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Was the classical name of sites in Elis, Triphylia (south of Elis), and Messenia, all of which claimed to be the Pylos which is Nestor's capital in the Homeric poems; but many textual references to ‘sandy Pylos’ better suit a region, probably that around Navarino Bay. Messenian Pylos was the rocky peninsula north of Navarino Bay and joined by a sand spit to the mainland. Its most famous moment occurred during the Peloponnesian War, in 425, when it was occupied by an Athenian force. This occupation led in turn to the capture of a force of Spartans on the adjacent island of Sphacteria. This episode was fully described by Thucydides (2). See Demosthenes (1); also Cleon; Brasidas. Anxiety about the return of the prisoners taken ‘on the island’, i.e. Sphacteria, was one main Spartan motive for accepting peace in 421, the so‐called Peace of Nicias. The Athenians held Pylos with a garrison of Messenians until 409.

Subjects: Classical studies

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