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The Defense of Attica The Dema Wall and the Boiotian War of 378-375 B.C. Mark

The Defense of Attica

The Dema Wall and the Boiotian War of 378-375 B.C.

Mark H. Munn


Berkeley · Los Angeles · Oxford

© 1993 The Regents of the University of California

Preferred Citation: Munn, Mark H. The Defense of Attica: The Dema Wall and the Boiotian War of 378-375 B.C. Berekeley: University of California Press, 1993.


Agora VII Agora XII Agora XXII Bekker Corinth IV.ii Corinth VII.iii DEMA "Dema House"
Agora VII
Agora XII
Agora XXII
Corinth IV.ii
Corinth VII.iii

J. Perlzweig. Lamps of the Roman Period. The Athenian Agora , VII.

Princeton, 1961.

B. A. Sparkes and L. Talcott. Black and Plain Pottery of the Sixth, Fifth

and Fourth Centuries B.C.The Athenian Agora , XII. Princeton, 1970.

S. I. Rotroff. Hellenistic Pottery, Athenian and Imported Moldmade

Bowls. The Athenian Agora , XXII. Princeton, 1982.

I. Bekker. Platonis Scripta Graece Omnia . Vol. 1. London, 1826.


Broneer. Terracotta Lamps. Corinth , IV.ii. Cambridge, Mass., 1934.


R. Edwards. Corinthian Hellenistic Pottery. Corinth , VII.iii.

Princeton, 1975.

J. E. Jones, L. H. Sackett, and C. W. J. Eliot. "TO D EMA: A Survey of

the Aigaleos-Parnes Wall." ABSA 52 (1957): 152-89.

J. E. Jones, L. H. Sackett, and A. J. Graham. "The Dema House in

Attica." ABSA 57 (1962): 75-114.

Dindorf Dittenberger Edmonds FGrHist IG


Dindorf. Aristides . 3 vols. Leipzig, 1829.


Dittenberger. Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum . 3d ed., 4 vols.

Leipzig, 1915-24.

J. M. Edmonds. The Fragments of Attic Comedy . 2 vols. Leiden, 1957-


F. Jacoby. Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker . Berlin and

Leiden, 1923-58.

Inscriptiones Graecae .


Karst Kock Olynthus VIII Papers ASCSA RE Schultz SEG Tod "Vari House"
Olynthus VIII
"Vari House"

J. Karst. Die Chronik des Eusebius aus dem armenischen übersetzt .

Leipzig, 1911.


Kock. Fragments Atticorum Comicorum . 3 vols. Leipzig, 1880-88.


M. Robinson and J. W. Graham. Excavations at Olynthus . Vol.

VIII, The Hellenic House . Baltimore, 1938.

Unpublished Papers of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Blegen Library, Athens.

Pauly-Wissowa. Real-Encyclopäclie der classischen Altertums- wissenschaft .

F. Schultz. Aischinis Orationes . Leipzig, 1865.

Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum .

M. N. Tod. A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions . 2 vols. Oxford,

1946 and 1962.

J. E. Jones, A. J. Graham, and L. H. Sackett. "An Attic Country House

Below the Cave of Pan at Vari." ABSA 68 (1973): 355-452.

The titles of periodicals are abbreviated according to the conventions employed by L'Année Philologique . For the abbreviations of rifles of ancient works used here, see the Index of Sources.



Ancient fortifications are among the most durable monuments of the past. Whether overwhelmed amidst the sprawl of a modern town or city or standing solitary in the open countryside as a witness to past human industry, perhaps no isolated archaeological relic so provokes the historical imagination as a fortress wall. The energy manifestly spent in building it contrasts so sharply with its present uselessness that we are almost compelled to conjure up an image of the circumstances that required its construction. Among historians, topographers, and archaeologists, such flights of fancy sometimes lead to serious studies, as is the case here.

The countryside of Attica is liberally dotted with ancient defensive works and fortifications, including isolated towers and watchposts, rubble enclosures, a barrier wall (the Dema wall), and several substantial garrison forts. Individually or collectively, these remains have inspired numerous articles and several monographs (notably Wrede 1933, Pouilloux 1954, McCredie 1966, Ober 1985a, and Lauter et al. 1989), so that the study of Attic fortifications may legitimately be said to dominate the field of Greek rural fortifications in general. All of this attention to walls and fortifications, some of them well situated in the framework of Athenian history, has had a beneficial effect in that the broad outline of their chronology is by now firmly established. Remains once vaguely described by topographers of the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries as "Pelasgic" or "Hellenic" can now usually be assigned with confidence to a particular century, and we can, most of the time, recognize the difference between a prehistoric and a Hellenistic rubble fortification. Our historical imaginations, however, impel us to attempt more precise historical associations, but in most instances to do so we must move beyond


what is demonstrable by purely archaeological criteria into arguments that are founded on historical interpretation.

At this level the field is comparatively open, for the archaeological evidence becomes remarkably pliant in the hands of historians, both in a chronological sense but even more widely in a functional sense. How, in military terms, did fortifications work? Where in the constellation of military, economic, and social considerations were rural fortifications placed by their builders, and in response to what circumstances? Answers to such questions can be, and have been, diverse and sometimes contradictory, since even in a territory as thoroughly studied as classical Attica, the evidence in most cases is so indefinite.

These questions are of fundamental importance to any study that attempts to assess the historical role of rural fortifications. Because of the ubiquity of such remains in the Greek landscape, these questions have still wider implications for studies concerned with the Greek countryside and its relationship to the social and economic structures of Greek states. Studies of that nature have come into their own in recent years (e.g.,. Lohmann 1983 and 1985, Snodgrass 1987, 93-131, Van Andel and Runnels 1987, Osborne 1987, Munn and Munn 1989 and 1990). In order to achieve a more comprehensive interpretation of the archaeological record, such studies will have to incorporate a well-grounded analysis of rural fortifications. Despite the ambiguities noted above, the territory of Attica and the arena of

Athenian history together provide the fullest body of evidence for such an analysis. For both generalized and specific reasons, therefore, Part I of this book begins with a thesis about the nature and function of the most important class of fortification in the Athenian countryside, the garrison forts of Attica.

What do we know of Athenian institutions for the defense of their countryside in the fifth and fourth centuries? What texts address that issue in informative ways? The answers to these questions lie in texts and monuments, most of which cover the range between the time of Perikles and that of Demosthenes. A survey of this evidence and a commentary on the trends in its interpretation that have prevailed

over the past century are provided in Part I of this book. The remainder of the work

is devoted to illuminating some of the principles delineated in Part I through more

precisely focused studies of a specific set of monuments and events that may be associated with the only war of the fourth century before the Macedonian domination in which Attica was invaded, the Boiotian War of 378-375 B.C.

Part II is a study of a unique Athenian fortification, the Dema wall, which bars a key pass into the plain of Athens. No ancient authority mentions this wall, but archaeological evidence, including a small excavation, and historical considerations demonstrate its role in the land war


fought in 378-375 by the Athenians and their Theban allies against Sparta. The understanding of the Dema wall established in Part II provides a new perspective on the strategic planning that affected Athenian involvement in the Boiotian War. This new insight is sufficient to justify a reinterpretation of the development and course of the land war of 378-375, and this is provided in Part III. Finally, the themes of Part I are reprised in a Postscript that relates the experiences of the Boiotian War to the development of Athenian institutions of territorial defense later in the fourth century.

Neither the Boiotian War nor the Dema wall is by itself a subject whose importance is widely recognized. While I hope that both subjects benefit in this respect from their exposition here, my greater object is to make them a case study that will illuminate the nature and historical role of the fortifications of classical Attica and, by example, some of the dominant characteristics of rural fortifications in the ancient world generally.

The importance of close observation and exacting judgment in the interpretation of archaeological remains was masterfully demonstrated to me by Colin Edmonson, who first introduced me to the Dema wall when I was his student at the American

School of Classical Studies at Athens in 1977-78. If the present work is judged to be

a positive contribution in any of the respects touched on above, no small share of the

credit is due to Colin's influence. With support from Colin, with encouragement from J. Ellis Jones, who had previously studied the wall, and with permission from

Vasileios Petrakos, Ephor of Antiquities of Attica, in the winter and spring of 1977-78

I began a study of Attic territorial defenses that later, under the thoughtful guidance of A. John Graham, became my dissertation (1983) and that I am still continuing beyond the scope of this book.

Excavation at the Dema tower was carried out between October 14 and November 21, 1979, under the authority of Vasileios Petrakos, Ephor of Antiquities of the 2nd Ephoreia, Attica. Heleni Konsolaki, Heleni Papastavrou, and Iphigeneia Dekoulakou assisted the project in many ways, both in the field and in the Peiraieus

Museum, where the finds have been stored. Funding was provided by grants from the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, under the directorship of Martin Biddle, and by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, under the directorship of Henry R. Immerwahr. Excavation was aided by volunteers from the American School of Classical Studies: Murray McClellan, William Murray, Suzanne Peterson, and Randy Strunk; and, through the generosity of Harry Carroll, by volunteers from the College Year in Athens Program: Jonathan Aretakis, Pavlos Dakopoulos, Peter Friedman, Tom Kornfeld, Mark Miner, John Sideek, and Tim Womack. John Camp, then Assistant Director of the Athenian Agora Excavations,


provided tools and other practical assistance. Fred Cooper, assisted by Brian Madigan, carried out the survey of the site upon which map 3 is based. My father, Robert Munn, produced most of the photographs, and Abbie Camp drew most of the finds. John Camp, G. Roger Edwards, Virginia Grace, and Charles Williams all provided helpful advice in the original study of the finds. Alison Adams has since then allowed me to consult comparative material which she is studying at the Athenian Agora. J. Ellis Jones allowed me to republish the Dema wall saltcellar, and T. Leslie Shear, Jr., gave permission for the publication of the comparative material from the Athenian Agora in appendix I. Eugene Vanderpool provided information and encouragement helpful to the early stages of my research.

Many more have provided advice, encouragement, and assistance as this work has developed over the span of a decade. Foremost among these is my wife, Mary Lou Zimmerman Munn, who has made immeasurable contributions to every step and stage of fieldwork and writing. Her patience and fortitude, and her observant eye and sound judgment, have sustained and aided me throughout. Michael Jameson has also been a valued source of advice at decisive points along the way. In addition to these two, the writing of this book has benefited most from the advice of J. K. Anderson, Kenneth Dover, A. John Graham, Antony Raubitschek, and the anonymous readers consulted by the University of California Press. Any disagreeable idiosyncrasies or lapses that remain are mere vestiges of the faults that these readers have corrected. Michael De Vinne performed a Herculean labor in checking all references in the penultimate version of the manuscript. Marian McAllister and members of the Publications Committee of the American School of Classical Studies gave encouragement at an early stage of this work. Mary Lamprech and Margaret Denny of the University of California Press have patiently guided it through its final stages. Fellowship support enabling writing and fieldwork at an intermediate stage was provided by the American Council of Learned Societies and by the Pew Memorial Trust. Support for the production of the illustrations has been provided by the Department of Classics at Stanford. To all I express my sincere thanks.





One The Study of Attic Fortifications

The Nature of The Evidence and the Nature of the Problem

In a lesson on generalship, Sokrates quizzes the younger Perikles on his knowledge of subjects that should be familiar to him: "Well, have you considered this, Perikles, that great mountains reaching Boiotia protect our country, through which the passes are narrow and steep, and that the interior of our country is divided by sheer mountains?" The point is conceded by Perikles, and Sokrates goes on: "Don't you think, then, that young Athenians armed with light weapons and occupying the mountains that protect our country could do injury to our enemies while providing a strong bulwark of defense to our citizens in the countryside?" (Xenophon Memorabilia 3.5.25-27). Elsewhere in the same dialogue, the young Glaukon, hopeful of becoming a leading statesman, is embarrassed when Sokrates shows him to have no real understanding of the importance of watchposts and the relative strengths of their garrisons in the countryside (3.6.10-11). Clearly, according to Sokrates (or, more properly to Xenophon, the author of these passages), such subjects should be thoroughly familiar to generals and statesmen alike.

Similar advice is given by Aristotle. Ideally, the territory of a state should be formed so that it is difficult for enemies to invade yet easy for its inhabitants to set forth from. It should also be easy to keep under surveillance (

from. It should also be easy to keep under surveillance ( [ Full Size ] ),

[Full Size] ), for a territory that is easily watched is easily defended. With all of these objects in mind, the advice of professional military men (

objects in mind, the advice of professional military men ( [ Full Size ] ) should

[Full Size] ) should be consulted (Politics 1326b-1327a). Yet not just generals, but anyone who would take an active role as an orator in directing the affairs of state, must be familiar with the lay of the land and the positions and respective strengths of watchposts in the countryside (Rhetoric 1360a). Aristotle's advice, and


that of Xenophon as well, is not merely expository but derives from contemporary experience; for in their days the Athenians charged one of their ten annually elected generals with the defense of the countryside (

elected generals with the defense of the countryside ( [ Full Size ] ) and required

) and required that issues concerned with the defense of the countryside (

that issues concerned with the defense of the countryside ( [ Full Size ] ) be

) be introduced for discussion in each of the ten annual mandatory meetings of the assembly (

each of the ten annual mandatory meetings of the assembly ( [ Full Size ] )

). [1]

From the middle decades of the fourth century onward, when our evidence (including the foregoing passages) becomes abundant, territorial defense emerges as an institutionalized concern of the highest order among the Athenians. Its importance in the

the highest order among the Athenians. Its importance in the [ Full Size ] ranked along

[Full Size] ranked along with discussion of the grain supply. [2] Athenian youths, the ephebes, upon enrollment and verification of their citizenship following their eighteenth birthday, entered a two-year course of military training that included garrison duty in Peiraieus and in the fortresses of the countryside. [3] The defense of Attica was, in a literal sense, the first duty of all Athenian citizens, and it was a recurrent issue in public debates.

At a certain level, such responsibility of citizens for the defense of the territory of their state was, and is, axiomatic and is therefore unremarkable. But when viewed in their historical context, the institutions of territorial defense attested among the Athenians of the fourth century do seem remarkably developed, especially by contrast with earlier practices as they may be deduced from the experiences of the fifth century. [4] Reviewing the conditions of warfare in Greece on the eve of the Peloponnesian War, when Attica would experience the fire and ax of Peloponnesian invaders, A. W. Gomme was compelled to ask, "Why were not the


strategy and the tactics of mountain warfare by light-armed troops developed in order to prevent the invasion reaching the plains?" [5] Xenophon, in the passage from theMemorabilia quoted above, seems to have anticipated Gomme's querying observation, and the Athenians of his day appear to have adopted measures to render Attica less vulnerable than it had been in the days of Perikles. But what, we

must ask, was the full nature of those measures, and more important, what concrete effects did they have on the conduct of war and diplomacy by Athens in the fourth century?

Such questions should be easily resolved by a review of the abundant literary and epigraphic sources for Athens in the fourth century. Yet the answers are surprisingly elusive. Despite a great many texts that describe aspects of, or refer in passing to, the institutions of territorial defense, we have no ancient account that explicitly and comprehensively presents the methods and goals or general effects of the Athenian

the methods and goals or general effects of the Athenian [ Full Size ] [ Full
and goals or general effects of the Athenian [ Full Size ] [ Full Size ]

[Full Size] Our sources take much for granted, and the gulf between us and them should not be underestimated. What we lack, most of all, are not facts about the deployment and armaments of men but an appreciation of what men and their armaments were meant to do.

Despite the absence of precise statistics, we are reasonably well informed about the normal deployment and armaments of men in defense of the countryside. Armaments, discussed in chapters 2, 4, and 5, are standard and, broadly speaking, predictable. Deployment, on the other hand, depends entirely upon local conditions and circumstances. Here the principal source of evidence is the archaeological remains of fortifications found throughout Attica. Defense is an art of waiting and watching and of making preparations in advance of the enemy. Since an attacker generally commands greater numbers and chooses the moment, an essential feature of the defender's routine preparation is the construction of fortifications to assure that those watching and waiting will be secure when the attack occurs. The mass, extent, and elaboration of various works of fortification are gross indicators of their relative importance in terms of what they protected and roughly determine the numbers of men committed to them under normal circumstances. By these indicators, the fortifications of the Athens-Peiraieus complex, some 29.5 kilometers of walls, demonstrate the vastly preponderant defensive importance of this urban complex over that of the garrison forts, none of which is even a twentieth the size of the Athens-Peiraieus complex. [6]

Outside of Athens and Peiraieus, the garrison forts of Attica dominated the defensive priorities of the Athenians. The locations of these


[ Full Size ] Map 1. Attica, classical and Hellenistic forts and garrisons forts establish

Map 1. Attica, classical and Hellenistic forts and garrisons

forts establish the pattern of routine deployment of men engaged in the defense of the countryside. Patrols, the peripoloi , regularly made their way cross-country between these garrisons. [7] Smaller outposts and lookout stations were sometimes manned in addition to the major garrisons, but the garrisons of the permanent forts of Attica represented the chief commitment of manpower and resources in the

the chief commitment of manpower and resources in the [ Full Size ] . The remains

[Full Size] . The remains of these forts are therefore primary evidence in the process of recovering the defensive priorities and activities of the Athenians. For an appraisal of the issues of concern here, a brief survey of the classical garrison forts of Attica is in order.


Eleusis was the largest and clearly the most important of the Attic garrison forts. Lying close to the Megarian frontier, Eleusis was already substantially fortified in the late sixth century, and its circuit was rebuilt and enlarged in both the fifth and the fourth centuries, when it reached a perimeter of 1.35 kilometers (see figure 1). [8] Eleusis was a regular assembly point for expeditionary forces bound both for Boiotia and the Peloponnese (e.g., Thucydides 4.68.5, Xenophon Hellenika 7.5.15, Demosthenes On the Crown177, 184). When, in the fourth century, war threatened Attica by land, Eleusis was likely to have been the regular headquarters of the general in charge of the countryside (

[ Full Size ] [ Full Size ] ). By the third century this was
[ Full Size ] [ Full Size ] ). By the third century this was certainly

[Full Size] ). By the third century this was certainly the case, for the dudes of the

century this was certainly the case, for the dudes of the [ Full Size ] were

[Full Size] were then divided between a coastal command (

Full Size ] were then divided between a coastal command ( [ Full Size ] )

[Full Size] ) and a frontier command, designated as

( [ Full Size ] ) and a frontier command, designated as [ 9 ] [



Dependent upon Eleusis in the command structure of the third century, Panakton (with a circuit of 480 meters) was the most important garrison fort on the northwestern frontier. This fortress overlooking the Skourta plain, a mountain-bound plateau between Parnes and Kithairon, was built in the mid fifth century, and although partially destroyed during the Peloponnesian War (Thucydides 5.3.5, 39.3), it was rebuilt and garrisoned more or less continuously for almost two centuries (figure 2). When, in the 340s, tensions were high along the much-disputed frontier with Boiotia, Panakton was the headquarters of a general, certainly the

Panakton was the headquarters of a general, certainly the [ Full Size ] , and the

[Full Size] , and the base for an expanded citizen levy called out to guard the frontier (Demosthenes On the Embassy 326, Against Konon 3-5). [10]

Near to Panakton, and possibly even older, the fortress at the deme of Oinoe (with a circuit of approximately 560 meters) was an important garrison post also on the northwestern frontier (Thucydides 2.18.2; cf.


Herodotos 5.74.2). Oinoe lay in another upland plain below Kithairon, along the main ancient road from Athens and Eleusis to Thebes (figure 3). The fortress was garrisoned by the Athenians during the Peloponnesian War, but like Panakton, it fell to the Boiotians (Thucydides 8.98). Literary and epigraphic sources are strangely silent about Oinoe thereafter, but it is likely to have had a history very much like that of Panakton. It certainly returned to Athenian hands not long after the

Peloponnesian War, and its walls show clear evidence of substantial rebuilding, probably within the fourth century. [11]

Further to the west, near, or even within, Boiotia itself was Eleutherai. An Athenian dependency since the late sixth century, Eleutherai was not fortified until the fourth century. [12] The impressive and well-preserved walls of this fortress (a circuit of 860 meters), standing above the ancient (and modern) road to Thebes as it enters the Kithairon pass, have seemed to many to be the perfect embodiment of the defensive planning of the fourth-century Athenians (figure 4). Ironically, as with Oinoe, we know nothing of the history of this fortress in the fourth century. The obscurity of the fortress at Eleutherai has led some to doubt the identity of these remains (sometimes referred to by their modern name, Gyphtokastro) as Eleutherai and caused them to place here the name of one or another of the better-known forts of Attica. In the early nineteenth century, when the fourth-century date of its walls was not yet clearly established, Leake championed the view that this was Oinoe, besieged by Archidamos at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War. [13] By the early twentieth century, Beloch developed the view, still held by some, that this fortress was Panakton, whose long use by the Athenians is well attested. [14] When the urge to identify imposing walls with a well-known


fortress is set aside, the evidence unambiguously indicates that this fortress bore the name of Eleutherai. [15] Pausanias, who traveled this road from Attica to Boiotia in the second century A.D ., explicitly refers to the fortress of Eleutherai standing a little above the plain, in Kithairon, on the road to Boiotia (1.38.9; cf. 9.2.3). The walls of abandoned Eleutherai clearly impressed him as they have modern travelers, for they are the only fortifications he mentions in the Attic countryside.

Southeast of Panakton, within the folds of Mount Parries, lay the fortress at Phyle (figure 5). The way through Phyle from Thebes to Athens was made famous by the march of Thrasyboulos at the end of the fifth century. The natural stronghold (

at the end of the fifth century. The natural stronghold ( [ Full Size ] ,

[Full Size] , Xenophon Hellenika 2.4.2) occupied by Thrasyboulos and his men might have been the site of the later fortress, although it could just as well have been another of the many naturally defensible eminences in the area. It is certain, at any rate, that the small but well-built fortress at Phyle (perimeter of 260 meters) did not yet exist in his day but was a product of Athenian concerns for territorial defense sometime in the fourth century. [16]

Between Parnes and the coast of the Euripos facing Euboia, the town of Oropos provided a stronghold for the Athenians whenever Oropos was controlled by Athens. [17] Otherwise, by contrast with the northwest, the fortifications of this portion of the frontier with Boiotia seem slight. Only at Aphidna, where the prominent hill now known as Kotroni preserves slight remains of an ancient circuit wall (perimeter approximately 300 meters), is there evidence of an Athenian garrison post, although


good evidence is lacking for the date of this fort (figure 6). [18] Remains at Dekeleia, Katsimidi, and Ayia Paraskevi have been identified as Athenian forts, but for various reasons none of these identifications is plausible. [19]

The only other regular garrison post on this frontier lay well to the east at Rhamnous, on the northeastern coast of Attica (figure 7). The acropolis of this deme was fortified at least by the time of the Peloponnesian War, when it must have been one of the coastal garrisons main-rained by the Athenians during the period of the Spartan occupation of Dekeleia. The fortress at Rhamnous was substantially enlarged in the fourth century (to a perimeter of 940 meters), and its importance as a garrison post endured well into the Hellenistic era, as attested by the numerous garrison decrees that have been found there. [20]

The coastal fortress at Sounion (perimeter 790 meters) had a history similar to that at Rhamnous. Its establishment in the time of the Dekeleian War is attested by Thucydides (8.4), and like Rhamnous, it remained an important garrison post well into the Hellenistic era (figure 8). In both cases, the close connection between these fortresses and vital roadsteads on the sea lanes serving Athens accounts for the importance of these places. [21] Similarly, a maritime fort was established on the


Ayios Nikolaos peninsula at Thorikos (perimeter 850 meters) a little to the northeast of Sounion during the Dekeleian War (Xenophon Hellenika 1.2.1). [22] The use of this and another fort at Anaphlystos northwest of Sounion is noted briefly by Xenophon in the middle of the fourth century (Poroi 4.43). While perhaps not all of these maritime fortresses were continuously garrisoned in the fourth century, they would have been manned when war threatened the Attic seaboard. Likewise in the Hellenistic era, the maritime forts at Koroni, Vouliagmeni, and Kynosoura at Marathon played important roles in particular episodes, although these and certain other fortifications in Attica were more ephemeral in nature and not part of the garrison system of the fourth century. [23]

Other works of fortification, both enduring and ephemeral, were part of the defenses of Attica in the fourth century. The most remarkable of these is the barrier wall in the Aigaleos-Parnes gap, which is known by its modern Greek name, the Dema (

gap, which is known by its modern Greek name, the Dema ( [ Full Size ]

[Full Size] , "the link"), since it joins Aigaleos to Parnes (see figure 9). The ancient name of this wall (if it was not also

, or [ Full Size ] [ Full Size ] ) is unknown to us,

, or

, or [ Full Size ] [ Full Size ] ) is unknown to us, and

[Full Size] ) is unknown to us, and the occasion of its construction is unrecorded in any extant sources. Although study within the past generation has considerably narrowed the range of speculation about its date, its uniqueness has given rise to wide-ranging speculation on the subject. Robert Scranton described it as "the most ancient known extant example of the art of fortification as practiced by the Classical Greeks." [24] His advocacy of a date in the eighth or seventh century, in the belief that it was a frontier defense of Athens against an independent Eleusis, was consonant with the opinions of many scholars in the first half of this century who felt that this peculiar work must predate the era of the Attic garrison forts of the fifth and fourth centuries. [25] Yet, for various reasons, the high antiquity of this wall did not seem supportable to others familiar with the arts of classical Greek fortification, and consequently, a great variety of dates and occasions have been suggested for the wall, ranging from Kleomenes' invasion of Attica in 506 to the time


of the Gallic invasion of Greece in the early third century. [26] The wall has also captured the imagination of those who live near it, who speak of it as a work of Theodoros Kolokotronis during the modern Greek War of Independence. As will emerge later in this work, there is more to this unstudied claim than patriotic boasting.

For those who have seen it, the Dema wall demands an explanation. It is a monumental work, "as ambitious a project, in its way, as the Long Walls," according to Scranton. [27] After walking its length (4.36 kilometers overall) and coming to appreciate the care in planning and workmanship that went into the wall, one is inclined to agree with Scranton on that point. Yet since no ancient reference to it survives, its place in history remains unknown, and we are unable to appreciate the conditions, the motives, and the means that brought it into existence, nor can we appreciate its effectiveness once it was built. Historians of Greek military architecture have noticed the Dema for the many peculiarities in its design, but otherwise it has remained historically insignificant by force of its obscurity.

That the Dema wall belongs to the era of the classical garrison forts of Attica was established by the fundamental study by J. E. Jones, L. H. Sackett, and C. W. J. Eliot, published in 1957. After a careful survey of the archaeological and historical evidence, they concluded that it was built within the fourth century, and they advanced 337 as the most probable date for its construction. [28] James McCredie, in his study of military camps in Attica published in 1966, suggested that the Dema wall could instead be associated with the Chremonidean War of 268-262. [29] These


two studies have provided the foundations for the common view of the Dema wall, which is summarized by C. W. J. Eliot in his article "Dema Pass," in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (1976):

The date of the Dema's construction cannot as yet be determined with any precision. What little evidence there is might seem to favor a date in the second half of the 4th c., but a date in the first half of the 3d must also be

considered a possibility

Without new evidence a choice between this or that event is probably unjustified.

Since the evidence indicates that the Dema wall belongs to a well-documented period of Greek history, there is no reason to believe that the event which occasioned this monumental undertaking is unknown to us. Rather, as Eliot observes, the evidence has seemed ambiguous as to which event it was. The

arguments that have so far been advanced in favor of one event or another have by no means exhausted the historical possibilities, so it is possible to introduce a good deal of circumstantial evidence not previously considered, as well as new evidence of

a more tangible sort. The site of the Dema tower, adjacent to the wall and

demonstrably part of the same defensive scheme, has now been excavated, and finds there provide significant evidence for the date of the Dema wall. There is reason, therefore, to believe that a thorough review of the available evidence, both new and old, can in fact establish the place of the Dema wall in Athenian history.

Why is it important to do so? The Dema wall is a barrier wall, designed to close

a pass against an invader. Unlike the circuit walls of garrison forts, it was not a

regular post for a garrison. It was not, in other words, part of the routine defensive

establishment of Attica represented by the garrison forts. It had some other purpose in the scheme of the

forts. It had some other purpose in the scheme of the [ Full Size ] [
had some other purpose in the scheme of the [ Full Size ] [ Full Size

[Full Size] . Like the proverbial exception that proves the rule, the Dema wall holds the promise of illustrating, when it is properly understood, the purpose and functional limitations of its more numerous contemporary works of fortification, the garrison forts of

Attica. Only then can we comment on the relationship between territorial defense and the conduct of war and diplomacy by the fourth-century Athenians.


The fundamental difference between a defensive barrier like the Dema wall and circuit walls, whether of the city or of forts in the countryside, is emphasized in a comment by Plato, writing, in the Laws , close to the middle of the fourth century. Speaking of his ideally constituted state, which shares certain features with Sparta but many more with Plato's own Athens, Plato's Athenian remarks:

Concerning [city] walls, Megillos, I am of the same mind as Sparta. I would let walls sleep in the ground and not

wake them, for these reasons. First of all, as the poet's verse so aptly puts it, walls ought to be of bronze and iron, and not of stone. Secondly, our practice would be justly ridiculed when each year we sent out our young men into the countryside to block an enemy's path by ditches, entrenchments, and various constructions, all in order to keep the foe from crossing our borders, while at the same time we surrounded ourselves with a wall,


invites the inhabitants to seek refuge within it, and not to ward off the enemy. [30]

By "various constructions" (

the enemy. [ 3 0 ] By "various constructions" ( [ Full Size ] ), Plato

[Full Size] ), Plato refers to barrier walls like the Dema, although he carefully avoids calling them "walls" (

although he carefully avoids calling them "walls" ( [ Full Size ] ) because this is

[Full Size] ) because this is the usual term for the circuit wall of the city, whose employment he eschews. The important point here is the opposition clearly drawn between the effects of barriers in the countryside and circuit walls. To Plato, barrier walls and entrenchments are emblems of a laudable determination to resist an enemy in the open, while circuit walls pander to the craven instinct to fly for shelter in the face of an enemy. Plato is specifically discussing the circuit wall of the city, but here, as in every other instance in Greek literature where the defense of the city is contrasted with the defense of the countryside, the circuit walls of garrison forts do not form a separate, third category in the operations of the

forts do not form a separate, third category in the operations of the [ Full Size

. Forts are commonly referred to as

[ Full Size ] ,"walls," and as such they are clearly classified with city circuits

[Full Size] ,"walls," and as such they are clearly classified with city circuits in this dichotomy. [31]


Here we have a paradox. For the evidence we have considered indicates that the garrison forts of Attica were the most important elements of the institutions of territorial defense, yet at the same time they are functionally never distinguished from the walls of the city; and reliance on city walls means, in some sense, that territorial defense has been abandoned. This was in fact the case in Attica during the Peloponnesian War. For then the Athenians, under the leadership of Perikles, evacuated the Attic countryside and withdrew to the walls of the Athens-Peiraieus complex during enemy invasions and occupations of Attica, while keeping their fortresses in the countryside fully garrisoned. The Athenian cavalry, meanwhile, bravely skirmished with the overwhelming forces of the Peloponnesian army in an effort to limit their depredations, but no one could say that the Athenians were fully committed to the defense of their countryside. [32] What was

the defense of their countryside. [ 3 2 ] What was [ Full Size ] and

[Full Size] and did the Athenians of the fourth century construe it differently from Perikles?

The Dema wall is one clue leading toward the resolution of this paradox. But before we turn to a detailed examination of that wall and its function, we require a fuller understanding of the use of the garrison forts of Attica than that provided by the brief survey of forts and their chief testimonia above. We may usefully begin by considering modern views on the subject. Not that we will thereby find the matter readily clarified, for as will emerge, most modern treatments of the subject have introduced suppositions about the functions of fortifications that are not reflected in our ancient sources. We must inquire, therefore, as we follow the evidence, whether such modern interpretations are justified or whether our sources indicate some other interpretation that has not yet been generally apprehended.

Closing the Gates of Attica?

A salient characteristic of the fortresses of Attica is the fact that they came into existence at various times. Several already existed before the Peloponnesian War, a few were built during it, and a few were built after


that war. It is possible to explain this proliferation of fortresses as the evolution of a homogeneous system, the objectives and functions of which were essentially the same at the end of the classical era as they had been at its beginning. If this was the case, then the functions of these fortifications must be equally intelligible early on, when there were few fortresses in the Attic countryside, and later, when they were more numerous. Modern investigators, however, have often explained the origins of the fortifications of Attica in terms of their ultimate dispositions, when, to all appearances, these fortresses guarded all of the important routes and passes crossing the land frontier of Attica. Such an explanation involves the awkward assumption that the earliest garrison forts of Attica were built as elements of a system of frontier defense that did not become comprehensive until the final generation of fortresses was built more than a century later.

The introduction to Lilian Chandler's 1926 article on the northwest frontier of Attica embraces such an assumption:

Of all states in ancient Greece, Attica seems to have had the most interesting and complete system of land defences. A chain of important fortresses, of most of which there are still considerable remains, follows the line of the Kithairon-Parnes range: Eleutherai, Oinoe, Panakton, Phyle, Dekeleia, Aphidna and Rhamnous. It may appear at first that this series of strongholds was designed expressly to mark off Athenian territory, but whilst incidentally and in large measure they served this end, in origin they were intended rather to defend the various roads from Attica into Boeotia. [33]

The assertion that forts were intended to defend roads is a modern deduction, supported by no ancient authority. Yet the seemingly systematic arrangement of forts along the roads leading into Attica is, to many observers, evidence enough that defense of roads and passes was not only the ultimate, but, as Chandler stresses, the original, purpose of these fortifications. Chandler was not the first to reach this conclusion. The system evident in the fortifications of Attica that Chandler goes on to describe had been outlined more than thirty years earlier by a Prussian military cartographer, Captain Winterberger, who had surveyed portions of the northwestern frontier of Attica for Curtius and Kaupert's Karten yon Attika . Winterberger's summary description of a "planmässiges System der Grenzvertheidigung" was reflected in Arthur Milch-hoefer's extensive commentary on the Karten yon Attika , which in turn provided the basis for Chandler's survey of the subject in English. [34]


Winterberger's description was itself the logical outgrowth of observations previously made at the beginning of the nineteenth century by Colonel (then Captain) William Leake in his influential work on Attic topography. Leake, whose classical studies were pursued while gathering military intelligence in Turkish Greece, was sufficiently impressed by the disposition of Attic border forts along the passes to Boiotia that he was ready to suppose the existence of remains of further forts completing the system where none actually existed. So, for example, he associates the classical place-name Melainai with medieval remains around the Byzantine monastery of Hosios Meletios on the southern slopes of Kithairon-Pastra, and he speaks of the place "as a castle on the frontier, for this situation would exactly serve to complete a chain of fortresses defending the passes of the Attic mountains towards Boeotia, of which the other links were Oenoë, Harma, Phyle, Deceleia and Sphendale." [35] George Finlay, a British philhellene, historian, and contemporary of Leake, turned classical topography to modern strategy in his history of the Greek War of Independence

when he wrote that the Greeks might have cut off the Turks besieging Athens in 1826-27 "by a line of posts, extending from Megara to Eleutherae, Phyle, Deceleia, and Rhamnus." [36] It seems beyond a doubt that considerations of contemporary military strategy had a profound influence on the interpretation of Attic fortifications by nineteenth-century classicists.

Although the thesis that the Attic forts were intended to guard, or in some sense, to control, the roads leading into Attica has not been universally accepted, it has remained the most influential explanation of their purpose. [37] So, for instance, in his study of Greek fortifications published in 1971, F. E. Winter states:

In Attica the fortresses of Phyle and Gyphtokastro [Eleutherai] are both in a position to exercise complete control over their respective passes. Only a large army would have any chance of capturing them by direct assault, and then only at the cost of heavy casualties. Yet even the largest army


could ill afford to pass them by, leaving them free to harry its rear and sever its lines of communication. [38]

If complete control of passes were in fact the object of Attic garrison forts, this

goal could not have been achieved until the fourth century, since they manifestly failed to control passes during the Peloponnesian War. A superficial view of the evidence makes this interpretation seem plausible, since it was only after the Peloponnesian War that the Attic border fort system achieved its most complete form, with the addition of the two fortresses named above; and between the Peloponnesian War and the beginning of Macedonian domination in 322 Attica was invaded only once, by the Spartans under Sphodrias at the beginning of the Boiotian War in 378. Whether or not the Attic border forts were from the first intended to guard roads, as Chandler and others have claimed, a circumstantial case can thus be made that this was their function in the fourth century.

A closer look at the sources, however, raises suspicions about the cogency of

such circumstantial evidence. For instance, according to Plato's priorities for

defensive works,

according to Plato's priorities for defensive works, [ Full Size ] [ Full Size ] (
Plato's priorities for defensive works, [ Full Size ] [ Full Size ] ( Laws 778e),

[Full Size] (Laws 778e), garrison forts would deserve special mention alongside, or even before, barrier walls if they had served this purpose in the fourth century. Had Plato's prejudices against circuit walls so completely blinded him to their usefulness? Or was he merely ignorant of recent innovations in the arts of defense? Before these questions can be answered, we must consider whether such an explanation of the Attic garrison forts is inherently plausible.

We can readily take the first step in this process by reviewing the most thorough exposition of this approach to Attic fortifications, presented by Josiah Ober in his thesis, published as Fortress Attica in 1985. According to Ober, in the fourth century the border forts of Attica were employed, for the first time, as elements in a system of preclusive frontier defense based on the control of all major routes into Attica. The forts enabled the Athenians to maintain troops on the frontiers of Attica year-round, so that, in the event of an invasion, they could harass and detain the enemy until the arrival of the main force from Athens, promptly summoned by

signals via appropriately placed signal towers. [39] Ober schematizes the operation of the system in the following terms:

Even if the enemy forces had succeeded in forcing the pass, until they had taken the fortress that guarded it they would not be able to advance into Attica, since they could hardly afford to leave a significant garrison intact


which could attack their baggage train as it marched past. Furthermore, the fortress threatened the enemy line of retreat; if the invasion should fail, the possibility arose of being trapped between the main Athenian army and the garrison. The invading army would have to turn aside and attempt to reduce the fort before proceeding. The relief forces from Athens were therefore granted as much time as it would take the enemy to capture the


[The relief forces] would then proceed to attack the invaders at or near the fortress

borderlands. Attica and its vital economic resources would therefore be protected. [40]

Here we must note again the absence of any textual support for such an interpretation of garrison forts. No fortified circuit held by a regular garrison is ever said to have been an obstacle to an invading army. There were many occasions when bodies of troops were posted at passes to prevent the passage of enemy forces, but in all cases these were extraordinary forces assembled ad hoc. Never is the presence or absence of a garrison fort circuit said to affect the defensibility of a route, and never was a perennial garrison, a regular element of the

in the

was a perennial garrison, a regular element of the in the [ Full Size ] ,

, in Attica or elsewhere expected to prevent or delay the general invasion of a region. [41]

The archaeological evidence likewise provides no support for this interpretation, for garrison forts were situated according to criteria other than the defense of passes. The first criterion was the natural defensibility of the location of the fort itself; it ought to be a strong place (

defensibility of the location of the fort itself; it ought to be a strong place (
defensibility of the location of the fort itself; it ought to be a strong place (

, or

[ Full Size ] ), well suited by nature to be difficult to seize by

[Full Size] ), well suited by nature to be difficult to seize by assault. The second criterion, which often actually had priority over the first, was inhabitability, as determined chiefly by the availability of water. [42] A location that met these criteria was often attractive for civilian habitation as well, and so garrison forts were frequently situated on or immediately adjacent to civilian settlements (as at Eleusis, Rhamnous, Aphidna, Oinoe, and Eleutherai). Garrison forts and their associated settlements were of course served by roads, but the placement of forts with reference to roads was secondary to the above criteria. As to actual passes or strategic narrows along roads, only one fortress stood in close proximity to a pass on the Attic land frontier (pace Winter above), and that was Eleutherai. Yet not even the fortress at Eleutherai (nor any garrison fort elsewhere in Greece, to my knowledge) physically obstructed passage along a major route.


No one denies, therefore, that an invading army could walk right past a fort, whether its garrison was confined within it or was partly out skirmishing on the mountainsides. In either event, a numerically insignificant garrison force could do little more than momentarily annoy a passing army. [43] Therefore, in order for forts to have had their preclusive effect, they must, it is argued, have compelled the invader to stop and attack them.

This is the heart of the thesis on the fourth-century approach to the defense of Attica as recognized by Winter and elaborated by Ober. It depended absolutely upon an invading commander's decision to stop and attack a fort before proceeding. The defenders of Attica, once they had built a fort and allotted a garrison to it, had no further control over that decision. Could that decision have been as inevitable as Ober must needs argue it was?

He, like Winter, appeals to the vulnerability of baggage trains and lines of retreat if forts were left intact along the way. As to baggage trains, only in the case of Eleutherai in the Kithairon pass does a road come so close to a fortress that a train could be struck by missiles from it. Since the Eleutherai pass is easily circumvented by other routes, including the nearby Dryos Kephalai pass, there is no reason to believe that an invading commander would have had to delay his advance in order to attack Eleutherai or any other Attic fort. [44] As to lines of retreat and how they might have affected a decision to invade, an invading commander would proceed only if he had confidence in his ability to overcome the enemy wherever they might appear in strength. He would therefore regard garrison forts as no more a threat to his eventual withdrawal than a hindrance to his advance.

This conclusion is amply supported by the testimony of Xenophon, who, writing shortly before the middle of the fourth century, on two occasions discusses the hypothetical consequences of an invasion of Attica. In his treatise on the Athenian cavalry commander, Xenophon considers the following scenario:

If the enemy invades Athenian territory, in the first place, he will certainly not fail to bring with him other cavalry besides his own and infantry in


addition, whose numbers he reckons to be more than a match for all the Athenians put together. Now provided that the whole of the city's levies turn out against such a host in defence of their country, the prospects are good. For our cavalrymen, God helping, will be better, if proper care is taken of them, and our heavy infantry will not be inferior in numbers, and I may add, they will be in as good condition and will show the keener spirit, if only, with God's help, they are trained on the right lines. And, remember, the Athenians are quite as proud of their ancestry as the Boeotians. But if the city falls back on her navy, and is content to keep her walls intact, as in the days when the Lacedaemonians invaded us with all the Greeks to help them, and if she expects her cavalry to protect all that lies outside the walls, and to take its chance unaided against the foes,—why then, I suppose, we need first the strong arm of the gods to aid us, and in the second place it is essential that our cavalry commander should be masterly. For much sagacity is called for in coping with a greatly superior force, and an abundance of courage when the call comes. [45]

While the thesis espoused by Ober would have us expect to find new strategies reflected in a fourth-century source, Xenophon's scenario is surprisingly consonant with the Periklean approach to the defense of Attica. The options for the Athenians, in the event of an invasion from Boiotia, are either to attempt to match forces with the enemy in open battle or to avoid battle with a powerful enemy in Attica and to withdraw within walls, while relying on the navy to strike against the enemy's homes and calling upon the cavalry to harry the invader and limit his depredations by preventing him from dispersing his forces to devastate or plunder. There is no hint that forts along the borders prevented, or even delayed, the arrival of the invader outside the walls of Athens. [46]


Xenophon addresses different concerns in his treatise on the revenues of Athens, but his reflections on the strategic situation of Attica under invasion are entirely consonant with the previous passage. In speaking of enhancing the revenues of the state from the silver mines of southern Attica, Xenophon discusses how minimal the effects of an invasion would be on this resource:

I reckon that, even in the event of war, it would not be necessary to abandon the silver mines. There are, of course, two fortresses in the mining district, one at Anaphlystos on the south side, the other at Thorikos on the north. The distance between them is about sixty stades [just under twelve kilometers]. Now if there were to be a third stronghold between them on the highest point of Besa, the works would then be linked to one or another of the fortresses, and at the first sign of a hostile movement, every man would have just a short distance to go in order to reach safety. If the enemy came in force, they would certainly carry away any grain, wine, or livestock that they found outside; but the silver ore, if they were to seize it, would be of no more use to them than so many stones. And how could an enemy ever invade the mining district? The distance between Megara, the nearest city, and the silver mines, is of course much more than five hundred stades [about 100 kilometers]; and Thebes, which is the next nearest, lies at a distance of much more than six hundred stades [over 120 kilometers]. If, then, the enemy is marching on the mines from some such point, they are bound to pass Athens. And if their numbers are small, they are likely to be destroyed by our cavalry and our patrols. On the other hand, it would be hard for the enemy to march with a large force, leaving their own property unprotected. For when they arrived in the mining district, the city of Athens would be much nearer to their own states than they themselves would be. But even supposing that they should come, how could they stay without supplies? To send part of their forces in search of food would endanger both the foraging party and their overall objectives, while if the whole force is continually foraging it will sooner find itself besieged than besieging. [47]


In this passage, the function of rural forts during an invasion is discussed, though they are the forts along the northern edge of the mining district, not on the borders of Attica. Xenophon points out that there would be little to fear in the mining district from a raiding party entering Attica, for such a small force would likely be destroyed before its arrival in this distant corner of Attica by the combination of the quickly deployed cavalry and the already deployed patrols, the peripoloi . A major invasion force, however, would certainly be able to range and plunder at will throughout Attica. What would protect the mining district in that event would be the fact that everything vital (especially the miners themselves) could be readily withdrawn to the safety of convenient forts, while the silver ore left behind would be of no immediate value to the enemy and would be too cumbersome to move. As a consequence, there would be no point to an invasion of the mining district, especially since such a course would leave the enemy's own territory undefended; and being at the end of a long march, it would force the enemy to disperse and possibly lose manpower in foraging for supplies while achieving no useful offensive purpose. Here Xenophon assumes that an invading army would outman the Athenians and would have no difficulty moving anywhere in Attica. There is a conspicuous lack of any reference to border forts in a context that would, according to Ober's thesis, be most appropriate for their discussion.

These two passages from Xenophon, the first written perhaps before 362 and the second in the later 350s, are the only explicit discussions in fourth-century literature of the potential Athenian responses to an invasion of Attica. [48] Xenophon made these observations during the very period in which Ober claims that the system of border forts and towers was being perfected, having been under the guidance of a "coherent and ongoing program of defensive preparations" for some time. [49] Yet there is not the slightest trace of the system described by Ober in the writing of Xenophon.

Indeed, although Ober must assume that the policy of preclusive border defense was implemented by the Athenians through a process of


ongoing public debate, he is embarrassed by the absolute silence of even the orators on the subject. He attempts to explain it away by asserting that "discussions of

border defenses probably tended to make for rather dull orations,

concerned with the technicalities of the fortification system were not chosen for copying and preservation." [50] This is special pleading. For in laying the foundations for his interpretation of the border defenses of Attica, Ober argues that the collective Athenian psyche was in the grip of a "defensive mentality" to such an extent that

"the fourth-century Athenian lived in terror of enemy invasion and wanted desperately to be allowed to go about his business in peace and safety." [51] There is no doubt, as has been pointed out at the beginning of this chapter, that the Athenians valued highly the security of Attica. But if there were any radically new departure embodied in the fourth-century approach to

and speeches

But if there were any radically new departure embodied in the fourth-century approach to and speeches

, and if, as Ober argues, that approach was sometimes at odds with such factors as

financial constraints on the one hand and opposing policies, such as the imperialism

of 395-387 or the aggressive foreign policy of Demosthenes on the other hand, then the subject of border defenses would have been ripe for declamatory pyrotechnics. In fact, forts are mentioned in speeches, as are various other preparations for war, and the ideal of defending the homeland is brought up often enough in fourth- century Athenian rhetoric. Yet nowhere is there any hint that the Athenians had created, or thought that they had created, an impermeable barrier of fortresses and watchposts around Attica. [52]

Arguments from silence are never, by themselves, fully convincing. There is a passage from Demosthenes, however, which appeals to the common knowledge of his audience about the nature of defensive preparations and is more telling than most about the full range of Athenian measures. Not only is this passage silent about a preclusive barrier of frontier fortresses, but it absolutely excludes the possibility of such a defensive policy. In his speech On the Naval Boards , delivered in 354, Demosthenes advocates practical measures the Athenians could take to strengthen their military preparedness. His specific advice is introduced after the following prefatory remarks:

If indeed there were one kind of force suitable for defence against Persians and another for defence against Greeks, then we might reasonably


be suspected of marshalling ourselves against the King; but when all preparation for war is on the same lines [italics added] and the main objects of an armed force are the same—to be strong enough to repel the enemy, to assist one's allies, and to preserve one's own possessions—why, having open enemies enough [in Greece], must we be looking out for another? Let us make our preparations against them [i.e., Greeks], and then we shall defend ourselves against him too, if he ventures to molest us. [53]

By defense against Greeks, Demosthenes particularly has in mind defense against the Thebans (as he makes explicit in On the Naval Boards 33-34), who dwell on the very borders of Attica. The policy that Demosthenes goes on to advocate is a revision of the procedures for financing naval operations, designed to make it easier to man the fleet. The premise of these prefatory remarks, epitomized in the italicized portion above,

remarks, epitomized in the italicized portion above, [ Full Size ] , would be manifestly false

, would be manifestly false if the Athenians, as Ober argues, had labored to create a unique frontier defense system.

Given the inherent implausibility of the hypothetical system together with the silence of the orators, the silence of Xenophon, the silence of Plato, and of all other sources, we must conclude that Ober and his predecessors have created e silentio a fabulous structure. Ober's "preclusive defense system" never existed except as a modern figment.

system" never existed except as a modern figment. [ Full Size ] The discussion of forts

The discussion of forts in the passage from Xenophon's treatise on revenues quoted above points the way toward an understanding of Attic garrison forts that is well-

grounded in literary and epigraphic sources. In a state as large as Attica, forts in the outlying regions were needed as surrogates for the fortified urban center. Hence, as noted above in the case of Plato and other sources, forts and the urban center are comprehended together as fortified positions,

center are comprehended together as fortified positions, [ Full Size ] , the concerns of which

, the concerns of which are always distinguished from the military affairs of the

are always distinguished from the military affairs of the , the open countryside. [ 5 4

, the open countryside. [54]


The direct relationship between rural forts and city defenses is explicitly described in a decree found in the text of Demosthenes' oration On the Crown , 37-38. By Demosthenes' own account, the decree enacted the evacuation of the Attic countryside as part of a general mobilization for war in 346. The original decree, however, was not recorded in the text of Demosthenes. Like all such decrees in this speech, the text that has come down to us is the invention of a Hellenistic editor, inserted to provide verisimilitude to the reading of this masterpiece of rhetoric. Specific details, therefore, cannot be trusted as accurate references to the events of 346, but there is no reason to doubt that the role of rural forts has been accurately represented:


proposed that no Athenian be allowed upon any pretext whatsoever to pass the night in the

country, but only in the city and Peiraieus, except those stationed in the garrisons; that the latter keep each the

post assigned to him, leaving it neither by day nor by night

removed, if within a radius of 120 stades, to the city and Peiraieus; if outside of this radius, to Eleusis and Phyle

and Aphidna and Rhamnous and Sounion. [55]

Although the urban center, ultimately, was the proper refuge for the population of Attica, garrison forts were essential for the protection of both property and populace in outlying areas. Hence their locations were dictated primarily by the presence of both sizable communities and significant economic resources. So, in addition to the agricultural resources local to Eleusis, Oinoe, Aphidna, and Rhamnous, the agricultural and pastoral resources of Parnes and the Skourta plain were protected by Phyle and Panakton, and the capital resources in the mining district, as discussed by Xenophon, were secured by the forts there. The

All property in the country shall be immediately


maritime forts of Attica, by safeguarding the sea lanes that brought essential goods to Athens, also conform to these criteria, with the understanding that their strategic importance to the Athenians differed from that of inland forts just as the importance of imported goods differed from that of local resources. It would be a mistake, however, to attempt to explain the protective value of these fortifications in purely economic terms. The social and political importance, for the cohesion of the state, of protecting the property of its individual citizens irrespective of the strategic and economic value of that property was the overriding criterion for the establishment especially of the inland forts.

In the face of the main force of the enemy in wartime, the safety provided by garrison forts consisted in their security as points of refuge. They were, in effect, independent nodes of local security, not links in any chain of regional defense. The invasion of an enemy in force, however, was at most a periodic or occasional event. A more prevalent condition of wartime was the threat posed by small raiding parties and freebooters. Under such conditions, forts near the frontiers could serve the defensive interests of the greater territory of Attica by the ability of their garrisons to sound a warning and, in some cases, to challenge and repel such raiders. It is certainly significant, however, that Xenophon regards the city itself as the primary base for troops to repel even small parties of the invading enemy (Poroi 4.47). Too often, the garrisons of small towns and forts were ambushed and destroyed when lured out by raiding parties, so that restraint and caution, even against apparently minor incursions, must have always been urged as the wisest policy to garrison commanders. Their first and foremost duty was to hold their post and to remain, like the fortified city itself, impervious to the storms of war that might rage outside the walls. Their fundamental passivity rendered urban and rural forts alike anathema to the principles of manly resistance embraced by Plato in his formulations of an idealized state. But given the ease with which the devices and strategems of an attacker could deceive or overwhelm a defender who regularly sallied forth in response to an attack, the prudent defender had to rely at least as much on circuit walls as on upright virtue in planning his response. In a territorially extensive state such as Attica, if defensive forces concentrated in the urban center could not always march to the defense of any threatened quarter, then it was necessary to fortify and garrison strong points wherever communities and resources in outlying areas were most vulnerable. Rural forts thus were essential to the preservation of the territorial integrity of a large state during war and to the restoration and maintenance of economic integrity and civil authority after war.

The garrisons of Attica exercised their protective

war. The garrisons of Attica exercised their protective [ Full Size ] on two levels, corresponding

[Full Size] on two levels, corresponding to the routines of peacetime and the emergencies of wartime. Since standing forces represented preparedness for war at all


times, their duties in times of peace and in times of war were by no means mutually exclusive. Warlike actions could occur in what were nominally times of peace, and likewise peaceable activities went on in wartime. At all times, then, the responsibilities and activities of garrisons in the countryside could and did range across a spectrum of conditions between the two extremes of peace and war.

Garrisons and patrols routinely provided a local armed presence to protect the citizenry against animal theft or other forms of raiding or brigandage that might be attempted at any time in remote areas. [56] In practical terms, these functions became indistinguishable from civil police duties, which were concerned with disputes of the sort likely to arise between fellow citizens as well as between neighbors across a state boundary. Hence Aristotle associates

across a state boundary. Hence Aristotle associates [ Full Size ] , "watchposts," often a term

, "watchposts," often a term for garrison forts in the countryside (e.g., AthPol . 42.4), with the seats of

the countryside (e.g., AthPol . 42.4), with the seats of , "forest-wardens," and [ Full Size

, "forest-wardens," and

the seats of , "forest-wardens," and [ Full Size ] [ Full Size ] , "field-wardens,"

, "field-wardens," who exercise their

Full Size ] , "field-wardens," who exercise their [ Full Size ] ( Politics 1331b). More

[Full Size] (Politics 1331b). More strikingly, Plato identifies his

] ( Politics 1331b). More strikingly, Plato identifies his [ Full Size ] , the "garrison

, the "garrison commanders" who lead young citizens in patrolling the countryside and building defensive barriers, as

[ Full Size ] , "field-wardens," and most of the routine duties he assigns to

[Full Size] , "field-wardens," and most of the routine duties he assigns to these officers and their charges are best described as police and civil engineering duties (Laws 760a- 763c; cf. 842e-846c).

It is not certain that such complete civil service normally fell within the purview of Athenian garrison commanders and their men, although it is clear that, in voting honors to the ephebic and mercenary garrisons of Attica in the later fourth and third centuries, the communities in which they were posted commended them in general terms for their civic spirit and good citizenship, reflecting something more than just keeping watchful eyes open while posted on the battlements and patrolling the countryside. [57] In a real sense, these men brought civic order to


the countryside, and by enforcing the laws of the state among their own citizens and offering them its protection against would-be despoilers, especially those dwelling just across borders, they sought to protect the state as a whole against the consequences of unchecked feuds or property disputes, "whence the deadliest hostilities ensue" (Plato Laws 843a). Plato and Aristotle, and the Athenians generally, were well aware of the potentially inflammatory nature of such purely local matters when they arose in the context of interstate relations (Plato Republic 373d- e, Laws 955b-c; Aristotle Politics 1330a; Demosthenes For the Megalopolitans 11, On the Embassy 326; Plutarch Phokion9.4).

The distinction between conditions of war and the state of peace as they affected a rural populace in outlying areas was often irrelevant in the context of encounters with strangers (potential brigands) and foreign neighbors (potential foes). Aeneas Tacticus describes the reaction of a city to news of a robbers' conspiracy in the countryside (

to news of a robbers' conspiracy in the countryside ( [ Full Size ] [ Full
robbers' conspiracy in the countryside ( [ Full Size ] [ Full Size ] ), which

[Full Size] ), which differs in no way from a military operation in wartime (23.7-11; cf. 15.1- 10). Except as regulated by explicit conventions, the Greek ideals of autonomy and independence implied a potential or actual state of war with all who were not members of the community or state. Despite the proliferation of treaties and the elaboration of the conventions of what came to be called the Common Peace (

[ Full Size ] ) during the fourth century, this potential state of war applied

[Full Size] ) during the fourth century, this potential state of war applied as much to Attica as to any other part of the classical Greek world, especially during times of uncertain relations and open hostilities with the Boiotians. So Xenophon's advice about the utility of light-armed Athenians protecting countrymen and avenging themselves on foemen (Memorabilia 3.5.25-27, quoted at the beginning of this chapter) has the Boiotians particularly in mind and ignores the distinction between peace and war. It is modeled, as Xenophon admits, upon the practices of the Mysians and Pisidians, who freely plundered lands belonging to the Persian king while maintaining their independence within their mountain fastnesses (cf. Xenophon Anabasis 1.1.11, 1.2.1, 1.6.7, 1.9.14, esp. 3.2.23;


Hellenika 3.1.13; cf. also Isokrates Panegyrikos 161, 163). Similarly, Xenophon mingles Greek and alien experience in his imaginary account of the war of mutual raids (

in his imaginary account of the war of mutual raids ( [ Full Size ] )

[Full Size] ) carried out between the neighboring Armenians and Chaldaians, which Cyrus brought to a close by establishing a garrison in a strategically placed fort (Cyropaedia 3.2.1-3.4). The blurred distinction between the hostilities of wartime and potential robberies of peacetime, and the relationship of a standing armed force in the countryside to both conditions, is exemplified in another of Xenophon's epideictic fantasies, his Hieron :

If therefore the first duty enjoined on the mercenaries [hired as the bodyguard of a benevolent despot] were to

act as the bodyguard of the whole community and render help to all

service rendered to them by the mercenaries

fearlessness and security in the fullest measure to the labourers and cattle in the country, and the benefit would not be confined to your own estates [i.e., those of the despot], but would be felt up and down the countryside. Again, they are competent to afford the citizens leisure for attending to their private affairs by guarding the vital positions [

the citizens would know that this is one

For naturally the mercenaries would also be able to give

one For naturally the mercenaries would also be able to give [ Full Size ] ].

[Full Size] ]. Besides, should an enemy plan a secret and sudden attack, what handier agents can be found for detecting or preventing their design than a standing force, armed and organized? Or once more, when the citizens go campaigning, what is more useful to them than mercenaries? For these are, as a matter of course, the readiest to bear the brunt of toil and danger and watching. And must not those who possess a standing force impose on border states a strong desire for peace? For nothing equals an organized body of men, whether for protecting the property of friends or for thwarting the plans of enemies. Further, when the citizens get it into their heads that these troops do no harm to the innocent and hold the would-be malefactor in check, come to the rescue of the wronged, care for the citizens and shield them from danger, surely they are bound to pay the cost of them with a right goodwill. At all events they keep guards in their homes for less important objects than these. [58]

Athenian practices are best documented at those times when war threatened Attica, and although we lack detailed information even then, their practices generally conformed to those recorded in handbooks such as that of Aeneas Tacticus and in philosophical treatises such as the works of Plato and Aristotle that have been cited above. When war loomed on the borders of Attica, the garrison forts were the first recourse of the local populace as a refuge for both themselves and their movable property, as with the forts of the mining district described by Xenophon (Poroi 4.43- 44). This was mostly an emergency function,


however, for whenever war was foreseen, the evacuation of the rural populace to the city was the normal procedure (as it was in the pseudo-decree from Demosthenes On the Crown 37-38 quoted above; the large slave population of the mining district posed a special problem, which Xenophon addressed by his proposal for the employment of another fort in Poroi 4.43-44). [59] Likewise, while the garrison forts were readied for war, the rural populace moved to Athens in 431 (Thucydides 2.13.2, 14, 16, 17, 18.2), in 346 (Demosthenes On the Crown 36-38, On the Embassy 86, 125; Aischines On the Embassy 139, Against Ktesiphon 80), in 338 (Lykourgos Against Leokrates 16), and in 335 ([Demades] On the Twelve Years 14; Arrian Anabasis 1.10.2).

Even at such times, under martial law, as long as the enemy was not on the move in the vicinity, citizens could work in the countryside during the day, at which time the augmented garrisons, patrols, and lookouts were responsible for providing protection against raids. [60] Such protection is envisioned by Xenophon when he describes the destruction of a small hostile force by the cavalry and the peripoloi (Poroi 4.47). Moreover, forces based in the forts, including the cavalry wherever feasible, were expected to carry out raids against enemy forces and neighboring hostile territory, as they had during the Peloponnesian War. [61] Perhaps the most important function of the rural garrisons of Attica, both in times of open war and of nominal peace, was to assure that no fortress should fall into the hands of the enemy and thus become an outpost for hostile operations against Attica, an epiteichismos , as the Peloponnesian fort at Dekeleia had been and, furthermore, constitute a loss of Athenian territory. That commitment was solemnified in the oath of Athenian ephebes to stand to their posts and not to allow the fatherland to be diminished. The commitment was made vivid and tangible by the appearance of "the


boundaries of the fatherland" and the chief produce of Attic land, "wheat, barley, vines, olives, figs," among the witnesses to the oath. [62]

Territorial Defense and History

The study of Attic forts, and of rural Greek forts in general, is most properly concerned with the history of the settlement and exploitation of outlying regions and with the changing relationships of these regions to the state as a whole. Garrison forts played only a limited role in the strategies for territorial defense. against an

imminent general invasion. That role was essentially no different from that of the urban enceinte on a smaller scale, and the historical evolution of rural forts therefore parallels the history of urban fortifications. Herein lies the resolution of the paradox noted above, in which fortresses were shown to be fundamental to the defensive institutions and concerns of a state yet, under the threat of invasion, to be primarily passive centers of resistance.

Misconceptions have long clouded the assessment of these functions and concerns, usually in the form of ascribing a more specialized and potent historical role to fortresses than our sources support. Those who have hesitated to accept such assumptions have, on the other hand, generally been reluctant to discuss the subject of the historical role of rural fortifications in detail. Uncertainties about dates and functions have seemed to obviate the possibility of any but the most generalized comments. Yvon Garlan warned of the pitfalls awaiting those who would inevitably be drawn to the challenge of recovering history from the abundant remains of fortifications in the Greek countryside. He illustrates the situation by reference to Attica in particular:

Les fortifications de l'Attique ont été étudiées avec plus de soin et d'esprit critique, bien que, faute d'avoir été systématiquement et soigneusement fouillées, elles soient encore loin d'offrir à l'historien le "butin" qu'il en attend. [63]

It is indeed inevitable that historians turn to the archaeological wealth of the Greek countryside in search of fragments and aspects of history that are not fully represented in literary sources. Among these vestiges attention comes, first and foremost, to the substantial remains of garrison forts. But these remains have for the most part eluded attempts by


historians and archaeologists to associate them with precise historical moments. This is to be expected, since as the foregoing discussion has demonstrated, such fortifications represented generic responses to perennial conditions. Only rarely do archaeological remains occur in a form that allows a direct and demonstrable correspondence with historical episodes. Such exceptions do exist in the realm of rural fortifications, in the Attic countryside and elsewhere. In every case, unlike regular garrison forts, these fortifications represent specific and even unique responses to special conditions. [64] The Dema wall is chief among these special measures in classical Attica, and an understanding of this fortification promises to show how the Athenians of the fourth century reacted differently from Perikles and his contemporaries to the threat of an invasion of Attica.




Two The Dema Wall, Form and Function

The survey by Jones, Sackett, and Eliot remains the authoritative description of the Dema wall, to be emended occasionally on points of interpretation, rarely of observation. For a detailed description of the wall, the reader is referred to that study, which is all the more invaluable because it was made before industrial works and landfills began obscuring and destroying portions of the wall in the past few decades. What follows is a description of the general nature of this fieldwork and some of its distinctive features, a discussion of those archaeological features most indicative of its date, and an analysis of its function as indicated by its form. [1]

Location and Description

The gap between Mount Aigaleos and Mount Parnes is the widest pass giving access to the plain of Athens from the direction of the Corinthian Isthmus and the Kithairon frontier of Boiotia. Like the more narrow pass of the Sacred Way to the south, it provides a way to the plain of Athens from the plain of Eleusis on the west side of Aigaleos. The distance between the slopes of Aigaleos and Parnes is almost two kilometers at the narrowest part of the pass, but free movement within it is restricted by two lines of hills that rise at its narrowest point and run to the southwest, into the lower plain of Eleusis. These two lines of hills form three saddles within the pass, and through these saddles run most of the paths and modern routes using the pass, including, in the southern


saddle, the single overland railway line linking northern Greece to the Peloponnese.

The Dema wall runs northward from the northern slopes of Aigaleos, across the two hills standing in the narrows of the pass, and up the slope of the southernmost outrunner of Parnes, covering a total distance of some 4,360 meters as measured on the ground (see map 2 and figure 9). [2] The wall keeps just west of the summit of the pass, following a meandering course carefully chosen so as to leave no higher ground and a minimum of level ground before it to the west. In many places the line of the wall is drawn across the brow of a hill, leaving the steepest slopes in the area directly in front of it. The course of the wall provides a balance between the shortest line across the pass and the maximum advantage of position for a defender facing an enemy coming from the west.

Two distinct sectors of the Dema wall can be recognized on the basis of construction technique and form. The principal and more substantially built sector crosses the pass from its beginning on Aigaleos at the south to the foot of Parnes at the north, a ground distance of 2,950 meters. The second and more slightly constructed sector continues the line of the wall in a northwesterly direction up and along the slopes of Parnes, over a distance of 1,410 meters.

In its principal, or southern, sector, the face of the wall is built of a rough- worked masonry varying from a near-rubble polygonal style to horizontal courses of roughly rectangular and trapezoidal blocks, often with irregular fillers and stackwork (see figures 12-16). Behind this facing, the fill of the wall is rubble mixed with earth and stone chips. The stone for construction was quarried on the spot from the local gray limestone bedrock, atop which the wall is directly founded over most of its length.

The principal sector of the wall is not a continuous barrier but is composed of separate wall-sections built with finished ends. These sections overlap each other, the northern end of each advanced just to the west of the beginning of the following section, leaving a small gap which forms a sally port. These sally ports, averaging about a meter in width, open toward the north, or toward the right from the point of view of someone standing behind the wall. Where the Dema crosses sloping ground, the interval between sally ports is greater (an average of 65 meters); where it crosses level ground, they occur more frequently (at an average of 29-meter intervals). [3] The form of the wall-sections also varies according to whether they run across sloping or level ground. Over sloping ground,


[ Full Size ] Map 2. The Dema wall in the Aigaleos-Parnes gap ― 40

Map 2. The Dema wall in the Aigaleos-Parnes gap


the longer sections are less than 2 meters wide, with their top surface about 1.50 meters above ground level in front, while in back, a rubble fill forms a ramp running the entire length of each section, rising from ground level some 3 meters behind the wall to give access to its fiat top surface (see figure 10). Over level ground, the

shorter wall-sections are more massive, being nearly 3 meters in width and 2 meters or more in height, with access to their top surfaces provided by pairs of separately built ramps averaging 2.75 meters wide by 5 meters long behind each section (see figure 11). The ramps indicate that the top of the wall was meant to be used as a fighting platform, a fact that is confirmed by the remains of a breastwork or parapet wall about 0.60 meters wide preserved atop the outer face on some wall-sections of each type.

In addition to sally ports, at least two wider gateways (between 2 and 3 meters wide) were built into the wall. Both of these are located near the center of the pass. The southern of the two was built a little way above the bottom of the central valley, where it served a natural way through the pass by way of the central saddle. The second was built 230 meters to the north, where it served a terraced road that begins east of the wall and runs for some distance to the west, at a uniform elevation, along the ridge called Kalistiri. Other stretches of terraced road, apparently related to the first stretch but not continuous with it, lie at lower levels along the northern slope of Kalistiri. It is likely that there was a third gate in the wall in the southern saddle, since this was probably always the most-traveled route through the pass. Here the railroad and the paved highway, following the line Of the main track of the nineteenth century, both cross the line of the wall. An original gateway here would have been obscured by the traffic of the ages and by the robbing of stone that evidently took place along this easily accessible stretch of the Dema wall. Any traces of it that may have survived to the nineteenth century have been destroyed by either the construction of the railroad or the highway. [4]

The state of preservation of the wall in its principal sector is generally good. Over most of its length, the wall stands to approximately the original height of the walkway atop each of the wall-sections. Damage to the wall has naturally been greatest wherever it is directly accessible to everyday traffic, and this is especially the case where the wall crosses the south-


ern saddle. Within recent years, the great increase in industrial activity in the area has led to further encroachments upon the wall, but as of 1987, this damage has not been particularly widespread. [5]

The second, or northern, sector of the Dema wall seems quite crude by comparison to the southern sector, and there are some anomalous features in the transition between the two. Near the center of the northern saddle, the last independent wall-section of the southern sector deviates from the norm in that both of its ends stand to the west of the adjacent stretches of wall, leaving an irregular, southward-facing sally port at its southern end. This section is also peculiar in that it combines the construction and features of the shorter wall-sections in its southern half with those of the longer sections in its northern half, and is incomplete in that there is no rubble ramp heaped up behind the longer northern part of this section. [6] After an offset sally port of the regular type at the northern end of this section, the wall continues as a less substantial rubble structure, less than a meter in height and without a backing ramp. This wall gives out after 37 meters and is traceable only intermittently for some distance thereafter as a line of stones on the ground. When the remains of the wall become more substantial, they can be followed as they gradually climb northwestward and traverse the steep slopes of Parnes in an almost

straight line, eventually coming to an end at a seemingly arbitrary point. The remains are those of a simple wall of unworked rubble, about a meter in width and no more than that in preserved height; it was clearly never more than a low parapet or breastwork (see figure 19). This sector has no sally ports or gateways, and its nearly straight course displays none of the attention to local terrain shown in the southern sector. It gives the impression of hasty work, especially when contrasted with the apparent care taken in the planning and construction of the southern sector.


Archaeological Evidence for the Date of the Dema Wall

Masonry style within the southern, or main, sector of the wall provides the most readily observable evidence by which provisional limits can be established for the date of the Dema. The variety of dates that have been suggested for the Dema using masonry style as at least one of the principal criteria must serve as a warning on how subjective and imprecise masonry style can be as a chronological criterion, especially in a work like this where the style is so variable and is often not much more than artless rubble. Nevertheless, attention to those stretches of the wall where the stones have been worked and laid with enough care to display the stylistic preferences of the masons who built it does provide useful evidence with which a discussion of the dating of the Dema can begin. [7] The northern sector of the wall, being simple rubble built according to a different plan, lies outside of the discussion for the moment.

The masonry of the wall and its chronological implications have been adequately examined by Jones, Sackett, and Eliot. My own examination of the wall confirms their observations, so what follows is, for the most part, a summary of their conclusions. [8] The use of quadrilateral blocks, occasionally in short stretches of horizontal coursing, suggests a date in the fifth century or later (see figures 15 and 16). The use of stacks of smaller fiat stones to fill vertical gaps between larger blocks is a practice commonly found in Attic masonry of the fifth century; it is attested as early as the end of the sixth century and continues to appear in works of the fourth century (see figure 14, and cf. figure 8). The occurrence of a drafted corner at the end of one wall-section also indicates a date in the fifth century or later (see figure 18). In Attic fortifications, drafted corners are best attested in late-fifth- and fourth- century works and may occur later. In addition to these details of technique, some stretches of the wall display a style of polygonal masonry characteristic of Attic walls of the late fifth or fourth century. This style consists of quadrilateral blocks interspersed with polygons, with small filler-stones of various shapes employed to fill irregular notches in larger stones and to provide level bedding for the stones above (see figures 15 and 16). The best-known exemplar of this style, albeit finished with greater care, is the so-


called Kononian phase of the city walls of Athens, belonging to the early fourth century (see figure 17). [9]

Taking all of these factors into consideration, a date within the classical period seems most likely for the wall. [10] As Jones, Sackett, and Eliot have recognized, clear indications of classical masonry styles, such as the prevalent use of quadrangular blocks and, especially, the drafted corner, render the resemblance of some stretches of the wall to Archaic polygonal work, with its characteristic use of curvilinear joints (e.g., figures 12 and 13), fortuitous and without chronological value. [11] On the whole, the implication of the drafted corner and the resemblance of some stretches to the style of walls known to date to the fourth century suggest that a late-fifth- or fourth- century date is more likely than one earlier in the fifth century. [12] These considerations are only suggestive, however, and not conclusive. It must be admitted that a date even later than the fourth century cannot be ruled out on the basis of masonry style alone.

The chance discovery of a datable sherd in a significant context confirms the above provisional conclusion about the date of the wall. The find was made during excavations at the Dema house, which is located 13 meters in front of the wall near the bottom of the southern saddle and which was investigated soon after the publication of the survey of the wall. The sherd came from the fill of the section of the Dema wall adjacent to the house, where it evidently had been buried during the construction of the wall. It is a black-glazed saltcellar, three-quarters in-


tact, dated in the publication of the Dema house excavations to the mid fourth century. A comparison of this piece to similar saltcellars dated according to their find contexts shows, however, that this date must be revised upward by as much as a half-century. The sherd can be dated with assurance to the last quarter of the fifth or first quarter of the fourth century (see appendix I). The evidence provided by the saltcellar proves that the Dema wall could not have been built earlier than the last quarter of the fifth century at the very earliest, and more likely no earlier than the first quarter of the fourth century. [13]

Circumstantial evidence bearing on the date of the wall comes from the Dema house itself. Jones, Sackett, and Eliot have pointed out that it is highly improbable that this house could have been standing at the same time that the wall itself was actively defended. The house is situated just in front of the wall at one of its most vulnerable points, on nearly level ground at a valley bottom, probably beside a road through a gate in the wall, where the house could have been an obstacle to the defenders of the wall and could have provided cover to attackers. On the evidence of surface sherds, later confirmed by excavation, the house had a comparatively short life span, having been built and destroyed within the last third of the fifth century, most probably within the Peace of Nikias (421-413). The Dema wall, it was argued, should be dated after the destruction of this house, since had the wall been standing, the house would not have been built in such a position as to compromise its defensibility, nor would the house have been built just outside of its protective line. [14] The subsequent discovery of the saltcellar in the fill of the wall provided even more convincing proof that the wall was built after the destruction of the house, but the relationship of the house to the wall remains a consideration in the dating of the wall because of the discovery during excavation of evidence for a second phase of occupation during which the house was partially rebuilt. Pottery associated with this second phase is dated by the excavators to the mid fourth century. Within this group, at least one sherd is certainly not earlier than the third quarter of the fourth

century, and it is likely that the group as a whole is to be dated somewhat after, rather than before, 350. [15] More


precise limits for this phase cannot be readily established, but the comparative paucity of finds from this phase suggests that the reoccupation of the house was not very long-lived and was probably limited to a period within the third quarter of the fourth century, possibly into the fourth quarter.

The second phase of occupation of the Dema house is well within the period under consideration for the date of the wall, so it would be of considerable value if it could be shown that the reoccupation of the house is either earlier or later than the construction of the wall. If the wall were built earlier than the rebuilding of the house, the wall must have been regarded as obsolete by the time the house was rebuilt. In that case, Jones, Sackett, and Eliot suggest that "the house would probably have been placed so as to utilize the Dema as its rear wall as is the case with more recent structures along the Dema Wall." [16] The more recent structures are sheepfolds, however, and incorporating the Dema into the construction of a house for human habitation would not necessarily have seemed so attractive. It would have been virtually impossible to make the face of the wall watertight given the comparatively loose joining of the stones in its face and the mass of rubble and earth behind it, through which rainwater would inevitably percolate. The foundations of the original house would have been a much more suitable place to build another dwelling. The fact that the house was rebuilt away from the wall and not against it thus has no bearing on the issue of whether or not the Dema wall was already standing, and already obsolete, when the house was rebuilt.

There are, however, traces of a structure built against the face of the Dema wall close beside the Dema house. These remains were cleared in the course of the excavations of the house. No finds providing evidence for the date of this structure are reported, nor do the excavators posit any association between this structure and the Dema house, but the ruinous state of its remains and its proximity to the house make it possible to suppose that it was an outbuilding associated with the second phase


of the Dema house. [17] The remains of this structure, a single course of foundations for a roughly rectangular building or enclosure 5.80 meters long by 4.20 meters wide, were buried in the same shallow soil that covered the remains of the house, so there is reason at least to presume that it is ancient. Dilapidation and proximity are not the only reasons for supposing that this structure was associated with the house. In its second period of occupation, only a small part of the house—two rooms in ground plan—was rebuilt. This likely provided only a residential unit with little room for ancillary functions, such as room for work or storage or even penning animals. [18] The structure beside the wall might well have been put up to serve some ancillary function of this sort. For such a utilitarian structure, water seepage would not necessarily have been a problem, so the advantage noted above of building against

the face of the Dema wall might actually have been realized in the construction of this outbuilding during the second occupation of the Dema house.

If so, the Dema wall would have to have been constructed a number of years earlier in the fourth century than the second phase of the house. While this supposition is circumstantially plausible, it cannot be proved on the basis of the evidence produced in the Dema house excavation. If other evidence is found to support a date for the Dema wall before the middle of the fourth century, then we may at least say that the evidence from the Dema house is consonant with that conclusion.

We may now review the chronological evidence coming from the wall itself and its relationship to the Dema house. Masonry style favors a date in the last quarter of the fifth century or later. The saltcellar found in the fill of the wall confirms this conclusion and indicates that a fourth-century date is rather more likely than one before the end of the fifth century. The wall cannot have been operationally effective with the Dema house standing in front of it, so the wall must either have been built well before the rebuilding of the house, which probably took place in the third quarter of the fourth century, or else it must have been built after this reoccupation of the house came to an end. Neither of these last two alternatives is supported by decisive evidence, but circumstantial evidence suggests that the wall may already have been obsolete when the Dema house was rebuilt. In sum, there is reason to consider a date for the wall within the first half of the fourth century to be a likelihood, but no specific date later in the fourth century, or even later still, can be positively excluded on the basis of the archaeological evidence so far considered.


The Tactical Purpose of the Dema Wall

The most striking feature about the Dema wall is the frequency of sally ports along its main sector. These were designed to allow the defenders to make sorties against an enemy before the wall; all open to the right, from the defenders' point of view, allowing them to emerge from behind the wall with their shield-bearing left sides facing the enemy. The frequency of sally ports demonstrates that they were provided in order to allow the defenders the option of sallying out from behind the wall at any convenient point. Sally ports are more numerous where the ground in front of the wall is more nearly level, which is where the wall would have been more vulnerable to attack. If the wall were simply meant to be a preclusive barrier, then this is precisely where openings would have been least desirable. But their greater number in such stretches of the Dema proves that they were designed to facilitate vigorous attacks launched by the defending force to prevent the enemy from attempting to storm the wall itself. [19] These points are well appreciated by Jones, Sackett, and Eliot:

The implication behind the use of sallyports is that attack is the best de-fence; so generous a provision of these features in the Dema implies not merely that this principle was recognized, but that the whole tactical scheme of defence was based on it. [20]

With attack and counterattack being the key to a successful defense of the Dema, it is evident that the defending force had to be an army of some size, not a mere garrison force such as might suffice for the defense of a fort or a city circuit. [21] That army had to be able to engage the enemy frontally in the event of an

assault, making use of the fighting platform atop the wall probably only after resistance offered in front of the wall


was broken by the attack. At the same time, the defenders had to be numerous enough to take advantage of the hilly terrain within the pass to harass and strike at the flanks of the advancing enemy. The wall was, in effect, a final line of defense, a barrier designed to prevent the enemy from making a decisive break in the defenders' line. But for the wall not to have been an impediment to defending troops moving back and forth across its line required an exceptional level of skill and discipline on the part of the defending forces. Once again, the observations of Jones, Sackett, and Eliot in this connection are entirely apt:

To base the whole defence so largely on sorties suggests a professional skill on the part of the commander, and training and discipline on the part of the men. The latter would have to sally out in single file, advance in formation or in open order across very rough ground, engage the enemy, break off contact at a word of command, and, possibly under heavy pressure, retire in orderly style one at a rime through the rampart. The operation suggests the battle drill either of a very well-trained levy, or perhaps rather of a professional soldiery.

The advantages of high ground afforded to the defenders within the pass and along the wall, together with the rocky and uneven nature of the ground on all of the hills, suggest that light-armed skirmishing troops, and in particular peltasts armed with javelins, could have been used to considerable advantage in the defense of the Dema. [23] Cavalry would have been nearly useless on the rocky slopes and, in any event, could only have crossed the wall through its few gateways, the sally ports being too narrow for horsemen to use. Hoplites moving in formation would also have been somewhat hampered by the terrain and would certainly have been less agile in their advances and retreats than peltasts. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude, with Jones, Sackett, and Eliot, that the Dema wall must have been designed with peltast tactics in mind. [24] This conclusion accords well with the preliminary conclusions on the date of the wall as determined by the archaeological evidence. It was in the first half of the fourth century that drilled and disciplined


professional peltasts achieved their most notable successes under Athenian commanders, Iphikrates and Chabrias in particular. [25]

But in recognizing the special advantages of javelin-throwing peltasts in the tactics implied by the design of the Dema, we should not exclude the possibility that hoplites, and perhaps cavalry as well, would have had useful or even necessary roles to play in defending the Dema. The chief advantage of peltasts fighting in broken terrain such as that around the Dema wall was their ability, especially when opposing hoplites, to strike at will and to escape blows through flight. But their reliance on flight as an essential feature of their effectiveness rendered peltasts unsuitable for holding a fixed position, unless the position itself were virtually impregnable. The Dema wall, built as a compromise between defensive strength and tactical mobility, was not an impregnable position in these terms. Even with a strong peltast force operating over the slopes in front of the wall, the contest over whether or not an

enemy force would be able to cross the wall might well have depended upon the outcome of hand-to-hand combat, in which case the advantage would turn to hoplite troops. So J. K. Anderson, writing on military techniques of the first half of the fourth century, observes:

The helplessness of Greek heavy infantry when attacked by light-armed troops in broken ground has often been remarked, but if the heavy infantry were not trying to drive the enemy off the hills and occupy them themselves, but merely to pass from one plain to another, they could often fight their way through with their strength substantially intact. Behind them, their enemies were left in the hills, uninjured but unable to do anything more to save their farms and open villages. [26]

Anderson's remarks could well describe the situation in the Aigaleos-Parnes pass. If a hoplite force attempting to cross the pass were itself provided with skirmishing troops such as archers or peltasts, a defending force of peltasts might be neutralized, or at least kept preoccupied by such troops, while the hoplite force advanced on the wall itself. Once at the wall, the defenders would have a considerable advantage by virtue of their position atop the wall, but if they did not have hoplite shields, this advantage would be mitigated in the hand-to-hand fighting against hoplite ranks pressing up against the wall and especially against the vulnerable gateways and sally ports. If the attackers could be supported in


their assault by light troops firing stones, arrows, or javelins against the defenders, peltast troops alone would probably find it altogether impossible to hold their position even atop the wall, and the hoplite army would be through the barrier and on its way into the plain of Athens. [27]

Taking these possibilities into account, we should acknowledge that hoplite troops must have had an important role in manning the Dema. Anderson has in fact already suggested that this was the case, pointing out that hoplite files could move out through the sally ports and form up in line to support peltasts attacking in advance of them. [28] We can imagine that hoplite ranks drawn up on the high ground in front of the wall would add considerably to the deterrent effect of this entire defensive position. [29] If intimidation were not enough to halt an attack and if engagements in front of the wall should prove or seem futile, the Dema wall itself would become an ally of stone to the hoplite ranks standing atop it, its immovable weight nullifying the strength of the enemy pressing up against it. The irregularities of the terrain in front of the wall make it highly unlikely that the entire length of the wall would come under attack by enemy hoplites in one assault. Assaults would more likely have been attempted only at those points where the wall was most easily approached, which would allow the defenders to concentrate their forces there while subjecting the flanks of the attackers, wherever possible, to counterattack by either hoplites or peltasts. [30]

The vulnerable points of the Dema wall are those where it can be approached over level or near-level ground. There are four such points along its line, and it is worth considering how the vulnerability of each of them might have been offset in the defensive scheme of the Dema.

The easiest approaches to the wall are in the southern and central saddles, where the ascent to the watershed at the center of the pass is nowhere very steep (the approach to the northern saddle, by contrast, involves both a longer and much steeper climb). These are essentially narrow ways, however, bordered by steep

slopes for some distance, with little room for troops to form a frontal line in approaching the wall.


Sallies across the slopes above these saddles, by either hoplite or peltast troops, could turn the flank of a force advancing along the bottoms of these saddles and halt its advance. With the line of the Dema drawn back in the saddles and thrown forward on the hills so as to control the heights immediately above the approaches to the wall in the saddles, this is evidently the most elementary sort of defensive counterattack envisioned by the planners of the wall. [31]

The remaining two level approaches present a different problem. These are level hilltops in front of the wall, both outrunners of the northern hill within the pass, separated from each other by a watercourse. Here, with no higher ground above these level stretches, there would be danger to the defenders of the Dema if the enemy were able to occupy these outrunners of the northern hill, for they would be able to assemble their forces for an assault on the wall over the widest front of near- level ground, where the defenders would have the least advantage of position (except for the advantage afforded by the wall itself) and where the defenders would be unable to assault the flanks of the advancing enemy from higher ground. [32] It would be desirable, therefore, for the defenders of the wall to occupy the tops of these hills first to keep the enemy at a disadvantage on the slopes below.

The northernmost of these outrunners extends for only a few hundred meters in front of the wall, so it would have been comparatively easy for forces along the wall to advance over this ground if the enemy should be seen to be moving in this direction. Across the watercourse to the south of this outrunner is Kalistiri, the principal outrunner of the northern hill, the near-level top of which extends over a kilometer beyond the wall. Here the likelihood was greater that enemy peltasts would be able to ascend the far end of Kalistiri before it was occupied by defending troops. Alternatively, if defenders were on the ridge, they could not be everywhere in strength, and the enemy might be able to force the defenders back by concentrating an attack at some convenient point along the ridge where the defenders were weak. [33] Thereafter, defending troops would be deprived of the advantage of high ground in front of this part of the wall, and the defensive line would probably have to be


drawn back to the wall itself, where the contest would be decided at what was the most vulnerable part of the Dema wall.

Control of this ridge would likely have been determined in a contest between forces of agile, light-armed troops, probably peltasts. But the importance of the ridge for the defense of the wall might have made it desirable for the defenders to use cavalry along its top, either as a force that could move quickly to prevent an enemy ascent or as a reinforcement to peltasts already operating on the ridge, or likely for both of these purposes, since cavalry supported by light infantry was an especially effective form of skirmishing force. [34] These considerations might explain the purpose of the northernmost gateway in the wall and the terraced road running through it,

which extends along Kalistiri, a little below its crest, until the ridge descends into the plain below. [35] A road of this sort is precisely what would be needed to allow horses to move quickly along this rocky ridge. Enemy cavalry would almost certainly be unable to climb the steep rocky sides of Kalistiri, so the chief value of cavalry here for the defenders of the wall would be its ability, by moving swiftly along the ridge, to either deter or stem any assault on the ridge by enemy light-armed infantry.

Perhaps, then, provision was made in the plan of the Dema, in the form of the northern gateway and road along Kalistiri, for the limited use of cavalry in maintaining control of this ridge. Cavalry was an important arm of Athenian forces, so it is reasonable to expect that its usefulness was taken into account in planning the defenses of this pass. [36] Cavalry could have been employed to hamper the progress of an invading army moving across the plain of Eleusis, as it was during Archidamos' invasion of 431. [37] In this case, gateways in the central and southern valleys, desirable for civilian traffic, were essential to allow cavalry forces to move from one side of the wall to the other. Likewise, the stretches of roadway on the northern side of Kalistiri, not obviously useful for civilian traffic, might have been specifically intended to allow cavalry to move quickly between the plain of Eleusis and the top of the Kalistiri ridge.


Cavalry might also have been effective as an auxiliary force behind the wall in stemming the advance of enemy foot soldiers if they should succeed in crossing the wall, especially in the more level ground of the saddles.

The Dema wall, then, was essentially a tactical device built to support an army in the field. The army for which it was designed must have included several thousand hoplites as its core and a sizable force, perhaps numbering in the thousands, of light troops, most likely peltasts, while a few hundred horsemen could have been a valuable force for special supporting actions. The tactics employed by such a force in the defense of a wall of this sort are best exemplified, as has been widely recognized, by the operations of combined Theban and Athenian forces in Boiotia in 378 and 377 defending a fieldwork near Thebes against Peloponnesian forces under the command of Agesilaos. [38] The fieldwork in this case was not of stone but consisted of a wooden palisade and ditch. Rather than blocking a single pass, it was a considerably more extensive work that, according to Xenophon, "encircled the plain and the most valuable parts of the territory" of Thebes. This barrier especially resembled the Dema in that sally ports were built into it at intervals frequent enough to allow the defenders to attack at will from any position behind the wall. [39]

In the campaign of 378, the Theban and Athenian forces, although outnumbered by the army of Agesilaos, were able to discourage him from directly attacking them by virtue of the strength of their fieldwork. Agesilaos was unable to cross the wall wherever he found the defenders ready inside it, and the defenders were even able to deal blows to the forces of Agesilaos at opportune moments without compromising their defensive line. Xenophon describes an incident wherein a number of horsemen and peltasts of the Peloponnesians were struck down by an unexpected cavalry attack launched through the sally ports of the wall. Agesilaos did manage, however, to penetrate this defensive perimeter in both of his campaigns by contriving to deceive the defenders and cross the line at undefended points. Even so, Theban and Athenian forces continued to confront Agesilaos wherever the terrain

afforded them advantages that counterbalanced the Peloponnesian superiority in numbers. In the campaign of 378, Chabrias the Athenian won acclaim for his generalship, for the discipline of his men, and for the disdain with which


they stood their ground in the face of a threatened Peloponnesian attack. [40] Such tactics characterized both campaigns, with the result that no decisive battles were fought, but blows were exchanged principally by the skirmishers, peltasts and cavalry, of both armies. These defensive tactics are summarized by Plutarch, who speaks generally of Theban successes against Spartan-led forces in 378-377:

They were not pitched battles, nor were the combatants drawn up in open and regular formation, but they succeeded by making well-judged attacks and by adopting flexible tactics, according to which they might retire and break off the action, or pursue and come to close quarters with the enemy. [41]

The similarity between the tactics of the Theban campaign in which Chabrias was so prominently involved and those implied by the Dema wall is striking, and it is noteworthy that Chabrias is associated, directly and indirectly, with other fieldworks and defensive tactics comparable to those of the Theban campaigns. In 369 Chabrias was in command of an Athenian force that, together with the Spartans, Corinthians, and other allies, attempted to hold a defensive line at the Isthmus against the Thebans under Epameinondas. The line of the allies was reinforced by palisades and ditches extending all the way from Lechaion to Kenchreai. Although sally ports are not explicitly mentioned, it seems likely that they were included in this wall just as they had been in the Theban palisade. Epameinondas, having surveyed the positions of the defenders, began his assault on the line with a surprise attack at dawn against the most easily approachable part of the line, where the Spartan and Pellenean troops were posted. By virtue of this surprise, Epameinondas was able to breach the line of the palisade and force the Spartans to withdraw to a position atop a hill. The Spartans were still capable of hindering the passage of Epameinondas, but they considered themselves ill prepared to continue the fight and accepted a truce allowing Epameinondas to pass on his way into the Peloponnese. [42] Once again, surprise was decisive in enabling an attacker to cross such a defensive fieldwork. Epameinondas further minimized the advantages of the defenders by directing the main thrust of his attack against the section of the line that was most assailable (

against the section of the line that was most assailable ( [ Full Size ] )

) and most easily approached (

assailable ( [ Full Size ] ) and most easily approached ( [ Full Size ]

[Full Size] )—where it probably, therefore, ran across level ground. [43] The troops un-


der Chabrias were evidently positioned elsewhere along the line where the fieldworks must have been drawn across more defensible terrain, and they had little part in the engagement. [44] Later in this campaign, Chabrias did have an opportunity to display his mastery of tactics and terrain when he deployed light-armed troops on high ground just outside of the city of Corinth to repel an assault by Theban hoplites, which resulted in losses for the Thebans and praise for Chabrias. [45]

The tactics of a calculated stand on advantageous terrain fortified with a palisade, evidently provided with regular sally ports, are again exemplified in the battle of Tamynai on Euboia in 348. There Phokion, in command of the Athenian army, arrayed his troops within a palisaded camp on a ridge and bade them wait until, through their inaction, the more numerous enemy force was drawn into an assault on their strong position. Although the engagement began when Ploutarchos, Phokion's ally, lost patience and charged the enemy with his mercenaries, the outcome was as Phokion had planned, for the enemy, repelling Ploutarchos and the force of cavalry that had come to his assistance, advanced to the palisade, where they were themselves put to flight when Phokion's troops emerged from behind the palisade. The rout began with the onset of Phokion's hoplites in formation and was completed as Phokion pressed the attack against the fleeing enemy with a body of picked troops reinforced by the cavalry, which had by now regrouped. [46] Phokion's tactics and his use of the palisaded line closely resemble the examples set by Chabrias, especially in the campaign against Agesilaos at Thebes in 378. It is certainly significant, therefore, that according to Plutarch, Phokion was a protégé of Chabrias and gained his military experience under the command of Chabrias. [47] It seems quite likely that Phokion was an officer under Chabrias in Boiotia in 378 and 377, and possibly at Corinth in 369, and that the lessons of these campaigns were applied by Phokion at Tamynai. [48]


Temporary fieldworks in the form of palisades and ditches, or made of other materials according to their availability, had long been used by the Greeks to fortify camps and siege lines, but the use of such field-works to reinforce battle lines is not widely attested until the fourth century. [49] The growing sophistication of fieldworks employed as tactical devices is concomitant with the increased professionalism of generals and commanders in the fourth century, who were ready to adopt and adapt new measures to give their forces a tactical advantage whenever possible, especially in defensive situations. The corps of mercenary troops, both hoplites and peltasts, serving under these commanders provided them with the drilled and disciplined cadres essential to the smooth execution of any sophisticated tactical plan. [50] As a consequence of these developments, tactical barriers of this sort became commonplace in theoretical discussions of territorial defense in the middle of the fourth century. So Plato, in his Laws , recommends that young men detailed each year to see to the protection of the countryside should engage in digging ditches and building barriers to make the invasion of the country more difficult for the enemy, and Demosthenes, in his Second Philippic , mentions palisades, walls, and ditches as some of the various innovations devised for the protection of states. [51]


The Dema wall is certainly a work of this general class, directly comparable to the ditches (

of this general class, directly comparable to the ditches ( ) and palisades ( [ Full

) and palisades (

to the ditches ( ) and palisades ( [ Full Size ] , or [ Full

, or

( ) and palisades ( [ Full Size ] , or [ Full Size ] [

) employed by Chabrias and Phokion. It was built as a stone rampart rather than as

a ditch and palisade because of the nature of the terrain, which provided rock in abundance but little earth to dig or wood to cut. Sally ports in fourth-century fieldworks are specifically mentioned only in the case of the Theban wall constructed in 378, but as a consequence of peltast tactics and more flexible hoplite formations, they must nevertheless have been regular features in works of this sort. [52] The chronological implications of these parallels to the Dema's tactical design are in full agreement with the archaeological evidence for dating the wall no earlier than the last quarter of the fifth century. The fact that Chabrias, a commander of both professional troops and Athenian forces, was most prominently associated with defensive works of this sort raises the possibility that the Dema was constructed under his guidance, a possibility that accords well with the circumstantial case for dating the wall in the first half of the fourth century already proposed above on the basis of the archaeological evidence.

The Northern Sector

The discussion of the dating and interpretation of the Dema wall so far bears only upon the main sector of the wall, where the unity of design and comparative uniformity of structural style (variations in masonry style being randomly scattered and attributable to the work of different gangs of masons) indicate that the work was carried out at one time according to one plan. The simple rubble work of the northern sector, with its continuous line running across ever-steepening slopes, bespeaks a change, either of plan alone or in both time and plan.

All previous investigators have regarded the southern and northern sectors as parts of a single, contemporary work, implying, and sometimes stating, that the change must be explained as a change in plan. Jones, Sackett, and Eliot have advocated this view and have adduced evidence that seems to indicate a degeneration, rather than an abrupt change, from more substantial to more hasty

work in the transition between the southern and northern sectors. This, they argue, is evidence of "some change of plan during construction, possibly connected with some emergency, a need for economy, so urgent as to force a premature cessation of work on the wall." [53] This is an important conclusion, for it


affects our interpretation of the historical circumstances of the Dema wall. The relationship of the northern sector to the rest of the wall must be examined closely to see if the conclusion that the Dema wall was abandoned before it was completed is justified.

The transition between sectors as defined by Jones, Sackett, and Eliot takes place over about 70 meters of the wall at the end of the southern sector, which lies in the northern saddle just as the slope of Parnes begins. It is marked by a reduction in the height of the wall, a shift to less-substantial construction, and the absence of the regular rubble ramps behind the wall despite the presence, on either side of the last sally port, of curbs normally provided to retain rubble ramps. After this transition, the wall almost disappears and is preserved as no more than foundation traces running in a straight line, without evidence for sally ports. This drastic reduction in the remains of the wall is identified by Jones, Sackett, and Eliot as the beginning of the northern sector. It continues in this reduced manner for more than 100 meters, until remains of the new form of slight and crude rubble wall begin to stand out, usually no more than 0.50 meters high, on the rising slopes of Parnes (see figure 19). [54]

A sudden emergency forcing the abandonment of work on the wall might account for the transition from massive to flimsy construction, but such an explanation is at odds with the fact that this more hastily built wall was continued for almost a kilometer and a half up the slopes of Parnes. Such a continuation of the Dema wall is unnecessary according to the tactical considerations evident in the design of the rest of the wall. The ground over which it runs soon becomes so rough and steep that no hoplite formation could move across it, while peltasts would require no fieldwork to give them a decisive advantage over an enemy ascending the slopes. At its southern end, the wall built in the more substantial manner terminates on Aigaleos before reaching slopes as steep as those across which most of the northern sector is built. [55] The time and effort spent in constructing the northern continuation of the wall could well have been spent on completing a much shorter stretch of the wall with ramps and sally ports. Such a reallocation of labor could easily have extended the wall in the conventional manner for another two hundred meters or so, to a point on the slopes of Parries equivalent to the position of the southern end on Aigaleos. There is no evident explanation why, if haste were needed, the wall should have been extended for such a distance. The fact that it was so extended indicates that haste alone does not account for the northern sector.


The continuation of the wall in such a manner, without sally ports over steep ground, is not only unnecessary according to the tactical principles evident in the rest of the

Dema wall, it is even counterproductive. Without sally ports, this line made no allowance for the sort of active defense that was at the heart of the plan in the main sector. Control of the high ground beyond the ends of the wall in the pass would certainly have been a concern to the defenders, but on ground as steep as that covered in the northern sector, control would be best assured by having a force of peltasts in readiness on the heights. [56] These could move quickly enough across the slopes to concentrate wherever the enemy might be attempting to storm the heights. A wall of any sort, and especially one without sally ports, would be a definite liability to such skirmishing troops, hampering their movement along the slopes. Equally problematic is the apparent lack of sally ports at the beginning of the northern sector where it traverses more gently sloping ground in the northern saddle. Up to this point, the wall has been built in the style that provides more frequent sally ports to allow concentrated sorties over this near-level and more vulnerable ground, a feature that, as already noted, is a regular principle of the Dema's construction. The complete absence of gates or sally ports after the transition would pose a real problem to the defenders at this point if they expected to operate in front of the wall and to be able to withdraw again at will, as is the plan elsewhere. Arguably, it would have been better to have no wall at all here, just as on the higher slopes, than to have a wall without openings.

In explaining the northern sector as the product of "the belated adoption of an inexpensive, makeshift plan," occasioned by some "sudden emergency," Jones, Sackett, and Eliot have offered no explanation of why the "makeshift plan" should take the form that it does. Nor can an explanation be found that satisfactorily reconciles this very different wall with the defensive scheme evident in the southern sector of the Dema. The possibility that the northern sector is a later addition must be seriously considered. If this sector had been built much later, a matter of generations or even centuries after the construction of the main sector of the wall, then it would be easier to understand how it could so radically depart from the tactical plan of the original wall. The builders of the continuation might well have been insensitive to the tactical subtleties of the original plan or might have faced special circumstances that made the extension of the wall in this form desirable.


Circumstances that suit the form of the northern sector are readily found if we look to an entirely different era and manner of warfare. In considering the dates of rubble fortifications in Attica, McCredie raises the possibility that some of them might date to the Greek War of Independence. [57] He describes a wall in the ravine called the Cleft Way leading to Delphi, which is known to have been built in 1823 against the Turks by a force under Odysseus Androutsas. The wall is simple rubble, 0.90 to 1.00 meters thick, now mostly ruinous and less than 0.50 meters high where it is freestanding, but in places where it is built as a terrace on steep slopes, it has a face almost 2 meters high. The wall follows a generally horseshoe-shaped course, starting high up the slopes on one side of the valley, curving as it descends to cross the streambed at the bottom of the valley, and continuing to curve in the same direction as it ascends the opposite side. The total length of the wall now preserved is something under five hundred meters, but originally it was probably closer to seven hundred meters. It was built to guard against an enemy coming up the valley from the direction of the open end of the horseshoe. McCredie describes the tactical purpose of the wall as follows:

The flanks, or ends of the horseshoe, which allowed the defenders to surround the attacking enemy, would be of use only to men with rifles. The distance from these ends to the floor of the valley is too great for spears or arrows. The thinness of the wall is notable; the purpose of the wall was to offer a protected place from which men armed with rifles might fire on an advancing enemy, and there is in this situation no point in building a thick wall. [58]

McCredie found the comparison between this wall and other thin rubble walls in Attica to be inconclusive, but a comparison with the northern sector of the Dema, which McCredie did not consider, is instructive. The form of the wall in the Cleft Way, both in the slightness of its construction and in its course, climbing high up and across steepening slopes, is closely comparable to the northern sector of the Dema wall. The ground covered by this sector of the Dema, as is noted above, is suitable only for skirmishing troops, and indeed, only skirmishing troops armed with firearms would have found such a wall to be of any use. Firing from ambush or from behind simple rubble walls known as tambouria was the customary manner of fighting among the Greeks and Albanians of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. [59] No sally ports would have been needed, for charges under fire were not characteris-


tic. [60] Fire from such a protected position would have been effective in preventing any encircling movement on these slopes around the defenses in the pass. The tactical conception of the northern sector of the Dema thus fits very well with the manner of warfare practiced in Greece during the Turkish era. When contrasted with the evident unsuitability of this wall to ancient warfare, it seems quite reasonable to conclude that this sector of the Dema was a work of the age of firearms. When we note that fighting in the vicinity of the Aigaleos-Parnes pass did in fact take place during the War of Independence, the likelihood that this part of the wall was constructed at that time becomes strong indeed. [61] There may, then, be more of a basis than fanciful pride for the local tradition that the Dema wall is a work of the War of Independence.

If, as argued here, we recognize that the northern continuation of the Dema wall substantially postdates the original construction of the wall, then we can also explain the condition of the wall at its transition between the two sectors, where Jones, Sackett, and Eliot saw evidence that led them to conclude that the Dema as a whole had been left incomplete. The builders of the northern sector obviously did not think that their wall was worth building as carefully or as massively as the southern sector of the Dema. Therefore, they may well have dismantled the adjacent portion of the existing wall for some distance in order to use its stones as building material. [62] The remains of a slight and reduced wall in the northern saddle are more likely the evidence of stone-robbing for this new wall than of a hasty and incomplete original construction.

This scenario provides a more plausible explanation for both the scantiness of the remains in the northern saddle and the remarkably different nature of the northern sector of the Dema than does the conclusion reached by Jones, Sackett, and Eliot. There is no need to conclude with them that the last portion of the Dema wall was built in haste and even ultimately abandoned before construction was completed. Rather, we should conclude that the northern end of the Dema was


originally built in the same careful manner that characterizes the rest of the work for almost three kilometers across the Dema pass to the south. In its original form, the Dema might have continued a short way beyond the last recognizable independent wall-section. How much further, whether one section or more, must remain uncertain given the considerable disturbance caused by the scavenging of stones for the continuation of the wall. The original wall need not have continued very far, since the slopes of Parnes soon rise steeply enough to form a natural obstacle and defensive vantage point. The irregularities in the plan of the last independent wall-section, with its unique southward-facing sally port and its combination of the features of short and long wall-sections, were almost certainly designed in view of the fact that the Dema was soon to reach its northernmost end. [63]


Three The Dema Tower

We turn now to another feature of the Dema defenses, the tower located on the higher of the two hills crossed by the wall. Because of its proximity to the wall, the resemblance of its construction to that of the wall, and the apparent suitability of the tower as a vantage point for a view along the wall and beyond, the Dema tower has been considered to be a contemporary and integral part of the Dema wall defenses by every commentator to describe it. [1] In what follows, the evidence of excavation and new observations on the site will be presented in support of the same conclusion regarding the contemporaneity of the wall and tower. With regard to its function, as will be seen, this reappraisal substantially changes our understanding of the purpose of the tower, relating it to a system of mountaintop observation posts along the western frontiers of Attica. Its association with the wall, though reinterpreted, is reaffirmed, and as will be shown, excavation has yielded evidence for the date of construction of the tower which substantiates the circumstantial cases made in chapter 2 for dating the Dema defenses within the first half of the fourth century.


The remains of the Dema tower rest on the summit of the highest hill in the Aigaleos-Parnes gap, a hill known locally, after the tower on it, as


[ Full Size ] Map 3. The Dema tower and adjacent wall Pyrgarthi (elevation 225.17

Map 3. The Dema tower and adjacent wall

Pyrgarthi (elevation 225.17 meters). [2] The tower sits behind and above the line of the Dema wall, which passes some 100 meters away at the closest point. The position of the tower would be an excellent one for commanding a view along the entire length of the wall but for the existence of a knoll between it and the wall, 130 meters southwest of the tower (benchmark at elevation 224.75 meters in map 3). This knoll, being nearly the same elevation as the summit on which the tower sits, completely blocks the view of more than 600 meters of the wall, where it runs lower down the slope beyond the knoll (see figures 20-22). [3] Both


north and south of this obscured stretch, the remaining length of the wall can be seen from the tower site. The knoll itself would have been the most suitable position for a view along the whole length of the wall if it were essential for the tower to have such a view. The importance of this point will be stressed when the function of the tower is considered.

The long-range views from the tower are impressive (figures 21-24). To the southwest, most of the peaks of Salamis are visible above the bay of Eleusis. Eleusis itself is in clear view, and beyond it (weather permitting) the mountains of the Megarid. Westward, most of the Eleusinian plain is in view, bounded by the Pateras range and its outrunners, with the peak of Kithairon on the horizon. Closer to the tower, the view of the nearer edge of the Eleusinian plain is blocked by the southwestern knoll of Pyrgarthi and by the western spur of Kalistiri. The slopes of Parnes dominate the view to the north, as do the slopes of Aigaleos to the south. Immediately east of the tower, between Aigaleos and Parnes, the whole plain of Ano Liosia can be seen, except for a small section of the foreground blocked by an eastern knoll of Pyrgarthi, now disappearing in quarry work. Menidi/Acharnai lies at the far end of the plain, and beyond it the upper end of the Athenian plain is in view, with Mount Pentele dominating the view beyond.

The Tower Enclosure

The Dema tower is surrounded by a low enclosure wall that traces an elliptical course, with irregularities on its eastern and western ends where the enclosure wall bends to incorporate bedrock outcrops into its line. The tower sits on the highest ground, near the southwestern end of the enclosure, while the largest open area within the enclosure is the gently sloping ground northeast of the tower. The interior of the enclosure, like most of this limestone hill, is rocky and uneven, with few level areas. The enclosure wall is built of roughly laid limestone rubble, with traces of its inner and outer faces preserved for most of its circumference. Only in one area, on the southern side of the enclosure (bounding areas 2S, 3S, and 4S in map 4), is the rubble so sparse that no trace of either face can be followed. The width of the wall varies from 1.20 to 1.80 meters, and it stands today to a height of 0.60 meters at its highest points. It probably was never very much higher than this, since only a


never very much higher than this, since only a ― 66 ― [ Full Size ]

Map 4. The Dema tower


small number of stones lie loose around it. No trace of an entrance through the wall is to be found.

Inspection before excavation revealed no evidence for ancient subsidiary structures within the enclosure. [4] The only artifacts to be found were fragments of Lakonian-type roof tiles, scattered throughout the enclosure, but more abundant close to the tower. Excavation within the enclosure was undertaken in an effort to discover datable occupation debris and to ascertain whether or not there were any subsidiary structures associated with the tower. The area immediately south and east of the tower seemed to be the most promising quarter for investigation, since it

was generally covered with a layer of rubble that might preserve features or artifacts beneath it, and the ground here was more nearly level than elsewhere in the enclosure (figures 25, 26). The area immediately north and west of the tower had less rubble cover, and here sterile bedrock could be seen over much of the area. The numerous jagged bedrock outcrops in the open area northeast of the tower made this section seem less likely to yield occupation debris. Work was thus directed toward clearing the rubble and excavating in the areas labeled 2S, 3S, and 4S in map 4. [5]


Limestone rubble covered most of the excavation area to a depth of 0.40 to 0.50 meters, occasionally up to I meter against the face of the tower. This scatter of stones was continuous between the tower and the inner face of the enclosure wall in area 2S, while in 3S and 4S, the scatter generally ended 3 meters from the tower. Roof-file fragments were found


in this rubble as well as below it, amidst smaller stones on the soil or bedrock surface. Fragments of pottery were also found on the soil or bedrock surface immediately below the scatter of rubble. [6]

Below the rubble, islands of bedrock protruded from the soil, although not so prominently here as elsewhere in the enclosure. The soil around this bedrock, with the exception of dark-gray surface patches formed by the decomposition of plant remains, was uniformly a loose, crumbly red earth, usually mixed with a moderate amount of small stone chips but sometimes free of them. Alongside the tower, and up to two to three meters away from it, this soil frequently contained large concentrations of roof-tile fragments, filling cavities and depressions in the bedrock (figure 27). Roof tiles and earth together formed a layer usually no more than 0.20 meters thick, depending on the contours of the bedrock below. This red earth is certainly the disintegrated debris of sun-dried mud brick which has eroded and washed over the site. [7] Part of this mud brick, however, had been deliberately laid down, with the concentrations of files as a packing to level the ground in connection with the construction of secondary structures to be described below. Sherds were found in this mud-brick debris, both with the concentrations of tiles and in earth relatively free of tiles. It is significant that sherds associated with the tile concentrations were always found among the uppermost files of those packings. [8]

The soil below this, wherever bedrock lay deeper down, was a red earth similar to the mud-brick debris but distinct in that it contained many stone chips and pebbles, all somewhat worn and rounded by water, whereas the chips in the upper layer had rougher edges. This lower soil also contained no sherds or tile fragments except at its uppermost


level. It is evident that this sterile soil formed the original ground level before the deposition of the mud-brick and tile debris.

Secondary Walls

As the clearing of the fallen rubble around the tower proceeded, remains of four rubble walls were discovered (Walls 1-4, map 4). The packings of tile fragments respected these walls, coming up to but not underlying them, indicating that these walls were built before the roof-tile fills were laid down.

Walls 2 and 4 abut the tower face without bonding into it (figure 27). Both walls probably once formed right angles with Walls 1 and 3 respectively. The continuation of Wall 4 was indicated in the roof-tile fills lying on either side but not intruding into the area where the stones of the wall had been removed (see stippling in map 4). A dense roof-tile fill on the western side of Wall 2 did not extend as far as Wall 1, so here evidence for a corner is less dear. [9] Bedrock nowhere showed signs of having been dressed to form a bedding for these walls or to level the uneven surfaces enclosed by them. Equally notable is the absence of any hard-packed earth or stone- chip floor surface. The only indication that care was taken to provide a level surface in the spaces bounded by these walls and the tower is the presence of the loose packings of roof-tile fragments and mud-brick debris.

Some large roof-tile fragments were found standing upright against the foot of Wall 4, on either side, as well as against the foot of the tower just south of Wall 4. These appear to have been deliberately placed to border and retain the mud-brick and roof-tile fill packed up against these rubble walls. [10] The fact that the tile and mud-brick fills with their crude revetments were the only evidence of leveling for floors associated with Walls 1-4, and even more significant, the fact that a few isolated tile fragments were found built into Walls 3 and 4, wedged among and under the stones of these walls, indicate that the construction of the walls and the laying of the tile and mud-brick leveling fills all belong to the same construction phase. This construction was undertaken when large


quantifies of broken roof tiles and disintegrating mud brick were available on the site. [11] Since the tower itself is the only structure from which this material could have been taken, it is evident that the walls and associated leveling fills are the remains of a construction phase begun after the tower had fallen into ruin and its roof had collapsed.

The Tower

All that remains now of the tower is a solid circular base built of limestone rubble. The base is founded at ground level, on earth and bedrock outcrops, where it has an average diameter of 7.60 meters. The stones on its face are as carefully fitted as unworked rubble can be, while the solid core is more loosely packed with stones, earth, and limestone chips. [12] The face presently stands an average of 1.36 meters high, and it has a slight inward batter giving the tower an average diameter of 7.40 meters at the top of the preserved face. There is no evidence for a ground-level doorway into the tower, nor is there any trace of interior walls or chambers. The base appears to have been built as a solid platform.

The top of the base has been disturbed. All stones are loose, and a pit over a meter deep has been carelessly dug into the fill of the base for some purpose. As a result of this disturbance, no trace of the original top surface remains, but it is likely that it stood not much higher than its present overall height of 2 meters. [13]


Compared to the ubiquitous roof-tile fragments, the quantity of pottery recovered in excavation around the tower was small. Nevertheless, frag-


ments of at least eighteen vessels were found, including three black-glazed vessels with complete or nearly complete profiles, one complete beehive kalathos lid, and two intact late Roman lamps. In addition to the identifiable vessels, numerous undiagnostic coarse sherds and a few incised roof-tile fragments preserving portions of gameboards were found. Altogether, these finds make up a significant body of evidence for the nature and date of activity on this site.

Sherds on the surface were usually covered by hard encrustations of lime, making joins nearly impossible. All sherds recovered from the stratum of the mud- brick debris had become discolored and soft, apparently through the actions of soil and water. Black-glazed sherds often had only a few traces of glaze preserved. For these reasons, clay descriptions would be misleading and have been omitted from the catalog. It should be noted, however, that, with the possible exception of no. 6, all of the black-glazed sherds are probably Attic. [14]

Black-Glazed Pottery 1. Cup with high-swung handles Figure A, Figure 29

DP -2S-5. Two nonjoining handle fragments, each with part of body at handle base. L. of handle 0.045 m, D. of handle 0.008 m. Body is thin walled, with no sign of articulation or offset for rim in handle zone. Black glaze in and out, inside of handles reserved.

Probably a skyphos or stemless cup with plain rim. These handles are not as high swung and attenuated as those on most shallow-bowled stemmed and stemless cups. This was probably therefore a cup with a steeper wall, such as the stemless cups, Agora XII, nos. 467, 468, which date between ca. 430 and 400 B.C. Cf. also the skyphos illustrated by Richter and Milne 1935, figure 173, cited in Agora XII as a parallel to nos. 467 and 468.

2. Cup Figure A

DP -2S-2. Three joining fragments giving a quarter of the circumference of the foot, half of the floor, and part of the lower body. Pres. H. 0.022 m, est. D. of foot 0.07 m. Flaring ring foot, thin-walled floor and body. Light spiral grooves on undersurface. Traces of fugitive black glaze in and out, undersurface probably reserved.

Probably a bolsal or one-handler. Cf. Agora XII, nos. 539 (bolsal, ca. 420 B.C. ) and 755 (one-handler, ca. 400 B.C. ); Agora P 27409 (bolsal, from deposit S 16:1, ca. 425-400 B.C. ; see Holloway 1966, 33-84 and plate 28c). The thinness of the fabric in this specimen, as in examples cited, is


plate 28c). The thinness of the fabric in this specimen, as in examples cited, is ―

Figure A


appropriate in a cup manufactured in the last quarter of the fifth or first quarter of the fourth century B.C. ; cf. the remarks of Corbett 1949, 301-2, and cf. the one- handler no. 74, p. 330 and plate 93.

3. Bowl with incurved rim Figure A, Figure 29

DP -2S-l. Nine joining fragments giving complete foot and one quarter of wall and rim and five nonjoining fragments. H. 0.041 m, est. max. D. 0.09 m, D. of foot 0.058

m. Torus ring foot, concave on interior with offset, light wheelmade facets on

exterior. Deep body, wall rises in convex curve becoming gradually sharper to the

incurved rim. Lip rounded. Black glaze in and out, slightly mottled in firing.

Cf. Agora XII, nos. 838, 889: third quarter of the fourth century B.C. For slightly more developed (and presumably slightly later) examples of this deep-bodied shape, with more sharply incurved rim, cf. Agora XII, nos. 840-42; "Vail House" nos. 28, 31; Miller 1974, no. 31; Thompson 1934, no. A 20; in this last example, the torus foot has become beveled.

4. Bowl Figure A

DP -3S-7. Two nonjoining fragments of foot and lower body. Pres. H. 0.024 m, est.

D. of foot 0.092 m. Slightly flaring convex ring foot, concave on interior, with

grooved resting surface. Undersurface swelling toward nipple at center. Black glaze in and out.

Bowl with incurred rim, type similar to no. 3. For bowls with similar foot,

cf. Agora XII, nos. 830, 832, 841, all middle to second half of the fourth century

5. Small bowl Figure A, Figure 29

DP -4S-9. Two joining fragments giving complete foot and small portion of wall to rim. H. 0.024 m, est. max. D. 0.08 m, D. of foot 0.054 m. Broad ring foot, convex on exterior, concave on interior. Undersurface has central nipple. Shallow body, curve of wall turning abruptly inward just below rounded lip. Black glaze in and out, resting surface reserved. Incised graffito on undersurface: D or L , or possibly A.

Cf. Agora XII, no. 887: 350-325 B.C. This shape is commonly found with little variation from ca. 375 into the early third century B.C. ; see Agora XII, nos. 883-84, 886-89; Rotroff 1983, no. 5; Corbett 1949, no. 155; Thompson 1934, no. A 18. Examples dated by context earlier in the series usually have a reserved resting surface, as does this specimen; Rotroff 1983, 265, places examples with reserved resting surfaces before ca. 310 B.C.

6. Squat aryballos Figure A, Figure 29

DP -4S-8. Eleven joining and four nonjoining fragments of body to base of neck. Pres. H. 0.06 m, max. D. 0.086 m. Flat base, squat body beveled 0.006 m above base. Six-toothed comb used to cover body from neck to maximum diameter with haphazard vertical ribbing. Dipped in thin black glaze, drip line on beveled face leaving base reserved; interior glazed.


This type of ribbed aryballos imitates the shape and incised ribbing of Corinthian blisterware aryballoi. Examples with closely spaced "linear" ribbing as in this specimen are known at Corinth in true and imitation blisterware fabric, dated to the second and third quarters of the fourth century B.C. ; see Corinth VII.iii, 147-48 and note 17. Cf. the two examples, apparently true blisterware, of the second half of the fourth century published by Broneer 1962, 24-25, nos. 20 and 21, with plate 12 f, and p. 6 on the date; cf. also Agora XII, no. 1681: second half of the fourth century B.C. by context. An imitation blisterware example from Athens is published by Rotroff 1983, 289, no. 45, dated late fourth to early third century B.C. ; it is somewhat more squat and heavy and presumably, therefore, somewhat later than this specimen.

7. Skyphos Figure A

DP -2S-6. Fragment of rim. Pres. H. 0.025 m. Convex upper wall with slightly outturned rim. Lip rounded. Black glaze in and out.

Compare the rim profiles in Agora XII, nos. 350-54: second through last quarter of the fourth century B.C. The latest of these types remained in use in the first quarter of the third century; see Rotroff 1984, 347.

8. Kantharos Figure A

DP -4S-10. Two joining fragments of rim. Pres. H. 0.033 m, est. D. of rim 0.08 m. Vertical wall flaring to rounded lip. Black glaze in and out.

Type is either a cup-kantharos or spur-handled kantharos with plain rim, which range in date from the second quarter of the fourth to well into the third century B.C. ; see the discussion in Agora XII, 119-20, 122.

Ten nonjoining black-glazed sherds are not identifiable.


9. Roman lamp Figure 29

DP -4S-21. Five joining fragments giving less than half of lower body. Max. pres. L. 0.06 m. Moldmade lamp with deep body, thin walls, ovoid shape in horizontal section.

Shape is probably that of Corinth IV.ii, type xxviii, 113-14, dating from the middle of the third to the early fifth century A.D. , but too little is preserved to date this specimen with assurance.

10. Late Roman lamp Figure 29

DP -2S-19. Complete, worn. H. without handle 0.03 m, L. 0.071 m, W. 0.052 m. Moldmade lamp, plain flat base, deep lower body, concave disc with central filling hole, wick hole in narrow end of ovoid body, rounded vertical handle, H. 0.011 m, at back of body. No decoration preserved.

For shape cf. Agora VII, nos. 2440, 2796, 2806, 2807: late fifth to sixth century A.D.


― 75 ― [ Full Size ] Figure B 11. Late Roman lamp Figure 29 DP

Figure B

11. Late Roman lamp Figure 29

DP -3S-20. Joining upper and lower halves giving complete lamp, worn. H. without handle 0.037 m, L. 0.075 m, W. 0.056 m, handle H, 0.011 m. Moldmade lamp as no. 10 above.

Coarse Wares

12. Water pitcher Figure A

DP -2S-11. Two nonjoining fragments of rim. Pres. H. 0.02 m, est. D. of rim ca. 0.11

m. Outturned, thickened rim, rounded on top, concave below, possibly broken at

point where rim springs from a raised ridge around top of neck.

For the shape, cf. "Vail House" nos. 67 and 68, figure 8, p. 382; and Corinth VII.iii, no. 631, plate 24. Evidently of non-Attic and non-Corinthian origin, this type of water pitcher became extremely common from the last third of the fourth century B.C. onward; see the discussions by Thompson 1934, 465, and Corinth VII.iii, 113, with the foreign examples from contexts of ca. 350- 250 B.C. cited in note 14. At the Vari house it occurs in an assemblage dated ca. 350-275 B.C. For examples of the later fourth and early third centuries, see Miller 1974, nos. 46, 47, with plate 33; numerous Hellenistic examples are illustrated by Braun 1970, plate 82.2, 3.

13. Water pitcher Figure A

DP -4S-12. Two joining fragments of base. Pres. H. 0.012 m, est. D. of base 0.077

m. Flat base thickened to form offset at bottom of wall.

Probably a smaller pitcher similar to no. 12 above.

14. Transport/storage amphora Figure B, Figure 30

DP -2S-3. Fifteen joining fragments giving toe and lower body, at least seventeen nonjoining fragments from body as high as the shoulder. Pres. H.


0.265 m, est. max. pres. D. 0.368 m. Knob toe with shallow depression in undersurface, rounded flange around knob, D. 0.09 m, narrowing above to junction with swelling convex body.

A similar toe comes from the Athenian Agora deposit A 17: 3, which is dated ca. 320-290 B.C. , Agora XII, 383; cf. P 20472, from deposit D 16:1, dated to the fourth century B.C. , Agora XII, 387. A complete amphora with a roughly similar toe was found at Corinth in fill of the late fourth to early third century B.C. ; see Robinson 1969, 10, no. 4, with plate 2 no. 4.

15. Transport/storage amphora Figure B, Figure 30

DP -2S-13, DP -3S-15. Large fragment of toe and lower body, many fragments from body as high as the shoulder. Pres. H. 0.24 m, est. max. pres. D. 0.28 m. Knob toe with deep depression in undersurface, rounded flange around knob, D. 0.072 m, concave above in junction with narrow body, gradually flaring to convex profile.

Cf. McCredie 1966, 24 no. 12, and no. 25 in plates 4, 20e: late fourth century B.C. Also similar are Athenian Agora nos. P 20509, from the blind passage of Group B, Thompson 1934, 330-32, which is deposit H 16:3, containing much material of the late fourth century B.C. ; see Agora XII, 393; P 20431, fourth century B.C. , from the NW room of the Poros Building; P 25945, from deposit F 17:3 —POU (1): second half of the fourth century B.C. , Agora XII, 390.

16. Transport/storage amphora

DP -4S-16. Eight joining fragments of lower body, toe not preserved, other nonjoining body fragments. Pres. H. 0.22 m, est. max. pres. D. 0.28 m. Lower body similar in shape to no. 15 above.

Numerous coarse body fragments recovered throughout the excavated area are likely to be amphora sherds, although some may be uncombed coarse kalathos sherds (see no. 20 below). Two amphora handle fragments were found, but no neck or rim fragments were identified.

17. Basin

DP -3N-27. Body fragment. Single fragment of a large, thick-walled vessel, probably a large basin. Horizontal relief band on exterior, with attachment point for a horizontal handle immediately below relief band.

Possibly a beehive. Cf. the "Orestada" vessel, a basin with horizontal handles from the Rachi site near the Isthmus of Corinth, dated ca. 360-240 B.C. , Broneer 1958, no. 42, with plate 14b; for its identification as a beehive, see Kardara 1961, 264-65, with plate 81 figure 6; cf. also "Vari House" 399, with plate 78c. The identification of the "Orestada" vessel as a beehive has now been questioned; see Crane and Graham 1985, 160-61. Regardless of the original purpose of basins like this specimen or the "Orestada" vessel, it is possible that this specimen was a basin used as a makeshift beehive; cf. note 20 below.


18. Beehive kalathos lid Figure 31

DP -2S-4. Twenty-seven fragments giving complete lid, chips missing. D. varies from 0.40 to 0.405 m. Lid flat on inner side, outer side has two concentric relief bands, D. of outer band 0.285 m, D. of inner band 0.135 m, around a central boss. Crescent- shaped indentation in edge of lid, 0.04 m across, 0.015 m deep. Four holes piercing lid are set in pairs alongside the outer relief band; pairs are opposite each other, in line with the indentation on the edge, each pair of holes 0.08 m apart. Raised lug, H. 0.016 m, extends along the outer relief band between the two holes nearest the identation; outer relief band on side opposite lug is raised slightly to form a second lug.

The association of lids of this type with combed kalathoi, as no. 20 below, and their interpretation as ceramic beehives have been established in the publication of the Vail house in Attica; see "Vail House" 397-414, 443-52. Cf. also Agora XII, 217- 18. Beehive lids and combed kalathos fragments are illustrated in "Vari House" figures 13, 18-21, and plates 75-77, 83-86; known parallels are listed in note 21, p. 398; on the form and function of the lids, see 409, 446. The examples from the Vari house are dated by their context to between the third quarter of the fourth century and the first quarter of the third, pp. 414-18. There seems to be little chronologically significant variation in details of shape and size in beehive kalathoi and their lids between the late fifth century B.C. and the Roman period.

19. Beehive kalathos lid Figure 30

DP -2S-22. Single fragment, broken all around. Max. pres. L. 0.143 m. Lid without concentric relief bands. Deeply impressed epsilon in what is probably the center of the upper side, H. of letter 0.053 m, L. of upper and lower crossbars 0.045 m, center crossbar shorter. Trace of hole in lid at broken edge farthest from epsilon.

The identification of this fragment as a beehive kalathos lid with an impressed epsilon in the center is assured by comparison with the larger fragment of such a lid in the collection of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (provenance unknown), illustrated in figure 30. This fragment of nearly half a lid, est. D. 0.38 m, has a crescent-shaped indentation in its outer edge, 0.027 m deep, adjacent to which is a lug or ledge, H. 0.008 m, L. 0.075 m, tangent to two holes piercing the lid. At the center of the lid is an epsilon, partially broken away, impressed while the day was wet with a blunt tool, not a stamp. L. of lower crossbar 0.048 m, center crossbar shorter. The clay of this lid is buff (5YR 7/6 reddish yellow) with red inclusions.

20. Internally combed beehive kalathoi Figure 31

DP -2S+3S-23, DP -4S-24. Twenty-five fragments, mostly nonjoining, of bases and bodies, no rims. Average est. D. of bases 0.19 m. Base and body fragments completely or partially covered on interior surfaces with vertical combing.


[ Full Size ] Figure C For identification of these as ceramic beehive fragments, see

Figure C

For identification of these as ceramic beehive fragments, see no. 18 above. One base fragment is in the collection of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, a surface find from the Dema tower, site A-19.

Miscellaneous 21. Incised gameboard on roof tile Figure C, Figure 32

DP -2S-25. Three joining fragments, broken all around, of Lakonian-type pan tile with streaky black glaze on concave side, as no. 24 below. Max. pres. L. 0.142 m, max. pres. W. 0.075 m. Square gameboard, almost half preserved, incised after firing on the unglazed convex side, oriented at a 45º angle to original sides of tile, roughly parallel to the top and right-


hand broken edges of the fragment. Gameboard is formed by three concentric squares with sides bisected by perpendicular lines. L. of side of outer square 0.10 m, L. of intermediate square 0.08 m, est. L. of inner square 0.06 m. On glazed side of tile are two lines meeting at right angle, incised after firing; these are oriented

parallel to the original sides of the tile, as indicated by the direction of the streaks of glaze and the curve of the tile as it approaches the lateral edge.

The game represented is Nine Men's Morris, a two-player game, also known as Mühle, or the Mill, and as Morelles, or La Merelle. On the play of the game and its wide popularity in antiquity, see Bell 1960, 93-95; cf. also Baran 1974, 21-23. The closest example known to me of this game in time and space to those of the Dema tower occurs at Gordion, incised on the underside of a reused block built into the foundation of the paved court for the Persian gate of the sixth century B.C. , published by Young 1955, 12, and figure 25 in plate 6.

22. Incised gameboards on roof tile Figure C, Figure 33

ASCS A-19. Single fragment, broken all around, of Lakonian-type pan tile, as no. 24 below. Max. pres. L. 0.125 m, max. pres. W. 0.091 m. Glaze not preserved. Lines deeply incised after firing on concave side to form gameboard, about half preserved. Gameboard is similar to no. 21 above, but design is less carefully executed and the configuration is rectangular rather than square; diagonal lines are added to connect the adjacent corners of the concentric rectangles. On the convex side are one or more attempts to outline a similar gameboard, without the diagonal lines, more lightly and more carelessly incised. This sherd is in the collection of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, a surface find from the Dema tower, site A-19.

See no. 21 above. The variant of Nine Men's Morris with diagonal lines at the corners is also known today; see Gibson 1970, 32-33.

23. Incised roof tile Figure C, Figure 32

DP -4S-26. Single fragment, broken all around. Max. pres. L. 0.072 m. Fragment of a black-glazed Lakonian-type roof tile, as no. 24 below, with hatched lines incised after firing on glazed side.

Possibly a tally; cf. Talcott 1935, 516 figure 28c, and Lang 1956, nos. 2, 3, 63, and 84.

24. Lakonian-type roof tiles Figure D

Thousands of fragments of red- and black-glazed Lakonian-type roof tiles were recovered. There were no complete tiles, and none were restored to their full lengths. The most complete restored example of a pan tile has a width of 0.50 m, a max. pres. length of 0.735 m, and a max. thickness of 0.016 m. The best-preserved example of a cover tile has a width of 0.23 m behind the thickened lower rim, a max. pres. length of 0.28 m, a max. thickness of the lower rim of 0.034 m, and an average thickness of


[ Full Size ] Figure D 0.015 m. Thickness of fabric and details of rim

Figure D

0.015 m. Thickness of fabric and details of rim profiles are variable, but the figures cited here and the pieces illustrated in figure D are representative of the whole lot, with the exception of the unusual, asymmetrical curve of the rim of the illustrated pan tile; typical examples have a symmetrical profile following the curve of the right rim of this tile.

These are typical examples of Lakonian-type roof tiles, the dimensions and profiles of which are fairly uniform through the classical, Hellenistic, and early Roman periods. Attention to details of glaze, fabric, and profile might allow more precise dating of roof tiles of this type. DEMA 185 n. 120 cites the opinion of Mrs. Carl Roebuck that the files of the type found at the Dema tower are datable to the fourth century B.C. See the examples cited by Orlandos 1955, 103; Martin 1965, 68- 70; Olynthus VIII, 232, and figure 17, A and B; Stevens 1950, 174-88; "Dema House" 84-85, with notes 9-11. On the basis of the measurements cited in these works, the restored length of both cover and pan files from the Dema tower should be an average of 0.95 m, and it is probable that the cover files had one end, the upper, narrower than the other, tapering from 0.23 m to about 0.19 m. There are in fact cover tile fragments with both lighter rims and sharper curves than that of the illustrated example, and these would have been the upper rims of the cover tiles. Pan tiles may also have had a taper from 0.50 to about 0.45 m in width, but no measurements could be made from the joined fragments to confirm this possibility.


25. Twisted lead strip Figure 33

Two fragments of a lead strip, pointed at one end, twisted into a coil. The strip bears no trace of an inscription. Edge of the strip appears to have been cut by a sharp instrument. Apparently a piece of waste material that had been trimmed off and discarded.


Two phases of building and occupation on the site of the Dema tower are distinguishable on the basis of the structural remains: the phase of the tower and the phase of the secondary structures formed by Walls 1-4 adjacent to the tower. The contexts of the roof-tile fragments and of the mud-brick fill, debris from the collapse of the tower reused in the secondary structures, make it certain that these were consecutive phases.

Excavation was undertaken with the hope of discovering closely datable occupation debris from the original use of the tower, and in this respect, the results were initially disappointing. Because of the extensive secondary activity on the site, no undisturbed contexts of first-phase material could be found. The walls and tile packings of the second phase might have covered debris left from the first phase, but no pottery sherds were found buried within or under the tile packings and walls, so there is no pottery that can be associated by context with the tower phase of the site. [15]

Find contexts do establish a clear connection between many of the pottery sherds and the phase of the secondary structures. Sherds found on top of the dense roof-tile fills adjacent to Walls 1-4 could possibly be first-phase debris that, by chance, was left on top of the files after they were laid down, but more likely they were deposited there only after those fills were in place. This likelihood becomes a virtual certainty in the case of a vessel with many fragments, all found in the same spot on top of a tile packing. The building of the secondary structures, and especially the laying of the tile and mud-brick leveling fills associated with those structures, involved considerable displacement of earlier debris. It is highly improbable that many fragments of any vessel left over from the original occupation of the tower would have remained together in one place on top of the tile packings after the secondary structures were


built. The same reasons make it unlikely that a substantial number of fragments of an older vessel would have remained undisturbed in one place in the immediate vicinity of the secondary structures during the building and use of those structures. There is no evidence for extensive clearing or construction on the tower site after the abandonment of the secondary structures, so it is reasonable to expect that debris left when the secondary structures were abandoned should be relatively undisturbed. These considerations make it possible to identify the majority of the pottery sherds as debris from the secondary occupation of the tower site.

All fragments of nos. 5 and 6 (black-glazed wares), 9 and 10 (Roman lamps), 13 (water pitcher), and many of the beehive kalathos fragments of no. 20 were found on top of tile packings. Disregarding the Roman lamps as much later material, nos. 5 and 6 both date to the middle or second half of the fourth century, which is possibly also the date of the chronologically less diagnostic coarse sherds, nos. 13 and 20. The aryballos no. 6 is almost three-quarters complete as restored, and all fifteen of its fragments were found together in one place, on top of the tile fill south of Wall 4 close to the tower. As noted above, the find context of the many sherds of no. 6 indicates that it came to rest after the tile fill was laid down. Indeed, this vessel is almost certainly debris left from the period of use of the secondary structures. The two fragments of the black-glazed bowl no. 5, of the same date and

from a similar find context as no. 6, support this conclusion, and it is borne out by the analysis of other finds.

The many sherds of three, or possibly four, different artifacts found together as

a group provide a second significant context, evidently an abandonment deposit. All

identifiable sherds belonging to the black-glazed bowl no. 3, the amphora no. 14, and the beehive lid no. 18 were found in immediate contact with each other, buried within mud-brick debris atop bedrock and under rubble in a small area on the southern side of Wall I (figure 28). The three sherds of the black-glazed cup no. 2 were found very close to, but not directly contiguous with, this deposit. The most remarkable artifact in this group is the complete lid no. 18, all twenty-seven fragments of which were found in place, where the lid had been smashed and left undisturbed until its discovery. The beehive lid is not closely datable, but parallels from datable contexts (such as the Vari house; see discussion under catalog no. 18) demonstrate that this type of lid is very much at home in the period established by the latest closely datable vessel from this deposit. This is the black-glazed bowl no. 3, the shape of which, restored from fourteen fragments, shows that it is a type characteristic of the second half of the fourth century. This date is con-sonant with the parallels for the amphora no. 14, of which at least thirty-


two fragments of the body and toe were found. The black-glazed cup no. 2 dates at least a half-century earlier than no. 3. Because of its date and the smaller number of fragments and proportion of the vessel pre-served, this specimen may well be first- phase debris left by chance in the vicinity of the deposit of later material.

This deposit, dumped here in the second half of the fourth century, confirms the conclusions to be drawn from the material found on top of roof-file fills, namely, that pottery of the second half of the fourth century is associated with beehive fragments and is found in contexts no earlier than the phase of the secondary structures. Indeed, this comparatively abundant material can be identified as debris from the abandonment of the secondary structures.

The rest of the sherds from the tower site were found scattered individually, either in rubble on the surface of the ground or buried in loose mud-brick or tile debris that was not part of a leveling fill associated with the secondary structures. Find contexts therefore have no bearing on the association of these sherds with either structural phase of the site, but comparison of the dates and types of these sherds to those from significant contexts allows most of the remaining pottery to be associated with the period of use of the secondary structures. The rest of the beehive kalathos sherds listed under no. 20, the lid fragment no. 19, and possibly the basin no. 17 can be placed in the group of artifacts associated with the secondary structures. The black-glazed sherds nos. 4, 7, and 8, though not so closely datable as nos. 3, 5, and 6, can easily be placed in the second half of the fourth century and are therefore most likely also part of this group. Likewise, the water pitcher no. 12 and the amphoras nos. 15 and 16, though even less closely datable by themselves, can also be associated with this group through the parallel vessel types of nos. 18 and 14.

There are, however, finds of uncertain association with this large group and

other finds that stand apart from it. The lead strip no. 25 is neither datable nor from

a context that would dearly associate it with the secondary structures. It may be

debris from this phase of the site, but it need not be. The incised roof-file fragments, nos. 21-23, were found in ambiguous contexts, on the surface and in loose tile and

mud-brick debris. As roof files, they are certainly material left from the first phase of the site, but they may have been incised at any later time. Arguments will be presented below for identifying these incised files as reused construction debris from the first phase of the site. Only nos. 1, 2, 9, 10, and 11 unambiguously stand apart from the material associated with the second phase of the site by reason of their dates. Nos. 1 and 2 are black-glazed vessels distinctly earlier than the pottery associated with the second-phase structures and are therefore probably debris from



original period of use of the tower. Nos. 9, 10, and 11, the Roman lamps, are evidence of activity on this site long after the abandonment of the secondary structures.

Altogether, therefore, excavation has yielded evidence for at least three phases of activity on the Dema tower site: the phase of the tower, in which the roof files were originally employed and with which the incised roof tiles and the cups nos. I and 2 are most likely to be associated; the phase of the secondary structures,

associated with the reuse of the roof files as leveling fills and with the majority of the pottery; and later activity that accounts for the Roman lamps. Before considering the original form, function, and date of the Dema tower, it will be useful to interpret the evidence for subsequent activity on the site, since that secondary activity provides

a terminus ante quem for the date of the original tower.

The Secondary Structures

Throughout the excavated area, fragments of internally combed beehive kalathoi were found, both body and base fragments, described under catalog no. 20, as well as one fragmentary but complete beehive lid, no. 18, a fragment of a second lid, no. 19, and a fragment of a basin, no. 17, a vessel that might also have been used as a

beehive. Beehive kalathoi were probably laid horizontally in stacks, either enclosed in

a frame of some sort or built into a wall, to provide them with shade and insulation.

[16] Given the prevalence of beehive fragments on the site, it is certain that at least one purpose of the secondary structures was to house stands of beehives.

The hills around the Dema today still abound in wild thyme, eminently suitable grazing for honeybees, and before the arrival of heavy industry and the city dump, this area was noted for beekeeping. [17] It


must have been so in antiquity as well. The suitability of the area and the availability of building material on the site of the abandoned and at least partially collapsed Dema tower evidently prompted some beekeeper to bring his hives to this spot to construct shelters for them. [18] The solid rubble base of the tower provided a wall to

build against and a break against the strong north wind. Stones were on hand for wall building, available either from the base itself or perhaps from the enclosure wall nearby. [19] Tile fragments in abundance were available to fill the irregularities in the bedrock, as well as mud brick, which might also have been used as packing around the hives as they were stacked. Very likely, enough sizable tile fragments could be salvaged to form a crude roof over the hives.

The remains of the secondary structures are too scant to show if they might have had any function other than sheltering beehives. Given the suitability of the site for this purpose, it is quite likely that beekeeping was the only reason for the reoccupation of the Dema tower site. When we consult the finds, it is noteworthy that there are no fragments of vessels associated with food preparation—for example, cooking vessels, mortars, large lekanai—which suggests that this was not primarily a habitation site. We might speculate that the several drinking cups, small bowls, water pitchers, and juglet were the accumulated discards from the daytime visits of the beekeeper. The amphoras may have been stor-


age vessels kept on the site, but it seems likely that they too were used as makeshift beehives. [20]

As to the date of this secondary activity, it has already been noted that the finds associated with this phase can be dated to the second half of the fourth century. The better-preserved specimens, nos. 3, 5, and 6, in fact find their closest parallels in examples dated by Agora XII and Corinth VII.iii to the third quarter of the fourth century. It is now recognized that some of these examples regarded as characteristic of the third quarter were in use as late as the end of the fourth century, but none of them, and therefore none of the specimens from the Dema tower, needs to be dated later than ca. 300. [21] The water pitcher no. 12 may be the latest artifact of this group. It is a Hellenistic type, the earliest appearance of which is not clearly established, though it seems to become common within the last third of the fourth century. Considering that this specimen may make a date close to midcentury unlikely, we can, with reasonable probability, place the secondary activity on the tower site somewhere within the period ca. 340-300.

Later Activity


The Roman lamps, nos. 9-11, provide the only datable evidence of activity on the Dema tower site after the abandonment of the secondary structures. Nos. 10 and 11, both the same type, date to the late fifth or sixth century A.D. No. 9 seems to be earlier, possibly by as much as two centuries. The absence of other identifiable Roman pottery or any traces of building activity suggests that the lamps were left on the site by occasional visitors who did not occupy the site for any prolonged period of time. It seems likely that these were votive lamps, left at the ruins of this hilltop tower which, by the Roman period, must have looked much as it does today, that is, a circular stone heap conspicuously placed on a hill-top. The remains might have

been taken for an ancient altar, a tumulus, or some such venerable relic. [22] Roman lamps have been found at other mountaintop sites in Attica where there are classical remains, so it is not surprising that they should appear in this context as well. [23]

The appearance of the ruined Dema tower in later times might well have led people to believe that it was a tumulus over a grave, suggesting that treasure of some sort lay buried within. If so, this might explain why the top of the rubble base of the tower is so thoroughly ruined and why a hollow has been dug out of its rubble fill. The deliberate disturbance of other mountaintop tower sites demonstrates that digging of this sort did take place. [24] This digging probably occurred after the lamps had


been left on the site, since all of the lamps were found buried beneath a thick layer of rubble that must have been thrown from the tower.

First Phase: The Tower

As it was originally constructed, the Dema tower stood by itself on the hilltop, surrounded by the enclosure wall. There is no evidence that any other structure adjoined the tower or stood elsewhere within the enclosure. The rubble enclosure wall was probably not very high and cannot in any event have been designed as a defensive perimeter, for it is too insubstantial and encloses only a small area with no significant natural strength to recommend it as a defensive position. The wall probably served simply to define the precinct of the tower, the area within which men detailed to the tower were bivouacked. The enclosure wall probably never stood to a height of much more than 0.60 meters in stone. It probably had a superstructure, more likely a brushwood charax than a mud-brick wall, which would suffice to keep grazing animals out of the bivouac area.

The mud-brick and roof-file debris found around the base of the tower originally came from the walls and roof of the tower. The erection of mud-brick walls atop a solid rubble base some 2 meters high suggests that the tower was intended to be as lofty as was practicable using the simplest and most economical of building techniques. A mud-brick structure standing two stories above the base seems likely. A third story is possible, especially if timbers were used to reinforce the mud-brick walls, but this is certainly the maximum that could be allowed for mud-brick walls standing on loosely joined rubble. We may imagine, there-fore, that the Dema tower originally stood close to 8 meters in height if it had two stories, or as much as 11 meters if it had three. [25]

Entrance to the tower and interior communication between its stories were likely provided by wooden ladders, since no trace of stone steps was found built into or against its tall rubble base. If we introduce evidence from the Hymettos tower, the remains of which are similar to those of


the Dema tower (see figure 34), then it is likely that the Dema tower had a massive central pier taking up as much as half the space within the first story, providing a firm bedding for a central post that probably sup-ported the roof and that might have continued upward as a mast to carry signal flags. The topmost story must have been well provided with windows for observation and to allow flags to be sent up the mast. [26]

The round shape of this tower gave it more stability than a rubble and mud- brick tower with corners would have had. The roof, however, must have been square in plan, since the roof tiles used in it were canonical rectangular tiles. It may have been single pitched, double pitched (gabled), or pyramidal in form. Each possibility raises questions about how a square roof was erected above a round wall. What little evidence there is suggests that a pyramidal roof was used.

A pyramidal roof would have had the advantage of having all edges of the roof at the same level, that is, with no raking cornices, and would have been the easiest type of roof to erect on a round building. A pyramidal roof is in fact the simplest approximation, in a roof of rectangular files, of a conical roof, which would have required specially shaped tiles. [27] Even so, a pyramidal roof would have required some of its rectangular tiles to be modified in shape. Pan tiles running down the lateral edge of each of the four triangular facets of the roof would need to be trimmed along a 45-degree line in order for each facet to fit flush against the adjacent facets. Since Lakonian-type tiles have distinct upper and lower ends, the trimmed upper portions would have been discarded. This may well have provided the source of the fide fragments used for the incised gameboards, nos. 21 and 22, and possibly 23, for it is note-worthy that no. 21 is a gameboard incised on a tile fragment with one edge broken along a 45-degree angle to the original sides of the tile. The find contexts of these reused tile fragments do not associate them with any particular phase of activity on the tower site, but it would be most appropriate to assume that they were incised by the idle hands of men on long and uneventful shifts of duty at the tower in its first phase.

Of the pottery finds, only nos. 1 and 2 can be associated with the first phase of the Dema tower. All fragments of both were found in area 2S, where the three fragments of the gameboard no. 21 were also found. The cup no. 1 is represented by two handle fragments, one found on the surface of the ground beneath rubble and the other found a few


meters away, buried in the mud-brick stratum near where no. 2 was found. The handles are from a type of cup produced no later than the end of the fifth century, very probably within the last third of that century. The three fragments of no. 2 were found close by the deposit comprising nos. 3, 14, and 18. The vessel form of no. 2 is not precisely identifiable from the preserved portion, but enough remains to show that this was a type of cup manufactured ca. 420-400. The interval of more than a half-century between the dates of nos. 1 and 2 and the datable pottery associated with the secondary structures clearly separates these pieces from the second phase of the site. Since these cups are unlikely to be merely stray pieces left on this barren hilltop before any structure existed here to make the spot a focus of human activity, these pieces can be identified as debris from the original use of the tower. They provide evidence that the first phase of the Dema tower is to be placed no earlier

than ca. 425 and probably no later than a generation after the end of the fifth century, that is, within the range ca. 425-375. [28]

The evidence of these sherds fits closely with the terminus post quem for the date of the Dema wall established by the Dema wall saltcellar. Taken together, the saltcellar and cups 1 and 2 establish a fairly narrow chronological range within which the construction of the Dema defenses is to be placed. The saltcellar indicates that a date within the last quarter of the fifth century is possible but that a date after the beginning of the fourth century is more likely (appendix I), and the cups nos. 1 and 2, as


first-phase occupation debris from the tower, indicate that a date any later than ca. 375 is unlikely.

This conclusion corresponds well with the terminus ante quem provided by the material from the second phase of the site. After its initial use, the tower was abandoned for a sufficient length of time that it fell into ruin, and its debris was reused by a beekeeper to provide shelter for his stands of beehives. The most probable period for this reoccupation of the tower site, ca. 340-300, indicates that original construction of the tower should probably be placed before the middle of the fourth century. A construction date within the first quarter of the fourth century would allow an adequate interval for the tower to have become dilapidated and clearly useless as a watchtower by the time the beekeeper arrived.

Excavation of the Dema tower has thus yielded evidence, corroborated by the Dema wall saltcellar, indicating that the construction of the Dema wall and tower might be placed as early as the last quarter of the fifth century and more probably is to be placed within the first quarter of the fourth century. This agrees well with the analysis of other archaeological criteria and with the evidence for the tactical plan of the wall discussed in chapter 2. This conclusion is based in part on the assumption that the Dema wall and tower were built at the same time as part of the same defensive scheme. The demonstration of this assumption depends upon an understanding of the function of the Dema tower and of its fundamental importance to the defensive scheme embodied by the Dema wall.

Purpose of the Dema Tower

The Dema tower has generally been considered to be a command post for troops manning the Dema wall. Arguments in favor of this view are presented by Jones, Sackett, and Eliot:

The Dema represents one general defensive scheme adopted for the whole pass, based on fluid tactics of counter-attack along a very wide front; it could not operate properly without an effective supervision, exercised from some central vantage point. The tower is the one point behind the wall which commands the greatest length of its undulating course, and was therefore suited for the observation of any hostile advances, and the signalling of local counter-attacks; for a Dema headquarters it was the best (and only) site. [29]

This explanation is founded on the dual premises that the defense of the Dema required a central command post and that the Dema tower


was located in the best (and only) spot to serve such a purpose. Both of these premises are false, the second most obviously so, since it can be disproved by simple observation on the spot.

As was noted in the first section of this chapter, the position of the tower on the highest point of Pyrgarthi leaves more than 600 meters of the wall near the tower concealed behind a secondary summit of Pyrgarthi (figures 21-22). Even if the tower originally stood as much as 11 meters high, not much more of the wall could have been seen from it. [30] This is a serious objection to the command-post theory. If the purpose of the tower required it to have a view of the entire length of the wall, as it would if it were to observe and signal operations along the wall, then it could have been built on the very secondary summit, only 130 meters away, which blocks the view from its actual site. The fact that the Dema tower could have been but was not so situated is sufficient to refute the command-post explanation.

It is quite doubtful that defensive operations along the Dema wall could have been effectively controlled from a central vantage point, even if the Dema tower had provided such a vantage. Visual or audible signals were effective in conveying only a limited number of previously agreed-upon messages, and on the battlefield signals might prompt the commencement of certain prearranged maneuvers but were usually no more than trumpet calls for the advance or the retreat. [31] Polybios observes that the sort of simple signal systems employed in his day were useless in the face of unforeseen circumstances, and the point certainly applies to signals on the battlefield, where the opportunities for surprise and confusion would be the greatest. [32] It is no wonder, then, that no example of an army commanded by signals from a central vantage point can be cited as a parallel for the supposed purpose of the Dema tower. It is significant in this connection that even in the defense of a city- wall perimeter under attack, Aeneas Tacticus assumes that the commanding general will be on the battlements leading his troops wherever they are hardest pressed and not issuing commands by signal from some headquarters, even though he expects that such a commander will have a signal post from which a general alert signal can be seen over the whole city. [33]

In addition to regarding the Dema tower as the command post of the Dema defenses, previous investigators have believed that signal com-


munications between the Dema and Athens would have been desirable and that the Dema tower served as the signal point at the wall. [34] Everywhere within the Aigaleos- Parnes gap, the view of Athens is blocked by the northern end of Mount Aigaleos, so some intermediate relay station would have been necessary for signals to be passed between the Dema tower and Athens. On the northernmost summit of Aigaleos, there are remains of a tower that has long been associated with the Dema defenses, and this has been interpreted as the relay station for communications between the Dema and Athens (maps 2, 5; figure 35). [35] From the Aigaleos tower there is a clear view of Athens, but it is impossible to see the Dema tower or any part of the main sector of the Dema wall because the summit of the mountain is too broad to allow a view into the valley to the north. Nor could the two towers ever have been tall enough to be in view of each other over the intervening shoulder of Aigaleos. [36] Other positions on the Aigaleos ridge would have been suitable for such a relay

station between the Dema tower and Athens, if such communications were desirable, but the actual Aigaleos tower is not appropriately located to serve this purpose. Furthermore, there is no evidence that any such relay station was built, either on Aigaleos or elsewhere. [37] There is there-fore no reason to believe that the Dema tower ever served to communicate between the Aigaleos-Parnes gap and Athens.

The Dema tower provided a sheltered vantage point for a few men in a prominent position within the Aigaleos-Parnes gap. Since it must have been an

observation post of some sort, it should be possible to see even now the places that were to be observed from the tower. We have just noted why it is doubtful that the tower was intended to communicate by signal with Athens and why it could not have served as a command post for the Dema wall. Considering the view beyond the wall,

it is also apparent that the tower could not have been very effective in observing the

movements of an enemy force approaching the wall, since like the view


of the wall itself, the nearer approaches to the wall are not all visible from the tower (figures 21-22). Furthermore, because it is well within the confines of Attica, it is highly improbable that the tower was meant to be a position from which enemy troop movements could be first detected. The tower could have served, however, as

a post where men waited to receive and acknowledge visual signals coming from other observation posts closer to the frontiers of Attica.

The far side of the Eleusinian plain and the mountains of the frontier beyond are clearly in view from the tower site (figures 21-22, see also map 5, p. 99). Within this view, the town of Eleusis can be seen to the southwest, and to the northwest, the low summit of Plakoto and, above it, the higher summit of Velatouri stand out, marking the sites of fourth-century towers (see figures 37-40). [38] From the Velatouri tower, Panakton, Oinoe, and Eleutherai can be seen, and from these positions other outposts closer to the western frontiers are visible, making up a network of observation and signal posts through which the arrival of an enemy force on the frontiers could have been signaled to the interior of Attica. Signals coming to Eleusis from Salamis, or to Velatouri and Plakoto from the Kithairon frontier, could have been relayed across Aigaleos to Athens by the Aigaleos tower or by its companion on the summit of Korydallos to the south of the Sacred Way. [39] But the Dema tower, which could also receive these signals from the west, is in a very different position from these and other mountaintop towers in Attica. It sits not on a peak with wide long-distance views on all sides but on a hilltop that is comparatively enclosed within the Aigaleos-Parnes gap. Except for the nearer ground within the pass itself, it commands no view not already better surveyed from the Aigaleos tower. This very exception, however, pro-vides the decisive clue to its purpose: the Dema tower served to link the lookout and signal system of the western frontiers directly to Athenian forces at the wall in the Aigaleos-Parnes gap.

The Dema tower must have been built because it was of particular importance that signals from the west should be received and answered from the area of the Dema wall. As discussed in the previous chapter, the wall was only useful when it was manned by a sizable army. Since the defensive scheme of the Dema wall envisioned occasions when an army would be in place at the wall, it would clearly have been desirable for that army to receive the same warning signals or intelligence that might be sent from the frontiers to Athens. And since the commander of that


army must have been empowered to initiate actions in response to those signals, it would have been important for signals to be sent back from the Dema to Eleusis and to the outposts on the frontiers. The Dema tower was eminently suited to such a purpose. Located on the highest summit within this pass, it would have been readily visible and accessible to forces assembled in the vicinity of the Dema wall, and its position could easily have been discerned from afar. It must therefore have served as the communications center of a major Athenian military camp at the Dema wall. [40] The Dema tower was thus integral to the defensive scheme of the Dema wall, and furthermore, it was integral to a scheme that called for the placement of lookout and signal towers elsewhere in Attica.

Other towers, noted briefly above, indicated in map 5 below and illustrated in figures 34-40, are appropriately situated for the purposes of the lookout and signal system envisioned here, and these, on the evidence of masonry and surface sherds, were in use within the fourth century. Like the Dema tower, they are round, with solid rubble-filled bases. These resemblances and their functional suitability provide sufficient evidence to consider it probable that these lookout towers were employed along with the Dema wall as part of an integrated scheme for the defense of Attica. The Dema wall and tower are the most specialized works in this defensive system, and the interpretation of the whole depends upon a demonstration of the specific historical function of these key works. Chapter 4 will therefore bring together all of the various forms of evidence and lines of reasoning that, on historical as well as archaeological grounds, converge on the Boiotian War of 378-375 as the time of the creation of the Dema wall.


Four The Date of the Dema Wall

Among previous investigators, opinions have varied as to whether the Dema wall was constructed in haste or at leisure and whether it therefore was built to face some sudden emergency or to be a more permanent line of defense. [1] A balanced judgment on the subject is possible only in light of the thorough study by Jones, Sackett, and Eliot, whose opinion thus supersedes earlier views on the subject. Objections to their view that the wall was abandoned before work on it was completed have been raised in chapter 2. Otherwise, one can agree completely with their evaluation of the character of the wall. The degree of care demonstrated in the planning and construction of the main sector of the Dema indicates that the work was carried out, in their words, "methodically and without undue haste." [2]


As to the nature of the danger that this tactical barrier was built to counteract, their conclusions again seem to characterize the situation well:

The Dema is a result

been immediate, demanded strong counter-measures. The wall was to safeguard Athens in a campaign and was

not thrown up for a single pitched battle. [3]

of a war crisis and a threat of invasion. The particular danger, although it may not have

Accordingly, the placement of the Dema was not determined by the fortuitous positions of two opposing armies on one particular occasion. Just as its design was evidently conceived through scrupulous attention to certain tactical principles, so its location must have been determined ac-cording to a comprehensive assessment of defensive requirements in a particular crisis.

Jones, Sackett, and Eliot assume that the wall was built by Athenians for the protection of Athens. An alternative possibility, namely that the wall might have been built by a Macedonian army campaigning in Attica, was raised by McCredie. The archaeological evidence now available definitely excludes a date as late as the Chremonidean War of 268-262, which McCredie advocated. [4] In fact, any date later than 322, when Athens first fell under Macedonian domination, is decidedly unlikely. The archaeological evidence for the date of the wall strongly supports the view that the Dema was a defensive work of the independent Athenian state, built as part of a plan for the defense of Athens and the greater part of Attica which lay behind the wall. Attention to the strategic advantages provided by the Dema wall should, therefore, tell us a good deal about the nature of the threat that it was built to counteract.

The Strategic Purpose of the Dema Wall.

The Dema wall was built to enable an army to prevent an enemy force in the plain of Eleusis from entering the plain of Athens. Since all other passes between these plains are considerably narrower than the Aigaleos-Parnes gap, only this pass needed to be fortified in order to assure the defenders a decisive advantage over the attacking enemy. Such a defensive stance clearly implies that the enemy was known to be numerically superior and therefore too powerful to meet in pitched battle in the plain. In order for the Dema to have been useful in any comprehensive plan of defense, there must have been no obvious routes toward Athens circumventing the Dema that were left open to the enemy. This


[ Full Size ] Map 5. Routes and passes across the Attic-Boiotian-Megarian frontiers ― 100

Map 5. Routes and passes across the Attic-Boiotian-Megarian frontiers


implies that the enemy—did not have decisive control of the sea and that no major overland routes other than those crossing the plain of Eleusis were directly accessible to the enemy.

The only routes not crossing the plain of Eleusis that could give an invading army access to Athens and southern Attica are the routes by way of Phyle, Dekeleia, and Aphidna in the north of Attica. [5] The Phyle route involves long stretches up and down steep slopes and through narrows within Mount Parnes and therefore would never have needed a fieldwork like the Dema wall to make it defensible. Likewise, the Dekeleia road, though not as long as the mountain way past Phyle, is sufficiently steep and rugged that it could be regarded as naturally defensible. The passes through Aphidna, however, on the route of the modern National Road, provide an open way into Attica that would be at least as easy for an army as the way through the Aigaleos-Parnes gap. Here, if the northern frontier were as exposed to danger as the western, one would expect that a barrier similar to the Dema would have been built. The pass on the north side of the Aphidna basin is the most defensible gap on the Aphidna route, and here the rocky slopes within the pass afford both the same sort of defensible terrain and the same durable building materials that were utilized in the Dema. The absence of any such fieldwork here, or anywhere else along this route, indicates that this northern quarter was not considered to be subject to the same threat of invasion as was the plain of Eleusis.

The outlook of the Dema tower lends support to this conclusion. From the tower, several outposts toward the western frontiers can be seen, but none toward the north. The outposts that do exist along the northern frontiers bear no resemblance to the Dema tower, are not intervisible with it, and almost certainly were not built at the same time as the system to which the Dema tower belongs. [6] If, as has been argued, the Dema was the base for an Athenian army that was

prepared to react to signals indicating the approach of an enemy force, then the absence of any signal connection with the northern frontier indicates that the enemy was not anticipated in that quarter. Like the wall itself, the Dema tower and its visual contacts indicate that the crisis which led to the con-


struction of the Dema involved the possibility that Attica would be invaded specifically by way of the plain of Eleusis.

The main routes into the Eleusinian plain are the road from the Megarid and the Peloponnese along the coast, and the road from Boiotia across Kithairon by way of Eleutherai and Oinoe. [7] Any army that was able to invade Attica from Boiotia by crossing Kithairon would likely have been able just as easily to enter Attica via Aphidna. [8] Since no defenses seem to have been prepared along the latter route, it seems unlikely that the enemy was Boiotian or any power able to move at will through Boiotia. That being the case, the source of danger most likely lay in the Peloponnese. [9]

If Attica in fact lay under threat of invasion from the Peloponnese, it may be asked why so considerable a fortification was built in the Aigaleos-Parnes gap rather than closer to the Megarian frontier. The answer emerges when we consider the nature and complexity of the routes through the western frontiers of Attica. An army coming from the Peloponnese could have used either of the two major routes entering the plain of Eleusis, the coastal route from Megara or the route through Kithairon, which was followed by Archidamos in 431. Moreover, the mountain terrain west of the plain of Eleusis is complex, and several minor routes might have proven useful to an invader seeking to outflank a defensive position. [10] To build permanent fieldworks across any one of these routes would thus have been futile, while to fortify all of them would have been wastefully expensive. On the other hand, all routes through these western mountains pass through terrain where the ways are so constricted that practically no artificial barriers would have been


needed to add strength to a defending force's position. If a stand on this frontier seemed desirable, strong positions could be held without fortifications. [11]

The construction of the Dema wall in the Aigaleos-Parnes gap, therefore, is intelligible in terms of a strategy for the defense of Attica against an invasion from the Peloponnese that might have provided for the positioning of advanced forces at key points on the western frontiers but that did not commit Athenian forces to a decisive stand either in the mountains of those frontiers, where they might have been outmaneuvered, or in the plain of Eleusis, where they might have been outnumbered. The decisive battle, if it came to that, would be fought as the enemy attempted to pass Mount Aigaleos, in which case the action would certainly center on the Aigaleos-Parnes gap, which was the most obvious way for a large army to enter the plain of Athens from the plain of Eleusis. It was through this pass that the army of Archidamos entered the plain of Athens in 431, and very likely it remained the route for invading Peloponnesian armies throughout the Peloponnesian War.

[12] Closing this gap would mean that no army from the Peloponnese could occupy and plunder the whole Attic countryside as the Spartans had in the Peloponnesian War.

The connection between Spartan strategy in the Peloponnesian War and the strategic concerns that led to the construction of the Dema wall is more than fortuitous. When we consider what has been deduced from the nature and placement of the Dema wall, together with its probable date as indicated by purely archaeological evidence, everything points to Spartan power as the threat to Attica that the Dema was designed to counteract. The only power from the Peloponnese whose forces on land were known to be numerically superior to those of Athens was Sparta, at the head of its Peloponnesian alliance. From the end of the Peloponnesian War until the third decade of the fourth century, Sparta was at the height of its power, and twice during that period, Sparta and Athens were at war.

In the first of these conflicts, the Corinthian War of 395-386, the Athenians chose to fight the Spartans because they calculated that the war would be fought well beyond the confines of Attica, as in fact it was. With their resources committed to other strategies that, for defensive purposes, were consistently successful, it is extremely unlikely that the


Athenians would have diverted manpower and money to the creation of a defensive network within Attica itself. [13] The second conflict with Sparta, the Boiotian War, was thrust upon the Athenians by a chain of circumstances that culminated in an actual invasion of Attica by the Spartan harmost Sphodrias. Thereafter, the course of the war was predictable. It was expected that Spartan armies crossing the Isthmus would march against Thebes, but they might also invade Attica, since the Athenians were now fighting together with the Thebans against Sparta. With Theban and Athenian forces planning to resist the Spartans in the vicinity of Thebes, the Athenians could feel reasonably confident that a Spartan army would not easily march through Boiotia to enter Attica from the north. The threat to Athens lay in the possibility that Agesilaos would repeat the strategy of his father, Archidamos, and invade Attica through the plain of Eleusis. [14]

Here are circumstances that exactly match the evident strategic purpose of the Dema wall and the tower system associated with it. The Boiotian War began in 378, a date that tallies with the archaeological evidence favoring a date in the first quarter of the fourth century for the Dema. The tactics implied by the form of the wall, as discussed in chapter 2, are known to have been common at the time of the Boiotian War. The network of towers and outposts west of the Dema tower would precisely suit the defensive concerns of the Athenians after the lesson of Sphodrias' raid was learned. Finally, the closest known parallel to the Dema is the wall built around Thebes in the first year of this war, and the Athenian commander most closely associated with fieldworks of this sort was Chabrias, who distinguished himself for his tactical sagacity at Thebes at the outset of this war. The circumstantial case is therefore extremely strong that the Dema wall was built after the raid of Sphodrias to safeguard Athens during the Boiotian War and that Ghabrias had a significant role in the design of this fieldwork.

Two general points still require demonstration before this strong circumstantial case can be regarded without reservation as the explanation of the Dema wall. The

first is that it be shown that the Dema wall and tower system accord well with what is known of the tactical and strategic


principles of territorial defense at the time of the Boiotian War, and the second is that it be shown that no other event within the archaeologically permissible dates has an equal or stronger claim on likelihood.

Contemporary Principles of Territorial Defense

The appropriateness of the Dema wall to the defensive principles of the time of the Boiotian War has already been partially demonstrated through the comparison in chapter 2 of the Dema to the Theban stockade and to other works associated with Chabrias. The demonstration is complete when it is seen how well the Dema system exemplifies the precepts of defensive planning found in the writings of Aeneas Tacticus, Xenophon, and Plato, all of whom were practitioners or observers of military science at the time of the Boiotian War, and all of whom wrote within a generation of the end of that war.

The most derailed extant fourth-century handbook on defensive preparations, and the one most relevant to our purposes, is the work by Aeneas Tacticus. [15] In this treatise, Aeneas is chiefly concerned with how a commander should prepare the defenses of a city at war which was liable to undergo a siege, but he also devotes attention to the problem of repulsing an attacking army in the field before the city itself is invested. Aeneas' precepts in this connection concern just the sort of circumstances that must have occasioned the construction of the Dema wall, namely, a "war crisis and a threat of invasion."

Under normal circumstances, Aeneas expects defending forces to be assembled only when the approach of the enemy is announced by messenger or by signal. Since the invading army must come in sufficient strength to overwhelm the defenders in pitched battle, Aeneas advises the defending commander to "attack the enemy where you are not unwilling to do battle, and where you will not be at a disadvantage in the fight." [16] This means that under most conditions, the defending commander will have to allow the enemy to proceed with his plundering until the opportune moment or place for a counterattack is reached. Only where the terrain of the frontier is suitable does Aeneas suggest that advance preparations might be effective in keeping an invading army out of the countryside altogether:


And should the countryside not be easy to invade, but have few and narrow passes into it, you must prepare these in advance, distributing forces as has already been described, in order to oppose at the passes those who are attacking and planning to march upon the city, while men who can communicate by signal fires the fortunes of each division are already in position, so that these divisions can bring support, if in any way they need one another's help. [17]

The distribution of forces referred to by Aeneas involves the occupation of high ground by light troops, the use of cavalry patrols, the preparation of ambushes, and the positioning of bodies of hoplite troops where they can advance to support those

who engage the enemy first. [18] The building of fieldworks might be among the preparations that Aeneas has in mind, although he does not specifically mention such here. Separate divisions of defending forces will have to prepare themselves at appropriate points along each of the approaches, and a signal system must be established so that any one division under attack can be sup-ported by the others as needed. As Aeneas recognizes, such preparations are viable only if the defensive positions can be few and strong:

Otherwise, if the countryside should not be difficult to invade, but it is possible for large forces to invade at many points, you must occupy advantageous places in the countryside so as to make it difficult for the enemy to advance upon the city. But if there are no such places, you must occupy whatever positions near the city are useful for fighting at an advantage while allowing you to retire at ease whenever you wish to withdraw to the city. [19]

For Aeneas, topography above all dictates the actions to be taken by defenders facing a full-scale invasion. [20] The particular composition and


relative strengths of the opposing armies are not of central importance in Aeneas' reckoning because these factors are predictable, within broad limits, and can be taken for granted. The invaders will have a strong army, numerically superior to the defenders, while the defenders themselves will have an army of some size (possibly including allies and mercenaries) that is made up of appropriate proportions of heavy and light infantry and cavalry. [21] Within this general framework, and given the fore- thought that Aeneas' writings were meant to inspire in a commander, the defenders' strategy would be largely determined by the opportunities afforded by local terrain.

The essence of Aeneas' advice on the defense of territory is that an invading army can be halted only where the defenders can occupy strong ground along the invader's route, compelling the enemy to give battle on terms advantageous to the defenders. Aeneas assumes that narrow passes might provide defensive positions strong enough that even a division of the defending force could hold off the entire invading army, although any division sent to guard a pass before the arrival of the enemy will probably have to be reinforced when a direct assault on its position appears imminent. In general, a committed stand can be made only where the defenders are reasonably sure that the enemy cannot circumvent their position and cut them off from their own city. So wherever more than one pass must be guarded, the defending commander must judge the risks of being outmanuvered by the enemy, who might attack at several points, against the strengths of his own positions in determining whether or not to allow his forces to give way before the enemy and in deciding where to commit his main strength to battle.

The defensive strategy underlying the placement of the Dema wall and the various watchtowers in communication with it, as discussed in the first section of this chapter, accords very well with these precepts. Given the large extent of Attic territory, and especially the complexity of the topography toward the Megarian frontier, the Aigaleos-Parnes gap is indeed the most advantageous point to occupy in anticipation of an enemy,

advantageous point to occupy in anticipation of an enemy, [ Full Size ] . [ 2

[Full Size] . [22] The fact that Aeneas does not specifically mention the preparation of fieldworks like the Dema is no objection to seeing such tactical devices employed in his scheme.

We know that such fieldworks were used in his day, and it is quite possible that Aeneas did discuss them elsewhere, in writings which have not survived. [23]


Xenophon discusses the defensibility of Attica in terms that correspond with significant aspects of Aeneas' advice and with the strategy evident in the Dema wall. In the dialogue from the Memorabilia quoted at the beginning of chapter 1, Xenophon notes that "great mountains reaching Boiotia protect our country, through

which the passes are narrow and steep, and

divided by sheer mountains." [24] The light troops that should hold these mountains for the Athenians, according to Xenophon, were essentially those ephebes and peripoloi who did in fact guard Attic strongholds and patrol the frontiers to protect Attic land from minor raids and depredations by the Boiotians, whose animosity posed a constant threat to the Athenians during the 360s and 350s, when this passage was written.