Mycenaean Atlas Project's Commentary on PLEIADES

Marmara    540935

Original Lat/Lon: 39.25° N,  22.75° E

Corrected Lat/Lon: 39.122° N,  22.619° E

540935 : Marmara (named area)

Corrected coordinates : 39.122000° N, 22.619000° E.

Adopting Topostext solution: 392226XMar

Marmara is merely a named region.  The name survives in modern times with the Marmara Rema and this is where the marker was placed and Topostext appears to accept this as well.  Marmara is only noteworthy as a possible location for a temple of Athena Itonia and so the definition of 'Marmara' is inevitably entangled with that of the ancient town of Iton(os) which is distant some 9 km to the NE.  The Barrington Atlas marks both of these as 'Sanctuary' or 'Temple' but no evidence exists to show that this is true of either.

In his Geography Strabo (ix.5.14) has just finished describing Phthiotic Thebes when, continuing S, he says this about Iton: "Lying above it is Itonos, where the sanctuary of Itonis is - from which is the one in Boiotia - ... "[1] In asserting this Strabo almost certainly is in error.  There has never been any evidence of a temple in this area and even the precise location of Iton(os) is in question (see Pleiades for more).  Of this passage Roller says "Itonos ("Iton" to Homer, Iliad 2.696) is probably at modern Zerelia at the southwestern edge of the Krokian Plain (Hope Simpson and Lazenby, Catalogue 132–3). It may have had a sanctuary to Athena, but Strabo perhaps confused it with the larger shrine to the goddess in western Thessaly (9.5.17), probably the parent of the one in Boiotia (9.2.29). The text is confused and has gaps," [2]

And yet, the idea of a temple at Itonos or 'nearby' has been a hardy one.  Stählin, in 1924, accepts its existence but reports that the temple has not yet been found.[3]  He supposes that the church of Hagios Nikolaos in Karatsadagli contains spolia from this hypothetical temple.  And in 1950 Philippson, while describing Itos (perhaps Zerelia Magoula, DARE; Vici; Mycenaean Atlas Project) and its neighborhood, writes that 'In the neighborhood (Nähe) was a celebrated temple with feasts and games in the third century.' [4]

As Roller makes clear : theoretically there may have been a sanctuary, temple or cult in this area but there has been no evidence of this.

For more see Simpson's discussion in his last work.[5]

Most of these questions should now be resolved in Lalonde [2019].   Regrettably Lalonde's book was not available to me at the time of writing.


[1] Roller [2014] 426.

[2] Roller [2018] 568.

[3] Stählin [1924] 176. "Spuren des noch nicht festgestellten Tempels sind antike Baustücke in der Kirche H. Nikolaos in Karatsadali, ... "

[4] Philippson [1950] 306 and 180: ""In der Nähe war ein gefeierter Tempel mit Festen und Spielen im dritten Jahrhundert."

[5] SImpson [2018] 444, 'Zerelia'.


Lalonde [2019]: Lalonde, Gerald V., Athena Itonia: Geography and Meaning of an Ancient Greek War Goddess, Brill. 2019. For more information see this.

Philippson [1950] : Philippson, Alfred. Die griechischen Landschaften Band 1. Der Nordosten der griechischen Halbinsel, Band I, Teil 1. Thessalien und die Spercheios-Senke. Eine Landeskunde. Frankfurt am Main, Vittorio Klostermann. 1950.

Roller [2014] : Roller, Duane W., The Geography of Strabo. Cambridge University Press. 2014.

Roller [2018] : Roller, Duane W., A Historical and Topographical Guide to the Geography of Strabo, Cambridge, 2018.

Simpson [2018] : Simpson, Richard Hope, Mycenaean Greece and the Homeric Tradition, published online under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. 2018. Online here.

Simpson and Lazenby [1970] : Simpson, Richard Hope and John Francis Lazenby, The Catalogue of the Ships in Homer's Iliad, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, U.K. 1970.

Stählin [1924] : Stählin, Freidrich, Dr., Das Hellenische Thessalien; Landeskundliche und geschichtliche Beschreibung thessaliens in der hellenischen und römischen Zeit , Engelhorn, Stuttgart. 1924.