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VELVINA (Helleniko) W Lokris, Greece.

An ancient acropolis NW of Naupaktos at the summit of a hill (510 m) between the towns of Haghios Georgios and Velvina.

The long, narrow acropolis, oriented N-S, was uncovered in 1924. It is surrounded by a continuous wall without corners or towers, built of massive blocks, roughly fitted into an irregular isodomic masonry, and preserved from the foundations to a height of 1.50 m. The area inside the wall, approached along the even N and S slopes of the hill, forms two levels. On the lower one to the N have been uncovered the more siguificant remains of the acropolis: a temple, with a stoa to the N of it. The temple, oriented NW-SE, was erected on a three-stepped krepidoma resting on the euthynteria (0.295 m high) which is for the most part visible. The krepidoma (31.45 x 14.37 m) was found virtually intact. It was carefully worked and shows drafting on the vertical joints of the blocks, and also a double block system in the stylobate arranged so that each column rests on every second block, and on the middle of the block rather than on the joint. Owing to these two features and the number of the columns in the peristyle (6 x 13), the temple is dated to the 4th c. B.C. or a little later. From the superstructure were found only a half column drum and a corner triglyph. A careful examination of the foundations revealed the plan of the temple, which was peristyle and distyle in antis with a pronaos and opisthodomos (3.25 m deep) and with an inner colonnade along the walls of the cella. It was noted that in the foundations poros architectural fragments from an earlier building were used, perhaps from a preexistent temple. Poorly built foundations of unknown purpose were found along the front of the temple. The foundations (38.80 x 11.40 m) of a double stoa were found parallel to the axis of the temple and to the N of it. Here were found bases supporting square pillars. The thinness of the walls and their poor construction are, according to the excavator, evidence of the temporary character of the building, which may have been a workshop.

On the upper level of the hill were found the irregularly constructed foundations (11 x 16 m) of a rectangular building, surrounding another rectangle. Here was also found a cubical stone foundation (altar?) to the N of which was uncovered a third building. All of these are of unknown purpose.

Outside the walls there are remains of buildings and tombs visible on the N side of the acropolis as well as a large circular cistern built of large blocks to the S, which possibly belonged to a habitation situated near there.

The acropolis is actually identified by the most reliable scholars with ancient Molykreion (or Molykreia), a city of Lokris mentioned by numerous ancient writers (Thuc. 2.84.4; Strab. 9.4.8, 10.2.4; Paus. 9.31.6; Polyb. 5.94.7-8; Ptol. 3.15.3; Skylax 38.35; Plut., Mor. Conv. Sept. Sap. 162f) in the area of modern Antirrhion. This city, which goes back to the 8th c. B.C., was under Corinthian control until the 5th c., but was taken by the Spartans and Aitolians at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, and was thereafter under Aitolian government. Three mutilated inscriptions were found, of which one, restored, refers to Athena, but this fact does not prove that she was worshiped in the temple, since there is mention of a Temple of Poseidon to which Hesiod's murderer fled. Absence of inscriptional evidence for the name of the city has led investigators to a number of different theories. Some would place the city Molykreia on the promontory of Antirrhion, and others on the hill where are the remains described above. According to the second hypothesis, the city that is visible above the springs at the shore by Antirrhion would be a harbor of the same name for the inland city, or finally, the name Molykreia (or Molykreion) would refer not only to the city but to the whole area, as would appear in the occasional epithet of Molykreian (sometimes Aitolian) applied to Rhion, in contrast to the Achaian Rhion across the way, as epithets characteristically desiguate the area rather than a particular city (cf. also Rhion of Messenia).


A. K. Orlandos, ArchDelt 9 (1924-25 [1927]) 55-64; W. Oldfather, RE XVI (1933) 35; Fiehn, “Molykria,” ibid. 39; L. Lerat, Les Locriens de l'Ouest (1952) I-II; Bibl. des Ecoles franç. d'Athènes et de Rome, no. 176PM; Fraser & Lerat, “Les Locriens de l'Ouest,” Gnomon 26 (1954); F. W. Walbank, A Historical Commentary on Polybius (1957) I; E. Kirsten & A. Philippson, Griech. Landschaften (1958) II 2 322; G. Klaffenback, IG (1958) IX 3.


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