognized by its mediaeval tower. The fort measures ca. 300 m around. Inside are the remains of two towers joined by a wall (6th c. ?). The fort dominates the Skourta plain, through which runs the road from Athens to Thebes by way of Phyle. Some scholars identify as Panakton the fortress popularly known as Bleutheres (Gyphtokastro), which should rather be placed at Kaza.


Two well-preserved towers guarding the road from Marathon to Oropos.


L. Chandler, “The Northwest Frontier of Attica,” JHS 46 (1926) 1-21; U. Kahrstedt, “Die Landgrenzen Athens,” AthMitt 57 (1932) 8-28; A. Philippson & E. Kirsten, Die griechischen Landschaften I, 3 (1950) 971-1064; N.G.L. Hammond, “The main road from Boeotia to the Peloponnese through the Northern Megarid,” BSA 49 (1954) 103-22; J. R. McCredie, “Fortified Military Camps in Attica,” Hesperia Suppl. 11 (1966); Y. Garlan, RA (1967) 2, 291-96; id. in J. P. Vernand, Problèmes de la guerre en Grèce (1968) 245-60.

Aphidna: Chandler, 16-17M; W. Wrede, Attika (1934) 22-23; J. Pouilloux, La forteresse de Rhamnonte (1954) 58M; GL I, 3, 784-85, 975; R. Hope Simpson, A Gazetteer . . . of Mycenaean Sites (1965) 109, no. 380; McCredie, 81-83 with bibl.; B. Meyer, Der kleine Pauly 2 (1967) s.v. Leipsydrion: Chandler, 15M; GL I, 3. 873 n. 2; McCredie, 58-61MI; Meyer, Der kleine Pauly 3 (1968) s.v., bibl. Masi: W. Wrede, Attische Mauern (1933) 24-25 & no. 58; id., Attika 32; McCredie, 89-90. Melaina: Chandler, 7-8M; McCredie, 84, 91 n. 14. Nisaia: GL I, 3, 944-48; Meyer, Kl. Pauly s.v., complete bibl. Pagai: Meyer, Kl. Pauly s.v., complete bibl. Paliochori & Plakoto: 1) Chandler, 13-14I; McCredie, 74-75PI; 2) Chandler, 14-15MI; GL I, 2, 530, 975; Kahrstedt, 828, placed Oinoe here, probably wrongly; McCredie, 72-74M. Panakton: for two opinions see Kahrstedt, 10ff & Hammond, 120-22M; see also excavation reports in Praktika (1939) 44; BCH 62 (1938) 458; 63 (1939) 295; 64-65 (1940-41) 240, which report a temple of Dionysos, oriented E-W, 16.55 x 8.76 m, ca. 300 B.C. (and two basilicas). Varnava: Chandler, 19M; McCredie, 89-90.


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.74
    • Herodotus, Histories, 9.73
    • Strabo, Geography, 9.2.12
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.28
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