Gitana (Thesprotia) 2 Gkoumani - Γιτάνα

Γιτᾶνα - Gitana, Classical to Hellenistic polis near Gkoumani in Thesprotia Epirus
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Works: 2
Latitude: 39.570900
Longitude: 20.265500
Confidence: High

Greek name: Γιτᾶνα
Place ID: 396203PGit
Time period: CH
Region: Epirus
Country: Greece
Department: Thesprotia
Mod: Gkoumani

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Search for inscriptions mentioning Gitana (Γιτα...) in the PHI Epigraphy database.

Modern Description: Gitana is a fenced site with limited opening hours, accessible by road from the Kalama Dam (fragma). Gitana was the second capital of ancient Thesprotia and seat of the koinon (federation) of the Thesprotians. It has been identified with the ruins of a fortified settlement on the SW edge of the hill of Vrysella, north of the river Kalamas basin, at its confluence with its tributary, Kalpakiotikos. From this privileged location, it controlled river traffic to the sea. In 150 years since its foundation until its conquest from the Romans in 167 BC, the city was an important political, administrative and financial center. The earliest information for the existence of Gitana as the seat of the Koinon of the Thesprotians is an inscribed emancipation decree from the agora dated between 350 and 300 BC. The last written testimony for the city (Livy) is dated from the autumn of 172 BC, the year the Romans arrived in Epirus for the III Macedonian war. During the excavation of the city's Prytaneion - archival building, on the SW edge of the settlement - two of the thousands of clay sealings discovered bear the in the inscription 'ΓΙΤΑΝΑ'.
The ancient settlement is surrounded by three sides by the Kalamas River. In addition to the commercial activities offered by the river, then navigable, the city controlled the largest Thesprotian plain. The setting favored prehistoric habitation, as suggested by the discovery of flint blades and prehistoric pottery in the greater area. Also, the inhabitants were able to approach the most important settlements Lygia and Mastilitsa. At the same time there was a direct communication with the other big cities along the river (ancient Fanoti, settlement in Raveni, Elina etc). The foundation of the ancient city is dated in the mid 4th century BC. Construction continued during the Hellenistic period but there are no architectural remains datable after the Roman conquest.
The ancient settlement has a strong wall of polygonal masonry, the perimeter of which, including the cliff on the east, is almost 2,500 metres. The walls are supported with towers and their height reach 2-3 m. Gitana were built on an organized urban plan, a grid with parallel roads, 4-6m wide that are vertically traversed by 2-3m wide roads. A partition wall, with a total length of 315m, divides the ancient settlement into two residential sectors, eastern and western. The western sector, inside the partition, has a total expanse of 50 acres and as the extensive stratum of devastation testifies, in that sector big part of public and religious life of the city was developing. The agora of ancient city, was a place of gathering and commercial centre. It was defined, northbound by a stoa complex, having adopted a type common in western Greece, with the side walls partially extending the facade. The stoa is 76m. A row of 26 Doric columns on the facade and 14 Ionian columns inside the building supported the roof, creating an ample housed area and offering shelter against the rain and the sun for people in the agora. The extravagant way of living of the inhabitants, almost before the devastation in 2nd BC century, is reflected in the quality of the excavated public buildings. Inside the walls is well-defined the lower sector of the ancient buildings. During the period of its flourishing, the urban population was about 6.000 inhabitants.
In the S/SW side of the settlement there was a temple, 13 x 7m. The small size, the simple orthogonal ground plan with the two space division into an antetemple and a cella, along with the lack of a perimeter colonnade are the usual characteristics of the temple constructions of the Hellenistic period in Epirus. Building A, called the Prytaneion, had a public character as the discovery of 3.000 clay sealings in the inside confirms. Three symposium rooms were excavated, decorated with a mosaic floor covering their entire surface. A frame decorated with a spiral and a reticulated pattern surrounds a partitioning of white and black tesserae, with the forms of five dolphins, four of which occupy the corners. The excavation has brought to light bronze statuettes and couch hardware along with 178 bronze coins of the Epirotic Koinon (234 - 168 BC). Outside the west part of the walls is a theater with space for 4.000 - 5.000 audience. Excavation has revealed most of the cavea, formed on a rocky bank, the orchestra, and part of the stage.

Info: Odysseus

(Odysseus, Greek Ministry of Culture)

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