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Τετάρτη, 29 Ιανουαρίου 2014

The Arcadian Gate connected Messene with Arcadia


Ithome was the strongest natural and man-made fortress in Messenia. It controlled the Stenyklaros valley to the north and the Makaria valley to the
south. The fortification walls are best preserved on the north- northwestern side, on either side of the Arcadian Gate. Remains of the walls are extant along its entire course (9.5km). Large rectangular limestone blocks were used for its construction quarried on the spot on the rocky body of Mt. Ithome which at places preserves evidence of ancient quarrying activity.
The top of Mt. Ithome was also fortified. The towers are normally square- shaped with the exception of one horse shoe-shaped and a circular on.

The eastern Laconian Gate did not survive. It was destroyed in the 18th century during road construction works necessary for providing access to the lower new Monastery of Voulkano. A relief representing Artemis and the feet of a marble male statue are built into the southeastern corner of the enclosing wall of the new Monastery.

The western Gate, the so called Arcadian, is preserved in relatively good condition and since the time of the early travelers it has become the symbol of the city depicted repeatedly on engravings. The Arcadian Gate is a monumental construction built of gigantic awe inspiring limestone blocks Its shape is circular with two entrances, a double one in the interior and an external one, the latter being protected on either side by two square-shaped towers. The circular area inside the Gate has two niches, one on each side of the entrance where a Hermaic stele stood. God Hermes appears under his capacity as “Propylaios”, that is, the protector of Gates. Above the north niche one can read the following inscription: Κoιντος Πλώτιος Ευφημίων επεσκεύασεν Cointus Plotius Euphemion restored (the Gate)

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