to Olympia. LEPREON. 44. Route. 399
the river, which flows in a deep winding bed, and several of its
tributary brooks. The path is picturesque but very rough. In
Vfe. hr. we pass the mouth of a brook descending from Kale'iko
and fringed with a luxuriant growth of plane-trees; opposite lies
the village of Mavromdti. In 40 min. more we cross the streamlet
of Dragol, and in other 40 min. reach the ruins of Phigalia and
the hamlet of Pdvlitza (p. 395) by the route described at p. 395.
From Phigalia two roads lead to the W. coast. The more in¬
teresting runs via, Lepreon to Kaiapha (Samikon; p. 402), the other
to Kyparissia (p. 404).
Travellers bound for Kaiapha leave the ruins of Phigalia by a
gate on the W. side, cross the little brook of Krydvrysis, and ascend
the slope of the hill on which the village of Smerlina now stands.
The hill, anciently named Elaeon ('Mt. of Olives'), is for part of
its extent now called Ardpis (p. 396). As we mount we have a view
of the sea to the W., while to the S., on the left bank of the Neda,
rise the declivities of Mt. Koutra (p. 403), on which lie the villages
of Pisds, Kalitsena, and Kara Moiistapha (p. 401). We cross several
other tributary brooks of the Neda, and in 3ife hrs. reach the village
of Zourtza (1550 ft.; 1690 inhab.), where tolerable accommodation
may be obtained.
We now keep steadily along the slope of a long hill, passing the
humble village of Moundrd and several springs, and finally cross the
river Thold (p. 403) and reach (1 hr.) Strovitzi (night-quarters at the
bakali beside the walled spring in the W. part of the village). Stro¬
vitzi lies in a well-watered district amid fruit-trees and consists of
the two parts Epano-Rouga and Kato-Rouga, between which a red¬
dish rocky hill, with a flat top and furrowed sides, projects towards
the Tholo. This height is called Kastro from the ruined mediaeval
castle at the top; ancient hewn stones and column-shafts indicate
that buildings stood here in antiquity also. A hollow on the N.W.
slope of the Kastro is supposed to represent the ancient theatre.
On a steep hill to the N. lie the ruins of Lepreon.
This ancient city was founded by the Minyae, who drove the Paroreates
and Kaukones from this region. A curious myth about its 'eponym'
Lepreos relates that he engaged in an eating-contest with Hercules and
was killed by the demigod after consuming an entire ox. The history
of the town turns on its efforts to achieve independence. In its contests
with the Eleans, who were continually striving to secure the important
frontier post, the inhabitants united themselves with the Arcadians and
Messenians, while one faction sided with the Spartans against the latter.
Owing to this last circumstance the Spartans not only spared Lepreon,
when they destroyed the Messenian and Triphylian towns, but rewarded it
with several of the neighbouring places. In the Persian Wars 200 Lepreans
are mentioned at Plataea. Subsequently the Eleans again established
their power over the town and maintained it, with the exception of a
short Spartan occupation in B.C. 420. In B.C. 399 Lepreon and several
other towns of Triphylia and Pisatis again succeeded in obtaining in¬
dependence, which they preserved through alliance with the Arcadians
and afterwards with the Achaean League until the collapse of the latter.
In the time of Pausanias the town lay in ruins.