THE SANCTUARY OF TITANE AND THE CITY OF SIKYON
FIG. 1. Aerial photographo f the Sikyonianp lateau( source:H ellenicA rmy GeographicaSl ervice).
SIKYONis located to the south of the Corinthian gulf, between Corinth to the east and
Achaia to the west. The city was originally founded in the plain stretching from the hill of
the modern village of Vasiliko to the harbour and prospered there throughout the Archaic
and Classical periods (PLATE1 a). In 303 BC it was destroyed by Demetrios Poliorketes,
who then refounded it on the prominent triangular plateau which rises to the south of the
plain between the Asopos and Helisson rivers (FIG. 1). Archaeological work in Sikyon
began in the late nineteenth century with the excavation of the theatre by members of the
American School of Classical Studies,and was continued in the 193os and the 1950os by
A. Orlandos, on behalf of the Greek Archaeological Society.’ Orlandos’s excavations
brought to light major monuments of the agora of the ancient city, including a temple, a
bouleuterion, a palaistra complex and a long portico, and helped to define the area of the
Hellenistic and Roman agora. Subsequent archaeological work on the site in the 1970s
and 1980s focused on the Archaic/Hellenistic temple, but the results were never fully
published J. udging from the description of Sikyon by Pausanias and the reports of the few
rescue excavations conducted on the plateau by the Greek Ministry of Culture, we realize
that the remains seen on the site today represent only a tiny portion of the monuments of
the city and that the majority of them are still to be found.3
FIG. 2. Map of ancient Sikyonia with settlement sites (source: author).
Titane was described by Pausanias as a ‘summit of a mountain’-off the road to the
Arkadian city of Phlious. It took its name from Titan, the brother of Helios, who first
inhabited the place.4 That it was part of Sikyonia is clear from its foundation story told in
Pausanias : when Alexanor, son of Machaon,son of Asklepios,came to Sikyonia,he founded the Asklepieion at Titane. In a different context, Pausanias refers to Titane of the Sikyonians,presumably as opposed to a Titane in Thessaly.5 The site was long sought by travellers in the early nineteenth century, until it was positively located by Ludwig Ross in 1839 on the eastern slopes of the Vesiza range, by the village of Voivohda, now renamed Titane (FIG. 2).6 The low hill, immediately to the north-east of the village, where the church of Agios Tryphon stands (elev. 592 masl), is precipitous towards the east and the south sides and indeed resembles the summit of a mountain to someone coming from the Asopos (FIG. 3). This was one of the arguments used by Ross for the identification of the site,together with the impressive fortifications of the hill, and its distance from both Sikyon and Phlious, which agrees more or less with the distances given by Pausanias.7
A dedicatory inscription to Asklepios, built into the church of Agios Tryphon, confirms the identification of the site where no systematic excavations have so far been conducted (PLATE 1 b).8
I examined the site of Titane and its surrounding area during my extensive archaeological
survey of the land of Sikyon, which was carried out between 1996 and 2002 in order to
locate and study settlements, communication routes, defensive installations, and traces of
religious and economic activities.9 Many significant observations for the history of the
area were made in the course of this survey, but two are particularly important for the
purpose of this article: Titane’s proximity to the southern borders of the city-state and the strong presence of early Iron Age material on the site. Given the recent extensive
scholarship on the importance of sanctuaries located far from urban centres during the
early periods of the Greek polis, I aimed to explore the relations of Titane with Sikyon,
both in time and space. In the following sections I proceed by discussing first the identity
of Titane, then the topography of the sanctuary, its location within the city-state, the
roads connecting Sikyon to Titane, and finally the chronological relation between the city
and the sanctuary, concluding with an appraisal of the importance of Titane for the
FIG. 3. Hill of Agios Tryphon from the east (source: author).
(TO BE CONTINUED)
Departmenotf History,Archaeology and Social Anthropology,University of Thessaly
YANNIS A. LOLOS
‘ The following abbreviations are used:
Curtius = E. Curtius, Peloponnesos: Eine historischgeographischeBeschreibungd er Halbinsel (Gotha, 1851), ii.
Graf = F. Graf, ‘Heiligtum und Ritual: Das Beispiel der griechisch-r6mischen Asklepieia’, in A. Schachter (ed.),Le Sanctuaire Grec (Geneva, 1992), 159-99.
Lolos, Land= Y. Lolos, Hesperia Supplement 39 on the Land of Sikyon (forthcoming).
Meyer 1939 = E. Meyer, Peloponnesische Wanderungen (Zurich, 1939)-Nilsson = M. P. Nilsson, GriechischeF este von religiiiser Bedeutunmg itA usschlufdie ra ttischen(B erlin, 1906).
Papachatzis = N. Papachatzis, Havaaviov EAA`dSoq HeptIoyq~uKigo eivOiaxd (Athens, 1976).
Rangab6 = M. Rangab6, Souvenirs d’une excursion d’Athines en Arcadie (M6moires pr6sentes a l’Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, le s6rie, 5; Paris, 1857).
Ross = L. Ross, ‘Les Forteresses de la Sicyonie et le temple d’Asklepios A Titane’, B. d. I.
Roux = G. Roux, Pausanias en Corinthie (Paris, 1958).
On the theatre see A. Fossum, ‘The Theatre at Sikyon’, AJA 9 (1905), 263-76 and W. Fiechter, Das
Theater in Sikyon (Stuttgart 1931). For the excavation reports of the Archaeological Society see the PAE for 1932 to 1939, 1941, 1951 to 1954, 1984, and 1987 to 1988. See also the selective bibliography in http://extras.ha.uth.gr/sikyon.
3 To this end, the University of Thessaly in collaboration with the Institute of Mediterranean Studies and the 37th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical
Antiquities have begun in 2004 a geophysical survey of the ancient agora as part of an intensive survey of the entire urban area; see our webpage at http://extras.ha.uth.gr/sikyon.
4 (Paus.ii. 11. 5). The derivation of Titane from Titan has been disputed by scholars, and the place-name instead associated with the noun ricavog, meaning white, chalky earth, on the grounds of the nature of the terrain: RE s.v. (1937) col. 1492 [Wiust].
6 Ross, 26-8. W. Gell (Itinerary of the Morea (London,1817), 17) had placed it on the hill of Profitis Elias of Paradeisi, while W. M. Leake (Travels in the Morea (London, 1830), iii. 376) thought that the summit of Vesiza was Mount Titane. Both travellers were probably confused by Pausanias’ description of the site, as a . As M. Langdon has pointed out in ‘Mountains in Greek religion’, CW 93 (2000), 461-70,
oeo1 in ancient Greek does not necessarily designate what we should call a ‘mountain’ today, but rather a prominent height, and the hill of Agios Tryphon is definitely
prominent from the east (i.e. the Asopos valley).
7 I offer a lengthy discussion of the distances and the roads from Titane to Phlious and to Sikyon in the third chapter of Lolos, Land.
8 J. Martha, ‘Inscriptions du P1loponnese’ BCH 3 (1879), 192-3; IG iv. 436. I date the inscription to the Roman period on the basis of the lettering and the abbreviated postscript.
9 The results of this survey are presented in Lolos,Land. I first surveyed the site of Titane in the summer and autumn of 1997 with the assistance of three students of topography, Dimitris Karakaxas, Vasilis Marras, and Kostas Botos, and then in the summer of 2002 with the assistance of two young archaeologists, Myrsine Gouma and Aristotelis Koskinas.