The Info List - Elis

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/ˈɛlɪs/ or Eleia /ɛˈlaɪ.ə/ (Greek, Modern: Ήλιδα Ilida, Ancient: Ἦλις Ēlis; Doric: Ἆλις Alis; Elean: Ϝαλις Walis, ethnonym: Ϝαλειοι) is an ancient district that corresponds to the modern Elis
regional unit. Elis
is in southern Greece
on the Peloponnesos
peninsula, bounded on the north by Achaea, east by Arcadia, south by Messenia, and west by the Ionian Sea. Over the course of the archaic and classical periods, the polis of Elis controlled much of the region of Elis, most probably through unequal treaties with other cities, which acquired perioikic status.[1] Thus the city-state of Elis
was formed. Homer
mentions that Elis
participated in the Trojan War.[2] The first Olympic festival was organized in Elean land, Olympia, Greece
by the authorities of Elis
in the 8th century BC, with tradition dating the first games at 776 BC. The Hellanodikai, the judges of the Games, were of Elean origin.[citation needed] The local form of the name was Valis, or Valeia, and its meaning, in all probability was, “the lowland” (compare with the word "valley").[citation needed] In its physical constitution Elis
is similar to Achaea
and Arcadia; its mountains are mere offshoots of the Arcadian highlands, and its principal rivers are fed by Arcadian springs.[citation needed] According to Strabo,[3] the first settlement was created by Oxylus the Aetolian
who invaded there and subjugated the residents. The city of Elis
underwent synoikism—as Strabo
notes—in 471 BC.[4] Elis
held authority over the site of Olympia and the Olympic games. The spirit of the games had influenced the formation of the market: apart from the bouleuterion, which was housed in one of the gymnasia, most of the other buildings were related to the games, including two gymnasia, a palaestrum, and the House of the Hellanodikai.[citation needed]


1 Districts 2 Notable Eleans 3 Eleans as barbarians 4 References 5 Sources 6 External links

Districts[edit] As described by Strabo,[5] Elis
was divided into three districts:

Coele (Κοίλη Koilē "hollow") or Lowland Elis, Pisatis (Πισᾶτις Pīsātis), or the territory of Pisa, and Triphylia
(Τριφυλία Triphūlia "the country of the three tribes").

Coele Elis, the largest and most northern of the three, was watered by the river Peneus and its tributary the Ladon. The district was famous during antiquity for its cattle and horses. Pisatis extended south from Coele Elis
to the right bank of the river Alpheus, and was divided into eight departments named after as many towns. Triphylia stretches south from the Alpheus to the river Neda.[citation needed] Nowadays Elis
is a small village of 150 citizens, located 14 km NE of Amaliada, built over the ruins of the ancient town. It has a museum that contains treasures, discovered in various excavations. It also has one of the most well-preserved ancient theaters in Greece. Built in the 4th century BC, the theater had a capacity of 8,000 people; below it Early Helladic, sub-Mycenaean and Protogeometric graves have been found.[6][7] Elis
is well known for breeding horses and its hosting of the Olympic games. Notable Eleans[edit] Athletes

Coroebus of Elis, the first Ancient Olympic gold-medalist Troilus of Elis, 4th century BC equestrian

In mythology

Salmoneus, Aethlius, Pelops
mythological kings of Elis Endymion Sons of Endymion:

Epeius Aetolus Paeon

Augeas, king of Elis
related to the Fifth Labour of Heracles Amphimachus, king of Elis
and leader of Eleans in Trojan War Thalpius, leader of Eleans in Trojan War Oxylus, king of Elis


Alexinus (c. 339-265 BC), philosopher Hippias of Elis, Greek sophist Phaedo of Elis, founder of the Elean School[8] Pyrrho, founder of the Pyrrhonist school of philosophy

Eleans as barbarians[edit] Eleans were labelled as the greatest barbarians barbarotatoi by musician Stratonicus of Athens[9]

And when he was once asked by some one who were the wickedest people, he said, "That in Pamphylia, the people of Phaselis
were the worst; but that the Sidetae were the worst in the whole world." And when he was asked again, according to the account given by Hegesander, which were the greatest barbarians, the Boeotians
or the Thessalians
he said, "The Eleans."

In Hesychius (s.v. βαρβαρόφωνοι) and other ancient lexica[10] Eleans are also listed as barbarophones. Indeed, the North-West Doric dialect of Elis
is, after the Aeolic
dialects, one of the most difficult for the modern reader of epigraphic texts.[11] References[edit]

^ Roy, J. “The Perioikoi
of Elis.” The Polis as an Urban Centre and as a Political Community. Ed. M.H. Hansen. Acts of the Copenhagen Polis Centre 4. Copenhagen: Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, Historisk-filosofiske Meddelelser 75, 1997. 282-32 ^ Iliad 2.615 ^ Strabo
Book 8.3.30 ^ Roy, J. (2002). "The Synoikism
of Elis". In Nielsen, T. H. Even More Studies in the Ancient Greek Polis. Stuttgart: Steiner. pp. 249–264. ISBN 3-515-08102-X.  ^ Strabo; trans. by H. C. Hamilton & W. Falconer (1856). "Chapter III. GREECE. ELIS.". Geography of Strabo. II. London: Henry G. Bohn. pp. 7–34.  ^ Koumouzelis M. 1980, "The Early and Middle Helladic Periods in Elis" PhDdiss. Brandeis Univ., p. 55 - 62 ^ Eder B. 2001, "Die submykenischen und protogeometrischen Graber von Elis", Athens ^ Smith, William. Ancient Library. ^ Athenaeus. Deipnosophistae, VIII 350a. ^ Towle, James A. Commentary on Plato: Protagoras, 341c. ^ Sophie Minon. Les Inscriptions Éléennes Dialectales (VI-II siècle avant J.-C.). Volume I: Textes. Volume II: Grammaire et Vocabulaire Institutionnel. École Pratique des Hautes Études Sciences historiques et philogiques III. Hautes Études du Monde Gréco-Romain 38. Genève: Librairie Droz S.A., 2007. ISBN 978-2-600-01130-3.


 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). " Elis
(district)". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). " Elis
(city)". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Elis, Philosophical School of". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links[edit]

Map from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture Elis
- the city of the Olympic games Mait Kõiv, Early History of Elis
and Pisa: Invented or Ev