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Sicyon

Sicyon

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For the modern municipality, see Sikyona
Sikyona
Sikyona is a municipality in Corinthia, Greece. Population 19,455 . The seat of the municipality is in Kiato. Sikyona takes its name from the ancient city Sicyon, which was located in the same territory.-Municipality:...

.

Sikyon was an ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 city situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea
Achaea
Achaea is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of West Greece. It is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. The capital is Patras. The population exceeds 300,000 since 2001.-Geography:...

 on the territory of the present-day prefecture of Corinthia
Corinthia
Corinthia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese. It is situated around the city of Corinth, in the north-eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.-Geography:...

. The king-list given by 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...

 comprises twenty-four kings, beginning with the autochthonous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 Aegialeus; the penultimate king of the list, Agamemnon
Agamemnon
In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra, and the father of Electra and Orestes. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area...

, compels the submission of Sicyon to Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

; after him comes the Dorian usurper Phalces. Pausanias shares his source with Castor of Rhodes
Castor of Rhodes
Castor of Rhodes was a Greek grammarian and rhetorician, surnamed Philoromaeus, and is usually believed to have lived about the time of Cicero and Julius Caesar....

, who used the king-list in compiling tables of history; the common source was convincingly identified by F. Jacoby as a lost Sicyonica by the late fourth-century poet Menaechmus of Sicyon.

Sicyon was built on a low triangular plateau
Plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

 about two miles from the Corinthian Gulf. Between the city and its port lay a fertile plain with olive
Olive
The olive , Olea europaea), is a species of a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin as well as northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea.Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the...

 groves and orchards. After the Dorian invasion
Dorian invasion
The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of Ancient Greece to explain the replacement of pre-classical dialects and traditions in southern Greece by the ones that prevailed in Classical Greece...

 the community was divided into the ordinary three Dorian tribes and an equally privileged tribe of Ionians
Ionians
The Ionians were one of the four major tribes into which the Classical Greeks considered the population of Hellenes to have been divided...

, besides which a class of serf
SERF
A spin exchange relaxation-free magnetometer is a type of magnetometer developed at Princeton University in the early 2000s. SERF magnetometers measure magnetic fields by using lasers to detect the interaction between alkali metal atoms in a vapor and the magnetic field.The name for the technique...

s lived on and worked the land.

For some centuries, Sicyon remained subject to Argos
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...

, whence its Dorian conquerors had come; as late as 500 BC, it acknowledged a certain suzerainty. However, its virtual independence was established in the 7th century BC, when a line of tyrants arose and initiated an anti-Dorian policy. Chief of these rulers was the founder's grandson Cleisthenes
Cleisthenes of Sicyon
Cleisthenes was the tyrant of Sicyon from c. 600–570 BC, who aided in the First Sacred War against Kirrha that destroyed that city in 595 BC. He is also told to have organized with success a war against Argos because of his anti-Dorian feelings...

, the uncle of the Athenian legislator Cleisthenes
Cleisthenes
Cleisthenes was a noble Athenian of the Alcmaeonid family. He is credited with reforming the constitution of ancient Athens and setting it on a democratic footing in 508/7 BC...

. Besides reforming the city's constitution to the advantage of the Ionians and replacing Dorian cults with the worship of Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

, Cleisthenes gained renown as the chief instigator and general of the First Sacred War
First Sacred War
The First Sacred War was fought between the Amphictyonic League of Delphi and the city of Kirrha. The conflict arose due to Kirrha's frequent robbery and mistreatment of pilgrims going to Delphi and their encroachments upon Delphic land. The war resulted in the defeat and destruction of Kirrha...

 (590 BC) in the interests of the 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...

ans.

About this time, Sicyon developed the various industries for which it was noted in antiquity. As the abode of the sculptors Dipoenus and Scyllis
Dipoenus and Scyllis
Dipoenus and Scyllis were early ancient Greek sculptors from Crete who worked together and were said to have been pupils of Daedalus. Pliny assigns to them the date 580 BC, and says that they worked at Sicyon, which city from their time onwards became one of the great schools of sculpture. They...

 it gained pre-eminence in woodcarving and bronze work such as is still to be seen in the archaic metal facings found at Olympia
Olympia, Greece
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

. Its pottery, which resembled Corinthian ware, was exported with the latter as far as Etruria
Etruria
Etruria—usually referred to in Greek and Latin source texts as Tyrrhenia—was a region of Central Italy, an area that covered part of what now are Tuscany, Latium, Emilia-Romagna, and Umbria. A particularly noteworthy work dealing with Etruscan locations is D. H...

. In Sicyon also the art of painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 was supposed to have been invented. After the fall of the tyrants their institutions survived till the end of the 6th century BC, when Dorian supremacy was re-established, perhaps by the agency of Sparta
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...

  under the ephor
Ephor
An ephor was the leader of ancient Sparta and shared power with the Spartan king...

 Chilon
Chilón
Chilón is a town and one of the 119 Municipalities of Chiapas, in southern Mexico.As of 2005, the municipality had a total population of 77,686. It covers an area of 2490 km²....

, and the city was enrolled in the Peloponnesian League
Peloponnesian League
The Peloponnesian League was an alliance in the Peloponnesus from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC.- Early history:By the end of the 6th century, Sparta had become the most powerful state in the Peloponnese, and was the political and military hegemon over Argos, the next most powerful state...

. Henceforth, its policy was usually determined either by Sparta
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...

 or Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

.
In the 5th century BC Sicyon, like Corinth, suffered from the commercial rivalry of 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...

 in the western seas, and was repeatedly harassed by squadrons of Athenian ships. In the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 Sicyon followed the lead of Sparta and Corinth. When these two powers quarrelled after the peace of Nicias
Peace of Nicias
The Peace of Nicias was a peace treaty signed between the Greek city-states of Athens and Sparta in the March of 421 BC, ending the first half of the Peloponnesian War....

 it remained loyal to the Spartans. Again in the Corinthian war
Corinthian War
The Corinthian War was an ancient Greek conflict lasting from 395 BC until 387 BC, pitting Sparta against a coalition of four allied states; Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos; which were initially backed by Persia. The immediate cause of the war was a local conflict in northwest Greece in which...

, Sicyon sided with Sparta and became its base of operations against the allied troops round Corinth. In 369
369 BC
Year 369 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Fidenas, Cicurinus, Cossus, Cornelius, Cincinnatus and Ambustus...

 it was captured and garrisoned by the Theban
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...

s in their successful attack on the Peloponnesian League. During this period Sicyon reached its zenith as a centre of art: its school of painting gained fame under Eupompus
Eupompus
Eupompus was the founder of the great school of painting which flourished in the 4th century BC at Sicyon in Ancient Greece. He was eclipsed by his successors, and is chiefly remembered for the advice which he is said to have given to Lysippus to follow nature rather than any master. His work is...

 and attracted the great masters Pamphilus
Pamphilus (painter)
Pamphilus of Amphipolis was a Macedonian distinguished painter and head of Sicyonian school. He was the disciple of Eupompus, the founder of the Sicyonian school of painting , for the establishment of which, however, Pamphilus seems to have done much more than even Eupompus himself...

 and Apelles
Apelles
Apelles of Kos was a renowned painter of ancient Greece. Pliny the Elder, to whom we owe much of our knowledge of this artist rated him superior to preceding and subsequent artists...

 as students; its sculpture was raised to a level hardly surpassed in Greece by Lysippus and his pupils.

The destruction of Corinth (146
146 BC
Year 146 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lentulus and Achaicus...

) brought Sicyon an acquisition of territory and the presidency over the Isthmian games
Isthmian Games
The Isthmian Games or Isthmia were one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were named after the isthmus of Corinth, where they were held...

; yet in Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

's time it had fallen deep into debt. Under the Roman empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 it was quite obscured by the restored cities of Corinth and Patrae; in 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...

' age (A.D. 150) it was almost desolate. In Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 times it became a bishop's seat, and to judge by its later name Hellas it served as a refuge for the Greeks from the Slavonic immigrants of the 8th century.

The village of Vasiliko
Vasiliko
Vasiliko may refer to the following places in Greece:*Vasiliko, Achaea, a village in Achaea*Vasiliko, Euboea, a village in Euboea*Vasiliko, Ioannina, a village in the Ioannina Prefecture*Vasiliko, Messenia, a village in Messenia...

 (described by the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
The Encyclopædia Britannica , published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia that is available in print, as a DVD, and on the Internet. It is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert...

as "insignificant") now occupies the site.

Notable people

  • Aegialeus
    Aegialeus
    In Greek mythology, Aegialeus is a name attributed several individuals.* Aegialeus was the elder son of Adrastus, a king of Argos, and either Amphithea or Demonassa. Aegialeus was identified as one of the Epigoni, who avenged their fathers' disastrous attack on the city of Thebes by retaking the...

     (21st century BC) legendary founder
  • Butades
    Butades
    Butades of Sicyon, sometimes mistakenly called Dibutades, was the first ancient Greek modeller in clay. The period at which he flourished is unknown, but has been put at about 600 BC...

     (7th century BC) sculptor
  • Canachus
    Canachus
    Canachus was a sculptor of Sicyon in Corinthia, of the latter part of the 6th century BCE. He was especially noted as the author of two great statues of Apollo, one in bronze made for the temple at Miletus, and one in cedar wood made for Thebes. The coins of Miletus furnish us with copies of the...

     (6th century BC) sculptor
  • Aristocles
    Aristocles (sculptors)
    Aristocles is a name attributed to two sculptors in Ancient Greece, as well as a nominal hereditary school of sculpture, started by the elder Aristocles, known to us primarily through different passages in Pausanias....

     (5th century BC) sculptor
  • Praxilla
    Praxilla
    Praxilla of Sicyon, was a Greek lyric poet of the 5th century BC. She was a contemporary of Telesilla. Antipater of Thessalonica lists her first among his canon of nine 'immortal-tongued' women poets She was highly esteemed in her time. Evidence of this is shown in that Lysippus, a famous...

     (5th century BC) poetess
  • Eupompus
    Eupompus
    Eupompus was the founder of the great school of painting which flourished in the 4th century BC at Sicyon in Ancient Greece. He was eclipsed by his successors, and is chiefly remembered for the advice which he is said to have given to Lysippus to follow nature rather than any master. His work is...

     (4th century BC) painter
  • Melanthius
    Melanthius
    Melanthius was a notable ancient Greek painter of the 4th century BC. He belonged to the school of Sicyon, which was noted for fine drawing.-References:...

     (4th century BC) painter
  • Pausias
    Pausias
    Pausias was an ancient Greek painter of the first half of the 4th century, of the school of Sicyon.-Biography:Pausias introduced the custom of painting ceilings of houses. His great merit appears to have lain in the better rendering of foreshortening...

     (4th century BC) painter
  • Eutychides
    Eutychides
    Eutychides of Sicyon in Corinthia, Greek sculptor of the latter part of the 4th century BC, was a pupil of Lysippus. His most noted work was a statue of Tyche, which he made for the city of Antioch, then newly founded. The goddess, who embodied the idea of the city, was seated on a rock, crowned...

     (4th century BC) sculptor
  • Lysippos
    Lysippos
    Lysippos was a Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC. Together with Scopas and Praxiteles, he is considered one of the three greatest sculptors of the Classical Greek era, bringing transition into the Hellenistic period. Problems confront the study of Lysippos because of the difficulty of...

     (4th century BC) sculptor
  • Lysistratus
    Lysistratus
    Lysistratus was a Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC, brother of Lysippus of Sicyon. We are told by Pliny the Elder that he followed a strongly realistic line, being the first sculptor to take impressions of human faces in plaster....

     (4th century BC) sculptor
  • Xenokrates
    Xenokrates of Sicyon
    Xenokrates of Sicyon was an ancient Greek sculptor and writer, and one of the world's first art historians. Three signed statue bases are all that survive of his work. Pliny the Elder described him as a pupil of either Euthykrates or Teisikrates, and states that he surpassed both in his career,...

     (3rd century BC) sculptor
  • Sostrates (4th century BC) pankratiast; thrice Olympic champion
  • Aratos of Sicyon (3rd century BC) Head of Achaean League

External links