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PELINNA (Palaiogardiki) Thessaly, Greece.

A city of Hestiaiotis, on the left bank of the Peneios (Strab. 9.438), on the S slope of a spur which extends into the middle of the N edge of the W Thessalian plain. Pelinna was flanked on the W by Trikka and on the E by Pharkadon (probably ruins at Klokoto) and formed a defensive square with Trikka, Gomphoi, and Metropolis (Strab. 9.437-438). It was the home of a Pythian victor (Pind., Pyth. 10). It issued coinage ca. 400 B.C. On Philip II's intervention in a quarrel between Pelinna and Pharkadon (?) in the late 350s B.C., the latter was destroyed, and Pelinna became the main city of W Thessaly, and loyal to Macedon (Polyaen. 4.2.18-19; Arr. Anab. 1.7.5; Diod. Sic. 18.11.1). In 191 B.C. it was taken by Amynander of the Athamanians, an ally of Antiochus III (Livy 36.10.5) but was retaken by M' Acilius in the same year (Livy 36.13.7-9, 14.3-5). It became the site of a bishopric in Christian times.

On the top of the acropolis hill (185 m) is a natural sink hole some 100 m deep. There are two ancient city walls. The upper starts from the E and W sides of the hole and includes a part of the hill slope. The other circuit starts from the N ends of the inner wall and includes a wider section of hillside and a considerable area of the plain. The upper wall, of polygonal masonry, was strengthened at its NW corner at the sink hole by a massive double-towered bulwark, apparently somewhat later in date than the wall. There are some 11 other towers irregularly placed along its extent, the 13th tower being at the NE end of the wall, next to the hole. This upper wall seems to be 5th c. B.C. in date. The lower city wall, fairly well preserved on the hill and poorly in the plain, was furnished with some 50 or more towers fairly regularly spaced at 30 m intervals. It had gates on the W, S, and E sides, all protected by towers, and is built of rectangular blocks. Stählin dated it to the mid 4th c. B.C. The length of the upper wall is 1630 m; of the lower, 2600.

Inside the lower city are numerous traces of roads and buildings. Just inside the S gate is a long foundation wall (59 m) presumably of a stoa or similar building, which would have flanked the E side of the road into the city. Opposite it and roughly parallel is a short section of another foundation wall. A hollow at the foot of the hill, in the center of the city, was probably the site of the theater. Stählin saw traces of digging (stone robbery?) where the scene building should be. About 110 m to the SW of this is the foundation of a rectangular building, perhaps a temple. A cistern is cut in the hill just below the middle of the upper wall, and another in the plain about 170 m E of the W gate. Near the bottom of the hill and about 200 m from the W wall is a raised area and on it the remains of a temple (ca. 8 x 14 m) divided into two inner rooms. Around this was a rectangular peribolos (30 x ca. 40 m) now destroyed on the N side. Along the S side of this was a long stoa-shaped building 40 m long and 6 m wide. This was divided by cross walls into two short outer rooms and one long inner one. On the hill above this temple complex are some remains, including a small rectangular foundation, perhaps of another temple, and the edging of a road which ran up the hill.

Outside the S gate is a grave tumulus near the Larissa-Trikka road, 2 km to the S of the gate. This was investigated in 1906 and found to contain a vaulted chamber tomb. Near this two cist graves of the Hellenistic period, discovered in 1969, contained some remarkable gold jewelry (earrings, bracelet, necklace, ring, gold wreaths) dated from approximately 200-150 B.C. A certain amount of sculpture has been found, including pieces of the 6th and 5th c. B.C.


Deltion (1888) 121; A. S. Arvanitopoullos, Praktika (1906) 127; F. Stählin, Das Hellenische Thessalien (1924) 117fP; id., RE (1937) s.v. Pelinna 1P; W. M. Verdelis, ArchEph (1953-54) 1, 189-99I; H. Biesantz, Die Thessalischen Grabreliefs (1965) 144f; D. Theocharis & G. Chourmouziades, ArchAnalekta 3 (1970) 204-7I.


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 36, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 36, 13
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 18.11.1
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