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HERMIONE or HERMION (Ἑρμιόνη, Herod., Xen., Strab.; Ἑρμιών Eurip. Here. Fur. 615; Plb. 2.52; Ἑρμιῶν, Scylax, p. 20: Eth. Ἑρμιονεύς; fem. Ἑρμιονίς: Adj. Ἑρμιονικός, Hermioneus, Hermionius, Hermionicus: the territory Ἑρμιονίς a town at the southern extremity of Argolis, in the wider use of this term, but an independent city during the flourishing period of Grecian history, and possessing a territory named Hermionis. The sea between the southern coast of Argolis and the island of Hydrea was called after it the HERMIONICUS SINUS (Ἑρμιονικὸς κόλπος, Strab. viii. p.335), which was regarded as distinct from the Argolic and Saronic gulfs.

Hermione was founded by the Dryopes, who are said to have been driven out of their original abodes on Mount Oeta and its adjacent valleys by Heracles, and to have settled in the Peloponnesus, where their three chief towns were Hermione, Asine, and Eïon. (Hdt. 8.43. 47; Diod. 4.37.) Hermione is mentioned by Homer along with its kindred city Asine. (Hom. Il. 2.560.) Asine and Eïon were conquered at an early period by the Dorians, but Hermione continued to exist as an independent Dryopian state long afterwards. Hermione appears to have been the most important of the Dryopian towns, and to have been in possession at one time of a larger portion of the adjacent coast, as well as of several of the neighboring islands. Strabo, following ancient authorities, places the promontory Scyllaeum in Hermionis (Strab. viii. p.373), and the Helnionic gulf extended along the coast of Troezen as far as this promontory. Hermione is mentioned first among the cities of the Amphictyony, the representatives of which were accustomed to meet in the adjacent island of Calaureia (Strab. viii. p.374), from which it has been inferred that Hermione had the presidency of the confederacy, and that the island belonged to this city. It is expressly stated that Hydreia belonged to the Hermionians, and that they surrendered this island to the Samian pirates, who gave it into the charge of the Troezenians. (Hdt. 3.59.) The Hermionians are mentioned as Dryopes at the time of the Persian wars: they sent three ships to Salamis, and 300 men to Plataea. (Hdt. 8.43, 9.28.) Subsequently the Argives took possession of Hermione, and settled there an Argive colony. There is no account of its conquest, and Pausanias supposes that the Argives obtained peaceable possession of the town; but it probably came into their power about the same time that they subdued Mycenae and Tiryns, B.C. 464. Some of the expelled Hermionians took refuge at Halieis, where the Tirynthians had also settled; and it was perhaps at this time that the lower city was deserted. (Paus. 2.34.5; Strab. viii. p.373; comp. Steph, B. s. v. Τίρυνς; Müller, Dor. vol. i. p. 199, Engl. trans.) Hermione now became a Doric city; but the inhabitants still retained some of the ancient Dryopian customs. Thus it continued. to be the chief seat of the worship of Demeter Chthonia, who appears to have been the principal deity of the Dryopians; and we learn from a remarkable inscription that the Asinaeans, who had settled in Messenia after their expulsion from Argolis, continued to send offerings to Demeter Chthonia at Hermione. (Böckh, Inscr. no. 1193.) Although Hermione had fallen into the hands of the Argives, it did not continue permanently subject to Argos, and it is mentioned subsequently as an independent town and an ally of Sparta. (Thuc. 2.56, 8.3) After the capture of the Acrocorinthus by Aratus, the tyrant who governed Hermione voluntarily surrendered his power, and the city joined the Achaean league. (Plb. 2.44.) Hermione continued to exist long afterwards, as is proved by its numerous coins and inscriptions

Pausanias describes Hermione at considerable length. The old city, which was no longer inhabited in his time, stood upon a promontory seven stadia in length, and three in breadth at its widest part; and on either side of this promontory there was a convenient harbour. There were still several temples standing on this promontory in the time of Pausanias, of which the most remarkable was one sacred to Poseidon. The later town, which Pausanias visited, stood at the distance of four stadia from this temple upon the slopes of the hill Pron. It was entirely surrounded by walls, and was in earlier times the Acropolis of the city. Among its ruins lies the modern village of Kastrí. Of the numerous temples mentioned by Pausanias the most important was the ancient Diyopian sanctuary of Demeter Chthonia, situated on a eight of Mount on, said to have been founded by Chthonia, daughter of Phoroneus, and Clymenus her brother. (Eur. Her. 615.) It was an inviolable sanctuary; but it was plundered by there Cilician pirates. (Phot. Lex. s. v. Ἑρμιόνη; Plut. Pomp. 24.) Opposite this temple was one sacred to Clymenus and to tie right was the Stoa of Echo, which repeated the voice three times. In the same neighbourhood there were three sacred places surrounded with stone fences; one named the sanctuary of Clymenus, the second that of Pluto, and the third that of the Acherusian lake. In the sanctuary of Clymenus there was an opening in the earth which the Hermionians believed to be the shortest road to Hades, and consequently they put no money in the mouths of their dead to pay [p. 1.1058]the ferryman of the lower world. (Paus. 2.35; Strab. viii. p.373.)

From Hermione a peninsula, now called Kranídhi, extends towards the south and west It contains two promontories, on each of which there are Hellenic remains. Pausanias names two ancient places, called Halice and Mases, on the road from Hermione to Asine, both of which must have been situated in this peninsula, but he gives no further indication of their position. It has been conjectured that the Hellenic remains near C. Muzáki, on the more easterly of the two promontories above mentioned, are those of Halice; and that the remains on the more westerly promontory at Port Kheli represent Mases. but there are good reasons for believing that the ruins near C. Muzáki are those of some town the name of which has not been recorded; that Halice, or, as it is also called, Halieis, stood at Port Kheli; and that Mases was situated more to the north, on the western coast, at Port Kiládhia. In the time of Pausanias, Mases served as the harbour of Hermione. [HALIEIS; MASES.] Towards the east the frontier of the Hermionis and Troezenia was marked by a temple of Demeter Thermasia, close to the sea, 80 stadia westward of Cape Scyllaeum, the name of which has been preserved in that of Thérmisi. (Paus. 2.34.6.) Near this temple, on the road from Troezen to Hermione, was a small place called EILEI (Εἰλεοί), the name of which has been preserved in the modern Ilio. Westward the Hermionis seems to have extended as far as the territory of Asine. On the road from Mases to Asine, Pausanias mentions the promontory STRUTHUS (Στρυθοῦς); at the distance of 250 stadia from which, by a mountain path, were PHILANORIUM (Φιλανόριον) and BOLEI (Βολεοί), the latter being the name of a heap of stones: 20 stadia beyond Bolei was a place called Didymi [DIDYMI]. (Leake, Morea, vol. ii. p. 457, seq., Peloponnesiaca, p. 281, seq.; Boblaye, Recherches, &c. p. 60; Curtius, Peloponnesos, vol. ii. p. 454, seq.)

hide References (14 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (14):
    • Euripides, Heracles, 615
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.59
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.43
    • Herodotus, Histories, 9.28
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.34.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.34.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.35
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.3
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.560
    • Polybius, Histories, 2.44
    • Polybius, Histories, 2.52
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.56
    • Plutarch, Pompey, 24
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 4.37
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