Near the village of Agios Andreas in the Western Peloponnese and 6km from the town of Astros is a little known archaeological site which is believed to be the ancient city of Anthini.
The remains of this fortified settlement can be found on the top of a small rocky hill known as “the Island of Agios Andreas”. Partial excavations have shown it was an important settlement from the 5th Century BC through the Hellenistic and Roman periods and up to the Byzantine era although in its later stages the city moved to lower levels, closer to the sea.
Anthini was one of four cities in antiquity which were located in the region of Thyreatis along with Thyrea, Eva, and Nirida. It is not certain that the site on this hill is actually that of Anthini, but there is some evidence that the city was close to a port and the other three cities have all been located inland. Over time the sea level has risen considerably so the ancient port would have been some distance from the hill. In the area of the present day harbour to the north of the hill there are the foundations of walls and buildings dating to the late Roman period and the Byzantine era.
The hill is surrounded by sections of Cyclopean wall dating back to the 5th and 4th centuries BC, and one part can clearly be seen next to the road leading to the present day harbour. The perimeter of the wall measures about 1200 metres and at various points there were fortified bastions numbering 21 in total. Most of these were located on the North and East sides of the hill as the South and West sides were naturally protected.
Little remains of the settlement itself and in most instances only the foundations are visible. The layout of the buildings suggest that there were straight roads between them and in places it is possible to see grooves worn into the stone by the wheels of carts or wagons 1.40m apart.
In his history of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides refers to Anthini and it is also mentioned by Pausanias in his second century AD description of Greece. More recently William Leake refers to the city in his 1830 book “Travels in the Morea” although he places it further inland in the area of Elliniko, a site which is now considered to be that of Thyrea. The fullest description of Anthini is provided by the renowned Greek archaeologist professor Panagiotis Faklaris in his book on Ancient Kynouria (on which this article is largely based).
Photos of Anthini