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Argos (Greek: Άργος, Árgos, [ˈarɣos]) is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit.[1] It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour. A settlement of great antiquity, Argos has been continuously inhabited for the past 7,000 years,[2] making it one of the oldest cities in Greece and Europe. The city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.[3] At a strategic location on the fertile plain of Argolis, Argos was a major stronghold during the Mycenaean era. In classical times Argos was a powerful rival of Sparta for dominance over the Peloponnese, but was eventually shunned by other Greek city-states after remaining neutral during the Greco-Persian Wars. Numerous ancient monuments can be found in the city today, the most famous of which is the renowned Heraion of Argos, though agriculture (particularly citrus production) is the mainstay of the local economy.

Peloponnesus map

Theater , Argos

Name

The region of Argos is known as the Argolis, Argolid, or Argeia. The inhabitants of Argos were known as Ἀργεῖοι (< *Ἀργεῖϝοι) or Argīvī in Latin, rendered Argives in English.

The name might be of pre-Greek ("Pelasgian") derivation; the name of its acropolis, Larissa, certainly is. Aitiology derives it from a mythological founder, Argos son of Zeus and Niobe (see also Danaus). If the name is Indo-European, it may be related to the adjective αργóς (argós) 'shimmering' or 'quick') from PIE *h₂erǵ-, hence also ἄργυρος (árguros) 'silver' with a meaning "shining brightly" or similar.

History

Ancient
The Heraion of Argos

Argive Heraion

Click to enlarge

    Sanctuary of Apollo Deiradiotes and Athena Oxyderkes

A Neolithic settlement was located near the central sanctuary of Argois, removed 45 stadia (8 km; 5 miles) from Argos, closer to Mycenae. The temple was dedicated to "Argivian Hera". The main festival of that temple was the Hekatombaia, one of the major festivals of Argos itself. Walter Burkert (Homo necans, p. 185) connected the festival to the myth of the slaying of Argus Panoptes by Hermes ("shimmering" or "quick"), and only secondarily associated with mythological Argus (or the toponym).

Argos was a major stronghold of Mycenaean times, and along with the neighbouring acropolis of Mycenae and Tiryns became a very early settlement because of its commanding positions in the midst of the fertile plain of Argolis.

During Homeric times it belonged to a follower of Agamemnon and gave its name to the surrounding district; the Argolid which the Romans knew as Argeia.

Argos experienced its greatest period of expansion and power under the energetic 7th century BC ruler King Pheidon. Under Pheidon Argos regained sway over the cities of the Argolid and challenged Sparta’s dominance of the Peloponnese. The importance of Argos was eclipsed by Sparta after the 6th century BC.

Because of its refusal to fight or send supplies in the Graeco-Persian Wars, Argos was shunned by most other city-states. Argos remained neutral or the ineffective ally of Athens during the 5th century BC struggles between Sparta and Athens.

Artemis Relief, Argos

Medieval
The castle on Larissa Hill.

During the 12th century, a castle was built on Larissa Hill - the site of the ancient Acropolis - called Kastro Larissa. Argos was captured by the Crusaders, and belonged to the lordship of Argos and Nauplia. In 1388 it was sold to the Republic of Venice, but was taken by the despot of Mystra Theodore I Palaiologos before the Venetians could take control of the city ; he sold it anyway to them in 1394. In 1397 the city was plundered by the Ottoman Empire which carried off much of the population,[4] selling them as slaves.[5] The Venetians repopulated the town and region with Albanian settlers,[6] granting them long-term agrarian tax exemptions.[4] Together with the Greeks of Argos, they supplied stratioti troops to the armies of Venice.[4] Some historians consider the French military term "argoulet" to derive from the Greek "argetes", or inhabitant of Argos, as a large number of French stratioti came from the plain of Argos.[7]

Modern
The City Hall.
The railway station.

At the beginning of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, when many petty local republics were formed in different parts of the country, the "Consulate of Argos" was proclaimed on 26 May 1821, under the Senate of the Peloponnese. It had a single head of state, Stamatellos Antonopoulos, styled Consul, between 28 March 1821 and 26 May 1821.

Later, Argos accepted the authority of the unified Provisional Government at the First National Assembly at Epidaurus, and eventually became part of the Kingdom of Greece. The city of Argos is the seat of the province of the same name, one of the three subdivisions of the Argolis prefecture. According to the 2001 Greek census, the city has a population of 27,550. It is the largest city in the prefecture, one of the few prefectures in Greece where the largest city in population is larger than the prefectural capital.

Considerable remains of the city survive and are a popular tourist attraction. Agriculture, however, is the primary economic activity in the area, with citrus fruits the predominant crop. Olives are also popular here.

Argos has a railway station on the Kalamata - Tripoli - Corinth line of the Hellenic Railways Organisation, and a junior soccer team. The Archaeological Museum of Argos houses ancient artifacts recovered not only from the principal archaeological sites of the city, including the theater and agora but also from Lerna. [1]

In Greek mythology

The mythological kings of Argos are (in order): Inachus, Phoroneus, Argus, Triopas, Agenor, Iasus, Crotopus, Pelasgus (aka Gelanor), Danaus, Lynceus, Abas, Proetus, Acrisius, Perseus, Megapénthês, Argeus, and Anaxagoras. An alternative version (supplied by Tatiānus[8]) of the original 17 consecutive kings of Argōs includes Apis, Argios, Kriasos, and Phorbas between Argus and Triopas, explaining the apparent unrelation of Triopas to Argus.

After the original 17 kings of Argos, there were three kings ruling Argos at the same time (see Anaxagoras), one descended from Bias, one from Melampus, and one from Anaxagoras. Melampus was succeeded by his son Mantius, then Oicles, and Amphiaraus, and his house of Melampus lasted down to the brothers Alcmaeon and Amphilochus.

Anaxagoras was succeeded by his son Alector, and then Iphis. Iphis left his kingdom to his nephew Sthenelus, the son of his brother Capaneus.

Bias was succeeded by his son Talaus, and then by his son Adrastus who, with Amphiaraus, commanded the disastrous Seven Against Thebes. Adrastus bequethed the kingdom to his son, Aegialeus, who was subsequently killed in the war of the Epigoni. Diomedes, grandson of Adrastus through his son-in-law Tydeus and daughter Deipyle, replaced Aegialeus and was King of Argos during the Trojan war. This house lasted longer than those of Anaxagoras and Melampus, and eventually the kingdom was reunited under its last member, Cyanippus, son of Aegialeus, soon after the exile of Diomedes.

Notable people

Acrisius, mythological king
Acusilaus (6th century BC), logographer and mythographer
Ageladas (6th-5th century BC), sculptor
Pheidon (7th century BC), king of Argos
Polykleitos (5th-4th century BC), sculptor
Polykleitos the Younger (4th century BC), sculptor
Telesilla (6th century BC), Greek poet
Eleni Bakopanos (1954-), Canadian politician


International relations
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Greece

Twin towns — sister cities

Argos is twinned with:

France Abbeville, France
Cyprus Episkopi, Cyprus
Italy Ardea, Italy


Other relations

Most Ancient European Towns Network


See also

Kings of Argos
Communities of Argolis
Communities of Argos
Argos (dog) Mythology: Dog of Odysseus


References

Notes

^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
^ Bolender, Douglas J. (2010-09-17). Eventful Archaeologies: New Approaches to Social Transformation in the Archaeological Record. SUNY Press. pp. 129–. ISBN 9781438434230. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
^ MAETN (1999 [last update]). "diktyo". classic-web.archive.org. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
^ a b c Contingent countryside: settlement, economy, and land use in the southern Argolid since 1700 Authors Susan Buck Sutton, Keith W. Adams, Argolid Exploration Project Editors Susan Buck Sutton, Keith W. Adams Contributor Keith W. Adams Edition illustrated Publisher Stanford University Press, 2000 ISBN 0804733155, 9780804733151 page 28
^ Eventful Archaeologies: New Approaches to Social Transformation in the Archaeological Record The Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology Distinguished Monograph Series Author Douglas J. Bolender Editor Douglas J. Bolender Publisher SUNY Press, 2010 ISBN 1438434235, 9781438434230 page 129 link
^ Eventful Archaeologies: New Approaches to Social Transformation in the Archaeological Record The Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology Distinguished Monograph Series Author Douglas J. Bolender Editor Douglas J. Bolender Publisher SUNY Press, 2010 ISBN 1438434235, 9781438434230 page 129 link
^ Pappas, Nicholas C. J.. "Stradioti: Balkan Mercenaries in Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century Italy". Sam Houston State University.
^ James Cowles Prichard : An Analysis of the Egyptian Mythology. 1819. p. 85


Municipalities and communities of the Argolis Prefecture

Argos | Asini | Asklipieio | Epidaurus | Ermioni | Koutsopodi | Kranidi | Lerna | Lyrkeia | Midea | Mykines | Nafplion | Nea Kios | Nea Tiryntha

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