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The Larissa of Argos

In the Orestes novels, I make repeated references to the Larissa of Argos.  The Larissa is the fortified citadel which would have sat atop the high mound of Argos, overlooking the lower town.  A medieval castle from the 10th century A.D., also called the Larissa, stands where the original Mycenaean fortress would have stood.


Mycenae may have had its strategic advantages, for it dominated northeastern Argolis, and the north-south road from Tiryns through the Kelossa Pass to Nemea and Corinthia, but even its impressive situation could not outdo the commanding view of the entire region and the Argolic Gulf that the rulers of Argos enjoyed.

During the Trojan War, Argos was ruled by Diomedes of the mighty war cry, who led the Argive contingent of eighty black ships.  Agamemnon's Mycenaean contingent of a hundred ships came mostly from Achaea and Corinthia, not Argos, as some might assume.  Later, Agamemnon's son Orestes ousted the last Argive king, Cylarabes, from his throne, and annexed Argos to his Mycenaean and Spartan territories.

Argos has been continuously inhabited for more than 7000 years, making it one of the oldest settlements in Europe.  The name "Argos" has a pre-Greek, or Pelasgian, origin, and is possibly related to "argurios," the ancient Mycenaean word for "silver" or "shining brightly."  "Larissa" is without a doubt a pre-Greek word.

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