(“Sperchieiai”) Thessaly, Greece.
Sperchieiai was apparently included in Dolopia
rather than Ainis as it was under Macedonian, not Aitohan, control in 198 B.C. The Aitolians crossed Oeta, and,
entering the Spercheios valley near Hypata, ravaged
Sperchieiai and Makrakome on their way N to Thessaly
proper (Livy 32.13.10
; see Dhranista, Metropolis). It
is presumed that the city was in the Spercheios valley,
near and to the NW of Hypata, on the way to the
Yiannitsou pass, which is the presumed route of the
Aitolians over the mountains to Thessaly. In this area
are three possible sites so far discovered. South of the
river, there is a site at Kastrorachi on an isolated hill
(314 m) on the river's edge, opposite to modern Vitoli.
Its N side is washed by the Spercheios, the W by an
influent, the Papagourna. The circuit wall which follows
the form of the hill is in the shape of a long oval N-S
with an abrupt square extension jutting out of the E side.
The wall is intermittently preserved to a height of ca.
2 km. The masonry is of rectangular and nearly square
rough-faced blocks of varying heights, but laid in fairly
At Helleniko is another fortress. This is 1 1/2 hours
S of the last site, on the N slope of Oeta, above the villages of Phteri and Kato Phteri and Palaiovracha, and
between them and Ano Phteri, on a height of ca. 600 m.
Here a wall circuit, perhaps 3d-2d c., of triangular
shape surrounds two peaks.
Above Varibobi (now Makrakomi) on the left (N)
bank of the Spercheios is the third site. This commands
the entrance to the Yiannitsou pass. Its walls surround
the peak of the hill N of the modern town. The hill is
called Kastri, and on the summit (285 m) is a Chapel
of Haghios Elias. The walls are in the shape of a long,
irregular oval running N-S, the perimeter about 1550 m.
The identity of none of these sites is certain but probably
Sperchieiai was at Kastrorachi or at Varibobi.
F. Stählin, Das Hellenische Thessalien
(Varibobi plan); id., RE2
(1929) s.v. Sperchieiai, Sosthenis; Y. Béquignon, BCH
; id., La Vallée du Spercheios
(no plan of Hellenika); G. Daux, BCH
58 (1934) 157-67 (Sosthenis); A. Philippson, GL
I 1 (1950) 244; G.
Roux, “Notes sur les Antiquités de Macra Come,” BCH
78 (1954) 89-94MI
T. S. MAC KAY