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Πειραιεύς) or Piraeus. Now Porto Leone or Porto Dracone. The most important of the harbours of Athens, was situated in the peninsula

Plan of the Harbour of Athens.

about five miles southwest of Athens. This peninsula, which is sometimes called by the general name of Piraeeus, contained three harbours: Piraeeus proper on the western side, by far the largest of the three; Zea on the eastern side, separated from the Piraeus by a narrow isthmus; and Munychia (Pharnari), still farther to the east. The northern part of the great harbour of the Piraeus was divided into three smaller harbours: Zea for corn-vessels, Aphrodisium for merchant-ships in general, and Cantharus for ships of war. It was through the suggestion of Themistocles that the Athenians were induced to make use of the harbour of Piraeeus. Before the Persian Wars their principal harbour was Phalerum, which was not situated in the Piraean peninsula at all, but lay to the east of Munychia. At the entrance of the harbour of the Piraeus there were two promontories—the one on the right-hand, called Alcimus (Ἄλκιμος), on which was the tomb of Themistocles (Pausan. i. 1, 2), and Eëtionea (Ἠετιώνεια), where the Four Hundred built a fortress (Thuc.viii. 90). The Piraeus had a good-sized population, especially of resident aliens, who were attracted by its facility for trade. The town was strongly fortified by Themistocles, and was connected with Athens by the Long Walls, due to Pericles. The narrow entrance to its harbour was protected by two great mole-heads, across which a huge chain could be drawn to keep out hostile ships.

The town had a fine agora, which stood in the centre of the place, and temples to Zeus Soter, Athené Soteira, and Aphrodité; and fine halls or στοαί.

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    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.90
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