Opuntian Locris

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Opuntian Locris
Ozolian Locris Locris ancient map.jpg
  Opuntian Locris
Reverse of a silver stater of Opuntian Locris depicting Ajax the Lesser. Silver stater reverse Locri Opuntii Met L.1999.19.80.jpg
Reverse of a silver stater of Opuntian Locris depicting Ajax the Lesser.

Opuntian Locris or Eastern Locris was an ancient Greek region inhabited by the eastern division of the Locrians, the so-called tribe of the Locri Epicnemidii (Greek : Λοκροὶ Ἐπικνημίδιοι) or Locri Opuntii (Greek: Λοκροὶ Ὀπούντιοι).



Opuntian Locris consisted of a narrow slip upon the eastern coast of central Greece, from the pass of Thermopylae to the mouth of the river Cephissus. The northern frontier town was Alpeni, which bordered upon the Malians, and the southern frontier town was Larymna, which at a later time belonged to Boeotia. The Locrians, however, did not inhabit this coast continuously, but were separated by a narrow slip of Phocis, which extended to the North Euboean Gulf, and contained the Phocian seaport town of Daphnus. The Locrians north of Daphnus were called Epicnemidii, from Mount Cnemis; and those south of this town were named Opuntii, from Opus, their principal city. On the west, the Locrians were separated from Phocis and Boeotia by a range of mountains, extending from Mount Oeta and running parallel to the coast. The northern part of this range, called Mount Cnemis, [1] now Talanda, rises to a considerable height, and separated the Epicnemidii Locri from the Phocians of the upper valley of the Cephissus; the southern portion, which bore no specific name, is not so lofty as Mount Cnemis, and separated the Opuntian Locrians from the north-eastern parts of Boeotia. Lateral branches extended from these mountains to the coast, of which one terminated in the promontory Cnemides, opposite the islands called Lichades; but there were several fruitful valleys, and the fertility of the whole of the Locrian coast is praised both by ancient and modern observers. [2] In consequence of the proximity of the mountains to the coast there was no room for any considerable rivers. The largest, which, however, is only a mountain torrent, is the Boagrius (Βοάγριος), called also Manes (Μάνης) by Strabo, rising in Mount Cnemis, and flowing into the sea between Scarpheia and Thronium. [3] The only other river mentioned by name is the Platanius, [4] a small stream, which flows into the Opuntian gulf near the Boeotian frontier: it is the river which flows from the modern village of Proskyná. [5]

Opuntian Gulf

The Opuntian Gulf, [6] at the head of which stood the town of Opus, is a considerable bay, shallow at its inner extremity. In this bay, close to the coast, is the small island of Atalanta.


The Eastern Locrians, are mentioned by Homer, who describes them as following Ajax, the son of Oïleus, to the Trojan War in forty ships, and as inhabiting the towns of Kynos, Opus, Calliarus, Besa, Scarphe, Augeiae, Tarphe, and Thronium. [7] Neither Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, nor Polybius, make any distinction between the Opuntii and Epicnemidii; and, during the flourishing period of Greek history, Opus was regarded as the chief town of the Eastern Locrians. Even Strabo, from whom the distinction is chiefly derived, in one place describes Opus as the metropolis of the Epicnemidii (ix. p. 416); and the same is confirmed by Pliny (iv. 7. s. 12) and Stephanus. [8] In the Persian War the Opuntian Locrians fought with Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae, and also sent seven ships to the Greek fleet. [9] The Locrians fought on the side of Sparta in the Peloponnesian War. [10] The Locri Opuntii also minted coins in antiquity, some of which survive.

Cities and towns

The cities and towns of the Locri Epicnemidii, along the coast from north to south, were: Alpenus, Nicaea, Scarphe (Scarpheia), Thronium, Cnemis (Cnemides), more inland, Tarphe later Pharygae, and Augeiae. The cities and towns of the Locri Opuntii, along the coast from north to south, were: Alope, Kynos, Opus, Halae, Larymna which later belonged to Boeotia, more inland, Calliarus, Naryx, and Corseia.

See also

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Locris was a region of ancient Greece, the homeland of the Locrians, made up of three distinct districts.

Opus was an ancient Greek city that was the chief city of a tribe of Locri, who were called from this place the Opuntian Locrians, and the territory, the Opuntian Locris.

Cnemis or Knemis was a range of mountains forming the boundary between Phocis and the Epicnemidian Locrians, who received their distinguishing name from this mountain. Mount Cnemis was a continuation of Callidromus, with which it was connected by a ridge, at the foot of which is the modern village of Mendenitsa. A spur of this mountain, running out into the sea, formed the promontory Cape Cnemides (Κνημῖδες), opposite the islands called Lichades and the Euboean promontory Cenaeum. Upon Cape Cnemides stood a fortress, also called Cnemides, distant 20 stadia from Thronium.

Doris (Greece) Region of Ancient Greece

Doris is a small mountainous district in ancient Greece, bounded by Aetolia, southern Thessaly, the Ozolian Locris, and Phocis; the original homeland of the Dorian Greeks. It lies between Mounts Oeta and Parnassus, and consists of the valley of the river Pindus (Πίνδος), a tributary of the Cephissus, into which it flows not far from the sources of the latter. The Pindus is now called the Apostoliá. This valley is open towards Phocis; but it lies higher than the valley of the Cephissus, rising above the towns of Drymaea, Tithronium, and Amphicaea, which are the last towns in Phocis.

The Locrians were an ancient Greek tribe that inhabited the region of Locris in Central Greece, around Parnassus. They spoke the Locrian dialect, a Doric-Northwest dialect, and were closely related to their neighbouring tribes, the Phocians and the Dorians. They were divided into two geographically distinct tribes, the western Ozolians and the eastern Opuntians; their primary towns were Amphissa and Opus respectively, and their most important colony was the city of Epizephyrian Locris in Magna Graecia, which still bears the name "Locri". Among others, Ajax the Lesser and Patroclus were the most famous Locrian heroes, both distinguished in the Trojan War; Zaleucus from Epizephyrian Locris devised the first written Greek law code, the Locrian code.

Ozolian Locris

Ozolian Locris or Hesperian Locris was a region in Ancient Greece, inhabited by the Ozolian Locrians a tribe of the Locrians, upon the Corinthian Gulf, bounded on the north by Doris, on the east by Phocis, and on the west by Aetolia.

Cynus was the principal sea-port of the Opuntian Locrians, situated on a cape at the northern extremity of the Opuntian Gulf, opposite Aedepsus in Euboea, and at the distance of 60 stadia from Opus. Livy gives an incorrect idea of the position of Cynus, when he describes it as situated on the coast, at the distance of a mile from Opus. Cynus was an ancient town, being mentioned in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad. It was reported to have been the residence of Deucalion and Pyrrha; the tomb of the latter was shown there. Beside Livy and Homer, Cynus is mentioned by other ancient authors, including Strabo, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, and Ptolemy.

Locrian Greek is an ancient Greek dialect that was spoken by the Locrians in Locris, Central Greece. It is a dialect of Northwest Greek. The Locrians were divided into two tribes, the Ozolian Locrians and the Opuntian Locrians, thus the Locrian dialect can be also divided in two branches, the Ozolian and Opuntian respectively. The traits of both dialects were described by Wilhelm Dittenberger, editor of the project Inscriptiones Graecae.

Phocis (ancient region) Region of Ancient Greece

Phocis was an ancient region in the central part of Ancient Greece, which included Delphi. A modern administrative unit, also called Phocis, is named after the ancient region, although the modern region is substantially larger than the ancient one.

Hyampolis city in Ancient Greece

Hyampolis (Ὑάμπολις) was a city in ancient Phocis, Greece. A native of this city was called a Hyampolites. Some ancient authors record that the city was also called simply Hya.


Daphnus or Daphnous was a city on the Euboean Sea, originally belonging to ancient Phocis, which thus extended from the Corinthian Gulf to the Euboean sea. Its narrow territory separated the Locri Epicnemidii from the Locri Opuntii; but it was afterwards assigned to the Opuntii. The town was in ruins in the time of Strabo, who fixes its site by describing it as distant 20 stadia from Cynus and 120 from Elateia, and as having a harbour. Daphnus appears in an inscription dated to 407 BCE. Daphnus lay at the head of a pass that was one of the major arteries from northern to central Greece.

Alope (Opuntian Locris) ancient settlement in the Opuntian Locris

Alope was a town of Opuntian Locris on the coast between Daphnus and Cynus. Its ruins have been discovered by William Gell on an isolated hill near the shore in the modern village of Melidoni, Phthiotis.

Scarphe or Scarpheia (Σκάρφεια) was a town of the Epicnemidian Locrians, mentioned by Homer in the Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad. According to Strabo it was 10 stadia from the sea, 30 stadia from Thronium, and a little less from some other place of which the name is lost, probably Nicaea. Moreover, Scarphe was reported to be occupying the territory of Augeiae, which had disappeared by his time. It appears from Pausanias that it lay on the direct road from Elateia to Thermopylae by Thronium, and likewise from Livy, who states that Lucius Quinctius Flamininus marched from Elateia by Thronium and Scarpheia to Heraclea. It was also the site of the Battle of Scarpheia in 146 BCE. Scarpheia is said by Strabo to have been destroyed by an inundation of the sea (tsunami) caused by an earthquake in 426 BCE, but it must have been afterwards rebuilt, as it is mentioned by subsequent writers down to a late period, including Pliny the Elder, Ptolemy, Hierocles, Stephanus of Byzantium, and the Geographer of Ravenna. Scarpheia is also mentioned by Lycophron, Appian, and Pausanias.

Augeiae or Augeiai was an ancient town of Locris Epicnemidia, near Scarpheia, mentioned by Homer in the Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad, but which had disappeared in the time of Strabo and its territory had been taken by Scarpheia.

The Boagrius or Boagrios, also called Manes (Μάνης), was the largest river of Locris. It was only a mountain torrent, rising in Mount Cnemis, and flowing into the sea between Scarpheia and Thronium. The river was often dry. The town of Tarphe was also upon its banks. The river is mentioned by Homer in the Iliad. The river significantly changed course following the Locrian earthquake of 426 BCE. It is noted by Strabo, Ptolemy, and Pliny the Elder.

Cape Cnemides of Knemides is a spur of Mount Cnemis, running out into the sea, opposite the islands called Lichades and the Euboean promontory Cenaeum. Upon Cape Cnemides stood a fortress, also called Cnemides, distant 20 stadia from Thronium.

Cnemides or Knemides, also Cnemis or Knemis (Κνῆμις), is the name of a fortress, and probably of a town, in ancient Phocis. Strabo places Cnemides on Cape Cnemides opposite the islands called Lichades and the Euboean promontory Cenaeum, distant 20 stadia from Thronium and from Daphnus. The Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax, successively describing towns along the Phocian coast, places Cnemides after Thronium and before Elateia and Panopeus.

Thronium or Thronion was an ancient Greek town, the chief town of the Epicnemidian Locrians, situated 20 stadia from the coast and 30 stadia from Scarpheia, upon the river Boagrius, which is described by Strabo as sometimes dry, and sometimes flowing with a stream two plethra in breadth. It is mentioned in the Catalogue of Ships of the Iliad, by Homer, who speaks of it as near the river Boagrius.

Lower Larymna was a town in ancient Boeotia, on the river Cephissus. Strabo relates that the Cephissus emerged from its subterranean channel at Upper Larymna, and joined the sea at the Lower Larymna; and that Upper Larymna had belonged to ancient Phocis until it was annexed to the Lower or Boeotian Larymna by the Romans. Upper Larymna belonged originally to the Opuntian Locris, and Lycophron mentions it as one of the towns of Ajax Oïleus. Pausanias also states that it was originally Locrian; and he adds, that it voluntarily joined the Boeotian League on the increase of the power of the Thebans. This, however, probably did not take place in the time of Epaminondas, as the Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax, written subsequently, still calls it a Locrian town. It may have joined the Boeotian league after Thebes had been rebuilt by Cassander. In 230 BCE, Larymna is described as a Boeotian town; and in the time of Sulla it is again spoken of as a Boeotian town.

Upper Larymna was a town of the Opuntian Locris, later of ancient Phocis and later still of ancient Boeotia, on the river Cephissus.


  1. Strabo ix. pp. 416, 425.
  2. Strabo ix. p. 425; Forchhammer, Hellenika, pp. 11-12; George Grote, History of Greece, vol. ii. p. 381.
  3. Homer Iliad ii. 533; Strabo ix. p. 426; Ptolemy iii. 15. § 11; Pliny iv. 7. s. 12; William Martin Leake, Northern Greece, vol. ii. p. 67.
  4. Πλατάνιος, Pausanias ix. 24. § 5.
  5. Leake, vol. ii. p. 174.
  6. ὁ Ὀπούντιος κόλπος, Strab. ix. pp. 416, 425, 426.
  7. The Iliad ii. 527-535.
  8. s. v.Ὀπόεις from Leake vol. ii. p. 181.
  9. Herodotus vii. 203, viii. 1.
  10. Thuc. ii. 9.

PD-icon.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Locris". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography . London: John Murray.