22 May 2016

Piraeus (Greece)

Kaart Piraeus

Piraeus was and still is the port of Athens, Greece. The location of the port is on a former rocky island that eventually became part of mainland Greece because of silting. Several natural harbours were formed: the commercial harbour Cantharus, and two smaller military harbours, Zea and Munichia.

In the early fifth century BC Themistocles started to build a fortification around those harbours and added "ship houses". Piraeus became a large military and commercial harbour. The city was built according to the grid plan of Hippodamus of Miletus. It was connected with Athens and defended by the so-called Long Walls, 6 km long.

Piraeus was destroyed by Sulla in 86 BC. A bleak picture of the city during the empire is usually sketched, but Piraeus remained an important gateway, most certainly for ancient tourists and students visiting Athens.

See also:
- Dimitris Grigoropoulos, After Sulla: study in the settlement and material culture of the Piraeus peninsula in the Roman and Late Roman period, doctoral thesis, Durham University, 2005.

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