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DE´LIUM (Δήλιον: Eth. Δηλιεύς), a small place with a celebrated temple of Apollo, situated upon the sea-coast in the territory of Tanagra in Boeotia, and at the distance of about a mile from the territory of Oropus. This temple, which took its name from the island of Delos, is described by Livy (35.51) as overhanging the sea, and distant five miles from Tanagra, at the spot where the passage to the nearest parts of Euboea is less than four miles. Strabo (ix. p.403) speaks of Delium as a temple of Apollo and a small town (πολίχνιον) of the Tanagraei, distant 40 stadia from Aulis. It was here that the Athenians suffered a signal defeat from the Boeotians in the eighth year of the Peloponnesian War, B.C. 424. Hippocrates, the Athenian commander, had seized the temple at Delium, which he converted into a fortress by some temporary works, and after leaving there a garrison, was on his march homewards, and had already reached the territory of Oropus at the distance of 10 stadia from Delium, when he met the Boeotian army advancing to cut off his retreat. In the battle which ensued the Athenians were defeated with great loss; and on the seventeenth day after the battle the Boeotians retook the temple. (Thuc. 4.90.) Socrates fought at this battle among the hoplites, and, according to one account, saved the life of Xenophon (Strab. ix. p.403; D. L. 2.22), while, according to another, his own retreat was protected by Alcibiades, who was serving in the cavalry (Plut. Alc. 7). A detachment of the Roman army was likewise defeated at Delium by the troops of Antiochus, B.C. 192. (Liv. 35.51.) (Comp. Strab. viii. p.368; Paus. 9.20.1; Ptol. 3.15.20; Liv. 31.45.)

The modern village of Dhílissi, which has taken its name from Delium, is at some little distance from the sea. It is clear, however, from the testimony of Livy already referred to, that the temple of Apollo was upon the coast; and hence the modern village of Dhílissi may, as Leake suggests, be the site of the πολίχνιον, a small town of Delium. A few Hellenic fragments have been found at the village. (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. ii. p. 449, seq.)

hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.20.1
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.90
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 45
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 35, 51
    • Plutarch, Alcibiades, 7
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