Naupactus - Encyclopedia

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NAUPACTUS (Ital. Lepanto, mod. Gr. Epakto), a town in the nomarchy of Acarnania and Aetolia, Greece, situated on a bay on the north side of the straits of Lepanto. The harbour, once the best on the northern coast of the Corinthian Gulf, is now almost entirely choked up, and is accessible only to the smallest craft. Naupactus is an episcopal see; pop. about 2500. In Greek legend it appears as the place where, the Heraclidae built a fleet to invade Peloponnesus. In historical times it belonged to the Ozolian Locrians; but about 455 B.C., in spite of a partial resettlement with Locrians of Opus, it fell to the Athenians, who peopled it with Messenian refugees and made it their chief naval station in western Greece during the Peloponnesian war. In 404 it was restored to the Locrians, who subsequently lost it to the Achaeans, but recovered it through Epaminondas. Philip II. of Macedon gave Naupactus to the Aetolians, who held it till 191, when after an obstinate siege it was surrendered to the Romans. It was still flourishing about A.D. 170, but in Justinian's reign was destroyed by an earthquake. In the middle ages it fell into the hands of the Venetians, who fortified it so strongly that in 1477 it successfully resisted a four months' siege by a Turkish army thirty thousand strong; in 1499, however, it was taken by Bayezid II. The mouth of the Gulf of Lepanto was the scene of the great sea fight in which the naval power of Turkey was for the time being destroyed by the united papal, Spanish and Venetian forces (October 7, 1571). See Lepanto, Battle Of. In 1678 it was recaptured by the Venetians, but was again restored in 1699, by the treaty of Karlowitz to the Turks; in the war of independence it finally became Greek once more (March 1829).

See Strabo ix. pp. 426-427; Pausanias x. 38.10 -13; Thucydides i.-iii. passim; Livy. bk. xxxvi. passim; E. L. Hicks and G. F. Hill, Greek Historical Inscriptions (Oxford, 1901), No. 25.

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