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|Region of Ancient Greece|
Map showing location of ancient Phocis
|Major cities||Delphi, Elatea|
Third Sacred War
Phocis was an ancient region in the central part of Ancient Greece, which included Delphi. A modern administrative unit, also called Phocis, is named after the ancient region, although the modern region is substantially larger than the ancient one.
Ancient Phocis was about 1,619 km² (625 mi²) in area, bounded on the west by Ozolian Locris and Doris, on the north by Opuntian Locris, on the east by Boeotia, and on the south by the Gulf of Corinth. The massive ridge of Parnassus (2,459 m/8,068 ft), which traverses the heart of the country, divides it into two distinct portions.
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, such as Delphi and Elatea, were mainly of strategic or cultural importance.
The early history of Phocis remains quite obscure. During the Second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC the Phocians at first joined in the national defence, but, by their irresolute conduct at the Battle of Thermopylae lost that position for the Greeks; at the Battle of Plataea they were enrolled on the Persian side. In 457 BC an attempt to extend their influence to the headwaters of the Cephissus in the territory of Doris brought a Spartan army into Phocis in defence of the "metropolis of the Dorians". A similar enterprise against Delphi in 448 BC was again frustrated by Sparta, but not long afterwards the Phocians recaptured the sanctuary with the help of the Athenians, with whom they had entered into alliance in 454 BC. The subsequent decline of Athenian land power had the effect of weakening this new connection; at the time of the Peloponnesian War Phocis was nominally an ally and dependent of Sparta, and had lost control of Delphi.
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