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TITHOREA (Velitsa) Phokis, Greece.

A city on the S side of the Kephissos Plain, where the ground rises to Mt. Parnassos; the local olive oil was noted for color and sweetness. It has been identified with Velitsa by 3d and 2d c. B.C. inscriptions, dated by the archon of Tithorea. Several refer to Isis, Serapis, and Anubis, recalling the sanctuary that Pausanias (10.32) said was the holiest of those built to Isis in Greece. Varying opinions have arisen from Herodotos' statement (8.32) that a number of Phokians fleeing Xerxes took refuge on the isolated peak of Tithorea, near Neon. It is probable that Velitsa was then called Neon, Tithorea referring to the heights above the great cliff rising S of the village, later applied by extension to the whole district. Others, however, have supposed Velitsa was the refuge site, and that Neon is to be identified with the remains of a walled site of considerable size at Palnia Pheva on the right bank of the Kephissos about 5 km to the N. Plutarch (Sull. 15) described Tithorea as merely a fortress in the early 1st c. B.C. but of much greater importance a century later. It had declined again by the time of Pausanias, who saw a theater, an ancient market, a Temple and Grove of Athena, and the tomb of Antiope and Phokos. In the vicinity, there was also a Temple of Asklepios Archagetos (Founder). Scattered theater seats have been noted outside the walls as well as other foundations for large buildings. The most important remains are those of the fortifications, classed with Messene and Eleutherai as the finest examples of 4th c. work. The walls, supplementing the natural defenses of cliff to the S and gorge to the E, are of trapezoidal ashlar masonry, as much as 14 courses high. On the steep W slope, the top is both inclined and stepped, and crowned with coping blocks. The towers are square with windows and loopholes. Neon is listed by Pausanias as one of the Phokian towns razed in 346 B.C.; the walls were probably rebuilt soon after the battle of Chaironeia eight years later.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hdt. 8.32; Plut. Sulla 15; Paus. 10.32.8-11; J. G. Frazer, Paus. Des. Gr. (1898) V 402f; L. B. Tillard in BSA 17 (1910-11) 54fMI; GL I 725, n. 65.

M. H. MC ALLISTER

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