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LEUKAS Greece.

An island almost joined to the Akarnanian coast of Greece, and in ancient times a peninsula. According to Strabo (10.451) the isthmus that joined it to land was cut by Corinthian colonists, who founded the city of Leukas about the middle of the 7th c. B.C. The island had been inhabited from the Neolithic period until the Bronze Age, but the theory that Leukas was the Homeric Ithaca now has little support. From the 5th to the 3 c. B.C. Leukas had its own coinage. Probably in the 1st c. B.C. the isthmus was cut anew and a bridge, now submerged, was built to the mainland.

Excavations in circular tumuli in the plain of Nidri on the E coast have uncovered burials in pithoi, in rectangular pits, or in cist tombs, as well as Early and Middle Helladic pottery. Remains of a large building were also identified. In the ancient city of Leukas part of the polygonal enclosing wall of the acropolis survives, some of the enclosing wall of the lower city, and part of the theater. The necropolis was SW of the city. Near the church of Haghios Yoannis Rodaki in the S part of the island the foundations of a Doric temple have been found, and there are remains of several Greek lookout towers in various parts of the island. At Cape Laukatas, the S end of the island, on the perpendicular cliff overlooking the sea that gives the island its name, are the remains of the Temple of Apollo cited by Strabo (10.452). It was from this point, according to tradition, that Sappho threw herself. There is a small museum at Nidri in what was once the home of Dörpfeld.


L. Bürchner, RE XII, 2 (1925) 2213-57; W. Dörpfeld, Alt Ithaca (1927)MPI; B. Janssens, “Leucade et le pays des morts,” AntCl 30, 2 (1961) 381-94; A. Wace & F. Stubbings, A Companion to Homer (1962) 410ff; B. E. Frangoules Λευκάς, ὁμηρικὴ Ἰθάκη ( θεωρία τοῦW. Dörpfeld) (1972)MPI.

M. G. Picozzi

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