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The ancient municipalities of Koili & Meliti

The ancient municipalities of Koili & Meliti

Posted on August 12, 2021

 Meliti and Koili were two important municipalities -could also call them neighborhoods, much cozier- belonging to the main city of ancient Athens. They have come to daylight in the West Hills area. Definitely not a coincidence! Many crucial aspects of public life took place there. 


Ancient Aristocracy

Did you know that two very famous Athens sights used to be in the same municipality in the past? Yeah, it is true! Welcome to Meliti & Koili!

Meliti has been the most aristocratic place to be in ancient Athens. It was the municipality where all the heroes of ancient history used to live. Themistocles, Miltiades, Kimon, and many more. If I tell you that the two sights included in the municipality were Pnyx and the ancient Agora, then it makes sense that all celebrities stayed there. Especially Pnyx. The assembly was taking place there, so it was a top interesting destination back then.

As it happens with the expensive neighborhoods of contemporary Athens, the place had the perfect location (of course!) and the Acropolis view was definitely a bonus!!! Actually, Meliti and Koili neighborhoods were on the best city sector?

Koili was built on the limit of the Wall of Themistocles, which was the defensive bulwark protecting the city. So we had half Koili in, half out, on a small valley between the Muses’ Hill and Pnyx. And something we forgot to mention about the name: the full ancient name used to be Koili Ippothoontidas (kind of difficult, I know!). As we already said, Koili was the municipal’s name. In addition, Ippothoontida stood for the name of the residents, their tribe, and the region! Globally speaking, this happens all the time, all ages! In most places on Earth, inhabitants and the region have the same name, usually without one letter changing!

Koili has been VERY revealing through the excavations. Follow us on vol.2, to read more!!!!

The Findings

During the excavations that revealed the ancient municipals in asty (the city), in the Koili area, there was a grave discovery. According to the researchers, it might belong to Kimon, an Olympic champion. This Kimon should not be confused with Kimon the glorious general and politician who lived in the 5th century. The athlete, of course, was glorious as well. The monument location was next to the Koili road (has its own post, keep on reading!), and right across laid Kimon’s horses. The horses were his companions to the three in a row Olympic game wins!

Another important finding was Thoukidide’s tomb -he IS the one you think, the well-known historical researcher of the past. The two discoveries led to the conclusion that the ancient neighborhood had a small part outside the Themistocles’ Wall. As far as we know from scripts, it was forbidden to maintain burial places within the city limits. This assumption is of great importance for the research to continue! And our conclusion is: 


The trade road

Koili had an aspect we haven’t mentioned yet, which was totally an ace for the neighborhood and the whole city. The ace was the Koili road. A long and safe road that boosted the trade other commercial activities in the city. 

As it comes to the findings, it is quite easy to distinguish the limits of the road in the archaeological site -much easier than other info that needs a little bit of help and imagination to see! The two parallels where the carts used to move on are very clear!

The road led from the center of Athens to the biggest port, Piraeus, passing through the Long Walls. This was the largest and most expensive defensive wall of Athens. Its existence protected the two ports -back then the city had two ports, Piraeus and Faliro.

The Koili road enabled the trip to and from the port, but its maintenance had many more collateral benefits to the municipal. The most important? It gave a population boost! Which means a stronger municipal! Hurray! Along with its beneficial location, mostly inside the Themistocles’ Wall, Koili was seemingly one of the best places to live -well done!



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