Thuria (Messenia)

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Thuria (Messenia)
Alternative nameThouria

Thuria or Thouria (Ancient Greek : Θουρία) was a town of ancient Messenia, situated in the eastern part of the southern Messenian plain, upon the river Aris, and at the distance of 80 stadia from Pharae, which was about a mile (1.6 km) from the coast. [1] It was generally identified with the Homeric Antheia, though others supposed it to be Aepeia. [1] [2] [3] It must have been a place of considerable importance, since the distant Messenian Gulf was even named after it (ὁ Θουριάτης κόλπος). [2] It was also one of the chief towns of the Lacedaemonian Perioeci after the subjugation of Messenia; and it was here that the Third Messenian War took its rise in 464 BCE. [4] On the restoration of the Messenians by Epaminondas, Thuria, like the other towns in the country, was dependent upon the newly-founded capital Messene; but after the capture of that city by the Achaeans in 182 BCE, Thuria, Pharae, and Abia joined the Achaean League as independent members. [5] Thuria was annexed to Laconia by Augustus; [1] but it was restored to Messenia by Tiberius.

Pausanias found two cities of this name. The Thuriatae had descended from the summit of the lofty hill of the upper city to dwell upon the plain; but without abandoning altogether the upper city, where a temple of the Syrian Goddess still stood within the town walls. [6] There are considerable remains of both places. Those of Upper Thuria are on the hill of the village called Paleókastro, divided from the range of mountains named Makryplái by a deep ravine and torrent, and which commands a fine view of the plain and gulf. The remains of the walls extend half a mile (800 m) along the summit of the hill. Nearly in the centre of the ruins is a quadrangular cistern, 10 or 12 feet (3 or 4 m) deep, cut out of the rock at one end, and on the other side constructed of masonry. The cistern was divided into three parts by two cross walls. Its whole length is 29 paces; the breadth half as much. On the highest part of the ridge there are numerous ruins, among which are those of a small Doric temple, of a hard brown calcareous stone, in which are cockle and muscle shells, extremely perfect. In the plain at Paleá Lutra are the ruins of a large Roman building, standing in the middle of fig and mulberry grounds. William Martin Leake, who visited in the 19th century, observes that "it is in an uncommon state of preservation, part even of the roof still remaining. The walls are 17 feet high, formed of equal courses of Roman tiles and mortar. The roof is of rubble mixed with cement. The plan does not seem to be that of a bath only, as the name would imply, though there are many appearances of the building having contained baths: it seems rather to have been the palace of some Roman governor. As there are no sources of water here, it is to be supposed that the building was supplied by an aqueduct from the neighbouring river of Pídhima." [7]

Its site is located near the modern Aithaia/Hellenika. [8] [9]

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Pharae was an ancient town of Messenia, situated upon a hill rising from the left bank of the river Nedon, and at a distance of a mile (1.5 km) from the Messenian Gulf. Strabo describes it as situated 5 stadia from the sea, and Pausanias 6. William Smith states that it is probable that the earth deposited at the mouth of the river Nedon has, in the course of centuries, encroached upon the sea. Pausanias distinguishes this city from the Achaean city of Pharae (Φαραὶ), 150 stadia from Patrae and 70 stadia from the coast. Pherae occupied the site of Kalamata, the modern capital of Messenia; and in antiquity also it seems to have been the chief town in the southern Messenian plain.

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Oechalia or Oichalia was a town in ancient Messenia, in the plain of Stenyclerus. It was in ruins in the time of Epaminondas, and its position was a matter of dispute in later times. Strabo identified it with Andania, the ancient residence of the Messenian kings, and Pausanias with Carnasium, which was only 8 stadia distant from Andania, and upon the river Charadrus. Carnasium, in the time of Pausanias, was the name given to a grove of cypresses, in which were statues of Apollo Carneius, of Hermes Criophorus, and of Persephone. It was here that the mystic rites of the great goddesses were celebrated, and that the urn was preserved containing the bones of Eurytus, the son of Melaneus.

Methone, or Mothone (Μοθώνη), was a town in the southwestern corner of ancient Messenia. It was an important place in ancient times, on account of its excellent harbour and salubrious situation. It is situated at the extreme point of a rocky ridge, which runs into the sea, opposite the island Sapientza, one of the group called in ancient times Oenussae. Off the outer end of the town, is the little insulated rock which Pausanias calls Mothon, and which he describes as forming at once a narrow entrance and a shelter to the harbour of his time: in the 19th century, when visited by William Martin Leake, it was occupied by a tower and lantern, which is connected by a bridge with the fortification of modern Methoni. A mole branched from it, which ran parallel to the eastern wall of the town, and forms a harbour for small vessels, which to Leake seems to be exactly in the position of the ancient port, the entrance into which was probably where the bridge now stands.

Eira, also known as Hira or Ira (Ἰρά),, and Hire or Ire (Ἱρὴ), was a fortified settlement on a mountain of the same name, in the north of ancient Messenia, near the Neda River. During the Second Messenian War the Messenians fortified the place, and Aristomenes defended it for ten years against the Spartans. Pausanias dates the capture of the city by the Lacedaemonians to the first year of the 28th Olympiad (668 BCE). The Arcadians welcomed many Messenians who withdrew thither after the capture of Eira, while the captured Messenian prisoners were converted to helots by the Lacedaemonians, and the rest of Messenians who lived on the coast were exiled to Cyllene, in Elis. Pausanias adds that 297 years after the capture of Eira, in the third year of the 102nd Olympiad (370 BCE), the Messenians regained their territory.

Aepeia or Aipeia was a town of ancient Messenia. It is mentioned by Homer in the Iliad as one of the seven Messenian towns, offered by Agamemnon to Achilles. It is supposed by Strabo to be the same as Thuria, and by Pausanias the same as Corone.

Corone or Korone was a town of ancient Messenia, situated upon the western side of the Messenian Gulf, which was sometimes called after it, the Coronaean. According to Pausanias, it was built on the site of the Homeric Aepeia, at the time of the restoration of the Messenians to their native country, by Epaminondas; and received the name of Coroneia because Epimelides, who founded the new town, was a native of Coroneia, in Boeotia. This name was changed by the Messenians into that of Corone. According to others, Corone corresponded to the Homeric Pedasus.


  1. 1 2 3 Pausanias. Description of Greece. 4.31.1.
  2. 1 2 Strabo. Geographica . viii. p.360. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon 's edition.
  3. Reger, G., J. McK. Camp II. "Places: 570733 (Thouria)". Pleiades. Retrieved June 9, 2020 8:11 pm.Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War . 1.101.
  5. Polybius. The Histories . 25.1.
  6. Pausanias. Description of Greece. 4.31.2.
  7. Leake, Morea, vol. i. pp. 354 - 360
  8. Richard Talbert, ed. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World . Princeton University Press. p. 58, and directory notes accompanying.
  9. Lund University. Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire.

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

Coordinates: 37°06′48″N22°03′05″E / 37.11343°N 22.05141°E / 37.11343; 22.05141