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Eleftheres

The castle of Eleftheres in northwest Attica.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )


    1930 Decade of ancient Eleftheres excavations.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)


  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)


  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)


    145 AD According to Pausanias, it was abandoned. It was used again during the early Byzantine period (5th -7th century AD).

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)


    At the end of the 4th century BC, it was repaired and reinforced.

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)


    370 BC It was probably built between 370- 360 BC.

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)


  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)


  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)


What I can see

The ancient Eleftheres was a city, whose traces are seen today south of the impressive fortress. The fortress is about 300 long and 125m wide and belongs to the best examples of fortification art of the 4th century BC. The perimeter of the walls is 860m and the north side was more vulnerable, so the fortification was stronger with towers of 4-6m high. On the east and west sides, there are gates with inner courtyards and in between, there are smaller gates. The 7 impressive square towers have 6.5 m long sides and in the holes we see today, there were beams that supported the wooden floors. Soldiers fought on them and between the ramparts and placed the heaviest weapons, such as catapults, which were invented back then and were continuously used until the 15th century and the invention of gunpowder. Foundations of previous buildings are also preserved.

What I can't see

The newest common name of this isolated fortress is “Gyftokastro” (i.e. Gypsy Castle in Greek). In ancient times, however, it was the fortress of the ancient city of the Eleftheres, which sometimes was an ally of Boeotia and others of Athens. From the 6th century onwards, however, the city was an ally of Athens and according to legend, it was the birthplace of god Dionysus, who was worshiped under the nickname “Elefthereus”. The fortress was built by the Athenians, to control the roads to Boeotia and the mountains of Oenoe.

Bibliography

Foka Ι., Valavanis P., (1994), Περίπατοι στην Αθήνα και την Αττική, τόποι, θεοί, μνημεία [Strolls in Athens and Attica, places, gods, monuments], Kedros

 

Camp J., (2001), The Archaeology of Athens, Yale University Press, New Haven and London

 

Unsigned, (2014), Navigating the routes of Art and Culture, Part 1, Athens, Ministry of Culture and Sports