Ancient Aigeira

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ancient__aigeira3.gifThe boundaries of the prefectures of Achaia and Corinth, near the village of Aigai Aigeira, is the citadel of the Mycenaean city called Hyperesia or Yperisii, residents of which took part in the Trojan War. Nearby are also the ruins of classical - Hellenistic - Roman Aigeira, whose most important monuments are the theatre, two Temples and Gymnasium. Recently in the municipal district of Oasis there has been found a settlement of the 3rd BC century.


The Town of Aigeira must have been at its peak until the 4th AD century and this comes as a conclusion from a decree of the Roman emperor Diocletian who set the prices of various kinds of food purchased by the Roman soldiers to prevent exploitation by traders at the time. The decree was written on marble found in excavations in the ancient Aigeira and has been dated back to 303 AD. It is claimed that it was destroyed by a powerful tidal wave, but it is more likely that it has been destroyed by a strong earthquake.

The findings of the excavations in the area of Ancient Aigeira
The first excavations in the area of Ancient Aigeira started in 1916 by the Austrian Archaeological Institute, which carries them out until nowadays. The archaeological findings of the excavations to date cover a period from 3000 BC to imperial times of Rome and close to the 4th century AD. From the earliest days, the research done by Otto Walter went through successfully. On August 31, 1916 there was found a marble statue of Zeus' head. According to Paphsanias, the statue was a work-of-art of the famous creator Euclid from Athens, and its height surpassed three metres. In subsequent researches, there was also found the left arm of that statue and a finger from its right hand.
The second unsettling discovery of O. Walter was the ''hollow'' of the theatre of Ancient Aigeira. According to Wilhem Alzinger, who continued the research since 1972 onwards, the theatre was built between the 5th and the 4th century BC.
theater_aigeira.gifThe theatre stage was decorated with half columns. A great part of these elements of the theatre was destroyed in the 2nd century AD when the conversion of the stage took place. With this conversion, a three-level stage was created whose architectural decoration is revealed only by few relics. The forefront was divided into three floors with a protective roof. The lower floor was of Doric order, the middle one of Ionic and the upper one of Corinth. The building of the three-level stage dates back to the time of Hadrian, 117-138 AD.
In the area of the excavations there have also been found parts of the city walls, an oven for pottery and fragments of pottery from 3000 BC, marble stones on which the decree of the Roman emperor Diocletian is written, many inscriptive stones and names. In the 1972 excavations, in the northern part of the theatre there was revealed, as Alzinger believes, a part of the temple of Zeus. Its floor is covered with a splendid mosaic of river chesils and is decorated with various scenes, such as carrion buzzards, beetles, an eagle attacking a snake and two vases.
From 1989 till today, the excavations and surveys are done by Anthony Faber, an architect and professor at the University of Vienna, Professor O. Moss and students of the University.

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