Ancient Greek Village Names

Written by lindsey klingele | 13/05/2017
Ancient Greek Village Names
Some ancient Greek villages survive in some form today. (Columns at the Ancient Agora in Athens, Greece image by Diane Stamatelatos from

Ancient Greece was home to some of the first civilisations of mankind, including the Minoan and Mycenaean. Some remnants of the villages from those civilisations still exist in modern-day Greek cities. Most of the ancient cities in Greece drew their names from divinities, kings and myths of the time.


The ancient Greek village of Eleusis, about 13 miles west of Athens was first populated during the early Bronze Age. Its name may have derived from King Eleusis, who was believed to be the son of Hermes. In the Greek Mycenaean civilisation between 1600 and 1100 B.C., Eleusis was home to a cult of the goddess Demeter. It was the site of the Eleusinian Mysteries, or the yearly initiation ceremonies held for the cult of Demeter as well as the goddess Persephone. Today the suburb of Eleusina rests on the site of the ancient village.


Sicyon was one of the first villages of ancient Greece and was located in the northern Peloponnesus. The village had many names throughout its history but the name of Sicyon remained with it longest. The name is believed to have been derived from King Sicyon, who married the daughter of King Lamedon. A sikyos is also a kind of pumpkin that is common in the area. Sicyon was an ancient source of arts and theatre in Greece and the remains of a Hellenistic theatre from the village's early era is in the modern-day city of Vassiliko.


The city of Mycenae existed during the Mycenaean Greek civilisation between about 1900 B.C. and 1125 B.C. Many scholars believed the city to be a myth, only existing in the pages of the poet Homer's Iliad, until an archaeologist uncovered the remains of the village in 1870. There is no clear answer to the question of how Mycenae was named, although in Homer's Odyssey, it was named for Mycene, the beautiful daughter of Inachus.


Another ancient Greek village was Amnisos, also commonly referred to as Amnissos, in northern Crete. The ancient city was settled in the Bronze Age and rested on the site of an historic settlement from the Minoan civilisation. The city was named for the Amnissos River that ran through it, although today that river is called Karteros. The Amnisiades were ancient nymphs and divinities associated with the Amnissos River.


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