This was once a trending sanctuary and oracle temple and now contains many remarkable ruins. The Amphiareion of Oropos offers visitors a rare insight into Ancient Greece.
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The History and Myths of Amphiaraus of Oropos
Oropos was founded by colonists from Euboea within the 8 th century BC. it had been located on a strategic point on the border between Attica and Boeotia and was the location of the many battles.
Amphiareion became important due to a spring that was related to the hero Amphiaraus. Reputedly he was a Greek king and seer who was greatly honored in his lifetime and was the daddy of the hero Alcmaeon.
Amphiaraus was one among seven heroes who took part in the attack on Thebes, a doomed plan to capture the town. During the attack, Amphiaraus was saved from Poseidon by Zeus.
The daddy of the Gods threw his thunderbolt and therefore the hero, alongside his chariot, was swallowed by the planet, which is how Amphiaraus is believed to possess become a god of the underworld.
A hero-cult emerged at Oropos where a sanctuary was built and named in his honor, hence the name Amphiareion.
Marble votive relief of a race, from Oropos, beginning of the 4th century BC, Pergamon Museum, Berlin
The hero was revered as a good seer and was the demi-god of healing, therefore related to Asclepius, the god of drugs. Pilgrims came to the sanctuary of Amphiaraus to consult the demi-god about the longer term.
Consistent with Pausanias, the Greek writer, the faithful would sleep in goat skins at the sanctuary and Amphiaraus would send them dreams about their future. Many believed that their maladies might be cured at Amphiareion by bathing in its spring.
The sanctuary was largely constructed within the 5 th century BC. Control of the location switched from Boeotia when Alexander the good destroyed Thebes in 335 BC and granted control to Athens.
A stoa, a covered walkway, was added to the location within the mid-3 rd century BC and a theatre added within the 2 nd century BC.
The Amphiareion was a well-liked sanctuary for centuries with several festivals held at the location every year, until Theodosius I outlawed all pagan practices in 390 AD.
The world was first excavated within the 19 th century and lots of of the artifacts found are now in museums around the world.
The Sanctuary of Amphiaraus of Oropos
In a ravine between two hills, on massive earthen banks, stands the temple dedicated to Amphiaraus. inbuilt the Doric hexastyle it had six columns across the front facade.
This style was widely utilized in ancient Greece and influenced many cultures. The cela, or interior, was once spacious with an altar dedicated to 5 gods. Sadly, all that is still of the temple are fragments of a statue, possibly of Amphiaraus, some dedication bases, and broken colonnades.
Southeast view from the highest of the cavea of the theatre
The spring and a stream that were believed to possess supernatural properties are found adjacent to the ruins of the temple. those that were healed of sickness would throw coins into the water.
Near the spring are the remains of a well-preserved clepsydra, an ancient water-clock, a crucial find for the study of Ancient Greek timekeeping.
Also near the temple may be a small theatre and shrines, now little quite stones. a bigger theatre located shortly from the temple would once have seated 300 people.
While the outline of the orchestra and rows of seats can still be seen, the proscenium, the stage structure, is well preserved. Five almost intact progeria, stone seats of honor, have remained in situ as if expecting subsequent performance.
Remains of the traditional stoa, once covered by a roof, are now simply colonnades and stone benches. it’s believed that visitors would sleep here while the hero sent them dreams.
Remains of the Stoa at the Amphiareion of Oropos.
The location of an ancient stadium and a hippodrome that were utilized in the festivals, held in honor of the mythic hero, haven’t yet been found.
Visiting Amphiaraus within the Waking World
From Athens, the location is often reached in under an hour by car, but there’s also conveyance to Oropos.
It’s open during daylight hours and display boards give visitors information about the history of the traditional sanctuary. Admission to the Amphiareion is free and set in a region of outstanding natural beauty.
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