AMPHIAREION OF OROPOS - Oropos

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

Temple of Amphiaraus - Oropos

This forgotten intriguing oracle of Attica, dedicated in honor of Amphiaraus and known as the Amphiareion of Oropos is located a short 30km drive from Athens!


By Alexios Demos on October 29, 2021
Amphiareion of Oropos Stoa Area Ionic Column Amfiareio
Stoa: Gorgeous Ionic Column Detail | Amphiareion | Oropos | © Copyright 2021 Alexios Demos

Indicative Information | Tickets Full: €3, Reduced: €2 | Visiting Times Summer: 08:30 -15:30 | EO Oiou Amfiariou, Markopoulo Oropou - Kalamos Postcode: 19014 | More info call +302295062144 / 2295062144

The ancient residents of the town Oropos are the first to worship our hero as a god (5th c. BC) and create this vibrant site that in antiquity served as a location for healing and divination.

“Amphiaraus is an especially colorful character; favored by both Zeus & Apollo, a well-celebrated seer, healer, and warrior hero of Argos whose tale like most things Ancient Greek is entwined with profound tragedy.”

The site is located in a gorge that has its very own sacred spring and due to its political influence, prestigious status, and location between Attica and Boeotia was ultimately greatly contested for control by Athens and Thebes.


Amphiareion of Oropos Stoa Area Amfiareio
Stoa | Amphiareion | Oropos | © Copyright 2021 Alexios Demos

Temple of Amphiaraus - Oropos

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I suspect that this gem of a site with a plethora of ruins hidden in a dense pine forest that feels more like a mini nature reserve has been generally forgotten today by even the Greeks as it was dedicated to the renowned hero Amphiaraus, (who enjoyed godlike status in antiquity) rather to a more well-known god of the Olympian Pantheon. Amphiaraus is an especially colorful character; favored by both Zeus & Apollo, a well-celebrated seer, healer, and warrior hero of Argos whose tale like most things Ancient Greek is entwined with profound tragedy. His gift of foresight is not adequate to deter his folly and against his better judgment, he is persuaded by his bribed wife Eriphyle to embark on a war against the city-state Thebes, immortalized by the "father of tragedy" playwright Aeschylus in his play "Seven Against Thebes" (467 BC). Upon seeing inevitable defeat he attempts to escape the battleground with his chariot and Zeus decides to take matters into his own hands by throwing a thunderbolt that swallows Amphiaraus into the ground hence our hero goes out in style indeed! Of course, this is not enough as Amphiaraus has already left notice to his sons that they should murder his wife should he not return! His order is indeed executed by his son Alcmaeon concluding the tale rather brutally enforcing the principle of till death do us part!

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This forgotten intriguing oracle of Attica, dedicated in honor of Amphiaraus and known as the Amphiareion of Oropos is located a short 30km drive from Athens. The ancient residents of the town Oropos are the first to worship our hero as a god (5th c. BC) and create this vibrant site that in antiquity served as a location for healing and divination. The temple of Amphiaraus was constructed in the early 4th c. BC in the architectural Doric hexastyle and is one of the numerous site structures including a theatre, stoa, male & female bathhouses, and an entire town on the eastern half of the site. Please note that Amphiaraus essentially took many of the qualities of Asclepius, the god of medicine, and was worshiped in numerous other locations including Sparta, Argos, Athens, and Rhamnous. The site is located in a gorge that has its very own sacred spring and due to its political influence, prestigious status, and location between Attica and Boeotia was ultimately greatly contested for control by Athens and Thebes.

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Personally, the most alluring location of the site is the intimate theatre (2nd c. BC) which has a memorable and photogenic colonnade on the front of the stage (proscenium). The processional manner in which you walk up to the theatre and reach the colonnade and witness the theatre’s extremely well preserved 5 first-row marble thrones for prominent citizens (prohedria) makes you nearly feel the echoes of ancient performances through the millennia. For the first time in centuries on August 29, 2020, the Greek Ministry of Culture allowed a performance to take place this performance was Euripides's “The Bacchae". It must have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I hope many more performances will occur to create a momentum of visitors!

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Amphiareion of Oropos Theatre Amfiareio
The Intimate Theatre | Amphiareion | Oropos | © Copyright 2021 Alexios Demos

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I would also like to highlight the eerie process of making a sacrifice to Amphiaraus as described by the legendary geographer & traveler Pausanias. It was quite a process and I doubt the majority of modern men would have the stomach for it today! Firstly one would offer silver and gold coins in the Sacred Spring and purify themselves with its water. They would then proceed to place small figurines and other objects such as marble reliefs on the altar in honor of the god. However, here is where things become rather spooky as one would need to sacrifice a ram and then proceed to skin the animal and wrap themselves with the animal skin to sleep with it (or at least use it as a sheet) in the Stoa (covered walkway). Here is where divine enlightenment would take place in the form of Amphiaraus advising while dreaming. I don’t know about you but being covered in a freshly slaughtered animal and needing to miraculously fall asleep with the stench engulfing me would be a rather traumatic experience to say absolutely the least!

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What are your thoughts?

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Date of Visit: Oct 22, 2021 Weather Conditions: A Pleasant Cloudy and Sunny Fall Friday Noon

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Additional Site Photographs (5):

Ampiareion of Oropos Altar View From Sacred Spring
View from the Sacred Spring looking at the Altar | Amphiareion | Oropos | © Copyright 2021 Alexios Demos

Amphiareon of Oropos the Temple of Amphiaraos
Remains of the Temple of Amphiaraos | Amphiareion | Oropos | © Copyright 2021 Alexios Demos

Amphiareon of Oropos the Temple of Amphiaraos
Detail of Remains of the Temple of Amphiaraos | Amphiareion | Oropos | © Copyright 2021 Alexios Demos

Amphiareon of Oropos Men's Bath House Loutra
View from afar of the ruins of the Men's Bathhouse - Loutra | Amphiareion | Oropos | © Copyright 2021 Alexios Demos

Amphiareion of Oropos Theatre Amfiareio
Remains of the Proscenium | Amphiareion | Oropos | © Copyright 2021 Alexios Demos
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