nor the wooden tower in Piraeus



nor the wooden tower in Piraeus

Original French:  ne la tour de boys en Pyrée,

Modern French:  ne la tour de boys en Pyrée,

Wooden tower near Pireaus

Various precautions were taken [by the ancients] to prevent deterioration with age and to allay the threat of disease. … Nor should I forget the story, which Gellius extracted from the annals of Quintus Claudius, of a wooden tower near the Prieaus, which Archelaus, an officer under Mithridates, had liberally coated with alum, and which therefore did not catch fire during Sulla’s attack.

Leon Battista Alberti [1404–1472]
On the Art of Building in Ten Books
Joseph Rykwert, translator
Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1988
Google Books


Ville d’Attique

François Rabelais [ca. 1483–1553]
Le Rabelais moderne, ou les Œuvres de Rabelais mises à la portée de la plupart des lecteurs
François-Marie de Marsy [1714-1763], editor
Amsterdam: J.-F. Bernard, 1752
Google Books


C’étoit le port d’Athènes.

François Rabelais [ca. 1483–1553]
Œuvres de Rabelais (Edition Variorum)
Charles Esmangart [1736-1793], editor
Paris: Chez Dalibon, 1823
Google Books

wooden Tower in the Piraeus

Aul. Gell. xv. 1 §§ 4-7.

François Rabelais [ca. 1483–1553]
Gargantua and Pantagruel
William Francis Smith [1842–1919], translator
London, 1893


The great harbour complex of Athens, is a rocky limestone peninsula some 7 km. SW of Athens, which Themistocles began to fortify in 493/2 as a base for Athens’ rapidly expanding fleet in preference to the open roadstead of Phaleron. It has three harbours, Zea and Munichia on the east, used exclusively by naval shipping. Zea possessed 196 shipsheds and Philon’s Arsenal. The biggest harbour, Kantharos (Goblet) or Megas Limēn (Great Harbour), lies to the west and accommodated, in addition to warships, a thriving emporium (see emporion) on its north and east shoreline comprising ‘five stoas round about the harbour’, of which some traces remain. Its urban development dates to c.450 bc when Hippodamus of Miletus ‘cut up Piraeus’ by laying it out on an orthogonal plan. The presence of numerous metics led to the establishment of many foreign cults here, including the Thracian Great Goddess Bendis, Isis, and Mother of the Gods (see cybele). In 458/7 Piraeus was joined to Athens by Long Walls, and in c.446 the building of the Middle Wall eliminated Phaleron from the fortified area. In 429 moles were constructed on either side of each harbour’s mouth which could be closed by chains in time of war. The fortifications were destroyed by the Spartans in 404 but rebuilt by Conon (1) in 393. Though the port revived in the mid‐4th cent. bc, it never became more than the ghost of its former Periclean self.

Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World
Oxford Reference Online



Posted 10 February 2013. Modified 5 May 2018.

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