Agia Efthimia

As inferred from excavation finds, written sources and ancient inscriptions, the modern settlement of Agia Efthimia is identified with the town Myonia or Myania in the area of Lokroi Ozolae. During his visit the traveler Pausanias (2nd ct. AD) included in his book about Phocis the shrines, local cults and cult practices of the people of Myonia. There was a grove with an altar of the Milichioi deities, chthonic deities and the sanctuary of Poseidon worshipped mainly as the god of fertility and of the springs welling up from the bowels of the earth. Pausanias also referred to a dedication by the people of Myania to Zeus of Olympia, that is, a shield decorated in painting and sheathed in bronze, a helmet and greaves, which he had seen inside the Sicyonian treasury at Olympia.

The local history emerges from the legible –though sometimes enigmatic- preserved ruins, and also by the gradually coming to light finds by means of survey and excavation. To the NW of the modern settlement a fortified citadel formed the nucleus of the ancient town’s defense system. Today it is the most important monument and a witness to the ancient past. The fortification precinct covers approximately 300m by 250m. It was constructed in the 4th ct. BC mostly in pseudo-isodomic trapezoidal masonry reinforced by 11 rectangular towers. Its course and some well-preserved segments can be traced within the modern village. Several courses of it are preserved near the modern cemetery, where also a couple of towers suggest a gate here. To safeguard the area around the fortified settlement, smaller watchtowers/observatories had been built.

Aspects of the history of Myonia are illuminated via the grave-offerings, funerary stelae and inscriptions suggesting the ancient town’s growth. In 1899, during public road construction in the area of Agia Efthimia, an important hoard of coins was recovered, including silver staters circulated by the Amphiktyony of Delphi in 336-334 BC. In 1928, also during road construction works, a tomb of the 6th ct. BC was revealed containing the burial of a warrior with his helmet, spear points, a javelin and iron swords. A few years ago, illicit digging yielded vases, figurines, weapons and jewelry from 5th BC graves. During this process much evidence, which would have contributed to historical research, was regrettably lost.
A. Tsaroucha, archaeologist