Eleusis. Though very limited, the earliest evidence of human presence in the region dates from the Early Helladic period but is scarce. Eleusis was inhabited as early as the Middle Helladic period. During the Late Helladic period, the settlement expanded considerably, covering the entire hill. This is the phase which is traditionally associated with the legendary king Celeus; according to the Homeric Hymn, it was during his reign that the very first temple of Demeter was built. The archaeological data suggest that a significant population decrease occurred during the 12th and 11th centuries, a period of upheaval and turbulence associated to the disasters and population movements attested all over the Greek world. The earliest evidence for a more substantial habitation at Eleusis dates from the 10th century. During Theseus’ reign, the Eleusinians were conquered by the Athenians and were included in the Hippothoontis tribe. Around 760, a Delphic oracle imposed the establishment of a festival honouring Demeter at Eleusis, where all Greek city-states would participate. During the 3rd quarter of 7th century, Eleusis resumed its autonomy; however, it was only for a short period of time. By the end of the century, that is during the rule of Solon, the town was once more occupied by the Athenians.
The celebrations in honour of Demeter in Athens and Eleusis would take place during the same time of the year. During the rule of Peisistratus and his successors, the Athenian dominance over Eleusis was stabilised, whereas the Eleusinian shrine was adorned through the erection of impressive buildings. In the time of Pericles, the worship of Demeter had developed into a Panhellenic cult and people from all over the Greek world would travel as far as Eleusis in order to be initiated into the Mysteries. The Eleusinian shrine’s most impressive architectural phase occurred during the Imperial period, when Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius sponsored major construction and repair projects. It was then that the right to become initiated into the Great Mysteries of Eleusis, an exclusively Greek privilege until then, was offered to subjects of the Roman Empire. In AD 170, Eleusis suffered the brutal Kostovok attack. As the badly damaged temple buildings were repaired very soon after the attack, the sanctuary’s did not cease. This happened slightly later, as a result of Christianity’s eventual predominance and the decrees against the Dodecatheon cults issued by the Byzantine emperors during the 4th century AD. The final blow was provided by Alaric’s Visigoths, who plundered the Eleusinian sanctuary in AD 395.
In the area between the two acropolises lies the famous fountain of Theagenes.This is one of the oldest and best-preserved ancient fountains throughout Greece. Consists of one tank and one rectangular basin in front of. Although archaeologists place the fountain in the early 5th century, based on its masonry, the construction is attributed by Pausanias (I, 40, 1) to tyrant Theagenes, who ruled Megara during the period 640-580:'In their city the Megarians have a fountain that was built by Theagenes, whom I mentioned before, for his daughter who married with the Athenian Cylon.'' This means when Theagenes was a tyrant, built the fountain that is admirable for its size and for decoration and for the number of columns. The water that runs through the fountain is called the Sithnidwn nymphs» (for translation, see Papahatzi 1994, pp. 490-491).The Sithnides nymphs lived, according to tradition, in the region of Megara. The tank of the fountain of Theagenes gathered water, reached via pipelines from the North and the foothills of Mount Geraneia to the West.
The ancient fortress of Phyle is located on the northwest slope of Mount Parnes, at an altitude of 850 m, and about 10 km to the northwest of the modern settlement of Phyle. Its construction dates from the 4th century. It occupies a strategic location, as it is situated on the most direct, though definitely not the easiest, road connecting Athens with Thebes. The fortification is of irregular plan featuring four towers; it was constructed of wellhewn rectangular blocks of local grey limestone. The fortress of Phyle is mentioned on 4th century inscriptions and decrees. It was systematically in the war against the Macedonians, which took place in the 3rd century. Between 304 and 283 the fortress was occupied by Cassander, during his conflict with Demetrius I. The latest related epigraphic evidence dates from 236 and is associated with repairs.
The impressive ancient fortress, standing out on the hilltop overlooking the Kaza passage, is identified by most researchers with the citadel of ancient Eleutheres. Currently known as “Gyftokastro”, its erection dates from the 2nd quarter of the 4th century; it includes a walled space of irregularly rectangular shape. The walls were meticulously constructed according to the isodomic system. Along the northern side, seven particularly strong, three-storied towers of rectangular plan have been preserved. The fortress of Eleutheres was located in a highly strategic position overlooking the significant passage on the road connecting Athens to Thebes. It was built either by the Thebans or the Athenians, as part of a wider network of frontier forts aiming at stopping the advance of invaders. Eleutheres belonged initially to Boeotia. According to some traditions, it was the birthplace of the god Dionysus, who was worshiped there as “Eleuthereus”. During the 6th century, the people of Eleutheres took the side of the Athenians, a fact that should be associated with the transmission of the cult of Dionysus Eleuthereus to Athens. The remains of a temple dedicated to Dionysus Eleuthereus have been identified to the south of the fort.
The site is located on a hill attached to the southeastern foot of Mount Cithaeron, which stands over the little bay of Porto Germeno. The fort, which is one of the most typical examples of 4th century military architecture, is excellently preserved. The ancient fortress is of rectangular shape,built according to the isodomic system. Sixteen towers have been preserved. The exact date of the Aigosthena fortress construction remains unclear; on the basis of the architecture, it could be placed within the late 4th or the early 3rd century. The fort was built by the Megarians, perhaps with some help from the Athenians. An alternative hypothesis associates the Aigosthena fort with the Macedonian king Demetrius I, who is thought to have had Aigosthena erected during his military campaign against Cassander. Habitation in Aigosthena dates from the 8th century, if not earlier. During the Archaic and Classical periods, the settlement was attached to Megara as one of its borderline forts. Moreover, ancient Aigosthena was the centre of Melampus’ cult; Melampus, a renowned diviner and healer, was though to have introduced the cult of Dionysus.
The ruins of a 4th century rectangular fortification tower have been identified in the area to the south of the modern village of Oenoe. It has been estimated that the building had four storeys and must have been over 16 m in height. The tower of Oenoe, erected in an uninhabited area, must have been part of a network of towerlike beacons. It was connected to the Eleutheres fort, as well as a nearby fortress situated to the northeast of the modern village. The latter, located at a site known as “Myoupolis”, is identified by some researchers with the ruins of the ancient settlement of Oenoe.
The extensive wall known as “Dema” or “Desis” is located to the northeast of Aspropyrgos and about 2.5 km to the west of Ano Liosia, in the narrow passage between Aigaleo and Parnes. Dema, built to protect the strategic passage between Acharnes and the Thriasian Plain, was almost 4.5 km in length. It was constructed of rough-hewn polygonal blocks. Its erection is generally placed in the first half of the 4th century.
The sections of the built underground pipeline and the cistern’s remains near the Giannoula stream, to the northeast of the Kyrillos hill, belonged to the extended aqueduct sponsored by the emperor Hadrian. The pipeline was connected to the exposed Eleusinian pipe. Furthermore, a small section of an underground pipeline run along a stream to the south of the old Saint George bridge, in Aspropyrgos. This was most probably a branch supplying water to the coastal area of the eastern Thriasian Plain. More exposed pipes have been excavated in Eleusis, along Dimitra Street, near the Pompeion and the end of the Sacred Way.
Megalo Vathychori is located in a plateau to the south of Porto Germeno and to the north of the Korona peak (761 m), on the northwestern section of Mount Pateras. An impressive tower of circular plan, most probably a beacon, is to be found about 1 km to the northeast of Megalo Vathychori. A second tower, known as “Pyrgos tou Germenou” (=Tower of Germeno) has been preserved in the Mikro Vathychori plateau.