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PHLIUS (Φλιοῦς: Eth. Φλιάσιος, the territory Φλιασία), an independent city in the north-eastern part of Peloponnesus, whose territory was bounded on the N. by Sicyonia, on the W. by Arcadia, on the E. by Cleonae, and on the S. by Argolis. This territory is a small valley about 900 feet above the level of the sea, surrounded by mountains, from which streams flow down on every side, joining the river Asopus in the middle of the plain. The mountain in the southern part of the plain, from which the principal source of the Asopus springs, was called Carneates (Καρνεάτης) in antiquity, now Polýfengo. (Strab. viii. p.382.) The territory of Phlius was celebrated in antiquity for its wine. (Athen. 1.27d.) According to Strabo (viii. p.382), the ancient capital of the country was Araethyrea (Ἀραιθυρέα) on Mt. Celosse, which city is mentioned by Homer (Hom. Il. 2.571); but the inhabitants subsequently deserted it and built Phlius at the distance of 30 stadia. Pausanias (2.12. § § 4, 5), however, does not speak of any migration, but says that the ancient capital was named Arantia (Ἀραντία), from its founder Aras, an autochthon, that it was afterwards called Araethyrea from a daughter of Aras, and that it finally received the name of Phlius, from Phlias, a son of Ceisus and grandson of Temenus. The name of Arantia was retained in the time of Pausanias in the hill Arantinus, on which the city stood. Hence the statement of grammarians that both Arantia and Araethyrea were ancient names of Phlius. (Steph. B. sub voce s. vv. Φλιοῦς, Ἀραντία; Schol. ad Apoll. Rhod. 1.115.) According to Stephanus B. (s. v. Φλιοῦς) Phlius derived its name from Dionysus and Chthonophyle. Phlius was subsequently conquered by Dorians under Rhegnidas, who came from Sicyon. Some of the inhabitants migrated to Samos, others to Clazomenae; among the settlers at Samos was Hippasus, fróm whom Pythagoras derived his descent. (Paus. 2.13.1, seq.) Like most of the other Doric states, Phlius was governed by an aristocracy, though it was for a time subject to a tyrant Leon, a contemporary of Pythagoras. (D. L. 1.12, 8.8; Cic. Tusc. 5.3) Phlius sent 200 soldiers to Thermopylae (Hdt. 7.202), and 1000 to Plataea (9.28). Daring the whole of the Peloponnesian War it remained faithful to Sparta and hostile to Argos. (Thuc. 5.57, seq., 6.105.) But before B.C. 393 a change seems to have taken place in the government, for in that year we find some of the citizens in exile who professed to be the friends of the Lacedaemonians. The Phliasians, however, still continued faithful to Sparta) and received a severe defeat from Iphicrates in the year already mentioned. So much were they weakened by this blow that they were obliged to admit a Lacedaemonian garrison within their walls, which they had been unwilling to do before, lest their allies should restore the exiles. But the Lacedaemonians did not betray the confidence placed in them, and quitted the city without making any change in the government. (Xen. Hell. 4.4. 15, seq.) Ten years afterwards (B.C. 383) the exiles induced the Spartan government to espouse their cause; and with the fate of Mantineia before their eyes, the Phliasians thought it more prudent to comply with the request of the Spartans, and received the exiles. (Xen. Hell. 5.2. 8, seq.) But disputes arising between returned exiles and those who were in possession of the government, the former again appealed to Sparta, and Agesilaus was sent with an army in B.C. 380 to reduce the city. At this period Phlius contained 5000 citizens. Agesilaus laid siege to the city, which held out for a year and eight months. [p. 2.602]It was at length obliged to surrender through failure of provisions in B.C. 379; and Agesilaus appointed a council of 100 members (half from the exiles and half from the besieged), with powers of life and death over the citizens, and authorised to frame a new constitution. (Xen. Hell. 5.3. 10, seq.; Plut. Ages. 24; Diod. 15.20.) From this time the Phliasians remained faithful to Sparta throughout the whole of the Theban War, though they had to suffer much from the devastation of their territory by their hostile neighbours. The Argives occupied and fortified Tricaranum above Phlius, and the Sicyonians Thyamia on the Sicyonian frontier. (Xen. Hell. 7.2. 1) In B.C. 368 the city was nearly taken by the exiles, who no doubt belonged to the democratical party, and had been driven into exile after the capture of the city by Agesilaus. In this year a body of Arcadians and Eleians, who were marching through Nemea to join Epaminondas at the Isthmus, were persuaded by the Phliasian exiles to assist them in capturing the city. During the night the exiles stole to the foot of the Acropolis; and in the morning when the scouts stationed by the citizens on the hill Tricaranum announced that the enemy were in sight, the exiles seized the opportunity to scale the Acropolis, of which they obtained possession. They were, however, repulsed in their attempt to force their way into the town, and were eventually obliged to abandon the citadel also. The Arcadians and Argives were at the same time repulsed from the walls. (Xen. Hell. 7.2. 5-9) In the following year Phlius was exposed to a still more formidable attack from the Theban commander at Sicyon, assisted by Euphron, tyrant of that city. The main body of the army descended from Tricaranum to the Heraeum which stood at the foot of the mountain, in order to ravage the Phliasian plain. At the same time a detachment of Sicyonians and Pellenians were posted NE. of the Acropolis before the Corinthian gate. to hinder the Phliasians from attacking them in their rear. But the main body of the troops was repulsed; and being unable to join the detachment of Sicyonians and Pallenians in consequence of a ravine (Φαράγξ), the Phliasians attacked and defeated them with loss. (Xen. Hell. 7.2. 11, seq.)

After the death of Alexander, Phlius, like many of the other Peloponnesian cities, became subject to tyrants; but upon the organisation of the Achaean League by Aratus, Cleonymus, who was then tyrant of Phlius, voluntarily resigned his power, and the city joined the league. (Plb. 2.44.)

Phlius is celebrated in the history of literature as the birthplace of Pratinas, the inventor of the Satyric drama, and who contended with Aeschylus for the prize at Athens. In the agora of Phlius was the tomb of Aristias, the son of Pratinas. (Paus. 2.13.6.)

Pausanias says that on the Acropolis of Phlius was a temple of Hebe or Ganymeda, in a cypress grove, which enjoyed the right of asylum. (Comp. Strab. viii. p.382.) There was also a temple of Demeter on the Acropolis. On descending from the citadel there stood on the right a temple of Asclepius, and below it the theatre and another temple of Demeter. In the agora there were also other public buildings. (Paus. 2.13.3, seq.) The principal place at present in the Phliasia is the village of St. George, situated at the southern foot of Tricaranum, a mountain with three summits, which bounds the plain to the NE. The ruins of Phlius are situated three quarters of an hour further west, on one of the spurs of Tricaranum, above the right bank of the Asopus. They are of considerable extent, but present little more than foundations. On the south-western slope of the height stands the church of our Lady of the Hill (Παναγία Ῥαχιώτισσα), from which the whole spot is now called ᾿ς τὴν Ῥαχιώτισσαν. It probably occupies the site of the temple of Asclepius. Ross found here the remains of several Doric pillars. Five stadia from the town on the Asopus are some ruins, which Ross considers to be those of Celeae (Κελεαί), where Demeter was worshipped. (Paus. 2.14.1.) Leake supposed Phlius to be represented by some ruins on the western side of the mountain, now called Polýfengo; but these are more correctly assigned by Ross to the ancient city of Araethyrea; and their distance from those already described corresponds to the 30 stadia which, according to Strabo, was the distance from Araethyrea to Phlius.

On Mt. Tricaranum are the remains of a small Hellenic fortress called Paleókastron, which is probably the fortress erected by the Argives on this mountain. (Xen. Hell. 7.2. 1, 5, 11, 13; Dem. Megal. p. 206; Harpocrat. s. v. Τρικάρανον; Steph. B. sub voce Τρικάρανα.) Thyamia, which the Sicyonians fortified, as already narrated (Xen. Hell. 7.2. 1), is placed by Ross on the lofty hill of Spiria, the northern prolongation of Tricaranum, between the villages Stimánga and Skrapáni; on the summit are the remains of a large round tower, probably built by the Franks or Byzantines. In the southern part of the Phliasia is the Dioscurion (Διοσκούριον), which is mentioned only by Polybius (4.67, 68, 73), and which lay on the road from Corinth over the mountain Apelauron into the Stymphalia. (Leake, Morea, vol. iii. p. 339, seq.; Ross, Reisen im Peloponnes, p. 25, seq.; Curtius, Peloponnesos, vol. ii. p. 470, seq.)

  • A. Phlius.
  • B. Araethyrea or Arantia.
  • C. Mount Tricaranum.
  • D D. The Asopus.
  • 1. Ruins, perhaps of Celeae.
  • 2. The gate leading to Corinth.
  • 3. Paleokastron on Mount Tricaranum.
  • 4. The way to Nemea.

hide References (25 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (25):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.20
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.202
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.12
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.13.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.13.3
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.13.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.14.1
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 4.4.15
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 7.2.1
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 7.2.13
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 7.2.5
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 7.2.9
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.2.8
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.3.10
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 7.2.11
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.571
    • Polybius, Histories, 2.44
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.67
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.68
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.73
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.57
    • Diogenes Laertius, Vitae philosophorum, 8.8
    • Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 5.3
    • Plutarch, Agesilaus, 24
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 1.27
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