Kalaureia

Kalaureia

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Kalaureia or Calauria is an island close to the coast of Troezen
Troezen
Troezen is a small town and a former municipality in the northeastern Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Troizinia, of which it is a municipal unit....

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

, part of the modern island-pair Poros
Poros
Poros is a small Greek island-pair in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf, at a distance about 58 km south from Piraeus and separated from the Peloponnese by a 200-metre wide sea channel, with the town of Galatas on the mainland across the strait. Its surface is about and it has 4,117...

.

Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 describes the coastwise journey along the Hermionic Gulf
Ermioni
Ermioni is a small town and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Ermionida, of which it is a municipal unit. It is a popular tourist resort. It is on a very small out-cropping of the land facing the island of...

:
"The gulf begins at the town of Asine. Then come Hermione
Ermioni
Ermioni is a small town and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Ermionida, of which it is a municipal unit. It is a popular tourist resort. It is on a very small out-cropping of the land facing the island of...

 and Troezen; and, as one sails along the coast, one comes also to the island of Calauria, which has a circuit of one hundred and thirty stadia and is separated from the mainland by a strait four stadia wide.
"

Pre-classical asylum


On Calauria a Doric temple
Doric order
The Doric order was one of the three orders or organizational systems of ancient Greek or classical architecture; the other two canonical orders were the Ionic and the Corinthian.-History:...

 of Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

 was built in the ancient sanctuary, possibly around 520 BCE. The dimensions of the temple are 27.4 by 14.4 m. There are six columns on each short side and twelve on each long side.

There is strong evidence that the epithet
Epithet
An epithet or byname is a descriptive term accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title...

 of Poseidon at Kalaureia was Geraistos (Γεραιστός), a word from an unknown pre-Hellenic language. A 6th century A.D. dictionary by Stephanus of Byzantium
Stephanus of Byzantium
Stephen of Byzantium, also known as Stephanus Byzantinus , was the author of an important geographical dictionary entitled Ethnica...

 gives the names of Zeus's sons as Geraistos, Tainaros, and Kalauros, who sailed from an unspecified location and landed in different places on the Peloponnesus. Geraistos, Tainaros, and Kalaureia are all sanctuaries of Poseidon; in the towns of the latter two, one of the months of the year was named Geraistios (the only other poleis (πόλεις) with this month name are Sparta, Kalymna, and Kos
Kos
Kos or Cos is a Greek island in the south Sporades group of the Dodecanese, next to the Gulf of Gökova/Cos. It measures by , and is from the coast of Bodrum, Turkey and the ancient region of Caria. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Kos peripheral unit, which is...

). It is also theorized that the epithet Geraistios (Γεραίστιος) also applies to Kalaureia because all three sanctuaries function as asylums.

Another, older aetiology of the temple says that it was bartered for by Poseidon himself, who received it from Apollo in exchange for his share of Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

. This story is attested by Callimachus
Callimachus
Callimachus was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya. He was a noted poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria and enjoyed the patronage of the Egyptian–Greek Pharaohs Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes...

, Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

 referencing Musaeus
Musaeus
Musaeus or Musaios was the name of three Greek poets.-Musaeus of Athens:Musaeus was a legendary polymath, philosopher, historian, prophet, seer, priest, poet, and musician, said to have been the founder of priestly poetry in Attica...

, and Strabo referencing the history of Ephorus
Ephorus
Ephorus or Ephoros , of Cyme in Aeolia, in Asia Minor, was an ancient Greek historian. Information on his biography is limited; he was the father of Demophilus, who followed in his footsteps as a historian, and to Plutarch's claim that Ephorus declined Alexander the Great's offer to join him on his...

.Geography, 8.6.14 Pausanias and Strabo both quote the following oracle: "For thee it is the same thing to possess Delos or Kalaureia / most holy Pytho [Delphi] or windy Taenarum."

Kalaureia was mentioned by Philostephanus
Philostephanus
Philostephanus of Cyrene was a Hellenistic writer from North Africa, who was a pupil of the poet Callimachus in Alexandria and doubtless worked there during the 3rd century BC....

 in a lost work On Islands.

It was to Kalaureia that Demosthenes
Demosthenes
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

 the famous orator, condemned to death with his friends by the pro-Philip Macedonian party at Athens, fled and took sanctuary in Poseidon's sanctuary; as Antipater's officers closed in, he took poison and died, 16 October 322.

Legendary amphictyony


It is claimed by the Hellenistic historian Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 that in the Archaic period, an early amphictiony, one of several Hellenic leagues of pre-classical times of which little is known, was centered on Kalaureia. Archaeology of the site suggested to Thomas Kelly that the sacred league was founded in the second quarter of the seventh century BCE, ca 680-650; before that date there were virtually no remains at the site, which could not have been used more than sporadically. A peribolos (περίβολος) wall enclosing the sanctuary site was built with the temple, but there are no earlier traces of structures. The temenos
Temenos
Temenos is a piece of land cut off and assigned as an official domain, especially to kings and chiefs, or a piece of land marked off from common uses and dedicated to a god, a sanctuary, holy grove or holy precinct: The Pythian race-course is called a temenos, the sacred valley of the Nile is the ...

or sanctuary dedicated to Poseidon, may have been linked to the sanctuaries at Geraistos and Tainaros (Ταίναρος). The island was known at one time as Eirene (Εἰρήνη) ("Peace"), clearly in reference to the amphictiony. A reference in Strabo gives a list of the poleis
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

that belonged:
And there was also a kind of Amphictyonic League connected with this temple, a league of seven cities which shared in the sacrifice; they were Hermione
Ermioni
Ermioni is a small town and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Ermionida, of which it is a municipal unit. It is a popular tourist resort. It is on a very small out-cropping of the land facing the island of...

, Epidaurus
Epidaurus
Epidaurus was a small city in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf. Two modern towns bear the name Epidavros : Palaia Epidavros and Nea Epidavros. Since 2010 they belong to the new municipality of Epidavros, part of the peripheral unit of Argolis...

, Aegina
Aegina
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of Aeacus, who was born in and ruled the island. During ancient times, Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power of the era.-Municipality:The municipality...

, Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, Prasïeis, Nauplïeis, and Orchomenus Minyeius; however, the Argives
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

 paid dues for the Nauplians, and the Lacedaemonians
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 for the Prasians." (Strabo, Geography viii.6.14.)


Troezen
Troezen
Troezen is a small town and a former municipality in the northeastern Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Troizinia, of which it is a municipal unit....

 and Poros
Poros
Poros is a small Greek island-pair in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf, at a distance about 58 km south from Piraeus and separated from the Peloponnese by a 200-metre wide sea channel, with the town of Galatas on the mainland across the strait. Its surface is about and it has 4,117...

, which he considered the harbour of Troezen, Strabo omitted. However, there is no archaeological evidence to corroborate this list, and modern scholars believe that a feast in the ancient temenos
Temenos
Temenos is a piece of land cut off and assigned as an official domain, especially to kings and chiefs, or a piece of land marked off from common uses and dedicated to a god, a sanctuary, holy grove or holy precinct: The Pythian race-course is called a temenos, the sacred valley of the Nile is the ...

celebrating the "revival" of the amphictiony, may have been based on a Hellenistic invention; the feast certainly existed: a third-century BCE plaque celebrating the "revival" of the Kalaureian League has been recovered.

After the Greco-Persian War, the friendly connection between Athens and Troezen appears to have continued; and during the hegemony of the Athenian empire before the thirty years' peace (455 BCE) Troezen was an ally of Athens, and was apparently garrisoned by Athenian troops; but by this peace the Athenians were compelled to relinquish Troezen. (19.29)