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ACRAE´PHIA

ACRAE´PHIA, ACRAEPHIAE, ACRAEPHIUM, ACRAEPHNIUM (Ἀκραιφία, Steph. B. sub voce Hdt. 8.135, Acraephia, Liv. 33.29; Plin. Nat. 4.7. s. 12; Ἀκραιφίαι, Strab. p. 410; Ἀκραίφιον, Strab. p. 413.; Ἀκραίφνιον, Paus. 9.23.5: Τὰ Ἀκαίφνια, Theopomp. ap. Steph. B. sub voce s. v.; Eth. Ἀκραιφιαῖος, Ἀκραίφιος, Ἀκραίφνιος, Ἀκραιφνιώτης, Ἀκραιφνιεύς, Steph. B. sub voce Ἀκραιφιεύς, Böckh, Inscr. 1587: nr. Kardhítza), a town of Boeotia on the slope of Mt. Ptoum (Πτῶον) and on the eastern bank of the lake Copais, which was here called Ἀκραιφὶς λίμνη from the town. Acraephia is said to have been founded by Athamas or Acraepheus, son of Apollo; and according to some writers it was the same as the Homeric Arne. Here the Thebans took refuge, when their city was destroyed by Alexander. It contained a temple of Dionysus. (Steph. B. sub voce Strab. p. 413; Paus. l.c.) At the distance of 15 stadia from the town, on the right of the road, and upon Mt. Ptoum, was a celebrated sanctuary and oracle of Apollo Ptous. This oracle was consulted by Mardonius before the battle of Plataea, and is said to have answered his emissary, who was a Carian, in the language of the latter. The name of the mountain was derived by some from Ptous, a son of Apollo and Euxippe, and by others from Leto having been frightened πτοέω by a boar, when she was about to bring forth in this place. Both Acraephia and the oracle belonged to Thebes. There was no temple of the Ptoan Apollo, properly so called; Plutarch (Gryllus, 7) mentions a θόλος, but other writers speak only of a τέμενος, ἱερόν, Χρηστήριον or μαντεῖον. (Steph. B. sub voce /Strab. l.c.; Paus. l.c., 4.32.5; Hdt. 8.135; Plut. Pel. 16.) According to Pausanias the oracle ceased after the capture of Thebes by Alexander; but the sanctuary still continued to retain its celebrity, as we see from the great Acraephian inscription, which Böckh places in the time of M. Aurelius and his son Commodus after A.D. 177. It appears from this inscription that a festival was celebrated in honour of the Ptoan Apollo every four years. (Böckh, Inscr. No. 1625.) The ruins of Acraephia are situated at a short distance to the S. of Kardhitza. The remains of the acropolis are visible on an isolated hill, a spur of Mt. Ptoum, above the Copaic sea, and at its foot on the N. and W. are traces of the ancient town. Here stands the church of St. George built out of the stones of the old town, and containing many fragments of antiquity. In this church Leake discovered the great inscription alluded to above, which is in honour of one of the citizens of the place called Epaminondas. The ruins near the fountain, which is now called Perdikóbrysis, probably belong to the sanctuary of the Ptoan Apollo. The poet Alcaeus (ap. Strab. p. 413) gave the epithet τρικάρανον to Mt. Ptoum, and the three summits now bear the names of Paleá, Strútzina, and Skroponéri respectively. These form the central part of Mt. Ptoum, which in a wider signification extended from the Tenerian plain as far as Larymna and the Euboean sea, separating the Copaic lake on the E. from the lakes of Hylae and Harma. (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. ii. p. 295, seq.; Ulrichs, Reisen in Griechenland, vol. i. p. 239, seq.; Forchhammer, Hellenika, p. 182.)

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