|The city of Chios, the chief settlement on the large and
important island of the same name, started producing coinage in the middle of
the 6th century B.C. It had a fine harbor and achieved great prosperity, as well
as being a cultural center. In 86 B.C. the city was sacked by Mithradates'
forces, but Sulla restored the place and thereafter the Chians enjoyed special
privileges under Roman rule.
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Chios is the fifth
largest of the
islands, situated in the
seven kilometres (five miles) off the
Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from
Turkey by the
Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant
community, its unique
mastic gum and its medieval villages. The eleventh century monastery of “Nea
Moni”, a UNESCO
World Heritage Site, is located on the island.
"Chios" is also the name of the island's
main town and administrative centre, although locals refer to it as "Hora"
("Χώρα" literally means land or country, but usually the name given to the
capital or a settlement at the highest point of a Greek island).
Administratively the island forms a separate
prefecture (nomós- νομός) within the
Known as "Ofioussa" (having snakes) and "Pityoussa" (having pine trees) in
antiquity, during the medieval age the island was ruled by a number of external
powers and has been also known as Scio (Genoese),
and Sakız (صاقيز —Ottoman
Turkish). The capital has also been called "Castro" or "Kastron" (Καστρον;
Archaeological research on Chios has found evidence that the island has been
inhabited since at least the
era. The primary sites of research for this period, have been cave dwellings at
Hagio(n) Galas, in the north, and a settlement and accompanying
necropolis in modern-day Emporeio at the far south of the island. The lack
of information on this period however, cannot be overstated and theories on the
size and duration of these settlements have not been well established.
The British School of Athens excavated the Emporeio site in 1952–1955, and
most of our current information comes from these digs. The Greek Archaeological
Service (G.A.S.) has been excavating periodically on Chios since 1970, though
much of their work on the island remains unpublished.
The noticeable uniformity in the size of houses at Emporeio is what primarily
drives scholar's theory that there may have been no serious
social distinction during the Neolithic on the island, the inhabitants
instead all benefiting from agricultural and livestock farming.
It is also widely held by scholars that the island was not occupied by humans
Middle Bronze Age (2300–1600), though researchers have suggested recently
that the lack of evidence that exists during this period may only demonstrate
the lack of excavations on Chios and the northern
By at least the eleventh century BC the island was ruled by a
kingdom/chiefdom, and the subsequent transition to aristocratic (or possibly
tyrannic) rule occurred sometime over the next four centuries. Future
excavations may reveal more information about this period.
presence on the island is attested by ceramics, while a
presence is noted at
the traditional competitor of Chios on the mainland.
Pherecydes, native to the Aegean, wrote that the island was occupied by the
aboriginal Greeks themselves reported to be subject to the
They were eventually driven out by invading
Chios was one of the original twelve member states of the
Ionian League. As a result, Chios, at the end of the 7th century BC, was one
of the first cities to strike or mint coins, establishing the sphinx as its
specific symbol. A tradition it maintained for almost 900 years.
By the fifth to fourth centuries BC, the island had grown to an estimated
population of over 120,000 (two to three times the estimated population in
2005), and based on the huge necropoli at the main city of Chios, the asty, it
is thought the majority lived in that area. Now a powerful Greek city-state,
Chios was the last member of the
Delian League to revolt.
In the decades immediately preceding
Macedon's domination of the Greek city-states, Chios was home to a school of
had opened, as well as a faction aligned with
Battle of Leuctra, supporters of the
Lacedaemonians were exiled. Among the exiled were Damasistratus and his son
who had received instruction from the school and went on to study with Isocrates
in Athens before becoming a historian.[citation
Theopompus moved back to Chios with the other exiles in 333 BC after
Alexander had invaded
Asia Minor and decreed their return, as well as the exile or trial of
Persian supporters on the island. Theopompus was exiled again sometime after
Alexander's death and took refuge in Egypt.
During this period, the island also had become the largest exporter of Greek
wine, which was noted for being of relative high quality (see
amphoras, with a characteristic sphinx emblem and bunches of grape have been
found in nearly every country that the ancient Greeks traded with from as far
Egypt and Eastern
Third Macedonian War, thirty-five vessels allied to Rome, carrying about
troops, as well as a number of horses, were sent by
to his brother
Leaving from Elaea, they were headed to Phanae, planning to disembark from
there to Macedonia. However,
Perseus's naval commander Antenor intercepted the fleet between
(on the Western coast of Turkey) and Chios.
they were caught completely off-guard by Antenor. Eumenes' officers at first
thought the intercepting fleet were friendly Romans, but scattered upon
realizing they were facing an attack by their Macedonian enemy, some choosing to
abandon ship and swim to Erythrae. Others, crashing their ships into land on
Chios, fled toward the city.
The Chians however closed their gates, startled at the calamity. And the
Macedonians, who had docked closer to the city anyway, cut the rest of the fleet
off outside the city gates, and on the road leading to the city. Of the 1,000
men, 800 were killed, 200 taken prisoner.'
After the Roman conquest Chios became part of the province of
A sphinx is a
with, as a minimum, the body of a
lion and the head of a human or a cat.
In Greek tradition, it has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird,
and the face of a woman. She is mythicised as treacherous and merciless. Those
who cannot answer her riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories,
as they are killed and eaten by this ravenous monster.
Unlike the Greek sphinx which was a woman, the Egyptian sphinx is typically
shown as a man (an androsphinx). In addition, the Egyptian sphinx was
viewed as benevolent in contrast to the malevolent Greek version and was thought
of as a guardian often flanking the entrances to temples.
European decorative art, the sphinx enjoyed a major revival during the
Renaissance. Later, the sphinx image, something
very similar to the original Ancient Egyptian concept, was exported into many
other cultures, albeit often interpreted quite differently due to translations
of descriptions of the originals and the evolution of the concept in relation to
other cultural traditions.
Generally the role of sphinxes is associated with architectural structures
such as royal tombs or religious temples. The oldest known sphinx was found near
Gobekli Tepe at another site, Nevali Çori,
or possibly 120 miles to the east at Kortik Tepe,
Turkey and was dated to 9,500 BC.
The sphinx is located in the north and below the pyramids. What names their
builders gave to these
statues is not known. At the Great Sphinx site,
the inscription on a
Thutmose IV in
1400 BCE, lists the names of three aspects of
the local sun deity of that period,
The inclusion of these figures in tomb and
temple complexes quickly became traditional and
many pharaohs had their heads carved atop the guardian statues for their tombs
to show their close relationship with the powerful solar deity,
Sekhmet, a lioness. Other famous Egyptian
sphinxes include one bearing the head of the pharaoh
Hatshepsut, with her likeness carved in
granite, which is now in the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the
sphinx of Memphis,
Memphis, Egypt, currently located within the
open-air museum at that site. The theme was expanded to form great
avenues of guardian sphinxes lining the
approaches to tombs and temples as well as serving as details atop the posts of
flights of stairs to very grand complexes. Nine hundred with ram heads,
Amon, were built in
Thebes, where his cult was strongest.
Perhaps the first sphinx in Egypt was one depicting
Queen Hetepheres II, of the
fourth dynasty that lasted from
2563 BC. She was one of the longest-lived
members of the royal family of that dynasty.
The largest and most famous is the
Great Sphinx of Giza, sited at the
Giza Plateau on the west bank of the
Nile River and facing due east (29°58′31″N
It is also from the same dynasty. Although the date of its construction is
uncertain, the head of the Great Sphinx now is believed to be that of the
The Great Sphinx has become an emblem of Egypt, frequently appearing on its
stamps, coins, and official documents.
Bronze Age, the Hellenes had trade and cultural
contacts with Egypt. Before the time that
Alexander the Great occupied Egypt, the Greek
name, sphinx, was already applied to these statues. The historians and
geographers of Greece wrote extensively about Egyptian culture. Heredotus called
the ram-headed sphinxes, criosphinges, and the hawk-headed ones,
The word sphinx comes from the
Greek Σφίγξ, apparently from the verb σφίγγω (sphíngō),
meaning "to squeeze", "to tighten up".
This name may be derived from the fact that the hunters for a pride of lions are
the lionesses, and kill their prey by strangulation, biting the throat of prey
and holding them down until they die. The word
sphincter derives from the same root.
However, the historian Susan Wise Bauer suggests that the word "sphinx" was
instead, a Greek corruption of the Egyptian name "shesepankh," which meant
"living image," and referred rather to the statue of the sphinx, which
was carved out of "living rock" (rock that was present at the construction site,
not harvested and brought from another location), than to the beast itself.
There was a single sphinx in Greek mythology, a unique demon of
destruction and bad luck. According to
Hesiod, she was a daughter of
Echidna or the
Chimera, or perhaps even
according to others, she was a daughter of Echidna and
Typhon. All of these are
chthonic figures from the earliest of Greek
myths, before the Olympians ruled the Greek
pantheon. The Sphinx is called Phix (Φίξ) by
Hesiod in line 326 of the
proper name for the Sphinx noted by
Pierre Grimal's The Penguin Dictionary of
Greek mythology, a sphinx is represented as a
monster with a head of a woman, the body of a
lioness, the wings of an
eagle, and a
serpent headed tail.
The sphinx was the emblem of the ancient city-state of
Chios, and appeared on seals and the obverse
side of coins from the 6th century BC until the 3rd century AD.
Athena appears in the middle of the upper-half of the middle of a sarcophagus
found in the middle pyramid of Giza, with two sphinxes at her side.
Marble Sphinx dated 540 BC Acropolis Museum, Athens
The Riddle of the
The Sphinx is said to have guarded the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes,
and to have asked a riddle of travellers to allow them passage. The exact riddle
asked by the Sphinx was not specified by early tellers of the stories, and was
not standardized as the one given below until late in Greek history.
It was said in late lore that
Ares sent the Sphinx from her
Ethiopian homeland (the Greeks always
remembered the foreign origin of the Sphinx) to
Thebes in Greece where she asks all passersby
the most famous
riddle in history: "Which creature walks on
four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the
evening?" She strangled and devoured anyone unable to answer.
Oedipus solved the riddle by answering: Man—who
crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then
walks with a cane in old age. By some accounts
(but much more rarely), there was a second riddle: "There are two sisters: one
gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the
two sisters?" The answer is "day and night" (both words are feminine in Greek).
Bested at last, the tale continues, the Sphinx then threw herself from her
high rock and died. An alternative version tells that she devoured herself. Thus
Oedipus can be recognized as a "liminal"
or threshold figure, helping effect the transition between the old religious
practices, represented by the death of the Sphinx, and the rise of the new,
a title="Twelve Olympians" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Olympians">
Jean Cocteau's retelling of the Oedipus legend,
The Infernal Machine, the Sphinx tells
Oedipus the answer to the riddle, to kill herself so that she did not have to
kill anymore, and also to make him love her. He leaves without ever thanking her
for giving him the answer to the riddle. The scene ends when the Sphinx and
Anubis, who is there to kill the victims who
cannot answer the riddle, ascend back to the heavens.
There are mythic, anthropological, psychoanalytic, and parodic
interpretations of the Riddle of the Sphinx, and of Oedipus's answer to it.
Numerous riddle books use the Sphinx in their title or illustrations.
An amphora (plural: amphorae or amphoras) is a type of
ceramic (specimens in materials such as metal
occur occasionally) container with two handles and a long neck narrower than the
body. The word amphora is
Latin, derived from the
Greek amphoreus (αμφορεύς),
an abbreviation of amphiphoreus,
a compound word combining amphi- ("on both sides", "twain") plus
phoreus ("carrier"), from pherein ("to carry"), referring to the
vessel's two carrying handles on opposite sides.
Further, the term also stands for an ancient
Roman unit of measurement for liquids. The
volume of a Roman amphora was one cubic
foot, ca. 26,026
Amphorae were used in vast numbers to transport and store various products,
both liquid and dry, in the ancient
Mediterranean world and later the
Roman Empire, and in some periods the shape was
also used for luxury pottery, which might be elaborately painted. Stoppers of
perishable materials which have rarely survived were used to seal the contents.
Two principal types of amphorae existed: the neck amphora, in which the
neck and body meet at a sharp angle; and the one-piece amphora, in which
the neck and body form a continuous curve. Neck amphorae were commonly used in
the early history of ancient Greece but were gradually replaced by the one-piece
type from around the 7th century BCE onwards. Most were produced with a pointed
base to allow upright storage by being partly embedded in sand or soft ground.
This also facilitated transport by ship, where the amphorae were tightly packed
together, with ropes passed through their handles to prevent breaking or
toppling during rough seas. In kitchens and shops amphorae could be stored in
racks with round holes in them.
Amphorae varied greatly in height. The largest could stand as much as 1.5
metres (5 ft) high, while some were under 30 centimetres (12 in) high - the
smallest were called amphoriskoi (literally "little amphorae"). Most were around
45 centimetres (18 in) high. There was a significant degree of standardisation
in some variants; the wine amphora held a standard measure of about 39 litres
(41 US qt), giving rise to the amphora quadrantal as a unit of measure in the
Roman Empire. In all, around 66 distinct types of amphora have been identified.
Amphorae dated to around 4800 BCE have been found in
Neolithic site of the
Yangshao culture in
China. In the West, Amphorae first appeared on
Phoenician coast around 3500 BCE and spread
around the ancient world, being used by the
ancient Greeks and
Romans as the principal means for transporting
fish, and other
commodities. They were produced on an
industrial scale from Greek times and used around the
Mediterranean until about the 7th century CE.
Wooden and skin containers seem to have supplanted amphorae thereafter. Amphorae
are closely related to the Russian
qvevri, which can be traced back to about 6000
They are of great benefit to
maritime archaeologists, as amphorae in a
shipwreck can often indicate the age of the
wreck and geographic origin of the cargo. They are occasionally so well
preserved that the original content is still present, providing invaluable
information on the eating habits and trading systems of the ancient
Mediterranean peoples. Amphorae were too cheap and plentiful to return to their
origin-point and so, when empty, they were broken up at their destination. In
Rome this happened in an area named
Testaccio, close to the
Tiber, in such a way that the fragments, later
Calcium hydroxide (Calce viva), remained to
create a hill now named
Monte Testaccio 45 meters tall and more than
1 km in circumference.
Besides coarse amphora used for storage and transport, high-quality painted
amphorae were produced in Ancient Greece in significant numbers for a variety of
social and ceremonial purposes. Their design differs significantly from the more
functional versions; they are typified by wide mouth and a ring base, with a
glazed surface and decorated with figures or geometric shapes. Such
amphorae were often used as prizes. Some
examples, bearing the inscription "I am one of the prizes from Athens", have
survived from the
Panathenaic Festivals held between the 6th
century BCE to the 2nd century BCE. Painted amphorae were also used for funerary
loutrophoros, a type of amphora, was used
principally for funeral rites. Outsize vases were also used as grave markers,
while some amphorae were used as containers for the ashes of the dead. By the
Roman period utilitarian amphorae were normally the only type produced.
By the Roman period utilitarian amphorae were normally the only type
The first type of Roman amphora, Dressel 1, appears in central Italy in the
late 2nd century BCE.
This type had thick walls and a characteristic red fabric. It was very heavy,
though also strong. Around the middle of the 1st century BCE the so-called
Dressel 2-4 starts to become widely used.
This type of amphora presented some advantages in being lighter and with thinner
walls. It has been calculated that while a ship could accommodate approximately
4500 Dressel 1, it was possible to fit 6000 Dressel 2-4 in the same space.
Dressel 2-4 were often produced in the same workshops used for the production of
Dressel 1 which almost suddenly ceased to be used.
At the same time in
Cuma (southern Italy) the production of the
cadii cumani type starts (Dressel 21-22). These containers were mainly used
for the transportation of fruit and were used until the middle imperial times.
At the same time, in central Italy, the so-called
Spello amphorae, small containers, were
produced for the transportation of wine. On the Adriatic coast the older types
were replaced by the Lamboglia 2 type, a wine amphora commonly produced between
the end of the 2nd and the 1st century BCE. This type develops later into the
Dressel 6A which becomes dominant during Augustan times.
In the Gallic provinces the first examples of Roman amphorae were local
imitations of pre-existent types such as Dressel 1, Dressel 2-4, Pascual 1, and
Haltern 70. The more typical Gallic production begins within the ceramic
Marseille during late Augustan times. The type
Oberaden 74 was produced to such an extent that it influenced the production of
some Italic types.
Spanish amphorae became particularly popular thanks to a flourishing production
phase in late Republican times. The
Hispania Baetica and
Hispania Tarraconensis regions
(south-western and eastern Spain) were the main production areas between the 2nd
and the 1st century BCE due to the distribution of land to military veterans and
the founding of new colonies. Spanish amphorae were widespread in the
Mediterranean area during early imperial times. The most common types were all
produced in Baetica and among these there was the Dressel 20, a typical olive
oil container, the Dressel 7-13, for
garum (fish sauce), and the Haltern 70, for
defrutum (fruit sauce). In the Tarraconensis
region the Pascual 1 was the most common type, a wine amphora shaped on the
Dressel 1, and imitations of Dressel 2-4.