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ONCHESTOS Boiotia, Greece.

A town NW of Thebes with a very ancient cult of Poseidon, the center of an amphictyony. It was the meeting place for the Boiotian confederacy in the Macedonian period. The town was burned by the Persians under Xerxes, and probably again by the Romans in 171 B.C. when nearby Haliartos was destroyed. Among the ruins, Pausanias saw the Temple of Poseidon, whose worship as inventor of the chariot was combined with that of the hero Hippodetes (Horsebreaker); divination was based on the behavior of unguided horses hitched to a chariot. The site, described by Pausanias as 15 furlongs (3 km) from the mountain of the Sphinx (Mt. Phaga), is generally agreed to be on the ridge between the two Boiotian plains. The road and railroad use the S and N passes over it; in the former there are a few blocks of an ancient wall at an angle to the road. Here Lauffer reported finding the limestone foundations of the temple.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Strab. 9.2.33; Livy 42.63; Paus. 1.39.5; W. M. Leake, Nor. Gr. (1835) II 213; C. Bursian, Geographie von Griechenland (1872) I 231; J. G. Frazer, Paus. Des. Gr. (1898) V 139; S. Lauffer in Arch. Anz. (JdI) 55 (1940) 186; A. Philippson-Kirsten, GL (1950-59) I2 469, 712.

M. H. MC ALLISTER

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