Sikyon (Greek: Σικυών; gen.: Σικυῶνος) was an ancient Greek city situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea on the territory of the present-day regional unit of Corinthia. The king-list given by Pausanias comprises twenty-four kings, beginning with the autochthonous Aegialeus. The penultimate king of the list, Agamemnon, compels the submission of Sicyon to Mycenae; after him comes the Dorian usurper Phalces. Pausanias shares his source with Castor of Rhodes, who used the king-list in compiling tables of history; the common source was convincingly identified by F. Jacoby as a lost Sicyonica by the late 4th-century poet Menaechmus of Sicyon.
Sicyon was built on a low triangular plateau about two miles from the Corinthian Gulf. Between the city and its port lay a fertile plain with olive groves and orchards. After the Dorian invasion the community was divided into the ordinary three Dorian tribes and an equally privileged tribe of Ionians, besides which a class of serfs lived on and worked the land.
For some centuries, Sicyon remained subject to Argos, whence its Dorian conquerors had come; as late as 500 BCE, it acknowledged a certain suzerainty. However, its virtual independence was established in the 7th century BCE, when a line of tyrants arose and initiated an anti-Dorian policy. Chief of these rulers was the founder's grandson Cleisthenes, the uncle of the Athenian legislator Cleisthenes. Besides reforming the city's constitution to the advantage of the Ionians and replacing Dorian cults with the worship of Dionysus, Cleisthenes gained renown as the chief instigator and general of the First Sacred War (590 BCE) in the interests of the Delphians.
About this time, Sicyon developed the various industries for which it was noted in antiquity. As the abode of the sculptors Dipoenus and Scyllis it gained pre-eminence in woodcarving and bronze work such as is still to be seen in the archaic metal facings found at Olympia. Its pottery, which resembled Corinthian ware, was exported with the latter as far as Etruria. In Sicyon also the art of painting was supposed to have been invented. After the fall of the tyrants their institutions survived until the end of the 6th century BCE, when Dorian supremacy was re-established, perhaps by the agency of Sparta under the ephor Chilon, and the city was enrolled in the Peloponnesian League. Henceforth, its policy was usually determined either by Sparta or Corinth.
In the 5th century BCE, Sicyon, like Corinth, suffered from the commercial rivalry of Athens in the western seas, and was repeatedly harassed by squadrons of Athenian ships. In the Peloponnesian War Sicyon followed the lead of Sparta and Corinth. When these two powers quarrelled after the peace of Nicias, it remained loyal to the Spartans. Again in the Corinthian war, Sicyon sided with Sparta and became its base of operations against the allied troops round Corinth. In 369 BCE, it was captured and garrisoned by the Thebans in their successful attack on the Peloponnesian League. During this period, Sicyon reached its zenith as a centre of art: its school of painting gained fame under Eupompus and attracted the great masters Pamphilus and Apelles as students; its sculpture was raised to a level hardly surpassed in Greece by Lysippus and his pupils.
The destruction of Corinth (146 BCE) brought Sicyon an acquisition of territory and the presidency over the Isthmian games; yet in Cicero's time it had fallen deep into debt. Under the Roman Empire it was quite obscured by the restored cities of Corinth and Patrae; in Pausanias' age (150 CE) it was almost desolate. In Byzantine times it became a bishop's seat, and to judge by its later name Hellas it served as a refuge for the Greeks from the Slavonic immigrants of the 8th century.
A village named until 1920 Vasiliko (described by the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica as "insignificant") now occupies the site.
- Aegialeus (21st century BCE) legendary founder
- Butades (7th century BCE) sculptor
- Canachus (6th century BCE) sculptor
- Aristocles (5th century BCe) sculptor
- Praxilla (5th century BCE) poetess
- Eupompus (4th century BCE) painter
- Melanthius (4th century BCE) painter
- Pausias (4th century BCE) painter
- Eutychides (4th century BCE) sculptor
- Lysippos (4th century BCE) sculptor
- Lysistratus (4th century BCE) sculptor
- Xenokrates (3rd century BCE) sculptor
- Sostrates (4th century BCE) pankratiast; thrice Olympic champion
- Aratos of Sicyon (3rd century BCE) Head of Achaean League
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Sicyon|
- "Sicyon: The most ancient Greek city-state", Ellen Papakyriakou/Anagnostou. Contains a great deal of information on ancient and present-day Sicyon.
- "The Greco-Roman Theatre at Sicyon", The Ancient Theatre Archive. Theatre specifications and tour of the ancient theatre.
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Sicyon. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|