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CLEITOR (Κλείτωρ; Clitorium, Plin. Nat. 4.6. s. 10; Eth. Κλειτόριος), a town in Arcadia, the name [p. 1.633]of which is derived by Müller, from its being situated in an enclosed plain (from κλείω), while others connect it with Clivia and Clusium. (Müller, Dorians, vol. ii. p. 444, transl.; Lobeck, Rhemat. 293.) It possessed. a small territory called Cleitoria (Κλειτορία, Plb. 4.10.6), bounded on the E. by the territory of Pheneus, on the W. by that of Psophis, on the N. by that of Cynaetha and Achaia, and on the S. by the territories of Caphyae, Tripolis, and Thelpusa. The lofty Aroanian mountains formed the NE. boundary of the territory of Cleitor, separating it from that of Pheneus. In these mountains the river Aroanius (Katzána) rises, which flowed through the territory of Cleitor from N. to S., and falls into the Ladon near the sources of the latter. The valley of this river opens out into two plains. In the upper plain, now called the plain of Sudhená, was situated Lusi, at. one.time an independent town, but at a later period a dependency of Cleitor. [LUSI] In the lower plain, now called the plain of Katzána, or Katzánes, was the town of Cleitor itself.

Besides the valley of the Aroanius, the upper valley of the Ladon also formed part of the territory of Cleitor. The Ladon rose in this district, and flowed through the southern part of it in a south-westerly direction. The road from Caphyae to Psophis passed through the Cleitoria, and was traversed by Pausanias. (8.23. § § 8, 9). At the distance of seven stadia from Caphyae was Nasi, in the territory of the latter city; and 50 stadia beyond, the road crossed the Ladon, but Pausanias does not mention where the territory of Cleitor began. The road then entered a forest of oaks called Soron, and passed through Argeathae, Lycuntes, and Scotane, till it arrived at the ruins of Paus, situated at the end of the forest, and not far from Seirae, which was distant 30 stadia from Psophis, and was the boundary between the Cleitorii and Psophidii. There are still some remains of this forest, which, in the time of Pausanias, contained bears and wild boars. The position of these places is uncertain; though Leake attempts to identify some of them. (Peloponnesiaca, p. 221.) Paus is also mentioned by Herodotus (Παίον, or Πάγου πόλις, 6.127), who speaks of it as a town of Azania.

Cleitor was situated in the midst of the plain of Kátzana, upon a hill. of moderate height between two rivulets. The more important of these streams, running. S. of the town, was also called Cleitor, now Klítora. The other stream, now called the river of Karnési, rises in the district of Lusi, and falls into the Klítora just beyond the remains of the ancient city., The Cleitor, after flowing rapidly through the plain, falls into the Aroanius, at the distance of seven stadia from the city of Cleitor, according to Pausanias; but the real distance is at least double. (Paus. 8.21.1; “rapidus Clitor,” Stat. Theb. 4.289; Athen.v. iii. p.331, d.; κλειτόεν ὕδωρ ποταμὸς Ἀρκαδίας, Hesych.) A little north of the junction of the river Cleitor with the Aroanius is the Kalývia of Mázi upon. a gentle elevation, in the neighbourhood of which Dodwell discovered the remains of a small Doric temple.

Cleitor is said to have been founded by a hero of the same name, the son of the Arcadian king Azan. (Paus. 8.4.5, 8.21.3.) The Cleitoria formed an important part of the Azanian district. The Cleitorian fountain, of which we shall speak presently, was regarded as one of the curiosities of Azania; and the Aroanian mountains, on the summits of which the daughters of Proetus wandered in their madness, are called the Azanian mountains. (Eudoxus, ap. Steph. s. v. Ἀζανία.) The Cleitorians were renowned among the Peloponnesians for their love of liberty. (τὸ Κλειτορίων φιλελεύθερον καὶ γενναῖον), of which an instance is cited even from the mythical times, in the brave resistance they offered to Sous, king of Sparta. (Plut. Lyc. 2, Apophth. p. 234.) Their power was increased by the conquest of Lusi, Paus, and other towns in their neighbourhood. In commemoration of these, conquests they dedicated at Olympia a brazen statue of Zeus, 18 feet in height, which was extant in the time of Pausanias, who has preserved the inscription upon it. (Paus. 5.23.7.) Cleitor seems to have occupied an important position among the Arcadian cities. In the Theban war it carried on hostilities against Orchomenus. (Xen. Hell. 5.4. 36) In the Social War it belonged to the Achaean League, and bravely repelled the assaults of the Aetolians, who attempted to scale the walls. (Plb. 4.18, 19, 9.38.) It was sometimes used as the place of meeting of the Achaean League. (Plb. 23.5.; Liv. 39.5.) Strabo (viii. p.388) mentions Cleitor among the Arcadian towns destroyed in his time, or of which scarcely any traces existed; but this is not correct, since it was not only in existence in the time of Pausanias, but it continued to coin money as late as the reign of Septimius Severus.

Pausanias gives only a brief description of Cleitor. He says that its three principal temples were those of Demeter, Asclepius, and Eileithyia; that at the distance of four stadia from the city the Cleitorians possessed a temple of the Dioscuri, whom they called the great gods; and that further on the summit of a mountain, at the distance of 30 stadia from the city, there was a temple of Athena Coria. (Paus. 8.21.3.) The ruins of Cleitor are now called Paleópoli, distant about three miles from a village which still bears the name of the ancient town. It would seem, as Leake remarks, that the river, having preserved its name after the city had ceased to exist, at length gave that name to a village built at its sources. The walls of the ancient city may still be traced in nearly their full extent. They inclose an irregular oblong space, not more than a mile in circumference; they were about 15 feet in thickness, and were fortified with towers. But the space inclosed by these walls seems to have been properly the acropolis of the ancient city, since the whole plain between the river of Klitora and the river of Karnési is covered with stones and pottery, mixed with quadrangular blocks and remains of columns. There are remains of a theatre towards the western end of the hill.

In the territory of Cleitor was a celebrated fountain, of which those who drank lost for ever their taste for wine:

Clitorio quicunque sitim de fonte levarit,

Vina fugit: gaudetque meris abstemius undis.

Ov. Met. 15.322; comp. Phylarch. ap. Athen. 2.43; Vitr. 8.3; Plin. Nat. 31.2. s. 13.) A spring of water, gushing forth from the hill on which the ruins stand, is usually supposed to be this miraculous fountain; but Curtius places it in the territory of Lusi, because it is said to have been situated upon the confines of the Cleitoria, and is mentioned in connection with the purification of the daughters of Proetus by Melampus, which is said to have taken place at Lusi. (Εἰτισκαὶ πηγὴ παρὰ τοῖς Κλειτορίοις, Hesych.; situated ἀν᾽ ἐσχατιὰς Κλείτορος, Vitruv. l.c.; ἐν Κλείτορι in Phylarch. ap. Athen. l.c., is to be understood of the territory.) [LUSI] [p. 1.634]

Another marvel in the territory of Cleitor was the singing fish of the river Aroanius. These fish, which were called ποικιλίαι, were said to sing like thrushes. Pausanias relates (8.21.2) that he had seen these fish caught; but that he had never heard them sing, although he had remained for that purpose on the banks of the river till sunset, when they were supposed to be most vocal. These singing fish are also mentioned by Athenaeus and Pliny. The former writer cites three authorities in proof of their existence, of whom Philostephanos placed them on the Ladon, Mnaseas in the Cleitor, and the Peripatetic Clearchus in the Pheneatic Aroanius. (Athen. viii. pp. 331, 332.) Pliny improperly identifies them with the exocoetus or adonis, which was a sea-fish. (Plin. Nat. 9.19.) The ποικιλία was probably trout, and was so called from its spotted and many-coloured scales. The trout of the Aroanius are described by Dodwell as “of a fine bright colour, and beautifully variegated.” (Dodwell, Classical Tour, vol. ii. p. 442; Leake, Morea, vol. ii. p. 257, seq.; Boblaye, Recherches, &c. p. 156; Curtius, Peloponnesiaca, p. 374, seq.)

hide References (19 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (19):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.21.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.4.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.23.7
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.21.3
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.4.36
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.10.6
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.18
    • Polybius, Histories, 9.38
    • Polybius, Histories, 23.5
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.19
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15.322
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 8.3
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 9.19
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 31.2
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.6
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 5
    • Plutarch, Lycurgus, 2
    • Statius, Thebias, 4
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 2.43
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