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Messene
Messene
(Greek: Μεσσήνη Messini), officially Ancient Messene, is a local community (topiki koinotita) of the municipal unit (dimotiki enotita) Ithomi, of the municipality (dimos) of Messini within the regional unit (perifereiaki enotita) of Messenia
Messenia
in the region (perifereia) of Peloponnese, one of 13 regions into which Greece
Greece
has been divided.[2] Before 2011 it held the same position in the administrative hierarchy, according to Law 2539 of 1997, the Kapodistrias Plan, except that Ithomi was an independent municipality and Ancient Messene
Messene
was a local division (topiko diamerisma) within it.[3] Most of the area of Ancient Messene
Messene
contains the ruins of the large classical city-state of Messene
Messene
refounded by Epaminondas
Epaminondas
in 369 BC, after the battle of Leuctra and the first Theban invasion of the Peloponnese. Epaminondas
Epaminondas
invited the return to their native land of all the families that had gone into exile from Messenia
Messenia
during its long struggle with and servitude under the military state of Sparta, now finished as a conquering state. This new Messene, today's Ancient Messene, was constructed over the ruins of Ithome, an ancient city originally of Achaean Greeks, destroyed previously by the Spartans and abandoned for some time. Currently the substantial ruins are a major historical attraction. Much of it has been archaeologically excavated and partly restored or preserved for study and public viewing, as well as for various events. The site was never totally abandoned. The small village of Mavromati occupies what was the upper city around the fountain called klepsydra. Administrative structure and population figures refer primarily to it.

Contents

1 Geography 2 History

2.1 Bronze Age Messana 2.2 Messene
Messene
restored by the Thebans

2.2.1 Reconstitution of the city 2.2.2 Fortified wall 2.2.3 Public buildings and monuments

3 Notable people 4 References 5 Bibliography 6 External links

Geography[edit] Archaia Messene
Messene
is located 25 kilometres (16 miles) north of Kalamata and 60 kilometres (37 miles) east of Pylos. History[edit] The main ancient source on Messene
Messene
is the Guide to Greece
Greece
of Pausanias, who visited between 155 and 160 AD. Excavation of the site began in 1828 in connection with the French Morea Expedition
Morea Expedition
during the Greek War of Independence. The French left in 1833; meanwhile, only exploratory excavation had been performed. The current excavator, Petros Themelis, who received permission to dig from the Council of Athens Archaeological Society in 1986, suggests that systematic excavation of the site was first undertaken by George Oikoumenos of the Athens Archaeological Society in 1895. Since then a number of noted archaeologists have made contributions, not the least the current excavator.[4] A museum of their extensive finds has been constructed within the old city walls. This site was awarded a European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in 2011.[5][6] Bronze Age Messana[edit] During the Bronze Age the palace at Pylos
Pylos
controlled Messenia politically and economically. A Linear B
Linear B
tablet from there, PY Cn 3, mentions a region called Mezana in local Mycenaean Greek
Mycenaean Greek
(Linear B: 𐀕𐀼𐀙, me-za-na), from which groups of men named from places in the Peloponnesus each contributed one ox (Linear B: 𐀦𐀃, qo-o; also denoted by the BOS ideogram, i.e. 𐀘) to an official, possibly a priest in the Zeus-sanctuary, named *Diwijeus (Linear B: 𐀇𐀹𐀋𐀸, di-wi-je-we DAT; the word could be, instead of an anthroponym, an adjective meaning "priest in the Zeus-sanctuary").[7] These groups were members of the coast-watchers, a military or quasi-military unit that presumably were stationed to guard various locations on the coast. Their failure is attested by the burning of Pylos
Pylos
a few months later by assailants unknown from the sea. The watchers include some Olumpiaioi (Olympians) from Orumanthos (Mt. Erymanthos). John Bennet expressed the opinion that by Mezana is meant Messana, a Mycenaean Greek
Mycenaean Greek
form of Messene. He supposed that the region around Ithome
Ithome
would already have had that name, to be reutilized by Epaminondas
Epaminondas
a thousand years later.[8] Messene
Messene
restored by the Thebans[edit] Reconstitution of the city[edit]

The ancient Stadion.

After the defeat of the Spartan army at the Battle of Leuctra
Battle of Leuctra
in Boeotia, 371 BC, the helots of Messenia
Messenia
revolted yet again against their Spartan overlords. This time the victorious general, Epaminondas, entered the Peloponnesus with an international army of Boeotians, Argives
Argives
and Messenians living abroad. Epaminondas
Epaminondas
resolved to support an independent Peloponnesus by building three fortified cities, Megalopolis and Mantinea
Mantinea
in Arcadia
Arcadia
and Messene
Messene
in Messenia.[9][10] After all due care to obtain omens from the gods, make sacrifices and invite the spirits of past rulers and heroes to live in Messene, including Queen Messene, Epaminondas
Epaminondas
invited construction engineers and artisans from anywhere to join him. In 85 days the combined armies and exiles guided by the engineers and artisans had complete the walled city of Messene
Messene
over the site of the previous Ithome. The city included within its walls Mt. Ithome
Ithome
and enough agricultural land and spring captures to withstand a siege indefinitely. The policy was justified almost immediately. After the departure of the Theban army the Spartans attempted to retake Messenia, which then allied itself with the Macedonians. This time the long struggle with Sparta
Sparta
was brought to a final end by the Macedonian conquest of Greece. After the departure of the allies the new city and the fate of Messenian independence were left in the hands of the Messenian exiles, who had returned primarily from Sicily and North Africa. Apparently they had maintained a transitory community in exile, or diaspora, for some 300 years. They spoke a Doric dialect. Pausanias reports, "even to this day they preserve it in its purity better than anywhere else in the Peloponnese."[11] As the Arcadians are known to have spoken a dialect closely related to Mycenaean Greek, the exiles restored were not from the original Achaean refugees of the return of the Heracleidae, but were the Doricised population that developed in the 7th century BC under the subsequently dispossessed Heraclid dynasty of Messene. Fortified wall[edit]

A watchtower in the circuit wall

Messene
Messene
was surrounded by a circuit wall 9 km (5.6 mi) long, 7 metres (23 feet) — 9 metres (30 feet) high.[9] It was fortified by 30 square or horseshoe-shaped guard towers (and probably barracks) with doors admitting passage to a protected walkway on top of the wall. The wall was pierced by two main gates flanked by protective structures and rectangular in shape with a lintel of a single, massive beam of limestone. Through the Arcadia
Arcadia
Gate to the north ran and still runs the main road north (to Arcadia), currently from Mavromati. As Mavromati is the location of the major spring capture, klepsydra, it was probably first stop for travellers to the city. From there a road runs over the ridge adjoining Mounts Ithome
Ithome
and Eva to the Laconia Gate, similar to the Arcadia
Arcadia
Gate. The wall runs straight up the ridge but does not encompass Mount Eva. Today the next stop on the road is the monastery, Mone Voulkanou, set into the lower southeast flank of Mounts Eva. Public buildings and monuments[edit]

View of the Odeon.

Pausanias has left us a description of the city (iv. 3 1?33), its chief temples and statues, its springs, its market-place and gymnasium, the Asclepieion,[12] its place of sacrifice, the tomb of the hero Aristomenes
Aristomenes
and the temple of Zeus
Zeus
Ithomatas on the summit of the acropolis with a statue by the famous Argive sculptor Ageladas, originally made for the Messenian helots who had settled at Naupactus at the close of the third Messenian War. The other buildings which can be identified are the theatre, the stadium, the council chamber or Bouleuterion, and the propylaeum of the market, while on the shoulder of the mountain are the foundations of a small temple, probably that of Artemis Laphria. Notable people[edit]

Alcaeus (3rd century BC), author of epigrams Aristocles (1st century AD), peripatetic philosopher Damophon (2nd century BC), sculptor Euhemerus (4th century BC), mythographer

References[edit]

^ a b c "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.  ^ η Βουλή 2010, p. 17436 ^ Hellenic Interior Ministry 2001, Line 6819. ^ Themelis & 2009/2010, p. 29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-06-01. Retrieved 2014-06-02.  ^ http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-11-695_en.htm ^ "BOS".  Raymoure, K.A. "di-wi-je-u". Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B. Deaditerranean.  "PY 3 Cn (1)". DĀMOS: Database of Mycenaean at Oslo. University of Oslo.  ^ Bennet, John (1998), "The Linear B
Linear B
Archives and the Kingdom of Nestor", in Davis, Jack L, Sandy Pylos: an Archaeological History from Nestor to Navarino, Austin: University of Texas Press, pp. 132–133  ^ a b This section relies heavily on Pausanias, Guide to Greece, Book IV, Sections 4.27.5-9, as elucidated by Alcock, Susan E (1998), "Chapter 7 Liberation and Conquest: Hellenistic and Roman Messenia", in Davis, Jack L, Sandy Pylos: an Archaeological History from Nestor to Navarino, Austin: University of Texas Press, pp. 179–180  ^ Warfare in the Classical World by John Warry ^ Pausanias, IV.27.11. ^ Sideris A., Roussou M. and A. Gaitatzes, "The virtual reconstruction of the Hellenistic Asclepieion of Messene", Imeros 4, 2004, pp. 208-216.

Bibliography[edit]

Hellenic Interior Ministry (18 March 2001). Δείτε τη Διοικητική Διαίρεση (in Greek). Hellenic Interior Ministry. . The previous Kapodistrias organization of all the communities in Greece. The populations are from the Census of 2001. η Βουλή (11 August 2010), "ΤΕΥΧΟΣ ΔΕΥΤΕΡΟ", ΝΟΜΟΣ ΥΠ’ΑΡΙΘ. 3852: Νέα Αρχιτεκτονική της Αυτοδιοίκησης και της Αποκεντρωμένης Διοίκησης − Πρόγραμμα Καλλικράτης (PDF) (in Greek), ΕΦΗΜΕΡΙΣ ΤΗΣ ΚΥΒΕΡΝΗΣΕΩΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑΣ . Part 2 of the Kallicratis Plan law, No. 3852, by the Hellenic Parliament (Βουλή), publishing a table of all the official communities of Greece
Greece
arranged in hierarchical order. The lowest-level populations are from the Census of 2001. All higher-level populations are the sums of the appropriate lower-level populations. Themelis, Petros G (2010) [2009]. "Ancient Messene: An Important Site in SW Peloponnesus" (PDF). The Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens Bulletin. 7: 28–37. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Messene.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
article Messene.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Messene.

"Ancient Messene" (in Greek and English). Society of Messenian Archaeological Studies. Archived from the original on 28 February 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2011.  "Ancient Messene". Messenia. Messenia
Messenia
Guide. Archived from the original on 9 August 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.  Nikolakopoulou, Maria. "Αρχαία Μεσσήνη...Ancient Messene". Panoramio. Retrieved 13 October 2011.  " Messene
Messene
Map". Planetware. 1995–2011.  Papadopoulou, Christy (12 October 2006). "Messene's Archaeological Charms". Athens News.  "Ancient Messene, Messenia, Greece". Europa Nostra. Archived from the original on 5 November 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.  Hall, Heinrich (26 July 2010). "The Glory That Was Messene". Athens News. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012.  "Ancient Messene". Wikimapia. Retrieved 15 October 2011.  "Mavrommati". Fluidr. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Messene". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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Subdivisions of the municipality of Messini

Municipal unit of Aipeia

Adriani Chranoi Longa Militsa Nea Koroni

Municipal unit of Androusa

Agrilia Amfithea Androusa Ellinoekklisia Eva Kalamaras Kalogerorrachi Manganiako Polylofos

Municipal unit of Aristomenis

Aristomenis Diodia Kefalovryso Koutifaris Manesis Pelekanada Platanovrysi Poulitsi Sterna Strefi Voutaina

Municipal unit of Ithomi

Archaia Messini Aristodimio Arsinoi Kefalinos Lampaina Revmatia Valyra Zermpisia

Municipal unit of Messini

Analipsi Avramiou Karteroli Lefkochora Lykotrafos Madena Mavrommati Messini Neochori Pilalistra Piperitsa Spitali Triodos Velika

Municipal unit of Petalidi

Achladochori Daras Drosia Kalochori Karpofora Kastania Kokkino Lykissa Mathia Neromylos Paniperi Petalidi

Municipal unit of Trikorfo

Draina Klima Koromilea Palaiokastro Trikorfo

Municipal unit of Voufrades

Charavgi Chatzis Kourtaki Miliot

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