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LARYMNA (Λάρυμνα), the name of two towns in Boeotia, on the river Cephissus, distinguished as Upper and Lower Larymna. (Strab. ix. pp. 405, 406.) Strabo relates that the Cephissus emerged from its subterranean channel at the Upper Larymna, and joined the sea at the Lower Larymna; and that Upper Larymna had belonged to Phocis until it was annexed to the Lower or Boeotian Larymna by the Romans. Upper Larymna belonged originally to the Opuntian Locris, and Lycophron mentions it as one of the towns of Ajax Oïleus. (Lycophr. 1146.) Pausanias also states, that it was originally Locrian; and he adds, that it voluntarily joined the Boeotians on the increase of the power of the Thebans. (Paus. 9.23.7.) This, however, probably did not take place in the time of Epaminondas, as Scylax, who lived subsequently, still calls it a Locrian town (p. 23). Ulrichs conjectures that it joined the Boeotian league after Thebes had been rebuilt by Cassander. In B.C. 230, Larymna is described as a Boeotian town (Plb. 20.5, where Λάρυμναν should be read instead of Λαβρύναν); and in the time of Sulla it is again spoken of as a Boeotian town.

We may conclude from the preceding statements that the more ancient town was the Locrian Larymna, situated at a spot, called Anchoe by Strabo, where the Cephissus emerged from its subterranean channel. At the distance of a mile and a half Larymna had a port upon the coast, which gradually rose into importance, especially from the time when Larymna joined the Boeotian League, as its port then became the most convenient communication with the eastern sea for Lebadeia, Chaeroneia, Orchomenos, Copae, and other Boeotian towns. The port-town was called, from its position, Lower Larymna, to distinguish it from the Upper city. The former may also have been called more especially the Boeotian Larymna, as it became the seaport of so many Boeotian towns. Upper Larymna, though it had joined the Boeotian League, continued to be frequently called the Locrian, on account of its ancient connection with Locris. When the Romans united Upper Larymna to Lower Larymna, the inhabitants of the fomer place were probably transferred to the latter; and Upper Larymna was henceforth abandoned. This accounts for Pausanias mentioning only one Larymna, which must have been the Lower city; for if he had visited Upper Larymna, he could hardly have failed to mention the emissary of the Cephissus at this spot. Moreover, the ruins at Lower Larymna show that it became a place of much more importance than Upper Larymna. These ruins, which are called Kastri, like those of Delphi, are situated on the shore of the Bay of Larmes, on a level covered with bushes, ten minutes to the left of the mouth of the Cephissus. The circuit of the walls is less than a mile. The annexed plan of the remains is taken from Leake.

  • 1. A small port, anciently closed in the manner here described.
  • 2. The town wall, traceable all around.
  • 3. Another wall along the sea, likewise traceable.
  • 4. A mole, in the sea.
  • 5. Various ancient foundations in the tower and acropolis.
  • 6. A Sorus.
  • 7. Glyfoneró, or Salt Source.
  • 8. An oblong foundation of an ancient building.

Leake adds, that the walls, which in one place are extant to nearly half their height, are of a red soft stone, very much corroded by the sea air, and in some places are constructed of rough masses. The sorus is high, with comparison to its length and breadth, and stands in its original place upon the rocks: there was an inscription upon it, and some ornaments of sculpture, which are now quite defaced. The Glyfoneró is a small deep pool of water, impregnated with salt, and is considered by the peasants as sacred water, because it is cathartic. The sea in the bay south of the ruins is very deep; and hence we ought probably to read in Pausanias (9.23.7), λιμὴν δέ σφίσιν ἐστὶν αθγχιβαθής, instead of λίμνη, since there is no land-lake at this place. The ruins of Upper Larymna lie at Bazaráki, on the right bank of the Cephissus, at the place where it issues from its subterranean channel, (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. ii. p. 287, seq.; Ulrichs, Reisen in Griechenland, p. 229, seq.)

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.23.7
    • Polybius, Histories, 20.5
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