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Acanthus

Was probably a 7th-cent. colony of Andros (Thuc. 4. 84) near the narrowest point of the Akte prong of Chalcidice, and thus close to the canal dug in 480 bce on the orders of Xerxes I of Persia (Hdt. 7. 22; Thuc. 4. 109); at this time it was an important Persian base. It remained loyal to Athens for much of the 5th cent. (paying a normal tribute of 3 talents in the Delian League), until 424 when it was famously seduced by the rhetoric of the Spartan Brasidas (Thuc. 4.85–7 for the speech, a tour de force), though Thuc. also drily notes (4. 88) that the Acanthians were concerned for their grape-vintage which Brasidas had threatened to destroy. Thuc. 4. 124. 1 (separate mention of Acanthians and Chalcidians in Brasidas' army) implies that like Torone, Acanthus was not at this time a member of the Chalcidic League (see chalcidice). In the Peace of Nicias (1) Acanthus was ‘autonomous but tribute-paying’. In the 380s Acanthus appears in outright opposition to the Chalcidic League (Xen. Hell. 5. 2. 11 ff., cf. RO no. 12 for Acanthian independence in the 390s). It was evidently spared by Philip (1) II of Macedon when he destroyed other cities in the Chalcidic peninsula in 348 (BCH 45 (1921) III. 86, 3rd-cent. Delphic list) but was sacked by the Romans in 200 bce (Livy 31. 45. 16). Finds from excavations on the site (including a 4th-cent. bce necropolis) can be seen in the museums at Polygiros and Thessalonike.

Bibliography

Thucydides 4. 84 ff. S. Hornblower, Commentary Thucydides. E. Badian in R. Mellor and L. Tritle (eds.), Text and Tradition (1999), 3 ff.

M. Zahrnt, Olynth und die Chalkidier (1971), 146–150. M. H. Hansen and T. H. Nielsen (eds.), An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis (2004), no. 559. For the canal, B. Isserlin and others, Annual of the British School at Athens 1994, 277–284.

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