Σπήλαιο Ευριπίδη

Euripides Cave - Σπήλαιου του Ευριπίδη - Cave of Euripides


Useful Information

Location: Near Ormos Peristerias, Salamis island.
Ferry from Athens Piraeus to Paloukia, follow signs across the island to Peristeria, at the road Peristeria-Kolones halfway, small road uphill to the end. The road is called Euripides Street, and there is a small brown sign for the cave. 250 m, 10 minutes walk.
(37.881878, 23.452823)
Open: no restrictions.
Archaeological Museum of Salamis: All year Mon, Wed-Sun 8:30-15:30.
Closed 01-JAN, 25-MAR, 01-MAY, Easter Sunday, 25-DEC, 26-DEC.
[2021]
Fee: free.
Archaeological Museum of Salamis: Adults EUR 3. Reduced EUR 2.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=47 m, A=115 m asl.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Aulus Gellius (2nd century): Noctes Atticae, (Attica Nights).
John Carew Rolfe (1927): The Attic Nights of Aulus Gellius Loeb Classical Library. 3 Volumes. ISBN 0674992156, ISBN 0674992202, ISBN 0674992342
Johanna Hanink (2009): On the hunt for the cave of Euripides, Queens’ College Record (Queens’ College, Cambridge Alumni Office publication): (2009) 47-8. academia.edu
Address: Cave of Euripides, Peristeria 189 03.
Archaeological Museum of Salamis, Polychroni Lembesi 42, PC 18 900, Salamina (Prefecture of Attica), Tel: +30-2104640759, Tel: +30-2104653572, Fax: +30-2104653572. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1994-1997 excavation by Yannos G. Lolos, Assistant Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Ioannina, Epirus.
1998-2000 sanctuary of Dionysus on the path leading to the cave discovered and excavated.

Description

Σπήλαιο Ευριπίδη (Cave of Euripides) is a small cave on the southern slopes of Salamis Island, which was inhabited by man since prehistory. The cave was excavated numerous times and is an important archaeological site. As such, it is freely accessible with the restriction that probably parts are closed off to protect the archaeological remains. The cave is advertised on the tourist website of the island, but they avoid mentioning details about this.

The Cave of Euripedes was named after the ancient Greek playwright Euripedes, who according to legend retreated to this cave to pen his famous tragedies. This is the first known case that an author went "into his cave" to concentrate and write, although we guess that modern authors use their man cave instead. In the cave a late fifth-century BC black-glaze skyphos, a two-handled wine cup, was found on which the name Euripedes was written. Obviously the archaeologists guessed, that's like the coffee mugs with your name on it today. The theory is also supported by the ancient authors Philochorus and Satyrus, who described Euripides as a misanthrope who avoided society by lurking in a cave. The 2nd century Roman author Aulus Gellius claimed to have visited the "grim and gloomy cavern" during his visit to Athens (Attic Nights XV.20).

Euripides was born in Salamis in 485 or 480 BC. He died in Macedonia in 406 BC. His father, the landowner Mnisarchos, came from the Attic municipality of Flya. According to ancient sources, he owned land in Salamina. It makes sense that Euripides knew this place well from his childhood at his paternal estate in Salamina. The natural terrace at the entrance has a rock roof and overlooks the Saronic Gulf. Its obvious that this is a place where a poet could find peace and inspiration.

Much less speculative are the results of the archaeological excavations. During the 1990s the Department of Palaeoanthropology of the Greek Ministry of Culture excavated the site under the direction of Yannos G. Lolos, Assistant Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Ioannina, Epirus. They discovered Neolithic stone implements and arrowheads, Mycenaean burials, 5th century BC Attic black glaze pottery, Roman period coins and votive figurines, and jewellery from the Frankish period. The oldest findings were dated to the Late Neolithic, 5,300 to 4,300 BC. The burials were dated to the 14th to the early 12th century BC. This is interpreted as a long-term use as a place of refuge and worship. The material of Roman times is the richest, the cave was established as an attraction during the 2nd and 3rd century AD. It became a place of honor for Euripides and his patron, Dionysus. During these times offerings like jewelry, silver earrings, rings and glass beads, and money, for example an intact treasure of 39 silver coins, were made. It was probably the "treasury" of the sacred cave and was hidden during the great invasion of the Scandinavian Heroes and Goths of 267 AD. This event was probably the end of the worship. During the Frankish rule, specifically during the 14th century, the cave was again used as a natural "treasury".

The findings from the cave are today in the Archaeological Museum of Salamis.