Charles Hannord Skalet.

Sicyon, an archaeological and historical study with a Prosopographia Sicyonia. .. online

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An Archaeological and Historical Study

with a Prosopographia Sicyonia

A Dissertation

sutmitted to the Foard of TTniversity Studies of the

Johns Hopkins University in conformity vdth

the requirements for the degree of

Doctor of rhilosophy


Charles Hannord Skalet




Chapter Pages

I, Situation and Topography 1-26

II. The Natural Products, Industries and Conmerce.. 27-37

III. The Heroic Age and the Dorian Ascendency 38-48

IV. The Tyrants of Sicyon 49-59

V. Sicyon under the Spartan and Theban Hegemonies 30-73

VI. Sicyon in Hellenistic and Roman Times 74-88

VII. Sicyonian Sculptors 89-121

VIII. Sicyonian Painters 122-138

IX. The Sicyonian Treasuries at Olympia and Delphi 139-154

X. The Cults of Sicyon 155-173

XI. The Civilization of Sicyon .174-178

XII. Prosopographia Sicyonia .179-210

Bibliography 211-217




Situation and Topography.

Sect. 1. Situation

Sicyon was the chief city of Sicyonia, the territory which adjoined
that of Corinth on the west. Between the two cities, and contiguous with the
coast of the Gulf of Corinth and the hills running parallel to it on the south,
lies a fertile and famous coastal plain, intersected at several points by
streams which cross it in deeply worn teds and flow parallel to each other to
the Corinthian Gulf on the north. Of these parallel rivers crossing the

coastal plain, the most v;esterly, the largest, and the most important is the

Asopus. Rising some miles back from springs in the declivities of Mount


Carneates, a part of the high Mount Celossa, it flows at first a calm and

quiet rivulet in a grassy bed across an inland plain surrounded by lofty
mountains. This was the district of Phliasia. Leaving this level expanse it
encounters a high conglomerate plateau which rises to its greatest height with
Mount Spiria. Through the plateau it cuts a narrow glen in which its waters
rush lader with argillaceous soil washed down from the steep sides of the

mountains above and finally, issuing from its deep narrow glen, flows through

a gorge in the tableland and across the coastal plain of Asopia to the

Corinthian Gulf. This lower valley of the Asopus was the principal part of

the district of Sicyonia.

1) The present Hagios Georgios. 2) Str. VIII, 362; Eust. on II. II, 572.
Celossa is the modern T'egalo-Vouno and Carneates the modern Polyphengo. cf.
Curtius, Felop. II, p. 468; Eursian, Geog. II, p. 32, 3) StrP^ScM, 408;
Paus. II, 1, 1; Eust. I.e. Asopia is the modern Vocha. cf. Philippson, Der
Peloponnes, p. 118.


^?!.1'^ sr/z^A-v*-,

Profile of the plain from Phlius to the Gulf of Corinth.
M: Farl, C = Conglomerate.

The mountains on either side of the Asopus incline to the sea, not

in a continuous slope, but in a succession of abrupt descents and level terra-

ces as is shown above in the diagram of the geological formation. Each ter-
race with its curving shape and approximately equal altitude throughout is
separated from the following lower one by one or more steep descents and level
terraces to the north so as to form a nearly uniform step. At the last of
these terraces vjhere the Asopus issues from the gorge into the coastal plain
there stretches westward to the narrow glen of the Helisson a spacious table-
land. The tableland, — roughly triangular in shape with its apex turned to-
wards the hills on the south and its base fronting the sea on the north, — is
between three and four miles in circumference. The tableland itself is divided
into two levels by a rocky slope which extends quite across it from east to
west forming an abrupt separstion between the two terraces. The extensive

4) Reproduced from Philippson, op. cit. fig. 16, p. 118. 5) The site of
Sioyon and its ruins have been described by several travellers and archaeo-
logists among whom I have consulted the following: Dodwell, Tour through Greece,
II PP.293-2P7; Gell, Itinerary of the Morea, pp.15 ff.; Leake, Travels in the
Torea III pp. 355-373; L. Ross, Feisen und Reisercuten durch Griecherland, pp.
46-48; Curtius, Pelop. t%, pp. 483-498; W. G. Clark, Pelop. pp. 337-344; Bursian,
Geog. von Gr. II, pp. 25-30; Frazer, Paus. Ill, pp.43 ff.; V pp. 546-54D;
T/c?urtry, A. J. A. V, 1889, pp. 269-271; Baedeker, Greece^, p. 306; Guides -Joanne,
Grece , p. 335, Special articles will be referred to in the section on the
topography and monuments .

northern and lower terrace formed the original acropolis while the main portion
of the city stood in the plain at the foot of the large plateau on which the
acropolis was located. In the rear of this lower terrace, to the southward, a
STiallor one rises above it, having about one-third the area of the lovfer. It

was in 303 ^.C. v/hen the city fell into the hands of Demetrius Polioroetes

that the site of the city was changed, probably for the reason that the popula-
tion had beoaine so reduced in numbers as to be inadequate for the defeni^e of the
extent of wall around the lovier city, he rased the town in the plain below and
compelled the citizens to build upon their original acropolis. Upon the smaller
and somewhat more elevated plateau immediately behind it he placed his own
acropolis and fortified the already quite impregnable height by means of a cir-
cuit wall portions of which are still to be seen. On this new site, about two


miles back from the Gulf of Corinth, where it was naturally protected on every
side by a wall of precipices which admit only of one or two narrow ascents into
it from the plain below, and supplied with the material advantage of an abun-
dance of water, the city continued to remain throughout the rest of classical
times .

Recent travellers have observed that few ancient cities were more
advantageously or beautifully situated than Sicyon, "Built on a spacious and
level tableland, defended on every side by cliffs, abundantly supplied with
water, at n distance both safe and convenient from the sea, from which it was
divided only by a strip of fertile plain, across which blew the cool refreshing

6) Diod. XX, 102; Plut., Demet . 25; Strabo, VIII, 382; Paus. II, 7, 1. cf.
p. 78. 7) Strabo 's statement (i.e.) that it was twenty stadia from

the sea evidently refers to the new location. The site of the new acropolis
is determined by Pausanias' statement (II, 7, 5) that the theater lay under
the acropolis. 8) Curtius, Pe lop. II, pp. 488-489; McWurtry, A. J. A., V, 1889,
p. 269 f,; Frazer, Paus. Ill, p. 45. I quote Frazer's fine description below.

breezes froigj the water to temper the summer heat, the city possessed a site
secure, wholesome, and adapted both for agriculture and commerce. Nor are
the natural beauties of the site less remarkable than its more m.aterial
advantages. Fehind it rise wooded mountains, and in front of it, across
the narrow plain, is stretched the wonderful panorama of the Corinthian
Gulf, with Helicon, Cithaeron, and Parnassus towering beyond it to the
north, and the mighty rock of Acro-Gorinth barring the prospect on the
east, at sunrise and sunset especially the scene is said to be on of
indescribable loveliness. Pne ancients themselves were not insensible
to the charms of Sicyon. A lovely and fruitful city, adapted to every

9 I Q

recreation, says a scholiast on Homer, and Diodorus ST^eaks of Sicyon
as a place for peaceful enjoyment."

On the site of Sicyon, as seen today, there are, scattered here
and there over the lower and the upper plateau, numerous ruins.' On

the upper plateau only a few foundations appear and it is probable that

1 p
there was never a great number of buildings here as Pausanias mentions

only two temples on this height. The squared blocks of a fortifica-
tion wall standing to a height of two or three regular horizontal
courses along the western edge above the glen of the Kellison, prove
that the wall originally ran all along the western face of the acro-
polis. At the southwest end of the acropolis there was probably a
gate; an ancient wall two courses high still stands on the west side of a

9) Ebst. on II. II, 572. 10) XX, 102. Callimachus, fr. 195 calls it the
abodej of the blessed; in the Iliad (XJCIII, 299) it is referred to as 6:lf ■! Xof a.
Pindar (, 54) referring to the sacred calls it iVfaV , while
Philemon and Archestratus give it the epithet

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Online LibraryCharles Hannord SkaletSicyon, an archaeological and historical study with a Prosopographia Sicyonia. .. → online text (page 1 of 19)