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LE´PREUM (τὸ Λέπρεον, Scyl., Strab., Polyb.; Λέπρεος, Paus., Aristoph. Birds 149; Λέπριον, Ptol. 3.16.18: Eth. Λεπρεάτης), the chief town of Triphylia in Elis, was situated in the southern part of the district, at the distance of 100 stadia from Samicum, and 40 stadia from the sea. (Strab. viii. p.344.) Scylax and Ptolemy, less correctly, describe it as lying upon the coast. Triphylia is said to have been originally inhabited by the Cauconians, whence Lepreum is called by Callimachus (Call. Jov. 39) Καυκώνων πτολίεθον. The Caucones were afterwards expelled by the Minyae, who took possession of Lepreum. (Hdt. 4.148.) Subsequently, and probably soon after the Messenian wars, Lepreum and the other cities of Triphylia were subdued by the Eleians, who governed them as subject places. [See Vol. I. p. 818b.] The Triphylian cities, however, always bore this yoke with impatience; and Lepreum took the lead in their frequent attempts to shake off the Eleian supremacy. The greater importance of Lepreum is shown by the fact that it was the only one of the Triphylian towns which took part in the Persian wars. (Hdt. 9.28.) In B.C. 421 Lepreum, supported by Sparta, revolted from Elis (Thuc. 5.31); and at last, in 400, the Eleians, by their treaty with Sparta, were obliged to relinquish their authority over Lepreum and the other Triphylian towns. (Xen. Hell. 3.2. 25) When the Spartan power had been broken by the battle of Leuctra (B.C. 371), the Spartans endeavoured to recover their supremacy over Lepreum and the other Triphylian towns; but the latter protected themselves by becoming members of the Arcadian confederacy, which had been recently founded by Epaminondas. (Xen. Hell. 6.5. 2, seq.) Hence Lepreum is called an Arcadian town by Scylax and Pliny, the latter of whom erroneously speaks both of a Leprion in Elis (4.5. s. 6), and of a Lepreon in Arcadia (4.5. s. 10). Pausanias also states that the Lepreatae in his time claimed to be Arcadians; but he observes that they had been subjects of the Eleians from ancient times,--that as many of them as had been victors in the public games were proclaimed as Eleians from Lepreus,--and that Aristophanes describes Lepreus as a city of the Eleians. (Paus. 5.5.3.) After the time of Alexander the Eleians again reduced the Triphylian cities, which therefore were obliged to join the Aetolian league along with the Eleians. But when Philip, in his war with the Aetolians, marched into Triphylia, the inhabitants of Lepreum rose against the Eleian garrison in their town, and declared in favour of Philip, who thus obtained possession of the place. (Plb. 4.77, 79, 80.) In the time of Pausanias the only monument in Lepreum was a temple of Demeter, built of brick. In the vicinity of the town was a fountain named Arene. (Paus. 5.5.6.) The territory of Lepreum was rich and fertile. Χώρα εὐδαίμων, Strab. viii. p.345.)

The ruins of Lepreum are situated upon a hill, near the modern village of Strovítzi. These ruins show that Lepreum was a town of some size. A plan of them is given by the French Commission, which is copied in the work of Curtius. They were first described by Dodwell. It takes half an hour to ascend from the first traces of the walls to the acropolis, which is entered by an ancient gateway. “The towers are square; one of them is almost entire, and contains a small window or arrow hole. A transverse wall is carried completely across the acropolis, by which means it was anciently divided into two parts. The foundation of this wall, and part of the elevation, still remain. Three different periods of architecture are evident in this fortress. The walls are composed of polygons: some of the towers consist of irregular, and others of rectangular quadrilaterals. The ruins extend far below the acropolis, on the side of the hill, and are seen on a flat detached knoll.” (Dodwell, Tour through Greece, vol. ii. p. 347; Leake, Morea, vol. i. p. 56; Boblaye, Récherches, &c. p. 135; Curtius, Peloponnesos, vol. ii. p. 84.)

hide References (11 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (11):
    • Aristophanes, Birds, 149
    • Herodotus, Histories, 9.28
    • Herodotus, Histories, 4.148
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.5.3
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.5.6
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.31
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.2.25
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 6.5.2
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.79
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.77
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.80
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