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AMYKLAI Achaia, Greece.

According to Pausanias, an “Achaian” or pre-Dorian stronghold, incorporated by conquest as the fifth village of Sparta probably early in the 8th c. B.C. Excavation has been almost entirely confined to the hill of Haghia Kyriaki about 5 km S of Sparta. The prehistoric settlement, which spanned the entire Bronze Age, was concentrated on the SE slopes; the historical site may have extended in an arc from N of the hill to modern Amyklae.

A little way down the hill, immediately outside and below a terrace wall, a small stratified deposit, composed of debris accumulated discontinuously between the Byzantine and Early Mycenaean periods, has been identified.

The Sanctuary of Apollo was laid out in the 8th c. Its centerpiece was the “tomb” (presumably an earthen tumulus) of Hyakinthus, a pre-Greek divinity whose cult was conflated with that of Apollo in the annual festival of the Hyakinthia. In the 7th or early 6th c. a 15 m-high statue of Apollo was fashioned in the form of a cylinder with arms (holding spear and bow) and helmeted head. About 550 B.C. the face of Apollo was plated with Lydian gold, a gift from King Croesus, and shortly thereafter Bathykles of Magnesia designed the Doric-Ionic complex later known as the “throne” of Apollo. The cult statue was set on an altar faced with stone reliefs depicting mythological scenes; similar reliefs decorated the interior and exterior friezes of the surrounding superstructure, whose main entrance was formed by four half-columns crowned by console capitals. The rich archaic dedications include bronze vessels and figurines, terracotta figurines (mainly female), and a few lead and ivory pieces; pottery was comparatively scarce. A contemporary deposit of over 10,000 dedications to Alexandra-Kassandra has been excavated at Haghia Paraskevi nearby; these and sporadic finds from the neighborhood confirm the evidence of Haghia Kyriaki that Amyklaean material culture, like that of Sparta, reached its zenith in the 7th and 6th c. There is nothing noteworthy among the later finds.


Paus. 3.10.8, 3.16.2, 18.6-19.6; Strab. 8.5.1; Polyb. 5.19.1.

G. Hirschfeld in PW I (1893) 1196-97; E. Fiechter, “Amyklae. Der Thron des Apollon,” Jahrbuch 33 (1918) 107-245; Gnomon 2 (1926) 120; ArchAnz 41 (1926) col. 424; E. Buschor & W. von Massow, “Vom Amyklaion,” AthMitt 52 (1927) 1ff; E. Vanderpool, “News Letter from Greece,” AJA 61 (1957) 283; Deltion 16 (1960) 102-3I: Ergon (1961) 172-74.


hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.10.8
    • Strabo, Geography, 8.5.1
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