Papers of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens — 5.1886-1890

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EXCAVATIONS AT THE THEATRE OF SIKYON.

GENERAL REPORT OF THE EXCAVATIONS.

[Plates I, II, Plan.]

The excavations at Sikyon by the American School were begun March
23,1886, during the directorship of Professor M. L. D'Ooge, and were
continued, with some interruptions, until May 10. In the succeeding
session of the School, under the directorship of Professor A. C. Merriam,
the excavations were resumed under the supervision of Mr. M. L. Earle,
who will present a final report of the work done.* The choice of the
site of Sikyon as a field for archaeological investigation was recom-
mended by the fact that, in spite of the antiquity of the city and its
particular importance in the history of art, no systematic excavation
had ever been made there. Whether it was due to the charm of the
surrounding landscape, or to a happy blending of Ionian and Dorian
elements in the population, or again to the circumstances of the politi-
cal history of the city, or, what is most probable, to the united action
of all these causes, few cities in Hellas were more renowned as art
centres.

Sikyon first comes into view in the Homeric line, koX ^.ikvcov, offap
e^aalXevev {Iliad, ii. 572). Hesiod (Theoff., 536)
makes it the scene of a contest between gods and men. He calls the
place M.7]Ka>vt], an appellation which undoubtedly originated from the
abundant growth of wild poppies, which still, at the present day, are
scattered over the plateau upon which the old city was built. At
the Dorian conquest, the Ionian inhabitants seem not to have been
expelled or violently oppressed, as in nearly all the regions of the Pelo-
ponnesos, and they came to form a fourth tribe beside the three tribes
of the Dorians. To this difference of race among the inhabitants, and
to the jealousies and variances that would naturally arise from it, may
be attributed the long duration in Sikyon of the rule of tyrants. In

* The plan of the theatre so far as excavated by Mr. McMurtry was made by Mr.
B. B. P. Trowbridge. To this the results of Mr. Earle's work have been added by Mr.
J-W. Cromwell. The plates are from photographs taken by Mr.W. L. Cushing.

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