EUBOEA – Eretria
Having followed the trail of cipollino around Greece we now return to the island of the origins of the marble itself. The town of Eretria is situated 20 kms. south of Chalkis on the coast of Euboea and is connected to the mainland by a short half hour ferry crossing to Oropos in Attica. The modern town, which was founded in 1824, is unimposing but does categorise itself as a tourist resort. Originally an important Greek city, Eretria has a long and fairly disastrous history, mainly of defeats in battle and wars. Like Karystos it is first mentioned by Homer in the Iliad as being one of the cities which sent ships to the Trojan War. In the 8th century Eretria and Chalkis were prosperous and powerful cities but they were defeated in the Lelantine war and Eretria was destroyed. In 490 the city was sacked by the Persians but was rebuilt again, only to become an unimportant provincial town until it was plundered by the Romans in 198 BC and in 87 BC was finally destroyed in the Mithridatic wars and abandoned.16


It has however archaeological remains widely scattered around the outside of the modern town. Nagel’s guide to Greece says that ‘the traveller should first visit the new local museum, and then should try to trace the scattered vestiges of the ancient city, which was a rich and important one’.17 In the well laid out museum most of the very interesting exhibits are largely Hellenistic. The visit included one of the nearest ‘scattered vestiges of the ancient city’, the Industrial Quarter, with ‘the east-west artery of the ancient city, which was seven to eight metres wide in the Roman period. It led to the theatre and the west gate and beyond to Chalkis’. 18 There is certainly no cipollino. Unfortunately it was not possible to visit the rest of the archaeological remains but there are no references to cipollino in them. Lazzarini does have one reference to cipollino in Eretria. This is to an oil press in the lapidarium of the archaeological museum. This was not found. However, in the garden of the museum, lying among a group of miscellaneous masonry there is one piece. It is on the right facing the museum entrance and measures .75m /2.5 Rf long and .20 m. /.67 Rf in diameter (Plate 3.24 & 3.25).

16 http:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eretria
17 Nagel’s Encyclopaedia Greece, p. 642
18 Notice at the entrance to the Industrial Quarter, Eretria, Euboea.

Maps and Plates

Plate 3.24.jpg

Plates 3.24 & 3.25 Small cipollino column furthest to the left, lying in the garden of the Archaeological Museum, Eretria.

Plate 3.25.jpg

Plates 3.24 & 3.25 Small cipollino column furthest to the left, lying in the garden of the Archaeological Museum, Eretria.