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Orchomenos

The Neolithic remains found at Orchomenos were first thought to be in situ (Bulle 1907) but it later appeared that they consisted of fill in a levelling deposit (Kunze 1931; Treuil 1983). Thus, the associated round houses (two to six meters in diameter) should not be dated to that period, but rather to the Early Bronze Age (2800-1900 BC). Later in that period, houses were apsidal.In the Bronze Age, during the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries, Orchomenos became a rich and important centre of civilization in Mycenaean Greece, the latter of which was a rival to Thebes. According to the founding myth of Orchomenos, its royal dynasty had been established by the Minyans, who had followed their eponymous leader Minyas from coastal Thessaly to settle the site. The palace, which had frescoed walls, and the great tholos tombs show the power of Orchomenos in Mycenaean times. A massive hydraulic undertaking drained the marshes of Lake Copaïs. Like many sites around the Aegean, Orchomenos was burned and its palace destroyed, ca. 1200 BC. Orchomenos is mentioned among the Achaean cities sending ships to engage in the Trojan War in Homer's "Catalogue of Ships" in Iliad: together with Aspledon, they contributed thirty ships and their complement of men. Orchomenos seems to have been one of the city-states that joined the maritime Amphictyony in the seventh century BC. Orchemenos claimed Heracles as its champion.Orchomenos joined the Boeotian League ca. 600 BC.[citation needed] Orchomenos struck its coinage from the mid-sixth century. Classical Orchomenos was known for its sanctuary of the Charites, the oldest in the city, according to Pausanias (5.172-80); the Byzantine (9th century) monastery church of Panaghia Skripou probably occupies the long-sacred spot.Here the Charites had their earliest veneration, in legend instituted by Eteocles; musical and poetical agonistic games, the Charitesia, were held in their honour, in the theatre that was discovered in 1972.The Agrionia, a festival of the god Dionysus, involved the ritual pursuit of women by a man representing Dionysus.

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