29.5.16

Eretria

Important city of the Ancient Greece, Eretria has a rich past begining in the Bronze Age. It was one of the first to explore in the 8th century BC the eastern and western shores of the Mediterranean where it founded colonies and trade posts. As a bridge between East and West, its contribution was essential to the spread of the Semitic alphabet and of the Oriental religions in the Occident.

A colonial and commercial power, Eretria took part to the many struggles that were shaking Greece: looted by the Persians in 490 BC, it enjoyed a flourishing period during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC where numerous rich houses were build.

Taken by the Romans in 198 BC, Eretria's influence decreased slowly until late in the 6th century AD when all traces of human activities on the site disappeared.


Occasionally visited by travellers and antiquarians during medieval times, the city was restored in the 19th century to provide a new homeland for the Greek refugees that were expelled from the island of Psara by the Ottomans. The exploration of Eretria's rich heritage started more than a century ago and is still ongoing.

History 

Late Neolithic (ca. 3500‒3000 BC)
The occupation of the site at the end of the Neolithic Period is attested by a few pottery sherds and stone artefacts-obsidian and silex- found on the summit of the acropolis as well as on the plain, near the shore. Were these already permanent habitations or merely temporary refuges? It is difficult to give a clear answer, because no structures have so far been found. Whatever the case, the area was probably suitable for settlement: the acropolis, a landmark in the landscape and a privileged observation post overlooking the surrounding plain, offers a secure shelter in proximity to a natural port. The vestiges of a Neolithic settlement may still lie beneath the modern town, protected by groundwater and thick layers of clay.

Early Helladic Period (ca. 3000-2000 BC)
The following period, the Early Helladic Period, is better known. The site was more densely occupied, especially on the plain. A major settlement replaced the Neolithic one on the coast; it lasted nearly a millennium, until the dawn of the Middle Helladic Period in ca. 2000 BC. Several buildings have been discovered, one of which has been interpreted as a granary, and some 800 stone-working tools, along with stone chips, may indicate the existence of a stone-cutting workshop. The smooth, thick-walled beige pottery that has been discovered anticipates the Minyan ware characteristic of the Middle Helladic Period. An exceptionally well-preserved potter's kiln, now on exhibit at the Eretria Museum, may belong to this phase: a few sherds from the Early Helladic Period were discovered in vents from the kiln's furnace, but without radiocarbon dating we cannot ascertain its precise date. The settlement must have been extensive, to judge by recent discoveries made about 150m away in the sanctuary of Apollo Daphnephoros, where a deep trench reached occupation levels from this period. Artefacts on the site dramatically decreased ca. 2000 BC: apparently the settlement was deserted. This is corroborated by the analysis of sediments preserved in the soil: the coastal area turned into a lagoon, and about a thousand years went by before it became suitable for human habitation once again.

Middle Helladic Period (ca. 2000-1600 BC)
Because the coastal settlement disappeared, flooded by the waters of the lagoon, settlers moved to the top of the acropolis, in order to find a more secure shelter from the encroaching sea. The summit was leveled off and a large retaining wall was built on the south side of the resulting terrace. A village-like settlement prospered there, with houses and small streets; natural cavities in the stone were used as tombs. The pottery consists essentially of domestic wares and a few more refined vases in smooth gray clay -the Minyan pottery that is found all over Greece at this period. The presence of spindle-whorls and loomweights points indirectly to pastoral activities.

Late Helladic Period (ca. 1600-1100 BC)
The acropolis was inhabited until Mycenean times. Nonetheless, habitation became more sporadic: only a few pottery sherds and what has been interpreted as an observation post, erected on older foundations, have been excavated. That is very little in comparison with the remains of earlier and later periods. However, in the Homeric tradition, Eretria goes back to the heroic age: in the famous Catalog of Ships in the Iliad (II, 537), Eretria is one of the seven Euboean cities that provided Agamemnon with boats and troops for the expedition against Troy. But there is a great gap between this narrative, which was composed a few centuries later, and the archaeological remains. The Mycenean past of Eretria remains to be discovered, unless it should be sought at the neighboring sites of Lefkandi or Paleoekklissies.

The absence of remains of the so-called "Dark Ages" (11th-10th centuries BC) that followed the Mycenean Period suggests that the site of Eretria was abandoned, though it remains to be determined whether this abandonment was total or only partial. In the 9th century BC, the presence of tombs and pottery point toward a small-scale occupation of the site, since no contemporary settlement has been discovered up to this point. Natural factors -the presence of marshy areas and a watercourse whose bed fluctuated- explain in part why the place was not more densely inhabited earlier.

The birth of the city
The first incontestable signs of a settlement appear in the course of the first half of the 8th century. The increasing number of structures indicate rapid population growth. Since Lefkandi was declining at the same period, a transfer of inhabitants from one site to the other cannot be excluded.
At that time, Eretria did not have an organized urban framework, the settlement pattern being governed instead by topographical constraints. It extended from the coast to the foot of the acropolis, although in a discontinuous manner, consisting of distinct units that probably reflected a division of space according to family groups.
The location of the tombs within the city completes this picture: they are scattered in small groups that, in the absence of a true common necropolis in Eretria, may represent burial sites peculiar to each family group. Paradigmatic of this pattern is the small cemetery of the Heroon west of the city, where several individuals are buried around a particularly magnificent tomb (the Heroon), probably belonging to a community leader.
After this individual was buried and surrounded by some of his close relatives, the area was not expanded to include more tombs, but was marked off by a large isosceles triangle made of stone slabs, indicating its importance. Later on, certain activities -which have been interpreted as a form of ancestor cult- were carried out. The community was apparently no longer entirely dominated by an elite, but rather honored one of the last representatives of the elite. A move toward a "civic" society, that of the polis can be discerned.

The first places of worship
This evolution is also evident in the Sanctuary of Apollo Daphnephoros, where a first group of structures appears before 750 BC. Thousands of vases, an indication of the inhabitants' affluence and of their practice of banqueting, as well as traces of bronze craftsmanship were found in that area. Elements of religion are also present, but the position they occupy remains difficult to determine. In a second stage of construction, the erection of a large apsidal building closely connected with an altar defines a context suitable for the completion of a ritual. If it was to Apollo, the polis-divinity, that sacrifices were made on this altar, we can infer the existence of a cult connected with the emergence of the city as early as the end of the Geometric Period.
At that time, another place of worship appears near the Sanctuary of Apollo. An accumulation of votive offerings and ritual pottery indicates, once again, a religious practice concerning a whole community. This is an exceptional case: it allows us to recreate a ritual involving women, and reveals the existence in Eretria of numerous imports not only from the Aegean basin, Cyprus, and the Near East, but also from the West.

Eretria between East and West
The place occupied by the city within the Mediterranean world is a key element for understanding Eretria's future. We know that Eretria was active in the establishment of commercial relationships with the East during the first stages of Greek colonization of the North (Chalkidike) and the West. Objects of Aegean, oriental, and Egyptian provenance found in the city show that Eretria was connected with several exchange systems. They also testify to the circulation of techniques and ideas: an oriental influence is manifest in certain motifs of Eretrian Geometric pottery, and it might also have had an effect on the goldsmith's trade. In addition, alphabetic script makes an early appearance in Eretria, in the form of graffiti on pottery. The city surely constitutes one of the centers from which this important innovation spread into the Greek world.
In the second half of the 8th century, Eretria evolved rapidly. As it grew, the community experimented with new forms of social organization and established new places of worship. Some of its members explored the West and then settled there. Eretria maintained commercial contacts with the East and showed itself open to foreign ideas and techniques.
The final decades of the 8th century BC, during which Eretria underwent rapid expansion, are essential for understanding the city's destiny.

Whereas Euboean pottery-most of it Eretrian-is found more or less throughout the Mediterranean basin during the second half of the 8th century, ca. 700 BC it suddenly ceases to be exported. From that date onward, it appears in significant quantities only on Delos, an important religious center at the heart of the Cyclades. Attempts have been made to establish a relationship between this phenomenon and the Lelantine War: Eretria is supposed to have been defeated by Chalkis and its allies and forced to withdraw from the international scene. It has even been suggested that the city was destroyed and temporarily abandoned at the beginning of the 7th century. But archaeological remains and the few extant literary sources suggest a very different picture. There is no doubt that Eretria continued to develop throughout the Archaic Period.

The 7th century
Even though literary sources are lacking, a number of archaeological remains indicate that Eretria was prosperous and dynamic in the 7th century. Suffice it to note the construction, at ca. 680 BC, of a massive wall diverting the course of the river, which had formerly run along the west side of the city and whose torrential crests periodically flooded the city's dwellings. At the same time, a first "hundred foot temple" (hekatompedon) was erected in the future Sanctuary of Apollo Daphnephoros.

The 6th century
In the second half of the 6th century, Eretria entered a particularly dynamic phase of its history. First, ca. 550, it surrounded itself with a city wall. Ca. 540, the city welcomed the exiled Peisistratos, tyrant of Athens, and his sons, who raised funds and hired mercenaries from all over Greece to regain power. They were supported by several allies, including the Thebans and the powerful ruler Lygdamis of Naxos. Pisistratos and his allies embarked from Eretria when they re-conquered power in Attica (Herodotos, I 61-62). The Temple of Apollo, built ca. 530 BC, pays a clear ackowledgement to Athens: the sculptures of the west pediment, completed ca. 510 BC, represent Theseus in his fight against the Amazons, a theme particularly dear to the Athenians whose influence is further emphasized by the central position occupied by Athena, tutelary deity of Athens.

A few years later, in 499, an Eretrian squadron of ten ships rushed with the Athenian fleet to the rescue of the Milesians and other Ionian Greeks who had revolted against Persian domination. The Eretrians ended up paying a high price for this support: in 490, Persian troops besieged and stormed the city before landing at Marathon. Diodoros of Sicily mentions Eretria in his thalassocracy list for a period of 15 years (VII 11, 1). We can situate these years of Eretrian naval supremacy in the period starting in 506, year of a memorable defeat of Chalkis by the Athenians, and ending in 490.
Bust of Athena wearing the aegis and gorgoneion (ca. 510 BC). Central figure of the west pediment of the Temple of Apollo Daphnephoros. Eretria, Museum

The most important date, perhaps, in the entire history of the city-in any case, the one on which Eretria was suddenly thrust to the forefront of international politics-is 490 BC. In that year a Persian expedition was sent to Greece by King Darios I to punish the allies of the Ionians who launched a rebellion against his authority in 499. The Persians took the city after a six-day siege, only a short time before they were themselves defeated by the Athenians at Marathon (First Persian War). But it is not at all easy to gauge the impact of this event on the city's residents and buildings. While the sanctuaries were certainly burned (without necessarily being completely destroyed), there is no proof that the whole city was razed or reduced to ashes. In addition, the deportation carried out by the victors probably affected only a small part of the population, since many Eretrians were able to find refuge in the mountainous parts of the territory, which remained inaccessible to the invaders. It is nonetheless certain that several hundred Eretrians, including women and children, were taken far away from Greece and finally settled north of Susa (Iran), the capital of the Achaemenid empire, at a place called Arderrika; their presence there is attested until the beginning of the 4th century and even later.

The best evidence that the city had not lost all means of resistance, despite the dramatic blow it sustained, is provided by the fact that the Eretrians courageously participated, both on land and at sea, in the struggle against the invasion of King Xerxes in 480-479 (Second Persian War). Silver coin issues dated just before the middle of the 5th century and until ca. 430-425 BC even attest to a certain prosperity, not to mention the precious objects, especially from Attica, that have been discovered in the Eretrian tombs of the Early Classical period. Moreover, we know the names of a few famous Eretrians of this period, such as the sculptor Philesios, who worked for his compatriots in Olympia, as well as the poet Achaios, the author of tragedies staged in Athens, or the exile Gongylos, the founder of a princely dynasty in Mysia (Asia Minor), under the aegis of the Great King.

The imperial ambitions of Athens
Like all other Euboeans, the Eretrians soon had to reckon with the ambitions of Athens, which gradually turned the theoretically egalitarian league it had founded in 478 into an authoritarian empire.

It was probably shortly after that date (in 457, at the latest) that Eretria had to yield to its powerful neighbor the ancient continental trading post of Oropos, which the Eretrians believed was theirs.

In 446, a first uprising of the Euboean cities against Athenian domination was severely put down by Perikles.

It is likely, however, that it was only during the Peloponnesian War, after a second rebellion that occurred in 424 (provoked by a stinging Athenian defeat in neighboring Boeotia), that Athens forced Chalkis and Eretria to capitulate (the conditions are known thanks to an inscription from the Acropolis in Athens). But independence was now not far off.

As early as 413, taking advantage of the catastrophic outcome of the Athenian expedition to Sicily, the Eretrians were preparing to secede once more.

The overthrow of Athenian democracy in 411 -followed a few months later by the defeat, off the harbor of Eretria itself, of an Athenian squadron by the Peloponnesian fleet commanded by the Spartan admiral Agesandridas- provided them with an opportunity to carry out their plan.

Thus, six years later, in 405, when the Lacedaemonian Lysander inflicted the final naval defeat on Athens at Aegospotamoi, an Eretrian squadron leader, Autonomos son of Samios, was among the victorious navarchs, whose memory was perpetuated in Delphi by a grandiose monument.


This liberation from the Athenian yoke allowed the Eretrians to extend their state towards the southern part of the island, at the particular expense of the small city of Styra, which became one of some sixty demes of the Eretriad. A new phase of prosperity began for the city, as is shown in a particularly striking manner by the development of domestic architecture.

Obviously, the Eretrians could not forever remain in conflict with neighbors as close as the Athenians, who were so influential economically and culturally. Reconciliation came ten years after the end of the Peloponnesian War (431-404), when the domination of Sparta became much too heavy to bear for its former allies: in 394 Athens and Eretria signed, according to an (unfortunately mutilated) inscription, what was apparently the last "hundred year peace" in Greek history (subsequently, treaties were usually supposed to be valid in perpetuity). But it almost goes without saying that this alliance had its ups and downs over the following decades.

While the Eretrians (like their neighbors in Chalkis and Karystos) hastened to support Athens's efforts to form a new maritime league in 378-377, the resumption of Athenian imperialism after 375 soon bothered them, especially when Athens, which had lost Oropos in 411 because of the Eretrians themselves, succeeded in regaining control over this place of such crucial importance for relations between Attica and Euboea (371).

Having then seceded from Athens in order to form an alliance with the Thebans, who were at that time in a strong position, the Euboeans made a first attempt to constitute a confederation of cities (if not a genuine federal state), as is shown by several coins that were probably issued during the first half of the 4th century.

Coups d'Etat
But starting in 366, when Eretria, with the support of Thebes, once again seized control of Oropos, the city's situation began to become critical. Its troubles were both internal, with the appearance of extremely severe social tensions -reflected in a series of coups d'état that continued almost without interruption for a quarter of a century- and international, all of Greece being at that time prey to endless conflicts.

Thanks to the speeches of Demosthenes and his rival Aeschines, the two greatest Athenian orators at the time when the city was threatened by King Philip of Macedonia, we understand fairly well the vicissitudes into which the "poor, unhappy Eretrians" were cast during the whole decade 350-340. They were tossed back and forth between oligarchs and democrats whose leaders sought in reality only authoritarian power, such as the tyrants Ploutarchos and Kleitarchos. Only in 341, when the latter was overthrown and killed as a result of an Athenian military operation, were the Eretrians able to re-establish democracy on a lasting basis. They then promulgated a law against tyranny and oligarchy and, at the same time, instituted a musical competition in honor of their tutelary divinity, the great Artemis Amarysia.

Macedonian control
In 338, following the defeat suffered at Chaeronea by the Greek coalition (which included the Euboean cities federated in a new koinon), most of the states in Greece fell under the domination of the kings of Macedonia, first Philip and then, after 336, his son Alexander the Great. But this is not to say that from then on a city of moderate stature such as Eretria had no maneuvering room on the political level.


Particular interests continued to have full importance, as is clearly shown by the fact that, when the death of Alexander in Babylon was announced (323), the Eretrians refused to support Athens and many other cities in Greece in their rebellion against Macedonian domination. The reason was that they hoped that if the revolt was put down, their neighbors the Athenians would be deprived of the territory of Oropos that they had received from the young king of Macedonia in 335, just before his departure for the East. And that is just what happened, to the great satisfaction of the Eretrians, who were always concerned to maintain across the strait an Oropia free from political and economic domination by Athens.

In the last decade of the 3rd century BC, the Romans became involved in Euboea for the first time, because of the war they were waging in Greece against King Philip V of Macedonia, then master of the island. At the beginning, only the city of Histiaea-Oreos (at the northern end of the island) was directly affected by the operations.

Somewhat later, in 199, the Roman legate G. Claudius Cento made a lightning attack on the center of Macedonian power in Euboea, Chalkis, although this attack had no immediate consequence.

The operations of 198 in Eretria
But the following year, in 198, the people of Eretria -like those of Karystos- became properly acquainted with the Roman armies. Arriving by sea with a large fleet, the Romans and their allies from Pergamon besieged the city, which was then still in the hands of a Macedonian garrison and which may have been hastily provided with new fortifications. Terrified by the spectacle of the siege machines, the civilian population had taken refuge on the acropolis and was trying to obtain an honorable surrender when the Romans succeeded in breaking into the city walls. This army of "liberation" did not seriously damage the public and private buildings of the urban center (despite what has sometimes been thought). But Livy, in a fairly detailed account of the event, based essentially on the lost testimony of the historian Polybios, reports that, lacking large sums of silver and gold, the victors found in the city "ancient" works of art of great value. The visit of the Romans certainly resulted in the partial loss of Eretria's rich cultural heritage. The military operations were conducted by L. Quinctius Flamininus, the brother of the consul of 198, who finally led negotiations in person, with a view to defining a new status for the city.

Rome's arbitration
Eretria was not formally freed of Macedonian rule until 196, when T. Quinctius Flamininus solemnly proclaimed the independence of the Greeks during the Isthmian Games near Corinth. Even afterwards, the city was almost ceded to Rome's ally, the powerful king of Pergamon, but Flamininus used all his authority to oppose this.

Eventually, in 194, after having sent away all the Roman garrisons, Titus Flamininus created a federal state in Euboea, with Chalkis as its capital and Amarynthos as its religious center; the existence of this federal state is confirmed by inscriptions and coins. But in 192 the new Euboean Confederation seems already to have become embroiled in the turmoil resulting from the so-called "Antiochan War," when the Seleucid King Antiochos III invaded Greece with his allies the Aetolians, who were also enemies of Rome.

After many vicissitudes, Chalkis, despite its large pro-Roman faction, had to open its gates to the "liberating" king. The Eretrians, like the people of Karystos, were soon obliged, willingly or unwillingly, to follow suit. This suddenly put them at the center of a large-scale conflict in the Mediterranean, but it was settled rather quickly, to the advantage of the Romans. And thanks to the intervention of the former consul Flamininus, the Euboean cities, which might otherwise have feared severe reprisals for their behavior (in particular Chalkis, of course), were spared by the victor.

Social and political life
The history of Eretria in the 2nd century BC, though perhaps less brilliant than in the past, is interesting in more than one respect. First of all, we can observe that the city was able to reconstitute at least part of its resources: alone in Greece with Athens and Chalkis, Eretria was able to issue, ca. 180-170, silver coinage in the so-called "new style." However, honorific decrees found in various parts of Greece and Asia Minor show that toward the middle of the 2nd century the Eretrians had to appeal quite often to foreign judges -something the Athenians could never bring themselves to do- in order to settle legal disputes among citizens. This clearly shows that the Eretrians were prey to serious tensions, no doubt as a result of the heavy debts that many had incurred.

In 146 BC, following the Achaean War, Greek cities were placed under control of the Roman governor of Macedonia, but they nonetheless retained part of their autonomy. It was not before the creation of the province of Achaea in 27 BC that they were officially incorporated into the Roman Empire.

The beginning of the 1st century BC undoubtedly marks a turning point for Eretria: like many Greek cities -and despite the relatively favorable treatment the Eretrians as well as the Athenians received from the Romans- Eretria took up the cause of King Mithridates VI Eupator, and found itself in the camp opposed to Rome. The conflict lasted from 88 to 85 BC, and culminated in the Roman proconsul L. Cornelius Sulla's sack of Athens on the night of March 1, 86 BC. Although literary sources do not mention the fate of Eretria, the layers of destruction that have been excavated by archaeologists show that the city was not spared.

The Augustan renewal
Almost two generations later, Eretria finally revived, with the accession of Augustus and the Principate in Rome. The historian Cassius Dio (LIV 7, 2) tells us that in 21 BC Augustus freed Eretria from Athenian sovereignty, to which it might have been subjected in 42 by a decision of the triumvir Mark Antony. The city recovered a form of autonomy and was freed from the heavy taxes imposed by Athens, which led to further growth.

New buildings were constructed, in particular near the House of the Mosaics, where an industrial quarter developed: a vat for processing Tyrian purple (a dyestuff for textiles), a chalk kiln for making mortar, running water, and -a novelty in Eretria- drains for waste water, all testify to a renaissance of activities in the city. The Temple of the Imperial Cult, the Sebasteion, was erected at the crossroads of the city's two main streets, while other public buildings, such as the Gymnasium and the Theater, were restored, offering further proof of renewed prosperity.

A modest city within the Roman Empire
A series of funeral stelai dating from the 1st to the 3rd centuries AD offer us a glimpse of a few residents of the modest city that was then Eretria -for instance, an Eretrian fisherman proudly represented along with the tools of his trade. Dwellings were henceforth concentrated at the foot of the acropolis, and perhaps on its slopes, whereas the heart of the classical city seems to have been reserved for graves, as is suggested in particular by an ornate tomb located near the Agora.

Eretria continued to strike its own coins until the end of the 2nd century AD, and this suggests that civic institutions functioned at least until that period. In addition, the base of a statue erected by the city to the Emperor Caracalla (212-217 AD) was found, as well as a later imperial base. But the economic and political center of gravity seems to have shifted to the city of Porthmos (modern Aliverion), where ca. 300 AD a copy of Diocletian's edict regarding maximum prices was displayed.

It was long thought that toward the end of the 3rd century AD Eretria was gradually deserted, and that a powerful earthquake in 365 AD completed the process of depopulation. Nevertheless, both the recent discovery of the Temple of the Imperial Cult (Sebasteion), which was probably destroyed by Christians in the 5th century AD, and a series of tombs probably dating from the 6th century suggest that a community continued to live in Eretria, at least up until that time.

It remains difficult, however, to obtain a clear picture of how the settlement was organized during the city's last centuries, for not many remains have been discovered: a few fragments of walls, a building and a well near the temple of Apollo, where a part of an internal parapet (chancel) was also found, possibly indicating the presence of a church. Many buildings from earlier periods were probably reused without leaving any trace. The world of the dead is somewhat better known to us: most of the sepultures -graves built with tiles or covered with stone slabs- were situated along the city's main thoroughfares and intersections, and also close to former temples: in the north, near the Sebasteion and the Monumental Tomb, towards the south, along the ancient road and around the Sanctuary of Apollo. The scanty pottery and bronze ornamental objects discovered in the tombs suggest a relatively prosperous population, but the city had certainly decreased in importance.

We know that an earthquake again shook the region in 511, perhaps resulting in the flight of the last inhabitants. Only the church of Aghia Paraskevi, situated 1 km east of Eretria, and the necropolis that surrounds it indicate that the place was still frequented in the 6th century.

A page has turned, erasing the memory of the ancient gods and the city of Eretria.

With the partition of the Roman Empire and the rise of Byzantium in the 4th century AD, the Graeco-Roman world underwent major economic, social, cultural and religious changes. Whereas northern Greece experienced numerous waves of invasions by Slavic and Germanic peoples, Euboea seems to have been spared. Because of its strategic position between the Aegean Sea and continental Greece, the island constitutes a genuine intersection. The fertility of its plains (especially the Lelantine plain), its timber resources in the north (important for naval construction), as well as the abundance of shellfish (indispensable for the dye works of Chalkis and Thebes) all gave it a significant economic role. While earlier Euboean centers shifted or disappeared, like Eretria in the 6th century, others endured, such as Chalkis, where the Emperor Justinian (527-565 AD) restored the fortifications and the bridge over the Euripos in order to control the sea lane of the Euboean Gulf.

After the reorganization of the Byzantine Empire, Euboea became part -under the reign of Justinian II (685-695), at any rate- of the province of Hellas, whose capital was Thebes. Chalkis then served as a harbor for its fleet.

On the ecclesiastical level, Euboea had five dioceses: Euripos (Chalkis), Oreos, Karystos, Porthmos (the port of modern-day Aliverion) and Aulon (today Avlonari). The numerous monasteries and churches built between the 4th and the 12th centuries, such as Aghios Georgios Arma and Aghios Nikolaos above Amarynthos, testify to the wealth of Byzantine culture. During the period of Latin domination, Euboea was a major papal fief, notably from the 14th century to the Ottoman conquest, since the Latin patriarch of Constantinople resided in Chalkis.

Venice and the Ottomans
From the 11th century, the Byzantine Empire had to repel Norman incursions. Only the help of the Republic of Venice could preserve Byzantium's sovereignty. In exchange for its support, the Serenissima demanded favorable commercial agreements and succeeded in strengthening its position in the Aegean before the conquest of Constantinople in 1204. In 1366, Venice gained control of Euboea, previously administered by the Franks established in Oreos, Chalkis and Karystos. However, Venice did not aspire to control the whole of the territory and was content to hold a few strategic points, where impressive fortifications still remain today, such as La Cuppa, near Kymi, and Phylla, in the Lelantine plain.

On July 12, 1470, Sultan Mehmed II (1432-1481) seized the city of Chalkis and incorporated Euboea into his empire. Like Venice, the Ottomans chose Chalkis as their administrative center and controlled strategic points in northern, central and southern Euboea. They ruled the island until 1832.

Cyriaco of Ancona
The Italian humanist Ciriaco de' Pizzicolli, known as Cyriaco of Ancona (1391-1453), was probably the first traveler to whom we owe the rediscovery of Eretria. On April 5, 1436, he described and sketched a plan of the ancient city walls, indicating the theater and the fortifications of the acropolis and mentioning the existence of inscriptions. The life of Cyriaco, who came from a family of merchants, is one long odyssey, in the course of which he traveled all over the Mediterranean basin, noting down his archaeological discoveries in his Commentaria. Because of the detailed observations he made on site, Cyriaco can be considered one of the precursors of modern archaeology.

During the four centuries that followed Cyriaco's ephemeral discovery, Eretria seems not to have attracted famous travelers. However, from the 15th to the 18th centuries, the ancient town did not fall into oblivion: following ancient authors, cosmographers mentioned it and sometimes indicated it on the maps that accompanied their chronicles, as did Guillaume Xylander (Straboni nobilissimi rerum geographicum, 1571), Johannes Lauremberg (Graecia antiqua, 1660), and Olfert Dapper (Description exacte des Isles de l'Archipel et de quelques autres Adjacentes, 1703).

19th-century travelers
In the 19th century, the ruins of Eretria once again attracted the attention of travelers. Until the beginning of archaeological excavations in 1885, scholars took an interest in the topography of the site, described and sketched the ancient structures, copied the inscriptions, and inquired into the city's past or contributed, through their activities, to the creation of a modern city. Worth mentionning are:

William Martin Leake, 1805; Thomas A. B. Spratt, 1845 (military officers)
Charles Robert Cockerell, 1814; Eduard Schaubert, 1834 (architects)
Ludwig Ross, 1833, 1844; Heinrich Nicolaus Ulrichs, 1837; Jules Girard, 1850; Alexandre Rangabé, 1852; Conrad Bursian, 1856 (archaeologists and philologists)
Karl Gustav Fiedler, 1834 (geologists)
Edward Lear, 1848 (painter)
Assigned by the famous Baedeker publishing house to write a guidebook, the German philologist Habbo Gerhard Lolling (1848-1894) made a journey to central Greece in 1876-1877, which took him to Eretria as well. This undertaking marks the end of the traditional travel narratives that arose from the "Grand Tour" of the 17th and 18th centuries. But this guide, which was published in 1883 and is exemplary in its precision, also inaugurates a new age of travel that involved a broader segment of the public.

The history of modern Eretria is closely linked to the Greek War of Independence (1821-1827). During the night of June 18, 1822, sailors from the island of Psara, near Chios, led by Konstantinos Kanaris (1790-1877), burned the ship of the Ottoman admiral, Kara Ali. The Ottomans avenged themselves for this act by destroying Psara in 1824. The tragedy of the Destruction of Psara was described in a poem by Dionysos Solomos (1798-1857), the author of the Greek national anthem, and represented by the painter Nikolaos Gysis (1842-1901). At the end of this conflict, and in accord with the protocol of London (1830), the Ottomans gave up Euboea to Greece in 1833. In order to give refugees from the island of Psara a new homeland, the Greek government decided in 1834 to establish them at Eretria, which from that time until 1960 was called Nea Psara. However, malaria and probably also the proximity of Chalkis, an important urban center only 18 km away, explain the slow growth of the new locality during the 19th century.

The 20th century
In the 20th century, the development of Nea Psara is again closely connected with violent events: the Greco-Turkish war of 1921-1922. The Greek army suffered a serious defeat at the hands of Kemal Ataturk's forces, which ended in the burning of Smyrna (today Izmir). The military disaster in Asia Minor resulted in the exchange of minorities between the two countries, and led to the arrival of a million and a half refugees in Greece, in accordance with the Treaty of Lausanne (July, 1923). Just as happened at the end of the War of Independence, refugees were resettled in Eretria. Rows of contiguous houses, located in the southeast (Elpinikou Nikomachou street) and southwest (Eudemou Krataimenou street) of the city, today bear witness to this resettlement.

Since the 1960s, notably thanks to the inauguration in 1956 of a ferry service linking Eretria and Oropos in Attica, and to the eradication of malaria by swamp drainage during the 1940s, this provincial town has become a favorite tourist site for Athenians fleeing summer heat waves.

The 2001 census lists 5969 inhabitants for the district of Eretria, including the city of Eretria, the island of Aghia Triada, Gerontas (27 inhabitants), Magoula (1331 inhabitants), and Malakonda (1455 inhabitants).

The first archaeological excavations in Eretria were conducted by the Greek archaeologist Christos Tsountas. In 1885, he explored the necropolis situated west of the ancient city. While some of his discoveries were promptly transported to the National Museum in Athens, most of the inscriptions remained in Eretria and aroused great interest.

Greek and foreigner archaeologists
Thus between 1891 and 1895 the American School undertook investigations in the Theater, the Temple of Dionysos, and in the North Gymnasium, without however producing any final published report on these excavations.

The Archaeological Society of Athens played a crucial role in most of Tsountas' discoveries, for it financed his work, and encouraged its publication. It saw to the taking of photographs that are now documents of considerable value.

During the last years of the 19th century, the German Archaeological Institute sent several photographic missions to Eretria. The pictures they took constitute a second documentary group of great value.

In 1889, Konstantinos Kourouniotis excavated the temple of Apollo Daphnephoros and discovered one of the masterpieces of Greek sculpture, the group depicting Theseus and Antiope, now on exhibit in the Eretria Museum. Kourouniotis also found part of the fortification wall and the West Gate, the South Gymnasium, and the Baths near the harbor.

Alongside these official excavations, clandestine excavators looted the Macedonian tomb, which later became better known thanks to the objects that were stolen from it, and took the name of the Tomb of the Erotes.

In 1915, Nikolaos Pappadakis published a paper on the Sanctuary of Isis and the Egyptian divinities, which he had excavated over the preceding years.

Many scholars and foreign researchers have taken an interest in Eretria: one might cite in particular the great Austrian epigraphist Erich Ziebarth, the author of the volume of the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum devoted to Euboea, and more recently the historian William P. Wallace, the numismatist Olivier Picard, and John Boardman, a pioneer in studies on Eretrian pottery.

The Ephorate
In the course of the 20th century, the fate of Eretria in the Greek government's organization of archaeological districts is connected with that of Euboea as a whole. The island, which was initially attached to the Ephorate of Antiquities of Attica, was subsequently transferred to the Ephorate of Boeotia (1973-1977), before becoming in 1977 the 11th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, whose seat is in Chalkis. The Ephorate is responsible for the management of the island's archaeological heritage.

Numerous excavations have been conducted on the site of Eretria by the successive heads of the Ephorates and their collaborators, in particular the ephors A. Andreiomenou (1973-1977), E. Touloupa (1977-1981), P. Kalligas (1981-1983), E. Sapouna Sakellaraki (1983-1997), A. Karapaschalidou (since 1997) and the epimeletes I. Konstantinou, A. Andreiomenou, V. Petrakos, A. Choremis, P. G. Themelis, A. Koronakis, A. Psalti, all of whom were especially active in Eretria.

Description

The city of Eretria lies northwest of Chalkis, across from Attic Oropos, in the fertile plain surrounded by the hills of Voudochi to the west and Zervouni to the east. Eretria, the 'rowing city' of the ancient Greeks, named after the verb eretto (=to row), was a great naval force, which had a number of colonies on the coasts of the Aegean, on various islands, and in Italy, since the eighth century BC.

Pottery sherds of the end of the Neolithic period, although not related to specific architectural remains, indicate that the site was inhabited during that period and that it had contacts with the Aegean and the North. In the Early and Middle Helladic periods, the settlement developed in the area between the temple of Apollo Daphnephoros and the agora of the later city, and on the acropolis. The few architectural remains of this early town include a pottery kiln, which demonstrates that industrial activities took place within the settlement. Although limited in number, the finds from the Mycenaean levels suggest a high living standard, confirming references on the Eretrians by Homer in his Catalogue of Ships (Iliad). Even so, Eretria was probably not a major urban centre during this period.

Eretria began to develop a more urban character from the eighth century BC. Temples were established inside the Mycenaean fortified acropolis, and the town's main nucleus was moved to the agora, further south. Eretria participated actively in the first Greek colonization, founding colonies in the North (Pantikapaion and Phanagoreia in the Crimea) and West (Pithikouses in Italy, colonization of Corfu). It also became a major commercial centre with contacts throughout the eastern Mediterranean, as demonstrated by the discovery of Eretrian pottery on the shores of Asia Minor, Syria, and Lebanon, and in Cyprus. Eretria's rapid expansion worried the city of Chalkis, leading the two cities to the so-called Lilantine war (Herodotus 5.99, Thucydides 1.15.3).

Despite the war's negative outcome for Eretria, the city continued to thrive in the Archaic period and participated actively in the second colonization period. Eretria minted its own coins in the last quarter of the sixth century BC and became a democratic state at the end of the sixth century BC. It helped Miletus's revolt against the Persians in 494 BC (Herodotus 6.99, 7.101; Stabo 3.448.5; Pausanias 7.10.2); as a result Miletus was destroyed by Datis and Artaphenes four years later, in 490 BC. The Eretrians fought alongside the Greeks in the naval battle off Artemision and participated in the battles of Salamis and Plataiai. Although initially involved in the First Athenian League, Eretria fought against Athenian hegemony in 411 BC and subsequently thrived economically. It is during this period that the city's fortification wall was strengthened and that new houses and grand public buildings, such as the west gate and theatre, were built. During the fourth century BC, the city was governed by tyrants who invariably sided with either Athens or Thebes.

After the battle of Cheroneia, in 338 BC, Eretria found itself under Macedonian dominion and a new period of economical and cultural prosperity began. The city walls were repaired and extended, new private and public buildings were erected, terracotta workshops were established, and the theatre acquired its final form. The stadium and upper gymnasium were built during this period, together with a second gymnasium or palaestra, which probably included a temple of goddess Eileithea (protector of childbirth), near the port. Stoas were erected along the four sides of the agora, and several monuments (the Tholos being the most noteworthy of these), temples and fountain houses, adorned it. Philoxenos, painter of the panel depicting the battle of Issos, the dramatist Achaios, and the philosopher Menedemos, founder of the Eretrian School, all lived in Eretria. The Macedonian kings Kassandros, Demetrios Poliorketis, and Antigonos Gonatas also spent time in the city. The Romans conquered and destroyed Eretria in 198 BC, which marked the beginning of the city's decline. In 87 BC, Eretria sided with Mithridates, King of Pontus, against the Romans, who destroyed the city for the second time a year later. The city was subsequently abandoned.


Cyriac of Ancona provided the earliest modern account and sketches of ancient Eretria in 1436. Several other early travellers, including Vincenzo Coronelli, William Martin Leake, Charles Robert Cockerell, and Ludwig Ross, visited the area and provided information on the ancient city. The site was first excavated by Christos Tsountas in 1885, followed by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in 1891-1895. Konstantinos Kourouniotis and, later, I. Papadakis continued the excavations, before the Archaeological Service and the Archaeological Society of Athens took over in the early twentieth century. The Swiss Archaeological School at Athens have excavated the city's west sector, where the temple of Apollo Daphnephoros lies, since 1962.
Περιγραφή

Site Monuments

The city of Eretria lies northwest of Chalkis, across from Attic Oropos, in the fertile plain surrounded by the hills of Voudochi to the west and Zervouni to the east. Eretria, the 'rowing city' of the ancient Greeks, named after the verb eretto (=to row), was a great naval force, which had a number of colonies on the coasts of the Aegean, on various islands, and in Italy, since the eighth century BC.

Pottery sherds of the end of the Neolithic period, although not related to specific architectural remains, indicate that the site was inhabited during that period and that it had contacts with the Aegean and the North. In the Early and Middle Helladic periods, the settlement developed in the area between the temple of Apollo Daphnephoros and the agora of the later city, and on the acropolis. The few architectural remains of this early town include a pottery kiln, which demonstrates that industrial activities took place within the settlement. Although limited in number, the finds from the Mycenaean levels suggest a high living standard, confirming references on the Eretrians by Homer in his Catalogue of Ships (Iliad). Even so, Eretria was probably not a major urban centre during this period.

Eretria began to develop a more urban character from the eighth century BC. Temples were established inside the Mycenaean fortified acropolis, and the town's main nucleus was moved to the agora, further south. Eretria participated actively in the first Greek colonization, founding colonies in the North (Pantikapaion and Phanagoreia in the Crimea) and West (Pithikouses in Italy, colonization of Corfu). It also became a major commercial centre with contacts throughout the eastern Mediterranean, as demonstrated by the discovery of Eretrian pottery on the shores of Asia Minor, Syria, and Lebanon, and in Cyprus. Eretria's rapid expansion worried the city of Chalkis, leading the two cities to the so-called Lilantine war (Herodotus 5.99, Thucydides 1.15.3).

Despite the war's negative outcome for Eretria, the city continued to thrive in the Archaic period and participated actively in the second colonization period. Eretria minted its own coins in the last quarter of the sixth century BC and became a democratic state at the end of the sixth century BC. It helped Miletus's revolt against the Persians in 494 BC (Herodotus 6.99, 7.101; Stabo 3.448.5; Pausanias 7.10.2); as a result Miletus was destroyed by Datis and Artaphenes four years later, in 490 BC. The Eretrians fought alongside the Greeks in the naval battle off Artemision and participated in the battles of Salamis and Plataiai. Although initially involved in the First Athenian League, Eretria fought against Athenian hegemony in 411 BC and subsequently thrived economically. It is during this period that the city's fortification wall was strengthened and that new houses and grand public buildings, such as the west gate and theatre, were built. During the fourth century BC, the city was governed by tyrants who invariably sided with either Athens or Thebes.

After the battle of Cheroneia, in 338 BC, Eretria found itself under Macedonian dominion and a new period of economical and cultural prosperity began. The city walls were repaired and extended, new private and public buildings were erected, terracotta workshops were established, and the theatre acquired its final form. The stadium and upper gymnasium were built during this period, together with a second gymnasium or palaestra, which probably included a temple of goddess Eileithea (protector of childbirth), near the port. Stoas were erected along the four sides of the agora, and several monuments (the Tholos being the most noteworthy of these), temples and fountain houses, adorned it. Philoxenos, painter of the panel depicting the battle of Issos, the dramatist Achaios, and the philosopher Menedemos, founder of the Eretrian School, all lived in Eretria. The Macedonian kings Kassandros, Demetrios Poliorketis, and Antigonos Gonatas also spent time in the city. The Romans conquered and destroyed Eretria in 198 BC, which marked the beginning of the city's decline. In 87 BC, Eretria sided with Mithridates, King of Pontus, against the Romans, who destroyed the city for the second time a year later. The city was subsequently abandoned.



Cyriac of Ancona provided the earliest modern account and sketches of ancient Eretria in 1436. Several other early travellers, including Vincenzo Coronelli, William Martin Leake, Charles Robert Cockerell, and Ludwig Ross, visited the area and provided information on the ancient city. The site was first excavated by Christos Tsountas in 1885, followed by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in 1891-1895. Konstantinos Kourouniotis and, later, I. Papadakis continued the excavations, before the Archaeological Service and the Archaeological Society of Athens took over in the early twentieth century. The Swiss Archaeological School at Athens have excavated the city's west sector, where the temple of Apollo Daphnephoros lies, since 1962.

Temple of Apollo Daphniforos (Laurel Bearer) at Eretria
The temple of Apollo Daphniforos is the most important and wider known monument of Eretria. Together with its enclosure it constituted the sacred temenos of Apollo, a religious centre and fundamental place of worship within the core of the ancient city, to the north of the Agora. According to the Homeric hymn to Apollo, when the god was seeking for a location to found its oracle, he arrived to the Lelantine plain. The first temple is dated to the Geometric period and was situated probably near the harbour, as the sea then reached the area of the Agora. The hecatompedon (hundred-footer) apsidal edifice is the earliest in its type among those mentioned by Homer, and slightly posterior to the hecatompedon temple of Hera on the island of Samos. It was flanked to the south by another apsidal building which also came to light: the so called ?Daphniforio? or ?space with laurels? (7.5 x 11.5m) is the most ancient edifice in Eretria, related to the early cult of Apollo in Delphi. At the centre of this edifice were preserved the clay bases supporting the laurel trunks that propped up the roof. In the early sixteenth century a second hecatompedon temple was erected through earth fills upon its Geometric predecessor, on a solid artificial terrace. This temple disposed of wooden columns (six at the narrow sides and nineteen at the longer sides), and was subsequently covered with earth in order to build the later and most renowned of all temples in the city.


Construction started at the late sixth century BC (520-490 BC) and the temple was perhaps still unfinished when the Persians razed the city in 490 BC. Poros stones and marble were the materials used for this Doric peristyle (surrounded by colonnades) temple (6 x 14 columns). It had a prodomos (anteroom) and an opisthodomos (back section) arranged with two columns in antis; the cella (in Greek sek?s) was divided into three naves by two interior colonnades. After the destruction of the city by the Persians, the temple was repaired and remained in use; yet in 198 BC it was destroyed again, this time by the Romans, a fact which initiated the gradual abandonment and dilapidation of the monument until the first century BC. Unfortunately, the majority of architectural parts from this temple and other sanctuaries of the city were re-used as construction material; only a few (column) drums together with fragmented capitals and triglyphs remain from the superstructure of the monument. Of the sumptuous sculptural decoration survive only parts of the west pediment featuring in relief the fight of the Amazons (or Amazonomachy, a usual motif for the iconography at the time). The centre was occupied by Athena and is partially preserved, depicting her trunk with the Gorgoneion on the thorax; a superb work of art is the complex of Theseus and Antiope marked by sensitivity and softness of the form, internal force and clarity, despite the ornamental tendency obvious in the coiffures and the folds of their clothes. These sculptures are impregnated by the rules of archaic plasticity; the analogies are rendered in an innovative manner, a precursor to the idealization and the force of the classical art. The entire composition supposedly featured chariots to Athena's right and left, one chariot presumably carrying Theseus and Antiope, while Hercules might ride the other, and the picture could be complemented by fighting Amazons and a dead warrior. The east pediment possibly narrated the Gigantomachy (fight of the Giants). The details of the faces and the clothes were coloured, thus rendering the depiction more vivid. Fragmented sculptures that may be part of the temple after the destruction by the Persians (warrior, Amazon and Athena's trunk) have been located in Rome. Today are visible only the foundations of the Post-Archaic temple, as well as remains of the Geometric temples uncovered in lower deposits.

The temples in the temenos of Apollo Daphniforos were excavated between 1899 and 1910 by Κ. Kourouniotis. Further investigations were conducted by Mrs. I. Konstantinou and by the Swiss Archaeological School.

Ancient Theatre of Eretria
The most impressive monument of ancient Eretria, one of the oldest known theatres, lies in the western section of town, between the western gate, the stadium and the upper gymnasium; the temple of Dionysos was found at its south-west end. As indicated by the architectural remains of the scene, the initial construction phase followed the invasion by the Persians and the reconstruction of the city in the fifth century BC, whereas the fourth century BC marked the site's peak.

A striking fact is the construction of the cavea (gr.: koilo, auditorium) on an artificial hill surrounded by numerous retaining walls, instead of taking advantage of the citadel's slopes. During the first building phase, the scene looked like a palace, disposed of five adjacent rectangle rooms and found itself at the same level as the circular orchestra, leading to it via three entrances. At its peak (fourth century BC), the theatre suffered transformations and was shaped to a large extent in its present form. The cavea comprised eleven tiers divided by ten staircases. The circular orchestra was transferred for 8m to the north, and was lowered by 3m. The scene was amplified by two backstages connected through a portico with an Ionic fa?ade, thus raising above the orchestra. This difference in heights was evened up by a vaulted underground gallery, leading through the scene to the centre of the orchestra; this was in all probability the ?charonian stairway? (stairs of Hades) allowing actors impersonating chthonic deities and the deads to appear and perform at the orchestra. Local poros stone was used for the foundation and limestone for the parodoi (passageways), which sloped to the orchestra in order to diminish the difference in height with the cavea. The theatre seated 6,300 spectators and is reminiscent in form to the Theatre of Dionysos in Athens, after transformation of the latter in 330 BC. Following the destruction of Eretria by the Romans in 198 BC, it was rebuilt with lower quality materials and the rooms to the south of the parodos were then apparently decorated with colour mortars of the first Pompeian style.

Unfortunately, most benches have been looted. There are still the impressive remains of the scene, especially the vaulted underground passage leading to the orchestra centre. Excavation of the monument was undertaken by the American Archaeological School, while the local Ephorate of Antiquities strived greatly for its restoration.

Temple of Isis at Eretria
Among the most interesting monuments of ancient Eretria is the Iseion, a temple sacred to the goddess Isis and other Egyptian deities. Situated to the south of the town, between the baths and the Lower Gymnasium or the palaistra (wrestling area), it extends behind the small harbour, a detail that correlates the temenos with merchants who had their interests in Eretria. According to excavation and inscription testimonies, the temple was probably built in the fourth century BC and was surrounded by other edifices and auxiliary spaces. The initiation to the cult of Iris and the Egyptian deities occurred during the Hellenistic period by Greek merchants who came to Greece from Egypt after the unification of the then known world by Alexander the Great. Their worship in Eretria has also been attested by inscriptions, of which the most important is set on a limestone block to the left of the prodomos (anteroom) before the cella.

The temple of Isis was initially simple and oriented to the east, with a prodomos that was distyle (two-columned) in antis. The ceremonial clay statue of the goddess stood on a base within the cella. In front of the temple was the altar and nearby a small drain tank. The temple was reconstructed after the destruction of the city by the Romans in 198 BC: it then acquired a larger external prodomos on ameliorated foundations and was surrounded by porticos on three sides (north, south and west). Only the southwest end of the portico was covered by a roof. The columns were later replaced by a parapet. At the centre of the east forecourt was a portal facing the entrance of the sanctuary. Fifteen more edifices and auxiliary spaces lied to the north, considered by the excavators as places of purification. Among them was a courtyard and an andr?n (dining hall for male residents), while one room of the complex had a superb mosaic floor featuring lozenges.

Excavations at the temenos sacred to Isis and other Egyptian deities were conducted in 1917 by the then Ephor of Antiquities for the island of Evia (Euboea), Ι. Papadakis. In recent years, the Archaeological Service of the Ministry of Culture undertook further excavations in the wider area of the temple, which brought to light an additional complex of courtyards and rooms directly related to the sanctuary.


House with the mosaics

The discovery of an exceptional set of pebble mosaics from the 4th century BC, in perfect condition, raised from the outset a question of principle: could one preserve these precious mosaics on site, or must they be taken up and moved to the Museum? The first solution was selected, thanks to the support of generous patrons, Heidi and Hellmut Baumann, who took a passionate interest in the House of the Mosaics and agreed to pay for the restoration of the mosaics, and then for the design and construction of the pavilion.

After much consideration and many consultations, the Greek archaeological authorities decided upon the construction of a modern pavilion on the foundations provided by the ancient walls. It was important that the pavilion can withstand an earthquake and that it fit in well with the structures surrounding it. White walls surmounted by wooden beams and a tile roof were chosen. Drainage is provided by copper flumes. Large windows with unbreakable panes allow a good view of the mosaics while at the same time protecting them from vandalism.


Macedonian tomb of Erotes
The so called ?tomb of Erotes? lies on a hill to the northwest of Eretria city and counts among the most significant monuments of Evia island. Based on the findings, it is dated to the fourth century BC, the time when these characteristic burial monuments of the Macedonian type make their appearance in southern Greece after the descent of the Macedons. More Macedonian tombs were found in the wider area around Eretria, namely in the settlements of Kotroni and Amarynthos.

The tomb of Erotes consists of a single vaulted chamber and a dromos (entrance passageway) of stone and bricks. The burial chamber is reminiscent of a residential room; it is built of poros stone plastered with white mortar. During the excavation were found two replicas of painted stone thrones bearing relief decoration. At the rear corners of the burial chamber were two marble bed-shaped sarcophagi. The tomb had been pillaged. Among the findings today exhibited in the New York Metropolitan Museum, are bronze vases and clay statuettes of Erotes (Amors), which inspired the tomb's conventional name. Above the tomb was uncovered a stone-built construction, probably the basis of a sepulchre.

The monument was excavated in 1897 and is well preserved to date. Fixing works are undertaken when deemed necessary; they are monitored by the local Ephorate of Antiquities.


Tholos at Eretria
Excavations carried out by the Greek Archaeological Service have revealed the limestone foundations and crepis of a circular building. It was erected in the 5th century B.C. in the Agora of the city, and underwent several modifications in the 4th and the 3rd centuries B.C. A circular bothros has also survived at the centre of the monument.

Ancient baths

 Ancient Agora

Visit 1: the lower town
1-5 The West Quarter and the Heroon
6 The City Walls
7 The West Gate
8 The Terrace of the Tombs
9 The Temple of Dionysos
10 The Theater
11 The North Gymnasium
12-15 The House of the Mosaics and the Sebasteion
16 The Quarter of the Panathenaic Amphoras
17 The East Sector
18-22 The Sanctuary of Apollo Daphnephoros
23 The East Stoa and the agora
24 The Public Fountain House
25 The Tholos
26 The Baths at the Harbor
27 The Harbor

Visit 2: the Southeast Quarter
28 The Iseion
29 The South Palaestra
30 The Sanctuary of Eileithyia

Vistit 3: the acropolis
31 The Thesmophoreion 1
32 The Thesmophoreion 2
33 The summit plateau of the acropolis
34 The Cistern
35 The houses on the acropolis
36 The fortification wall on the acropolis.



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