: Eth. Ῥαμνούσιος,
fem. Παμνουσία, Ῥαμνουσίς
), a demus of Attica, belonging to the tribe Aeantis (Steph. B. sub voce
Harpocr., Suid., s. v.), which derived its name from a thick prickly shrub, which still grows upon the site. (Ῥαμνοῦς,
contr. of π̔αμνόεις
) The town stood upon the eastern coast of Attica, at the distance of 60 stadia from Marathon, and upon the road leading from the latter town to Oropus. (Paus. 1.33.2
It is described by Scylax (p. 21) as a fortified place; and it appears from a decree in Demosthenes (pro Cor.
p. 238, Reiske) to have been regarded as one of the chief fortresses in Attica.
It was still in existence in the time of Pliny ( “Rhamnus pagus, locus Marathon,” 4.7.s. 11). Rhamnus was the birthplace of the orator Antipho [Dict. of Biogr. s. v.
] ; but it was chiefly celebrated in antiquity on account of its worship of Nemesis, who was hence called by the Latin poets Rhamnsusia virgo
and Rhamnsssia dea.
(Catull. 66.71; Claud. B. Get.
631; Ov. diet.
5.8. 9; Stat. Silv. 3.5.5
The temple of the goddess was at a short distance from the town. (Paus. l.c.;
comp. Strab. ix. p.399
It contained a celebrated statue of Nemesis, which, according to Pausanias, was the work of Pheidias, and was made by him out of a block of Parian marble, which the Persians had brought with them for the construction of a trophy.
The statue was of colossal size, 10 cubits in height (Hesych. sub voce
5.82), and on its basis were several figures in relief. Other writers say that the statue was the work of Agoracritus of Paros, a disciple of Pheidias. (Strab. ix. p.396
; Plin. Nat. 36.5. s. 4
. § 17, Sillig.)
It was however a common opinion that Pheidias was the real author of the statue, but that he gave up the honour of the work to his favourite disciple. (Suid. s.v. Zenob. l.c.;
7.960.) Rhamnus stood in a small plain, 3 miles in length, which, like that of Marathon, was shut out from the rest of Attica by surrounding mountains.
The town itself was situated upon a rocky peninsula, surrounded by the sea for two-thirds of its circumference, and connected by a narrow ridge with the mountains, which closely approach it on the land side.
It is now called Ovrió--Kastro.
a corruption of Ἑβραιόν-Καστρον, Jews'-Castle,
a name frequently applied in Greece to the ruins of Hellenic fortresses.)
It was about half a mile in circuit, and its remains are considerable.
The principal gate was situated upon the narrow ridge already mentioned, and is still preserved; and adjoining it is the southern wall, [p. 2.702]
about 20 feet in height.
At the head of a narrow glen, which leads to the principal gate, stand the ruins of the temple of Nemesis upon a large artificial platform, supported by a wall of pure white marble.
But we find upon this platform, which formed the τέμενος
or sacred enclosure, the remains of two
temples, which are almost contiguous, and nearly though not quite parallel to each other.
The larger building was a peripteral hexastyle, 71 feet long and 33 broad, with 12 columns on the side, and with a pronaus, cella, and posticum in the usual manner.
The smaller temple was 31 feet long by 21 feet broad, and consisted only of a cella, with a portico containing two Doric columns in antis.
Among the ruins of the larger temple are some fragments of a colossal statue, corresponding in size with that of the Rhamnusian Nemesis; but these fragments were made of Attic marble, and not of Parian stone as stated by Pausanias.
It is, however, not improbable, as Leake has remarked, that the story of the block of stone brought by the Persians was a vulgar fable, or an invention of the priests of Nemesis by which Pausanias was deceived. Among the ruins of the smaller temple was found a fragment, wanting the head and shoulders, of a statue of the human size in the archaic style of the Aeginetan school.
This statue is now in the British Museum. Judging from this statue, as well as from the diminutive size and ruder architecture of the smaller temple, the latter appears to have been the more ancient of the two. Hence it has been inferred that the smaller temple was anterior to the Persian War, and was destroyed by the Persians just before the battle of Marathon; and that the larger temple was erected in honour of the goddess, who had taken vengeance upon the insolence of the barbarians for outraging her worship.
In front of the smaller temple are two chairs (θρόνοι
) of white marble, upon one of which is the inscription Νεμέσει Σώστρατος ἀνέθηκεν,
and upon the other (Θέμιδι Σώστρατος ἀνέθηκεν,
which has led some to suppose that the smaller temple was dedicated to Themis.
But it is more probable that both temples were dedicated to Nemesis, and that the smaller temple was in ruins before the larger was erected.
A difficulty, however, arises about the time of the destruction of the smaller temple, from the fact that the forms of the letters and the long vowels in the inscriptions upon the chairs clearly show that those inscriptions belong to an era long subsequent to the battle of Marathon. Wordsworth considers it ridiculous to suppose that these chairs were dedicated in this temple after its destruction, and hence conjectures that the temple was destroyed towards the close of the Peloponnesian War by the Persian allies of Sparta. (Leake, Demi of Attica,
p. 105, seq., 2nd ed., Northern Greece,
vol. ii. p. 434, seq.; Wordsworth, Athens and Attica,
p. 34, seq.; Unedited Antiquities of Attica,
c. vi. p. 41, seq.) .
A harbour on the W. coast of Crete near the promontory Chersonesus. (Ptol. 3.17.2
.) Pliny, on the contrary, places it in the interior of the island (4.12. s. 20).