Limenoscope - Ancient Hellenic Ports
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Piraeus - Mounichia
 
The harbour of Mounichia is located in the eastern side of the Piraeus peninsula. It is the smallest of its three natural gulfs. In the overlooking hill (Profitis Hlias) traces of prehistoric inhabitance have been established. The history of the area follows that of the Piraeus peninsula after the 5th century B.C. So it was fortified and transformed to a naval base. However the protective walls were destroyed at the end of the 5th century B.C. and the harbour was re-included in the Konon's program of fortifications thus acquiring the character of an enclosed basin "λιμήν κλειστός" (Panagos 1968, 245, Papachatzis 1974, 98, 121).  
 

Figures

 
Main features
Region Saronic Gulf  
Use Military  
Prosperity period (centuries) 5th B.C. - 4th B.C.  
Existence of contemporary port Yes  
Findings on site Yes, remains of the moles, the ship sheds and the city walls.  
General description
It is a natural protected harbour with a northeastern entrance formed by two headlands which were extended with two fortified moles that ended to towers. The northwestern mole was 190m long while the northeastern one was 95m long. The latter one ended to a circular tower on tetragonal foundations with a side of 12m. Remains of the foundations are still visible as well as remnants of the northeastern mole with sections of the tower. At approximately the middle of the mole there is a depression that hosted a building (8.3x10.15m) most probably explained as a temple or a lighthouse (Mazarakis - Ainian 1992, 81).
In the basin's perimeter ship sheds have been located (Threpsiadis 1935,159-195) and we must certainly presume that free space was available for repairs ("neorion") as well as more harbour works and buildings like docks storehouses, arsenals etc. According to its military use, it was surrounded by a wall that isolated the sea basin in a distance of 60m from the coast. (Dragatsis-Aggelopoulos, 1899,37-41 and 1900,35-37).
At the area of Mounichia harbour inscriptions and the written sources evident the existence of sanctuaries dedicated to Zeus Milichios, Zeus- Philios, Aesculapius, the goddess "Soteira ellimenia" (Savior in the port) and the goddess Bendis from Thrace. Most known and confirmed by excavations is the temple of Artemis Mounichia that is located in the hill were the Nautical Club stands today.  
Technical features
Construction period (centuries) 5th B.C. - 4th B.C.  
Port configuration Natural Harbour, Inner Harbour  
Port basin size 79200 m2 
Main wind direction SE
Port land area km2 
Port entrance 37m. wide, in between the two moles. At the towers on the two moles' tips ended the chain which safed the basin  
Change of sea surface elevation 1.5 m 
Sedimentation  
Outer port structures Moles
Inner port structures Quays  
Land facilities Shipsheds, Temples, Lighthouses, Defence Structures, Store Buildings  
Construction method Ashlar blocks  
Neotectonic history  
Shore line displacement  
Function and operations
The port was used as a naval base like the port of Zea. According to the written sources 82 neosoikoi existed there during the 4th century B.C.  
Sources
References in ancient literature
  • Αππιανός, Μιθριδάτειος 40
  • Αριστοτέλης, Αθηναίων Πολιτεία 19
  • Δείναρχος, Κατά Φιλοκλέους 6
  • Δημοσθένης, Περί στεφάνου 262
  • Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ΧΙV, 33 - XVIII, 48 - ΧΧ, 45
  • Ευριπίδης, Ιππόλυτος 761
  • Ηρόδοτος, Ιστορίαι, VIII, 76
  • Θουκυδίδης, Ξυγγραφή II, 13 - VΙΙΙ, 92,5
  • Καλλίμαχος, Ύμνος εις ’ρτεμιν 259
  • Κλήμης Αλεξανδρεύς, Στρωματείς Ι, 24
  • Ξενοφών, ΕλληνικάΙΙ, 4, 11, 37
  • Παυσανίας, Ελλάδος Περιήγησις Ι, 25, 4 - ΙΙ, 8, 5
  • Πλούταρχος, Δημοσθένης 28, Φωκίων 27, 31, Δημήτριος 8, 34, ’ρατος 34, Ερωτικός 9
  • Στράβων, Γεωγραφικά ΙΧ, Ι
  • Τίμαιος, Λέξεις Πλάτωνος 260  
  • Related researches Archeological  
    Findings in museums  
    Other references
  • Alten G., 1881, "Die Befestigungen der Hafenstadt Athens" Erlautender Text Heft I, Berlin, pp. 10-15
  • Blackman D., 1968, "The Shipsheds" in J.S. Morrison and R.T. Williams, Greek Oared Ships 900-322 B.C., Cambridge, pp. 181-192, pl. 29-30
  • Curtius E. - Kaupert J. A., 1881, Karten von Attika, Berlin pp. 57-59
  • Graser B., 1872, "Meine messungen in den altathenischen Kriegshafen", Philologus XXXI, Gottingen, pp. 1-65
  • Judeich W., 1905, "Topographie von Athen" in Mόmmers Handb. d. Klass, Altertumswissenschaft III 2/2/1905, p. 92
  • Mazarakis Ainian Ph., 1992, Les Structures Portuaires en Grece Antique. Memoire presente en vue de l' obtention du titre de Licencie, Univ. Libre de Bruxelles
  • Αγγελόπουλος Η., 1898, Περί Πειραιώς και των λιμένων αυτού κατά τους αρχαίους χρόνους, Αθήνα
  • Δραγάτσης, I., 1885, "Έκθεσις περι των εν Πειραιεί ανασκαφών", ΠΑΕ, Αθήναι, σσ. 63-71, Πιν. 2, 3
  • Δραγάτσης, I. - Αγγελόπουλος Η., 1899, "Περί των εν Πειραιεί ανασκαφών", ΠΑΕ, Αθήναι, σσ. 37-41
  • Δραγάτσης, I. - Αγγελόπουλος Η., 1900, "Ανασκαφή εν Πειραιεί ", ΠΑΕ, Αθήναι, σσ. 33-37
  • Θρεψιάδης Ι. 1935, "Ανασκαφικαί έρευναι εν Καστέλλα του Πειραιώς" Π.Α.Ε., σσ. 159-195
  • Πανάγος Χ.Θ., 1968, Ο Πειραιεύς, Οικονομική και ιστορική έρευνα από των αρχαιοτάτων χρόνων μέχρι του τέλους της ρωμαϊκής αυτοκρατορίας, Αθήνα (2η έκδοση με νεώτερα στοιχεία για την τοπογραφία και την οικονομική ζωή του Πειραιά από τον Έφορο Αρχαιοτήτων Γ. Σταϊνχάουερ, Αθήνα 1995), 240-250
  • Παπαχατζής Ν., 1974, Παυσανίου Ελλάδος Περιήγησις, τομ. Ι, Αττικά, Αθήνα, 119-122
  • Σταϊνχάουερ Γ.Α., 2000, "Αρχαίος Πειραιάς: Η πόλη του Θεμιστοκλή και του Ιππόδαμου" στο Σταϊνχάουερ Γ. Α. - Μαλικουτη Μ. Γ. - Τσοκόπουλος Β., Πειραιάς, Κέντρο Ναυτιλίας και Πολιτισμού, Αθήνα, σσ. 9-123
  • Τραυλός Ι.Ν. ,1972, "Πειραιεύς" Εγκυκλοπαίδεια Δομή, σσ. 442-456  
  • Protection regime  
    Author Theotokis Theodoulou  
    Editor Theotokis Theodoulou  
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