: Eth. Ἀργεῖος
, Eth. Argivus
, and in the poets Eth. Argeus
Argos is said by Strabo (viii. p.372
) to have signified a plain in the language of: the Macedonians and Thessalians; and it is therefore not improbable that it contains the same root as the Latin word “ager.” There were several places of the name of Argos. Two are mentioned in Homer, who distinguishes them by the names of the “Pelasgic Argos” (τὸ Πελασγικὸν Ἄργος, Il. 2.681
), and the “Achaean Argos” (Ἄργος Ἀχαιϊκὸν, Il. 9.141
, Od. 3.251
). The Pelasgic Argos was a town or district in Thessaly. [ARGOS PELASGICUM
] The Achaean Argos, or Argos simply, is used by Homer in three different significations:
- 1. To indicate the city of Argos where Diomedes reigned. (Il. 2.559, 6.224, 14.119.)
- 2. Agamemnon's kingdom, of which Mycenae was the capital. (Il. 1.30, 2.108, 287, 3.75, 6.152.)
The whole of Peloponnesus, in opposition to Hellas, or Greece north of the Isthmus of Corinth (καθ᾽ Ἑλλάδα καὶ μέσον Ἄργος, Od. 1.344; comp. Od. 4.726, Il. 9.141, 283; Strab. viii. pp. 369, 370).
In this sense Homer calls it the “lasian Argos” (Ἴασον Ἄργος, Od. 18.246), from an ancient king Iasus, son of Argus and Evadne. (Apollod. 2.1.2.)
In consequence of this use of Argos, Homer frequently employs the word Ἀργεῖοι to signify the whole body of the Greeks ; and the Roman poets, in imitation, use Argivi in the same manner.
In the Greek writers Argos is used to signify both the territory of the city of Argos, and more frequently the city itself.
I. Argos, the district.
the territory of Argos, called ARGOLIS
) by Herodotus (1.82
), but more frequently by other Greek writers ARGEIA
(ἡ Ἀργεία, Thuc. 5.75
; Strab. viii. p.371
, et passim),--sometimes ARGOLICE (ἡ Ἀργολική, Strab. viii. p.376
By the Greek writers these words were used to signify only the territory of the city of Argos, which was bounded by the territories of Phlius, Cleonae, and Corinth on the N.; on the W. by that of Epidaurus; on the S. by the Argolic gulf and. Cynuria; and on the E. by Arcadia. The Romans, however, used the word Argolis in a more extended sense, including under that name not only the territories of Phlius and Cleonae on the N., but the whole acted or peninsula between the Saronic and Argolic gulfs, which was divided in the times of Grecian independence into the districts of Epidauria, Troezenia, and Hermionis. Thus the Roman Argolis was bounded on the N. by Corinthia and Sicyonia; on the E. by the Saronic gulf and Myrtoum sea; on the S. by the Hermionic and Argolic gulfs and by Cynuria; and on the W. by Arcadia.
But at present we confine ourselves to the Argeia of the Greek writers, referring to other articles for a description of the districts included in the Roman Argolis. [PHLIUS; CLEONAE; EPIDAURUS; TROEZEN; HERMIONE; CYNURIA.]
The Argeia, or Aigolis proper, extended from N. to S from the frontiers of Phlius and Cleonae to the frontiers of Cynuria, in direct distance about 24 English miles.
It was separated from Arcadia of the W. by Mts. Artemisiurnm and Parthenium, and from the territory of Epidaurus on the E. by Mt. Arachnaeum. Lessa was a town on the borders of Epidauria (Paus. 2.26.1
); and from this town to the frontiers of Arcadia, the direct distance is about 28 English miles.
These limits give about 524 square English miles for the territory of Argos. (Clinton, F. H.
vol. ii. p. 424.)
The plain in which the city of Argos is situated is one of the largest plains in the Peloponnesus, being 10 or 12 miles in length, and from 4 to 5 in width.
It is shut in on three sides by mountains, and only open on the fourth to the sea, and is therefore called by Sophocles (Oed. Col.
378) τὸ κοῖλον Ἄργος.
This plain was very fertile in antiquity, and was celebrated for its excellent horses. (Ἄργος ἱππόβοτον, Hom. Il. 2.287
; Strab. viii. p.388
The eastern side is much higher than the western; and the former suffers as much from a deficiency, as the latter does from a superabundance of water.
A recent traveller says that the streams on the eastern part of the plain “are all drunk up by the thirsty soil, on quitting their rocky beds for the deep arable land,” --a fact which offers a palpable explanation of the epithet “very thirsty” (πολυδίψιον
) applied by Homer to the land of Argos. (Il. 4.171
The western part of the plain, on the contrary, is watered by a number of streams; and at the south-western extremity of the plain near the sea there is besides a large number of copious springs; which make this part of the country a marsh or morass.
It was here that the marsh of Lerna and the fathomless Alcyonian pool lay, where Hercules is said to have conquered the Hydra. [LERNA
] It has been well observed by a modern writer that the victory, of Hercules over this fifty-headed water-snake may be understood of a successful attempt of the ancient lords of the Argive plain to bring its marshy extremity into cultivation, by draining its sources and embanking its streams. (Mure, Tour in Greece,
vol. ii. p. 194.)
In the time of Aristotle (Meteor.
1.14) this part of the plain was well-drained and fertile, but at the present day it is again covered with marshes.
With respect to the present productions of the plain, we learn that the “dryer parts are covered with corn; where the moisture is greater, cotton and vines are grown; and in the marshy parts, towards the sea, lice and kalamhbókki.” (Leake, Morea,
vol. ii. p. 348.)
The two chief rivers in the plain of Argos are the Inachus and the Erasinus.
) rises, according to Pausanias (ii 25.3, 8.6.6), in Mt. Artemisium, on the borders of Arcadia, or, according to Strabo (viii. p.370
), in Mt. Lyrceium, a northern offshoot of Artemisium. Near its sources it receives a tributary called the CEPHISSUS
), which rises in Mt. Lyrceium (Strab. ix. p.424
; Aelian, Ael. VH 2.33
It flows in a south-easterly direction, E. of the city of Argos, into the Argolic gulf.
This river is often dry in the summer. Between it and the city of Argos is the mountain-torrent named CHARADRUS
), which also rises in Mt. Artemisium, and which, from its proximity to Argos, has been frequently mistaken for the Inachus by modern travellers.
It flows over a wide gravelly bed, which is generally dry in the summer, whence its modern name of Xeriá,
or the Dry River.
It flows into the Inachus a little below Argos.
It was on the banks of the Charadrus that the armies of Argos, on their return from military expeditions, [p. 1.201]
(were obliged to undergo a court of inquiry before they were permitted to enter the city. (Thuc. 5.60
; comp. Paus. 2.25.2
; Leake, Morea,
vol. ii. p. 364, Peloponnesiaca,
p. 267; Mure, vol. ii. p. 161.)
also Ἀρδῖνος, Strab. viii. p.371
) is the only river in the plain of Argos which flows during the whole year. Its actual course in the plain of Argos is very short; but it was universally believed to be the same stream *as the river of Stymphalus, which disappeared under Mt. Apelauron, and made its reappearance, after a subterranean course of 200 stadia, at the foot of the rocks of Mt. Chaon, to the SW. of Argos.
It issues from these rocks in several large streams, forming a river of considerable size (hence “ingens Erasinus,” Ov. Met. 15.275
), which flows directly across the plain into the Argolic gulf.
The waters of this river turn a great number of mills, from which the place is now called “The Mills of Argos” (οἱ μύλοι τοῦ Ἄργους
At the spot where the Erasinus issues from Mt. Chaon, “there is a fine lofty cavern, with a roof like an acute Gothic arch, and extending 65 yards into the mountain.” (Leake.)
It is perhaps from this cavern that the mountain derives its name (from χάω, χαίνω, χάσκω
The only tributary of the Erasinus is the Phrixus (Φρίξος, Paus. 2.36.6
), which joins it near the sea. (Hdt. 6.76
; Strab. vi. p.275
, viii. p. 389; Paus. 2.36
. § § 6, 7, 24.6, 8.22.3; Diod. 15.49
; Senec. Q. N.
3.26; Stat. Theb. 1.357
; Plin. Nat. 4.5.9
; Leake, Morea,
vol. ii. p. 340, seq., vol. iii. p. 112, seq., Pelopon.
p. 384; Ross, Reisen im Peloponnes,
The other rivers in the Argeia are mere mountain torrents. On the Argolic gulf we find the following, proceeding from S. to N.: 1. TANUS
(Τάνος, Paus. 2.38.7
), or TANAUS
413), now the river of Luku,
forming the boundary between the Argeia and Cynuria. (Leake, Pelopon.
pp. 392, 340.) 2. PONTINUS
), rising in a mountain of the same name, on which stood a temple (of Athena Saitis, said to have been founded by Da laus. (Paus. 2.36.8
; Leake, Morea,
vol. ii. p. 473, Pelopon.
p. 368.) 3. AMYMONE
), which descends from the same mountain, and immediately enters the lake of Lerna. [LERNA
] 4. CHEIMARRHUS
), between the lake of Lerna and the Erasinus. (Paus. 2.36.7
; Leake, More,
vol. ii. p. 338.)
In the interior of the country we find: 5. ASTERION
), a small torrent flowing on the south-eastern side of the Heraeum, or temple of Hera, the waters of which are said by Pausanias to disappear in a chasm. No trace of this chasm has been found; but Mure observed that its waters were absorbed in the earth at a small distance from the temple. (Paus. 2.17.2
; Mure, vol. ii. p. 180; Leake, Pelopon.
p. 262, seq.) 6. ELEUTHERION
), a small tor. rent flowing on the north-western side of the Heraeum. (Paus. 2.17.1
; Leake, Pelopon.
p. 272.) From a passage of Eustathius (in Od.
13.408), quoted by Leake, we learn that the source of this torrent was named Cynadra (Κυνάδρα
In the time of the Peloponnesian war the whole of the Argeia was subject to Argos, but it originally contained several independent cities. Of these the most important were Mycenae and Tiryns, which in the heroic ages were more celebrated than Argos itself. Argos is situated about 3 miles from the sea. Mycenae is between 6 and 7 miles N. of Argos; and Tiryns about 5 miles SE. of Argos. Nauplia, the port of Argos, is about 2 miles beyond Tiryns.
A list of the other towns in the Argeia is given in the account of the different roads leading from Argos. Of these roads the following were the most important:--
- 1. The North road to Cleonae issued from the gate of Eileithyia (Paus. 2.18.3),, and ran through the centre of the plain of Argos to Mycenae. Shortly after leaving Mycenae the road entered a long narrow pass between the mountains, leading into the valley of Nemea in the territory of Cleonae.
This pass, which was called the TRETUS (ἡ Τρητός) from the numerous caverns in the mountains, was the carriage-road in the time of Pausanias from Cleonae to Argos; and is now called Dervenáki. The mountain is also called Treton by Hesiod and Diodorus.
It was celebrated as the haunt of the Nemean lion slain by Hercules. (Hes. Tlzeog. 331; Diod. 4.11; Paus. 2.15. § § 2, 4.) Pausanias mentions (1. c.) a footpath over these mountains, which was shorter than the Tretus.
This is the road called by other writers CONTOPORIA (Κοντορορία, Pol. 16.16; Athen. 2.43).
- 2, 3.
The two roads to Mantineia both quitted Argos at the gate called Deiras, and then immediately parted in different directions. (Paus. 2.25. § § 1--4.)
The more southerly and the shorter of the two roads, called PRINUS followed the course of the Charadrus: the more northerly and the longer, called CLIMAX ran along the valley of the Inachus. Both Ross and Leake agree in making the Prinus the southern, and the Climax the northern of the two roads, contrary to the conclusions of the French surveyors. (Ross, Reisen im Peloponnes, p. 130, seq.: Leake, Pelopon. p. 371, seq.) For further details respecting these roads see MANTINEIA The Prinus after crossing the Charadrus passed by Oenoe, which was situated on the left bank of the river [OENOE]; it then ascended Mt. Artemisium (Malevós), on whose summit by the road side was the temple of Artemis, and near it the sources of the Inachus. Here were the boundaries of the territories of Mantineia and Argos. (Paus. 2.25. § § 1--3.)
The Climax first passed by Lyrceia at the distance of 60 stadia from Argos, and next Orneae,--a town on the confines of Phliasia, at the distance of 60 stadia from Orneae. (Paus. 2.25. § § 4--6.) [LYRCEIA; ORNEAE.] It appears from this account that the road must have run in a north-westerly direction, and have followed the course of the Inachus, since we know that Lyrceia was not on the direct road to Phlius, and because 120 stadia by the direct road to Phlius would carry us far into Phliasia, or even into Sicyonia. (Ross, Ibid. p. 134, seq.)
After leaving Orneae the road crossed the mountain and entered the northern corner of the Argon Plain in the territory of Mantineia. [MANTINEIA]
The road to Tegea quits Argos near the theatre, and first runs in a southerly direction along the foot of the mountain Lycone.
After crossing the Erasinus (Kephalári), the road divides into two, the one to the right leading to Tegea across the mountains, and the other to the left leading through the plain to Lerna.
The road to Tegea passes by Cenchreae [CENCHREAE] and the sepulchral monuments (πολυάνδρια) of the Argives who conquered the Lacedaemonians at Hysiae, shortly afterwards crosses the Cheimarrhus, and then begins to ascend Mt. Pontinus in a westerly direction.
It then crosses another mountain, probably the CREOPOLUM (Κρεωπόλον) [p. 1.202]of Strabo (viii; p. 376), and turns southwards to the Khan of Daouli, where it is joined by a foot-path leading from Lerna. From this spot the road runs to the W., passes Hysiae [HYSIAE], and crossing Mt. Parthenium enters the territory of Tegea. (Paus. 2.24.5, seq.; Leake, Morea, vol. ii. p. 337, seq.; Ross, ib. p. 131, seq.)
At the distance of about a mile from the Erasinus, and about half a mile to the right of the road, the remains of a pyramid are found, occupying the summit of a rocky eminence
among the lower declivities of Mt. Chaon. Its site corresponds to that of the sepulchral monuments of the Argives, mentioned by Pausanias (2.24 § 7); but its style of architecture would lead us to assign to it an early date. “The masonry of this edifice is of an intermediate style between the Cyclopian and polygonal, consisting of large irregular blocks, with a tendency, however, to quadrangular forms and horizontal courses; the inequalities being, as usual, filled up with smaller pieces.
The largest stones may be from four to five feet in length, and from two to three in thickness.
There are traces of mortar between the stones, which ought, perhaps, to be assigned rather to subsequent repairs than to the original workmanship.
The symmetry of the structure is not strictly preserved, being interrupted by a rectangular recess cutting off one corner of the building.
In this angle there is a doorway, consisting of two perpendicular side walls, surmounted by an open gable or Gothic arch, formed by horizontal layers of masonry converging into an apex, as in the triangular opening above the Gate of Lions and Treasury of Atreus.
This door gives access to a passage between two walls.
At its extremity on the right hand is another doorway, of which little or nothing of the masonry is preserved, opening into the interior chamber or vault.” (Mure, vol. ii. p. 196.)
This was not the only pyramid in the Argeia.
A second, no longer existing, is mentioned by Pausanias (2.25.7) on the road between Argos and Tiryns; a third, of which remains exist, is described by Gell (Itinerary of Greece, p. 102), on the road between Nauplia and Epidaurus; and there was probably a fourth to the S. of Lerna, since that part of the coast, where Danaus is said to have landed, was called Pyramia. (Plut. Pyrrh. 32; Paus. 2.38.4.)
It is a curious circumstance that pyramids are found in the Argeia, and in no other part of Greece, especially when taken in connection with the story of the Aegyptian colony of Danaus.
|RUINS OF A PYRAMID IN THE ARGEIA.|
The road to Thyrea and Sparta is the same as the one to Tegea, till it reaches the Erasinus, where it branches off to the left as described above, and runs southwards through the marshy plain across the Cheimarrhus to Lerna. [LERNA] (Paus. 2.36.6, seq.)
After leaving Lerna, the road passes by Genesium [GFENESIUM], and the place called Apobathmi [APOBATHMI], where Danaus is said to have landed, in the neighbourhood of the modern village of Kyvéri. To the S. of Kyvéri begins the rugged road across the mountains, anciently called Anigraea (Ἀνιγραῖα), running along the west into the plain of Thyrea. [THYREA] (Paus. 2.38.4, seq.) Shortly before descending into the Thyreatic plain, the traveller arrives opposite the Anávolos (Ἀνάβολος), which is a copious source of fresh water rising in the sea, at a quarter of a mile from the narrow beach under the cliffs. Leake observed that it rose with such force as to form a convex surface, and to disturb the sea for several hundred feet round.
It is evidently the exit of a subterraneous river of some magnitude, and thus corresponds with the Dine (Δίνη) of the ancients, which, according to Pausanias (8.7.2), is the outlet of the waters of the Argon Pedion in the Mantinice. (Leake, vol. ii. p. 469, seq.; Ross, p. 148, seq.)
There were two other roads leading from Lerna, one along the coast to Nauplia, and the other across the country to Hysiae. On the former road, which is described by Pausanias, stood a small village called TEMENION (Τημένιον), which derived its name from the Doric hero Temenus, who was said to have been buried here.
It was situated on an isolated hillock between the mouths of the Inachus and the Erasinus, and on that part of the coast which was nearest to Argos.
It was distant 26 stadia from Argos, and 15 from Nauplia. (Strab. viii. p.368; Paus. 2.38.1; Ross, p. 149, seq.) On the other road leading to Hysiae, which is not mentioned by Pausanias, stood Elaeus. [ELARETS, No. 2.]
The road to Tiryns issued from the gate Diampares. [TIRYNS] From Tiryns there were three roads, one leading to Nauplia [NAUPLIA], a second in a south-westerly direction past Asine [ASINE] to Troezen, and a third in a more westerly direction to Epidaurus. Near the last of these roads Midea appears to have been situated. [MIDEA.]
The road leading to the Heraeum, or temple of Hera, issued from the gate between the gates Diam. pares and Eileithyia.
II. Argos, the City.
), Eth. Ἀργεῖοι
, usually called ARGI (-orum) by the Romans, was situated about three miles from the sea, in the plain which has already been described. Its citadel, called Larisa
, the Pelasgic name for a citadel (Λάρισα, Λάρισσα, Paus. 2.23.8
; Strab. viii. p.370
; Dionys. A. R. 1.21
), was a striking object, being built on an insulated conical mountain of 900 feet in height, with steep rocky sides, diversified with grassy slopes. (Mure, vol. ii. p. 183.)
A little to the E. of the town flowed the river Charadrus, a tributary of the Inachus. [See above, p. 200b.]
According to the general testimony of antiquity, Argos was the most ancient city of Greece.
It was originally inhabited by Pelasgians, and is said to have been built by the Pelasgic chief Inachus, or by his son Phoroneus, or by his grandson Argus. Phoroneus, however, is more commonly represented as its founder; and from him the city was called ἄστυ Φορωνικόν.
The descendants of Inachus ruled over the country for nine generations; but Gelanor, the last king of this race, was deprived of the sovereignty by Danaus, who is said to have come from Egypt. From this Danaus was derived the name of Danai, which was applied to the inhabitants of the Argeia and to the Greeks in general. (Apollod. 2.1
.) Danaus and his two successors Lynceus and Abas ruled over the whole of the Argeia; but Acrisius and Proetus, the two sons of Abas, divided the territory between them, [p. 1.203]
the former ruling at Argos, and the latter at Tiryns. Perseus, the son of Danaë, and grandson of Acrisius, founded the city of Mycenae, which now became the chief city in the Argeia. (Paus. 2.15.4
; Apollod. 2.2
.) Eurystheus, the grandson of Perseus, was succeeded in the kingdom of Mycenae by Atreus, the son of Pelops.
The latter transmitted his power to his son or grandson Agamemnon, “king of men,” who exercised a kind of sovereignty over the whole of the Argeian territory, and a considerable part of Peloponnesus. Homer represents Mycenae as the first city in Peloponnesus, and Argos, which was then governed by Diomedes, as a subordinate place. Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, united under his sway both Argos and Mycenae, and subsequently Lacedaemon also, by his marriage with Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus. Under Orestes Argos again became the chief city in the Argeian territory.
In the reign of his successor Tisamenus, the Dorians invaded Peloponnesus, expelled Tisamenus, and became the rulers of Argos.
In the three.. fold division of Peloponnesus, among the descendants of Hercules, Argos fell to the lot of Temenus.
We now come to the first really historical event in the history of Argos.
The preceding narrative belongs to legend, the truth of which we can neither deny nor affirm. We only know that before the Dorian invasion the Argeian territory was inhabited by Achaeans, who, at some period unknown to history, had supplanted the original Pelasgic population. [ACHAEI
] According to the common legend, the Dorians conquered the Peloponnesus at once, and drove out the Achaean population; but it is now generally admitted that the Dorians only slowly and gradually made themselves masters of the countries in which we find them subsequently settled; and we know in particular that in the Argeia, most of the towns, with the exception of Argos, long retained their original Achaean population.
Even after the Dorian conquest, Argos appears as the first state in Peloponnesus, Sparta being second, and Messene third. Herodotus states (1.82), that in ancient times the whole eastern coast of Peloponnesus down to Cape Malea, including Cythera and the other islands, belonged to Argos; and the superiority of the latter is also indicated by the legend, which makes Temenus the eldest of the three Heracleids.
The power of Argos, however, was not derived exclusively from her own territory, but also from the fact of her being at the head of a league of several other important Doric cities. Cleonae, Phlius, Sicyon, Epidaurus, Troezen, Hermione, and Aegina were all members of this league, which was ostensibly framed for religious purposes, though it in reality gave Argos a political ascendency.
This league, like others of the same kind, was called an Amphictyonia (Paus. 4.5.2
); and its patron god was Apollo Pythaeus.
There was a temple to this god in each of the confederated cities, while his most holy sanctuary was on the Larissa, or acropolis of Argos.
This league continued in existence even as late as B.C. 514, when the power of Argos had greatly declined, since we find the Argives in that year condemning both Sicyon and Aegina to pay a fine of 500 talents each, because they had furnished the Spartan king Cleomenes with ships to be employed against the Argeian territory. (Hdt. 6.92
The religious supremacy continued till a later time; and in the Peloponnesian war the Argives still claimed offerings from the confederate states to the temple of Apollo Pythaeus on the Larissa. (Thuc. 5.53
; comip. Miller, Dorians,
The great power of Argos at an early period is attested by the history of Pheidon, king of Argos, who is represented as a lineal descendant of Temenus, and who reigned between B.C. 770 and 730.
He attempted to establish his sway over the greater part of Peloponnesus, and, in conjunction with the Pisatans, he seized upon the presidency of the Olympic games in the 8th Olympiad (B.C. 747); but he was subsequently defeated by the Spartans and the Eleans.
The details of his history are given elsewhere. (Dict. of Biogr.
After the time of Pheidon the power of Argos gradually declined, and Sparta eventually became the first power in Peloponnesus.
The two states had long contended for the possession of the district Cynuria or Thyreatis, which separated the frontiers of Laconia and Argos. Several battles between the Lacedaemonians and Argives are recorded at an early period, and particularly a victory gained by the latter near Hysiae, which is assigned to B.C. 669. (Paus. 2.24.7
But about B.C. 547 the Spartans obtained permanent possession of Cynuria by the memorable combat of the 300 champions, in which the Spartan Othryades earned immortal fame. (Hdt. 1.82
; Dict. of Biogr.
) But the great blow, which effectually humbled the power of Argos, and gave Sparta the undisputed pre-eminence in Peloponnesus, was dealt by the Spartan king Cleomenes, who defeated the Argives with such slaughter near Tiryns, that 6000 citizens perished in the battle and the retreat. (Hdt. 6.76
According to later writers, the city was only saved by the patriotism of the Argive women, who, headed by the poetess Telesilla, repulsed the enemy from the walls (Paus. 2.20.8
; Polyaen. 8.33
; Plut. de Virt. Mul. p. 245
; Suid. s. v. Τελέσιλλα
); but we know, from the express statement of Herodotus, that Cleomenes never attacked the city.
This great defeat occurred a few years before the Persian wars (comp. Hdt. 7.148
), and deprived Argos so completely of men, that the slaves got the government into their own hands, and retained possession of it till the sons of those who had fallen were grown into manhood.
It is further related, that when the young citizens had grown up, they expelled the slaves, who took refuge at Tiryns, where they maintained themselves for some time, but were eventually subdued. (Hdt. 6.83
These slaves, as Müller has remarked (Dorians,
3.4.2), must have been the Gymnesii or bondsmen who dwelt in the immediate neighbourhood of the city; since it would be absurd to suppose that slaves bought in foreign countries could have managed a Grecian state. The Argives took no part in the Persian wars, partly on account of their internal weakness, and partly through the jealousy of the Spartans; and they were even suspected of remaining neutral, in consequence of receiving secret offers from Xerxes. (Hdt. 7.150
But even after the expulsion of the bondsmen, the Dorian citizens found themselves compelled to give the citizenship to many of the Perioeci, and to distribute them in the immediate neighbourhood of the city. (Aristot. Pol. 5.2.8
.) Further, in order to increase their numbers and their power, they also dispeopled nearly all the large cities in the surrounding country, and transplanted the inhabitants to Argos.
In the Persian wars Tiryns and Mycenae were independent cities, which followed the command of Sparta without the consent of Argos. The Argives destroyed Mycenae in B.C. 468 (Diod. [p. 1.204]
11.65; comp. Paus. 8.16.5
); and about the same time we may place the destruction of Tiryns, Hysiae, Midea, and the other towns in the Argeia. (Paus. 8.27.1
The introduction of so many new citizens gave new life and vigour to Argos, and soon re-established its prosperity and wealth (Diod. 12.75
); but at the same time it occasioned a complete change in the constitution. Up to this time Argos had been essentially a Doric state.
It contained three classes of persons:--1.
The inhabitants of the city, consisting for the most part of Dorians, originally divided into three tribes, to which a fourth was afterwards added, named Hyrnathia, containing families not of Doric origin. (Müller, Dorians,
3.5. § § 1, 2.) 2.
A class of Perioeci, consisting of the ancient Achaean inhabitants. MUller (Ibid. 3.4.2) supposes that these Perioeci were called Orneatae from the town of Orneae; but there are good reasons for questioning this statement. [ORNEAE
A class of bondslaves, named Gymnesii, corresponding to the Helots of Sparta, and of whom mention has been made above.
There was a king at the head of the state. All the kings were descendants of the Heracleid Temenus down to Meltas, who was the last king of this race (Paus. 2.19.2
; Plut. Alex. Virt.
8); and after him another dynasty reigned down to the time of the Persian wars. Herodotus (7.149
) mentions a king of Argos at this period; but the royal dignity was abolished soon afterwards, probably when the inhabitants of the neighbouring towns were received as citizens. (Hermann, Griech. Staatsalt.
§ 23. n. 6.)
The royal power, however, was always very limited (Paus. 2.9.2
); for the Council (βουλή
) possessed extensive authority.
At the time of the Peloponnesian war we find Argos in the enjoyment of a democratic constitution; but of the details of this constitution we possess hardly any accounts. (Thuc. 5.29
In the treaty of alliance between Argos and Athens, which Thucydides (5.47
) has preserved, we find mention at Argos of the “Boule,” the “Eighty,” and the “Artynae” (Ἀρτῦναι
It has been conjectured that the “Eighty” was a more aristocratical council, and that the Artynae may have acted as presidents to this council (Arnold, ad Thuc. l.c.
); but nothing is really known of these two bodies except their names.
The ostracism was one of the democratical institutions of Argos. (Aristot. Pol. 5.2.5
; Schol. ad Aristoph. Eq.
851.) Another democratical institution was a military court, which the soldiers, on returning from an expedition, held on the river Charadrus before entering the city, in order to inquire into the conduct of their generals. (Thuc. 5.60
The Argives remained neutral during the first ten years of this war, in consequence of a truce for 30 years which they had previously formed with the Spartans. (Thuc. 5.14
.) During this time they had increased in numbers and wealth; while Sparta had been greatly exhausted by her contest with Athens. Moreover, shortly before the expiration of the truce, the Spartans had given great offence to her Peloponnesian allies by concluding the peace with Athens, usually called the peace of Nicias. (B.C. 421.)
The time seemed favourable to Argos for the recovery of her former supremacy in the Peloponnesus; and she accordingly formed a league against Sparta, which was joined by the Mantineians, Corinthians, and Eleians, B.C. 421. (Thuc. 5.31
In the following year (B.C. 420) the Athenians also were persuaded by Alcibiades to form a treaty with Argos (Thuc. 5.43
); but the disastrous battle of Mantineia (B.C. 418), in which the Argives and their confederates were defeated by the Spartans, not only broke up this alliance, but placed Argos in close connection with Sparta.
There had always been an oligarchical party at Argos in favour of a Lacedaemonian alliance. About the time of the peace of Nicias, the Argive government had formed a separate regiment of a thousand select hoplites, consisting of young men of wealth and station, to receive constant military training at the public expense. (Diod. 12.75
; Thuc. 5.67
At the battle of Mantineia this regiment had been victorious over the troops opposed to them, while the democratical soldiers had been put to the rout by the enemy. Supported by this regiment, the oligarchical party obtained the upper hand at Argos, and concluded a treaty of peace with Sparta; and in the following year (B.C. 417), assisted by some Spartan troops, they overthrew the democratical form of government by force. (Thuc. 5.71
But they did not retain their power long.
At the end of four months the people rose against their oppressors, and after a sharp contest expelled them from the city. The Argives now renewed their alliance with the Athenians, and commenced erecting long walls, in order to connect their city with the sea; but before they had time to finish them, the Lacedaemonians invaded their territory, and destroyed the walls. (Thuc. 5.82
.) During the remainder of the Peloponnesian war the Argives continued faithful to the Athenian alliance, and sent troops to the Athenian armies. (Comp. Thuc. 6.29
At a later time the Argives were always ready to join the enemies of Sparta. Thus they united with Athens, Thebes, Corinth, and the other states to oppose Sparta in the war which was set on foot by the Persian king in B.C. 395; and even when Athens assisted Sparta against the Thebans, the Argives would not make cause with their old allies, but fought on the side of the Thebans against their ancient enemy, B.C. 362. (Xen. Hell. 7.5. 5
) It was about this time that party hatred perpetrated the greatest excesses at Argos.
The oligarchical party having been detected in an attempt to overthrow the democracy, the people became so exasperated that they put to death most of the men of wealth and influence in the state. On this occasion 1200 men, or, according to another statement, 1500, were slain; and even the demagogues shared the same fate.
This state of things was called by the name of Σκυταλισμὸς,
; Plut. Praec. Reip. Ger. p. 814
b.; Müller, Ibid.
3.9.1.) Little requires to be said respecting the subsequent history of Argos.
The most memorable occurrence in its later history is the attempt of Pyrrhus to surprise the city, in which he met with his death. (Plut. Pyrrh. 34
; for details see Dict. of Biogr.
) Like many of the other cities in Peloponnesus, Argos was now governed by tyrants, who maintained their power by the support of the Macedonian kings; but when Aratus had succeeded in liberating Sicyon and Corinth, he persuaded Aristomachus, the tyrant of Argos, voluntarily to resign his power; and the Argives then joined the Achaean league, B.C. 229. (Pol. 2.44; Plut. Arat. 35
.) Argos fell for a time into the hands of Cleomenes (Pol. 2.52), and subsequently into those of Nabis, tyrant of Sparta, and his cruel wife (Pol. 17.17; Liv. 32.18
); but. with the [p. 1.205]
exception of these temporary occupations, it continued to belong to the Achaean league till the final conquest of Greece by the Romans, B.C. 146. (Strab. viii. pp. 376, 377.)
Argos was one of the largest and most populous cities in Greece. We have already seen that in the war with Cleomenes it lost 6000 of its citizens; but at the time of the Peloponnesian war it had greatly increased in numbers. Lysias, in B.C. 402, says that Argos equalled Athens in the number of her citizens (Dionys. Lys.
p. 531); and there were probably not less than 16,000 Athenian citizens at that time. But 16,000 citizens will give a total free population of 66,000. If to these we add the slaves and the Perioeci, the aggregate calculation cannot have been less than 110,000 persons for Argos and its territory. (Clinton, F. H.
vol. ii. p. 424, seq.)
Few towns in Greece paid more attention to the worship of the gods than Argos. Hera was the deity whom they reverenced above all others.
This goddess was an Achaean rather than a Dorian divinity, and appears in the Iliad as the guardian deity of the Argives; but her worship was adopted by the Dorian conquerors, and was celebrated with the greatest honours down to the latest times. Even in B.C. 195 we find Aristaenus, the general of the Achaean league, invoking, “Juno regina, cujus in tutela Argi sunt.” (Liv. 34.24
The chief temple of this goddess, called the Heraeum, was situated between Argos and Mycenae, but much nearer to the latter than to the former city; and in the heroic age, when Mycenae was the chief city in the Argeia, the inhabitants of this city probably had the management of the temple. (Grote, vol. i. pp. 226, 227.)
In the historical age the temple belonged to the Argives, who had the exclusive management of its affairs.
The high priestess of the temple held her office for life; and the Argives counted their years by the date of her office. (Thuc. 2.2
.) Once in four years, probably in the second year of every Olympiad, there was a magnificent procession from Argos to this temple, in which almost the whole population of the city took part.
The priestess rode in a chariot, drawn by two white oxen. (Hdt. 1.31
; Cic. Tusc. 1.47
; for details, see Dict. of Ant.
) Respecting the site of this temple, which was one of the most magnificent in Greece, some remarks are made below.
In the city itself there were also two temples of Hera, one of Hera Acraea on the ascent to the Acropolis (Paus. 2.24.1
), and the other of Hera Antheia in the lower part of the city (Paus. 2.22.1
But the temple of Apollo Lyceius is described by Pausanias (2.19.3
, seq.) as by far the most celebrated of all the temples in the city. Tradition ascribed its foundation to Danaus.
It stood on one side of the Agora (Thuc. 5.47
), which Sophocles therefore calls “the Lyceian Agora of the wolf-slaying god” (τοῦ λυκοκτόνου θεοῦ ἀγορὰ Λύκειος,
6; comp. Plut. Pyrrh. 31
; Leake, Morea,
vol. ii. p. 401, seq.).
There was also a temple of Apollo Pythaeus on the Acropolis,which, as we have already seen, was a common sanctuary for the Dorian states belonging to the ancient Argive confederacy (Paus. 2.24.1
; Thuc. 5.53
There were temples to several other gods in Argos; but we may pass them over, with the exception of the temples of Zeus Larissaeus and of Athena, both of which crowned the summit of the acropolis (Paus. 2.24.3
; Strab. viii. p.370
The great number of temples, and of statues with which they were adorned, necessarily led to the cultivation of the fine arts. Argos became the seat of one of the most celebrated schools of statuary in Greece.
It rose to the greatest renown in the 5th century, B.C., under Ageladas, who was the teacher of Pheidias, Myron, and Polycleitus, three of the greatest sculptors in antiquity. (See these names in the Dict. of Biogr.
) Music was also cultivatedwith success at Argos at an early period ; and in the reign of Darius the Argives were reckoned by Herodotus (3.131
) the best musicians in Greece. Sacadas, who flourished about this period (B.C. 590--580), and who was one of the most eminent of the Greek musicians, was a native of Argos. Sacadas obtained distinction as a poet as well as a musician; and the Argive Telesilla, who was contemporary with Cleomenes, was so celebrated as a poetess as to be classed among those who were called the Nine Lyric Muses (Dict. of Biogr.
But after this time we find no trace of the pursuit of literature at Argos. Notwithstanding its democratical constitution, and the consequent attention that was paid to public affairs, it produced no orator whose fame descended to posterity (Cic. Brut. 13
). The Argives had the character of being addicted to wine (Aelian, Ael. VH 3.15
; Athen. 10.442d
|PLAN OF ARGOS.
- 1. Larissa or Acropolis.
- 2. Deiras.
- 3. Aspis or second Acropolis.
- 4. Coele.
- 5. Theatre.
- 6. Agora.
- 7. Temple of Apollo Lyceius.
- 8. Thalamos of Danaë.
- 9. Aqueduct.
- 10. Gate of Deiras.
- 11. Gate of Eileithyia.
- 12. Gate leading to the Heraeum.
- 13. Gate Diamperes.
- 14. Gate leading to Temenium.
- 15. Gate leading to Tegea.
- 16. Gymnasium of Cylarabis.
The remains of Argos are few, but still sufficient to enable us to fix the position of some parts of the ancient city, of which Pausanias has left us a minute account.
The modern town of Argos is situated wholly in the plain, but it is evident from the existing remains of the ancient walls, that the mountain called Larissa was included within the ancient city. On the summit of this mountain there are the ruins of a Gothic castle, the walls of which are built upon those of the ancient acropolis. “The masonry of the ancient parts of the building is solely or chiefly in the more regular or polygonal style.
There are, [p. 1.206]
however, considerable vestiges of other lines of wall, of massive Cyclopian structure, on the sides and base of the hill connecting the citadel with the lower town.” (Mure, vol. ii. p. 184.) Euripides, in more than one passage, alludes to the Cyclopian walls of Argos. (Ἄργος, ἵνα τείχη λάϊνα Κυκλώπἰ οὐράνια νέμονται, Troad.
1087; Ἀργεῖα τείχη καὶ Κυκλωπίαν πόλιν, Here. Fur.
It appears from the ancient substructions that the ancient acropolis, like the modern citadel, consisted of an outer wall or rampart, and of an inner keep or castle.
The latter occupied a square of about 200 feet.
From either end of the outer fortification, the city walls may be traced on the descent of the hill. They are--marked with a black line in the plan on the preceding page.
The dotted lines indicate the probable direction of the walls, of which there are no remains.
As no remains of the city walls can be traced in the plain, it is difficult to form an estimate of the dimensions of the ancient city; but Leake conjectures that it could not have been less than 5 miles in circumference.
We learn from Livy that Argos had two citadels ( “nam duas [arces] habent Argi,” Liv. 34.25
This second citadel was probably situated at the extremity of the hill, which forms the north-eastern projection of the mountain of Larissa, and which rises to about one-third of the height of the latter.
The ridge connecting this hill with the Larissa is called Deiras (Δειράς
) by Pausanias (2.24.1
The second citadel was called Aspis (Ἀσπίς, Plut. Pyrrh. 32
17, 21), since a shield was suspended here as the insignia of the town; whence the proverb ὡς τὴν ἐν Ἄργει ἀσπίδα καθελών.
(Zenob. 6.52; Plut. Prove. Alexand.
44; Suid.; Müller, Doricans,
There are considerable remains of the theatre, which was excavated on the--southern slope of the Larissa.
In front of the western wing of the theatre there are some brick ruins of the Roman period.
At the south-western end of the Larissa there are remains of an aqueduct, which may be traced two miles beyond the village of Belissi to the NW.
The Agora appears to have stood nearly in the centre of the city.
In the middle of the Agora was the monument of Pyrrhus, a building of white marble; on which were sculptured the arms worn by this monarch in his wars, and some figures of elephants.
It was erected on the spot where the body of Pyrrhus was burnt; but his remains were deposited in the neighbouring temple of Demeter, where he died, and his shield was affixed above the entrance. (Paus. 2.21.4
A street named Coele (Κοίλη, Paus. 2.23.1
) appears to have led from the Agora to the Larissa, the ascent to which was by the ridge of Deiras.
At the foot of the hill Deiras was a subterraneous building, which is said to have once contained the brazen chamber (ὁ χαλκοῦς θάλαμος
) in which Danae was confined by her father Acrisius. (Paus. 2.23.7
; comp. Soph. Antig.
948; comp. Hor. Carm. 3.16
The gymnasium, called CYLARABIS (Κυλάραβις
), from the son of Sthenelus, was situated outside the city, at a distance of less than 300 paces according to Livy. (Paus. 2.22.8
; Liv. 34.26
; Plut. Cleom. 17
The gate which led to it was called Diamperes (Διαμπερές
It was through this gate that Pyrrhus entered the city on the night of his death. (Plut. Pyrrh. 32
The king fell near the sepulchre of Licymnius in a street leading from the agora to the gymnasium. (Plut. Pyrrh. 34
; Paus. 2.22.8
The principal gates of Argos appear to have been:
The gate of Eileithyia, so called from a neighbouring temple of this goddess, leading to Mycenae and Cleonae. (Paus. 2.18.3）
The gate of Deiras (αἱ πυλαὶ αἱ πρὸς τῇ Δειράδι), leading to Mantineia.
In the ridge, called Deiras, Leake observed an opening in the line of the ancient walls, which marks precisely the position of this gate. (Paus. 2.25.1.)
The gate leading to Tegea. (Paus. 2.24.5.)
The gate leading to Temenium.
The gate Diamperes, leading to Tiryns, Nauplia and Epidaurus.
A gate leading to the Heraeum. (Respecting the topography of Argos, see Leake, Morea, vol. ii. p. 394, seq.)
It remains to speak of the site of the Heraeum, which long eluded the researches of all travellers in Greece. Its remains were discovered for the first time in 1831, by General Gordon, the commander of the Greek forces in the Peloponnesus. Pausanias describes (2.17.1) the Heraeum as situated at the distance of 15 stadia from Mycenae, to the left of the route between that city and Argos, on the lower declivities of a mountain called Euboea; and he adds, that on one side of it flowed the Elentherion, and on the other flowed the Asterion, which disappeared in an abyss. “These details are all verified on the ground explored by General Gordon.
It is a. rocky height, rising,. in a somewhat insulated form, from the base of one of the highest mountains that bound the plain towards the east, distant about two English miles from Mycenae, which corresponds nearly to the 15 stadia of Pausanias.” (Mure, vol. ii. p. 178.)
The remains of the temple are distant from Argos between 5 and 6 miles, which correspond to the 45 stadia of Herodotus (1.31
). Strabo (viii. p.368
) says that the temple was distant 40 stadia from Argos, and 10 from Mycenae, but each of these measurements is below the truth.
The old Heraeum was burnt in the ninth year of the Peloponnesian war (B.C. 423), by the negligence of the priestess (Thuc. 4.133
), whereupon Eupolemus was employed to erect the new temple, described by Pausanias.
The new Heraeum was built a little below the ancient one; but the substructions of the latter were still seen by Pausanias (2.17.7
The eminence on which the ruins are situated is an irregular triangular platform, with its apex pointing, towards Mount Euboea, and its base towards Argos.
The surface is divided into three esplanades or terraces, rising in gradation one above the other, from the lower to the upper extremity.
The central one
|SITE OF THE HERAEUM.
- 1. Heraeum.
- 2. Old Heraeum.
- 3. Mt. Euboea.
- 4. Mt. Acraea.
- 5. River Eleutherion.
- 6. River Asterion. [p. 1.207]
of the three is supported by a massive Cyclopian substruction, still in good preservation, and a conspicuous object from some distance. This Cyclopian wall is a part of the remains of the ancient temple which Pausanias saw. On the lowest of the terraces stood the Heiaeum built by Eupolemus. Here General Gordon made some excavations, and discovered, among other things, the tail of a peacock in white marble.
This terrace has substructions of regular Hellenic masonry, forming a breastwork to the base of the triangle towards the plain.
The length of the surface of the hill is about 250 yards; its greatest breadth about half its length.
Of the two torrents between which the Heraeum stood, the north-western was the Eleutherion, and the south-eastern the Asterion. [See above, p. 201a.] Pausanias says that the river Asterion had three daughters, Euboea, Prosymna, and Acraea. Euboea was the mountain on the lower part of which the Heraeum stood; Acraea, the height which rose over against it; and Prosymna the region below it. (Mure, vol. ii. p. 177, seq.; Leake, Pelopon.
p. 258, seq.)
Nauplia was the harbour of Argos. [NAUSLIA.]
|COIN OF ARGOS.|