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Messinia Prefecture & Ancient Messinia (Ithomi) Page Three

The site: The long circuit of the wall , which followed the line of the ridge descending from the summit of Ithomi, had four gates, with towers at regular intervals, and was as much as 2.5meters (8 feet) thick in some sections, and was continuous except at points where it was totally incaccessible. Though only 4-5meters /13-16 feet high (less than the height of many such fortifications) the escarpment below served as extra protection. The towers projected from the walls, and were mostly square, but with some semicircular ones as well at important angles. Seven of the towers partof the long walls are well preservedremain, though incomplete. They were of two storeys, the lower storey with four loopholes, the upper with six small windows.

The best preserved stretch is near the Arkadia Gate, actually consisting of two sets of gates separated by a rather unusual round courtyard with mortar-less, very beautiful built walls made of rusticated blocks of stone (to 'rusticate' is to mark masonry with sunken joints, or to roughen its surface). Niches in this wall displayed statues of the city's divine protectors, among them no doubt the Hermes noted by Pausanius. The inner gate has a gigantic monolithic lintel, now half fallen ; the outer gate is flanked by two towers (of which only the foundations remain), from which attackers could be assaulted with hurled javelins or arrows.

Doubtless the population was able to take refuge within the huge enclosed area behind the walls (though intended also to enclose grain fields). A short section of paved road is visible, and outside the Gate is the stepped base of a large monument.

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