the ancient circuit wall of athens73
AN ARCHAIC CITy WALL AT ATHENS?
The absence o archaeological remains o an Archaic city wall at Athensand a perceived inadequacy o the literary sources have prompted the view that the existence o an Archaic circuit wall, “according to the knowledge we have today on these matters, . . . is improbable and unproven.”
Dörp-eld considered the Mycenaean walls o the Acropolis to have been the only ortication o the city prior to the erection o the Themistoklean Wallin 479/8
Other scholars, by contrast, have maintained that “allattempts to deny the existence o a pre-Persian circuit should now beabandoned.”
Judeich was the rst to challenge Dörpeld on the topic o the Archaic wall, writing that “it is impossible or Athens not to have had any walls, ata time when the whole o Greece consisted o ortied cities.”
This claimhas ound archaeological support in subsequent excavations o Archaiccircuit walls at other sites.
Debate on this topic continues, ocused primarily on whether the rise o the Greek city-state was accompanied, and canbe conrmed, by the construction o Archaic ortication walls.
In theollowing section, I review and evaluate the ancient literary sources thatgure prominently in discussions o an Archaic ortication wall at Athens.
I ocus here on the literary testimonia that have created reasonable expec-tations or the existence o an Archaic Athenian city wall: Herodotos 9.13;Andokides 1.108; and Thucydides 1.89.3, 1.93.2, 6.57.
Herodotos (9.13) inorms us that in the winter o 479
, Mardonios,in setting re to Athens, brought about extensive destruction in the city:
εἴ κού τι ὀρθὸν ἦν τῶν τειχέων ἢ τῶν οἰκημάτων ἢ τῶν ἱρῶν, πάντα καταβαλὼνκαὶ συγχώσας
(“he . . . utterly overthrew and demolished whatever wallor house or temple was let standing”).
Herodotos here reers to the walls at the time o the Persian invasion as being an integral part o theresidential quarters o the city. The same is suggested in a passage romthe orator Andokides dated to 399
(1.108), where he relates that theAthenians “ound their city a waste, her temples burnt to the ground, andher walls and houses in ruins” (
τὴν πόλιν ἀνάστατον παραλαβόντες ἱεράτε κατακεκαυμένα τείχη τε καὶ οἰκίας καταπεπτωκυίας
4. Maier 1959, p. 20. Earlier schol-ars unconvinced about the existenceo the Archaic city wall include Harri-son (1906, p. 31) and Gerkan (1924,p. 26). For a review o historical evi-dence that casts doubt on the existenceo the Archaic wall, see Winter 1971,p. 62.5. Dörpeld 1937, pp. 22–29.6. Winter 1982, p. 202. Support orthe existence o the Archaic wall isound in Lolling 1889, p. 299; Young1951; Winter 1971, pp. 61–64; Van-derpool 1974; Lauter-Bue and Lau-ter 1975; Wycherley 1978, pp. 9–11; Winter 1982; and Hansen 2004, p. 634.7. Judeich 1931, p. 121. For thesame position, see Kourouniotes 1931–1932 and Travlos 1960, p. 34.8. Weir 1995, pp. 249–250.9. Snodgrass 1986, p. 130; Ducrey 1995, p. 254.10. Less conclusive indications orthe existence o the Archaic wall canbe ound in Hdt. 7.140, Thuc. 1.126.6,Pl.
112a, Lykourg. 1.86, Arist.
23.4. For later testimonia,see Nep.
1.191.11. In some commentaries onHerodotos, the historian’s descriptiono the extent o destruction to the city is considered to be exaggerated: see,e.g., Rawlinson 1875, p. 381, n. 4;Shuckburgh 1893, pp. 91–92; How and Wells 1912, p. 291. According toPausanias (1.18.1, 1.20.2), the oldsanctuaries o the Dioskouroi and o Dionysos were preserved up to his time.Archaeological research in the Agorahas shown, in addition, that the StoaBasileios and the Aiakeion were notutterly destroyed during the Persianinvasion; see Camp 1986, p. 60.