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POURI (“Cape Sepias”) Thessaly, Greece.

Modern name of a promontory and town about half way down the E coast of the Magnesian peninsula, where the main mass of Pelion juts into the sea. The cape is very likely ancient Cape Sepias, where part of Xerxes' fleet was wrecked in a storm (Hdt. 7.188; Strab. 9.443) although the identification is uncertain and disputed; Magnesia's SE cape, Haghios Georgi, now Sepias, and the whole coast between the two capes are also suggested. There was also an ancient town of Sepias, whose population was later incorporated in Demetrias (Strab. 9.443). The tombstone of a man from Sepias was discovered near modern Keramidhi.

In the area of Pouri are some ancient landmarks and sites, none securely identified. Immediately N of the cape itself is a shallow bay (6 km wide), from Asprovrachos N to Kavos Koutsovou. The shore of the bay is formed of a steep cliff with a series of caves at sea level, almost certainly the “ovens” (ipnoi) of Herodotos (7.188), where some of the Persian ships were wrecked. The ships had been moored on and off a beach between Kasthanaie and Sepias; this was possibly the beach now called Koulouri to the E of modern Keramidhi and N of the “ovens.” Kasthanaie has frequently been identified as an ancient site NE of modern Keramidhi, on a hill which slopes to the sea. Below the hill is a shallow beach at the mouth of modern Kakorema, which may have served as a harbor. The hill is abrupt on the N and S sides, easier to the W. The acropolis was on a low hill to the W. In the 19th c. the walls were impressive. They are of good Hellenic (4th c.?) masonry. The wall circuit included the acropolis, which was cut off from the lower city by a cross wall with round towers at each end. The walls were traceable down to the point above the sea and were furnished with towers. Apparently no wall was built on the steep slope at N and E. The circuit was about half a mile. No remains of buildings are reported. The hill is presently heavily overgrown, but some parts of the wall, preserved several courses high, can be seen. On a hill near Keramidhi is an ancient necropolis.

Other remains in the area have been reported from “Tamuchari” (modern Damouchari), a harbor about 11 km S of Pouri, and the site has been suggested for Kasthanaie. These ruins seem not to have been described by anyone. Hellenic and Byzantine ruins at a place called Kalyvi tou Panagiotou, near the modern town of Pouri have been reported and these have been suggested for the ancient Sepias town, but again, are nowhere described.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

W. M. Leake, Nor.Gr. (1835) IV, 383; M. Mezières, “Mémoire sur le Pélion et l'Ossa,” Arch-Missions Scient. III (1854) 218-21 (Keramidhi); Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of Turkey (1869) II, 113P (Keramidhi site); Georgiades, Θεσσαλία (1894) 142-44, 213, 218; Wace, JHS 26 (1906) 145ff.; Woodward, AAA 3 (1910) 158-59; F. Stählin, RE2 (1923) s.v. Sepias; id., Das Hellenische Thessalien (1924) 51f; W. K. Pritchett, “Xerxes' Fleet at the ‘Ovens,’” AJA 67 (1963) 1-6I (photographs of wall at Keramidhi, beach below Keramidhi, “ovens”).

T. S. MAC KAY

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    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.188
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