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(ōlĭn`thəs), ancient city of Greece, on the peninsula of Chalcidice (now Khalkidhikí), NE of Potidaea. A league of Chalcidic cities grew up in the late 5th cent. B.C., and Olynthus, as the head of this Chalcidian League, vigorously opposed the threats of Athens and Sparta. Athens captured the city and held it for a brief time. In 379 B.C., Sparta defeated Olynthus and dissolved the league, which was, however, re-formed after the fall of Sparta. Olynthus had been allied with Philip IIPhilip II,
382–336 B.C., king of Macedon (359–336 B.C.), son of Amyntas II. While a hostage in Thebes (367–364), he gained much knowledge of Greece and its people.
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 of Macedon against Athens, but, fearing Philip's power, sought Athenian aid. Philip attacked, and Demosthenes in his Olynthiac orations eloquently urged his fellow Athenians to aid the threatened city. Philip destroyed (348 B.C.) the city despite Athenian aid. Excavations at Olynthus have revealed the layout of the city.


See M. Gude, A History of Olynthus (1933); D. M. Robinson et al., Excavations at Olynthus (13 vol., 1929–50).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an ancient Greek city on the Chalcidice Peninsula; its ruins are situated 50 km south of Thessaloniki.

Olynthus was founded between the eighth and sixth centuries B.C., during the period of Greek colonization, by natives of Chalcis, a town on the island of Euboea. The city was conquered by the Persians in 480 B.C., but it was soon liberated. Olynthus belonged to the Delian League. In 432 B.C., it became the center of the Chalcidic League, which for some time successfully resisted Athens, Macedonia, and Sparta. After an unsuccessful war that lasted from 382 to 379 B.C., the city was subjugated by Sparta. Olynthus soon won its independence and again headed the Chalcidic League. In 348 B.C., as a result of the Olynthian War (349–348 B.C.), the city was captured by the Macedonian king Philip II and was plundered, demolished, and set afire. It was never restored.

In 1928 excavations were undertaken in Olynthus by American archaeologists. Finds included the remains of a Neolithic settlement and residential quarters of the classical period, which were laid out according to a grid plan, known as the Hippodamic system, and which consisted of houses with pastas (covered passageways with columns). Multicolored mosaics were found in the Villa of Good Fortune and in the House of the Classical Actor (both belong to the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.). Numerous objects from everyday life were also discovered.


Kobylina, M. M. “Otkrytiia v Olinfe.” In Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1939, no. 3.
Excavations at Olynthus, vols. 1–14. Edited by D. Robinson. Baltimore, 1929–52.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


an ancient city in N Greece: the centre of Chalcidice
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The evidence from both Olynthos and Tenos is grouped under Finley's category of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.], an extraordinarily complex term that involves interest payments and property put forth as security.
from Olynthos. (9) The value of the loan is 4,500 drachmas.
In an inscription found in the area of the Villa of Good Fortune at Olynthos, for example, a certain Ainetos paid 400 drachmas for a house.
Hammond claims that Philip used the destruction of Olynthos to intimidate Athens, Thessaly, and the rest of Greece into submission.
Hammond cites F 152 as evidence for Theopompos' account of the destruction of Olynthos and the settlement of the political situation in the Chalkidike.
Herodotus, for example, is not a sixth-century author; Olynthos was not an Athenian colony, and Thucydides never mentions the Peisistratid aqueduct.
TOMORROW'S TIPS LEICESTER: 2.20 Olynthos, 2.50 Blue Noodles, 3.20 ERTIKAAN (NAP), 3.50 Hel's Angel, 4.20 Ours, 4.50 Watch Chain.
Inscriptions concerning the sale of houses (mainly from 4th-century Olynthos and Tenos) provide information about the purchase of the property itself, but remain largely silent about the fate of the furniture within.
Scholars working on urban or household studies in Greece draw most of their information from multivolume publications dealing with specific sites (Olynthos, Delos, Eretria, Halieis, Halos).
Close stratigraphic analysis of late-19th- and early-20th-century excavations is impossible, since early excavation techniques often included the removal of successive passes of earth over a large area, up to one or two houses in extent at a time (as at Olynthos and Delos).
The fact that no seat fragments were found at Olynthos and no other seats have been reported from houses in the rest of Greece is intriguing.
228) notes that at Olynthos large pithoi constituted a household's most expensive pots, costing the equivalent of "the price of a whole house in a neighboring town."