: Eth. Ἐρτειεύς,
fem. Ἐπετπίς, Ἐρετριάς
: Adj. Ἐρετρικός, Ἐρετριακός
), one of the most ancient, and next to Chalcis the most powerful city in Euboea, was situated upon the western coast of the island, a little south of Chalcis, and at the south-western extremity of the extensive and fertile plain of Lelantum. The Eretrians are represented as Ionians (Hdt. 8.46
), and were supposed to have come from Eretria in Attica. (Strab. viii. p.447
; respecting the Attic Eretria, see ATHENAE
It seems, however, that the population was not purely Ionic, and, accordingly, some writers related that it had been colonised from the Triphylian Macistus in Elis. (Strab. l.c.
) Strabo relates that it was formerly called Melaneis and Arotria.
At an early period Eretria was one of the chief maritime states in Greece, and attained a high degree of prosperity and power. Andros, Tenos, and Ceos, as well as other islands, were at one time subject to Eretria. (Strab. viii. p.448
According to some accounts, they took part in the colonisation of Cromae [CROMAE, p. 716], and they founded some colonies upon the peninsula of Chalcidice. Eretria is mentioned by Homer. (Il. 2.537
The military [p. 1.847]
strength of the state was attested by an inscription, preserved in the temple of the Amarynthian Artemis, about a mile from the city, recording that in the procession to that temple the Eretrians had been accustomed to march with 3000 hoplites, 600 horsemen, and 60 chariots. (Strab. l.c.
Eretria and Chalcis were early engaged in war with each other.
These wars seem to have been occasioned by disputes respecting the division of the plain of Lelantum, which lay between the two cities. (Strab. l.c.
) In one of these early wars some of the most powerful states of Greece, such as Miletus and Samos, took part. (Thuc. 1.15
; Hdt. 5.99
; Spanheim, ad Callim. Del.
In gratitude for the assistance which the Eretrians had received on this occasion from Miletus, they sent five ships to the Athenian fleet which sailed to support Miletus and the other Ionic cities in their revolt from Persia, B.C. 500. (Herod. l.c.
) But this step caused their ruin; for, in B.C. 490, a Persian force, under Datis and Artaphernes, sent to punish the Athenians and Eretrians, laid siege to Eretria, which was betrayed to the Persians after they had invested the place for six days.
The town was razed to the ground, and the inhabitants carried away to Persia; but their lives were spared by Darius, who allowed them to settle in the Cissian territory. (Hdt. 6.125
The old town continued in ruins, but a new town was rebuilt a little more to the south, which soon became a place of considerable importance. In B.C. 411, the Athenians were defeated by the Spartans in a sea-fight off the harbour of Eretria; and those of the Athenians who took refuge in Eretria, as a city in alliance with them, were put to death by the Eretrians, who therefore joined the rest of the Euboeans in their revolt from Athens. (Thuc. 8.95
After the Peloponnesian War we find Eretria in the hands of tyrants. One of these, named Themison, assisted the exiles of Oropus in recovering possession of their native city from the Athenians in B.C. 366. (Diod. 15.76
; comp. Dem. de Cor.
p. 256; Xen. Hell. 7.4. 1
) Themison appears to have been succeeded in the tyranny by Plutarchus, who applied to the Athenians in B.C. 354 for aid against his rival, Callias of Chalcis, who had allied himself with Philip of Macedon. The Athenians sent a force to his assistance under the command of Phocion, who defeated Callias at Tamynae; but Phocion, suspecting Plutarchus of treachery, expelled him from Eretria. [See Dict. of Biogr.
vol. i. p. 429.] Popular government was then established; but shortly afterwards Philip sent a force, which destroyed Porthmus, the harbour of Eretria, and made Cleitarchus tyrant of the city. Cleitarchus governed the city in Philip's interests till B.C. 341, when Cleitarchus was expelled by Phocion, who had been sent into Euboea on the proposition of Demosthenes for the purpose of putting down the Macedonian interest in the island. [Dict. of Biogr.
vol. i. p. 784.] Eretria was subsequently subject to Macedonia; but in the war with Philip V. it was taken by the combined fleets of the Romans, Attalus, and Rhodians, upon which occasion a great number of paintings, statues, and other works of art fell into the hands of the victors. (Liv. 32.16
After the battle of Cynoscephalae, Eretria was de. clared free by the Roman senate. (Plb. 18.30
Eretria was the seat of a celebrated school of philosophy founded by Menedemus, a native of this city, and a disciple of Plato. [Dict. of Biogr.
vol. ii. p. 1037.] The philosophers of this school were called Eretrici (Ἐρετρικοί, Strab. x. p.448
; D. L. 1.17
; Athen. 2.55
d.; Cic. Ac. 2.4. 2
, de Orat.
The tragic poet Achaeus, a contemporary of Aeschylus, was a native of Eretria.
It appears from the comic poet Sopater that Eretria was celebrated for the excellence of its flour (ap. Athen. 4.160
Strabo says that Old Eretria was opposite Oropus, and the passage across the strait 60 stadia; and that New Eretria was opposite Delphinium, and the passage across 40 stadia (ix. p. 403). Thucydides makes the passage from Oropus to New Eretria 60 stadia (8.95). New Eretria stood at Kastrí,
and Old Eretria in the neighbourhood of Vathý.
There are considerable remains of New Eretria. “The entire circuit of the ruined walls and towers of the Acropolis still subsist on a rocky height, which is separated from the shore by a marshy plain.
At the foot of the hill are remains of the theatre, and in the plain a large portion of the town walls, with many foundations of buildings in the inclosed place.
The situation was defended to the west by a river, and on the opposite side by a marsh.” (Leake, Northern Greece,
vol. ii. pp. 443, 445.)
The territory of Eretria extended from sea to sea.: Between Old Eretria and New Eretria was AMARYNTHUS; south of Old Eretria, TAMYNAE; and further south, PORTHMUS
In the interior were DYSTUS
The annexed coin represents on the obverse the head of Artemis, who was worshipped in the neighbouring town of Amarynthus: the bull on the. reverse probably has reference to the brazen bull which the Eretrians dedicated at Olympia. (Paus. 5.27.9
; Eckhel, vol. ii. p. 324.)
|COIN OF ERETRIA IN EUBOEA.|
A town of Thessaly, in the district Phthiotis, near Pharsalus.
It was here that Quintius Flamininus halted at the end of the first day's march from Pherae towards Scotussa, in B.C. 197. Leake places it at the village of Tjanglí,
where he found the ruined walls of an ancient city. “A long and narrow table-summit formed the citadel, of which the lower courses of the walls still exist in their whole circuit.
The town walls are still better preserved, and are extant in some parts on the eastern side to the height of 18 or 20 feet. Here also are two door-ways still perfect.” (Strab. ix. p.434
, x. p. 447; Plb. 18.3
, Liv. 33.6
; Steph. B. sub voce Ἐρέτρια;
Leake, Northern Greece,
vol. iv. p. 466.)