A’ Part


Las means stone; ancient Laconia is related to stones. The name Las was the name of an ancient town 1500 years old, which was later called Passavas and now Chosiari.

The archaeologist Annie Linardaki, candidate professor of Ancient History at the university Paris X in France, is very precise and helpful, in a relevant project, regarding the topography of ancient Las.

“It sits on a high rock and it is called La (Stefanos Byzantios, 6th ac). The ancient town Laa, La and Las was built, in prehistoric times, on the stone hill, which was called Asia, within a distance of 8 km from Gythion (the traveller Pausanias, 160 ac). It is related to the hill of the Passavas castle or simply Castle that is within a distance of 10km to the southwest side of Gythio. This hill controls the strait of Passavas, which is the only entrance to the peninsula of Tainaro from the east side (N. Papachatzis).

Later, the ancient town was abandoned and the inhabitants moved to the fertile valley, the so-called Kardamata, and to Tourkovrisi. The new town was surrounded by the hills of Passavas, Tarbolia and Mastroleos that were called Asia, Knakadion and Ilion (Pausanias). The traveller notes that next to the new town there was a fountain called Galako. To the north on the roots of Castle, there is a fountain with milky colour (N. Papachatzis).

The port of the town was also called Las (geographer Skylax, the younger, 350 ac). It was 2km away from the centre, at the bay of Pano Vathiou (N. Papachatzis). It was used, according to Eforo (4th bc) by the Spartans since the first year of the 1st millennium BC – and even before at the years of Achaean, at the same time as Elos (A. Koutsilieris). In fact, the bay has a long beach and deep waters and it is rarely stormy. For this reason, it was also used, later, by the Turks and there was place, as written by the Turk Evlyia Tselebi in 1670 ac, for 100 ships; its name was then Pasalimani.

The gate Laan is mentioned first by Homer (around 8th Cent. ac) as one of the towns of king Menelaos. In Iliad, in the list of the islands, Laa is one of the laconic towns that took part in the Troian war, with the 60 manned ships of Menelaos.

The founder of the town is Las, contemporary to the heroes of the Trojan War. His grave, according to Pausania was in Arainon, to the so called today Agerani at the southern part of Vathia.

During the ancient times, the glory of Laas was great. The excavations and the historical sources prove so. To be continued…

G.P Dimakogiannis