Chaeronea

Chaeronea

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Chaeronea is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia
Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Livadeia
Livadeia
Livadeia is a city in central Greece. It is the capital of the prefecture Boeotia. Livadeia is located 130 km NW of Athens, E of Nafpaktos, ESE of Amfissa and Desfina, SE of Lamia and west of Chalkida. Livadeia is linked with GR-48 and several kilometres west of GR-3. The area around Livadeia...

, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 2,218 (2001). It is located in the Kifisós
Cephissus (Boeotia)
The northern Cephissus river or Cephisus rises at Lilaea in Phocis and flows by Delphi through Boeotia and eventually issues into Lake Copais which is therefore also called the Cephisian Lake...

 river valley and NW of Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

.

History



First settled in the Prehistoric period at the site now known as Magoula Balomenou (Μαγούλα Μπαλωμένου), Chaeronea was subject to Orchomenus which was, beginning in 600 BCE, a member of the Boeotian League. In the late 5th century BCE, Chaironeia belonged to one of the 11 Boeotian districts along with Acraephnium and Copia
Copia (Boeotia)
Copae was an ancient Greek city on the northern shore of Lake Copais in Boeotia....

. In 338 BCE, Chaeronea was the site of a battle fought by Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

 against a coalition of Greek states; during the battle, the elite unit of soldiers known as the Sacred Band of Thebes
Sacred Band of Thebes
The Sacred Band of Thebes was a troop of picked soldiers, consisting of 150 male couples which formed the elite force of the Theban army in the 4th century BC. It was organised by the Theban commander Gorgidas in 378 BC and played a crucial role in the Battle of Leuctra...

 was wiped out completely (See Battle of Chaeronea
Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC)
The Battle of Chaeronea was fought in 338 BC, near the city of Chaeronea in Boeotia, between the forces of Philip II of Macedon and an alliance of Greek city-states...

). In 1818, the so-called Lion of Chaeronea, a nearly 20 feet (6.1 m) funerary monument erected in honor of the Sacred Band, was rediscovered by English travellers. The fragmentary monument was reassembled and installed atop a pedestal at the site of its discovery. The ancient biographer and essayist Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

 was born in Chaeronea, and several times refers to these and other facts about his native place in his writings.
In 86 BCE, Archelaus
Archelaus (general)
Archelaus was a leading military general of the King Mithridates VI of Pontus. Archelaus was the greatest general that had served under Mithridates VI and was also his favorite general....

, a general of Mithridates VI of Pontus
Mithridates VI of Pontus
Mithridates VI or Mithradates VI Mithradates , from Old Persian Mithradatha, "gift of Mithra"; 134 BC – 63 BC, also known as Mithradates the Great and Eupator Dionysius, was king of Pontus and Armenia Minor in northern Anatolia from about 120 BC to 63 BC...

, landed in Boeotia. He was met by the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

 near Chaeronea and in the ensuing battle
Battle of Chaeronea (86 BC)
For the earlier battle, see Battle of Chaeronea The Battle of Chaeronea was the victory of the Roman forces of Lucius Cornelius Sulla over King Mithridates VI of Pontus near Chaeronea, in Boeotia, in 86 BC during the First Mithridatic War. This battle is described in three ancient texts, although...

Archelaus was defeated.

The site of the Theban mass grave was excavated in 1879-80 by P. Stamatakis, and the prehistoric site of Magoula Balamenou 23 years later by the archaeologist G. Soteriadis.