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AE´GIUM (Αἴγιον, Α῎γειον, Athen. p. 606: Eth. Αἰγιεύς, Eth. Aegiensis: Vostitza), a town of Achaia, and one of the 12 Achaean cities, was situated upon the coast W. of the river Selinus, 30 stadia from Rhypae, and 40 stadia from Helice. It stood between two promontories in the corner of a bay, which formed the best harbour in Achaia next to that of Patrae. It is said to have been formed out of an union of 7 or 8 villages. It is mentioned in the Homeric catalogue; and, after the destruction of the neighbouring city of Helice by an earthquake, in B.C. 373 [HELICE], it obtained the territory of the latter, and thus became the chief city of Achaia. From this time Aegium was chosen as the place of meeting for the League, and it retained this distinction, on the revival of the League, till Philopoemen carried a law that the meeting might be held in any of the towns of the confederacy. Even under the Roman empire the Achaeans were allowed to keep up the form of their periodical meetings at Aegium, just as the Amphictyons were permitted to meet at Thermopylae and Delphi. (Paus. 7.24.4.) The meetings were held in a grove near the sea, called Homagyrium or Homarium, sacred to Zeus Homagyrius or Homarius (Ὁυαγν́ιον, Ὁυάριον; in Strab. pp. 385, 387, Ὁυάριον should be read instead of Ἀρνάριον and Αἰνάριον). Close to this grove was a temple of Demeter Panchaea. The words Homagyrium, “assembly,” and Homarium, “union,” 1 have reference to those meetings, though in later times they were explained as indicating the spot where Agamemnon assembled the Grecian chieftains before the Trojan War. There were several other temples and public buildings at Aegium, of which an account is given by Pausanias. (Hom. Il. 2.574; Hdt. 1.145; Pol. 2.41, 5.93; Strab. pp. 337, 385, seq.; Paus. 7.23, 24; Liv. 38.30; Plin. Nat. 4.6.) Vostitza, which occupies the site of the ancient Aegium, is a place of some importance. It derives its name from the gardens by which it is surrounded (from βόστα, βοστάνι, garden). It stands on a hill, terminating towards the sea in a cliff about 50 feet high. There is a remarkable opening in the cliff, originally perhaps artificial, which leads from the


[p. 1.36]

town to the ordinary place of embarkation. A great part of the town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1819, of which an account is given under HELICE The principal remains of the ancient town have been lately discovered on a hill to the E. of Vostitza. There are also several fragments of architecture and sculpture, inserted in the walls of the houses at Vostitza. (Leake, Morea, vol. iii. p. 185, seq.; Curtius, Peloponnesos, vol. i. p. 459, seq.)

1 Respecting these words, see Welcker, Epische Cyclus, p. 128.

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