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Ἐξ Ἡραίας ἐς Mεγάλην Πόλιν Print

Του Γιάννη Α. Πίκουλα
Καθηγητή Αρχαιολογίας


Ἐξ Ἡραίας ἐς Mεγάλην Πόλιν.

This paper focuses on three examples of roadside Arcadian settlements, that of Melai­nai (Paus. 8.26.8), Bouphagion (Paus. 8.26.8; cf. 27.17) and Brenthi (Paus. 8.28.7), all mentioned by Pausanias on his way from Heraia to Megalopolis. In spite of the exis­tence of well-known archaeological sites along this route, the exact location of these three komes is uncertain and the bibliography offers us a rather confused, I am afraid, icon of the settlement-pattern; only the neighbouring Gortys 1 (Paus. 8.28.1–2) and Teuthis 2 (Paus. 8.28.4–6) have been identified safely.

Most scholars agree that Melainai is to be located close to the village Kakouraiika3. It has recently been suggested that Melainai could be identified with the fortified settlement at Palaiokastron4, where Bouphagion has been located by most scholars (see below). If we accept this hypothesis, the topographical problems become more complicated: the site at Kakouraiika remains anonymous, i.e. unidentified, and we have to find another site for Bouphagion; but, in fact, there is no other site between Palaiokastron and Karitaina which could be proposed as a candidate for Bouphagion.

I still believe that according to the available evidence, Melainai must be located at Kakouraiika. As I noted in a former publication5: “Melaineai is securely identified with the ruins directly SSW of Kakouraiika, at the site “Keramidi” in the “Kampos tis Mpellas” or “Plapouta” and on the right bank of Alpheios6. It is fittingly located on a major age-old axis, on the Peloponnese’s second west diagonal route, from Sparta to Olympia7. I returned recently to Melaineai and verified that the surface pottery at least belongs mainly to the Hellenistic and the Roman periods; I was unable to locate any archaic, or at least classical sherds. Moreover, Pausanias clearly mentions that the city, e[rhmo~ de; h\n ejf j hJmw`n, and indeed I found no characteristic Late Roman pottery there. However, we must not forget that Melaineai was a major road station in the Roman network, at least as the Tabula Peutingeriana records it8.

Melaineai settlement, according to the existing facts, was formed, or at least developed in the 3rd c. B.C. Therefore, I believe that its development started off by the strengthen­ing of Megale Polis and the value that road consequently obtained, since it leads from the capital city to Olympia. Of course, one could point out that the same passage in Pausanias attributes the founding of Melaineai to the well-known cycle of Lykaonidai and that the settlement was named after its founder Melaineus9; meaning that, as a settlement it has an analogous historical past and its beginnings must be traced back to an earlier period. However, pottery from Melaineai, as I have already mentioned, does not speak in favor of such a theory. I think that in order to resolve the controversy concerning the ekistic history of Melaineai, we must turn to Helleniko of Paloumba, only 3 km. NNE from Melaineai: there, the prominent and important archaeological site was unquestion­ably occupied by a settlement, organised on city principles, that remains anonymous10. Its pottery is mainly of the archaic and classical period. Now, after last surveying the area I concluded that, “Old” Melainai could have existed at Helleniko of Paloumba, that later in Hellenistic times, the inhabitants could have settled lower in Keramidi of Kakouraiika, creating the roadside city of “New” Melainai. Research in those two places –and I mean excavation– will in the future test my proposal”

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O τόμος θα κυκλοφορήσει επίσημα στο Παρίσι στις 12.1.2011 - τότε θα γίνει η
γιορτή επίδοσης στην τιμωμένη M. JOST.

 

 

 

Arcadians
Τετάρτη 22 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

 
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