Ancient territory, central Greece. It extended north from the Gulf of Corinth over the range of Mount Parnassus to the Locrian Mountains, which formed the northern frontier. Its chief towns were Elateia, Delphi, and Daulis. Mainly a pastoral region, its early history is obscure. Traditionally, the Phocians controlled the sanctuary and oracle at Delphi, but they lost control after a war with neighbouring Greek states circa 590 BC. Phocis was allied with Sparta in the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) and was conquered by Philip II of Macedon in 346 BC.
Learn more about Phocis with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Modern Phocis has an area of 2120 km² (819 mi²), of which 560 km² (216 mi²) are forested, 36 km² (14 mi²) are plains, and the remainder is mountainous.
Being neither rich in material resources nor well placed for commercial enterprise, Phocis was mainly pastoral. No large cities grew up within its territory, and its chief places were mainly of strategic importance.
In the 4th century BC Phocis was constantly endangered by its Boeotian neighbours. After helping the Spartans to invade Boeotia during the Corinthian War (395–94 BC), the Phocians were placed on the defensive. They received assistance from Sparta in 380 BC, but were afterwards compelled to submit to the growing power of Thebes. The Phocian levy took part in the inroads of Epaminondas into Peloponnesus, except in the final campaign of Mantinea (370–362 BC), from which their contingent was withheld. In return for this negligence the Thebans fastened a religious quarrel upon their neighbours, and secured a penal decree against them from the Amphictyonic synod (356 BC). The Phocians, led by two capable generals, Philomelus and Onomarchus, replied by seizing Delphi and using its riches to hire a mercenary army. With the help of these troops the Phocian League at first carried the war into Boeotia and Thessaly, and though driven out of the latter country by Philip of Macedon, maintained itself for ten years, until the exhaustion of the temple treasures and the treachery of its leaders placed it at Philip's mercy. The conditions which he imposed – the obligation to restore the temple funds, and the dispersion of the population into open villages – were soon disregarded. In 339 BC the Phocians began to rebuild their cities; in the following year they fought against Philip at Chaeronea. Again in 323 BC they took part in the Lamian War against Antipater, and in 279 BC helped to defend Thermopylae against the Gauls.
Henceforth little more is heard of Phocis. During the 3rd century BC it passed into the power of Macedonia and of the Aetolian League, to which in 196 BC it was definitely annexed. Under the dominion of the Roman republic its national league was dissolved, but was revived by Augustus, who also restored to Phocis the votes in the Delphic Amphictyony which it had lost in 346 BC and enrolled it in the new Achaean synod. The Phocian League is last heard of under Trajan.
Most of the villages are founded in the south, the southwest and the west, especially in areas from Amfissa to Itea. The north and the east are leastly populated.
Much of the south and east are deforested and rocky and mountainous while the valley runs from Itea up to Amfissa. Forests and greenspaces are to the west, the central part and the north.
|Municipality||YPES code||Seat (if different)||Postal code|