Phocis prefecture

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Phocis (Greek, Modern: Φωκίδα/Fokída, Ancient/Katharevousa: Φωκίς/Phokis; is an ancient district of central Greece, and a prefecture of modern Greece.


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 were mainly of strategic importance.


The early history of Phocis remains quite obscure. During the Persian invasion of 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 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 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. 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.

In the 4th century BC Phocis was constantly endangered by its Boeotian neighbours. After helping the Spartans to invade Boeotia during the Corinthian War (39594), the Phocians were placed on the defensive. They received assistance from Sparta in 380, 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 (370362), 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). 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 II 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 the Phocians began to rebuild their cities; in the following year they fought against Philip at Chaeronea. Again in 323 they took part in the Lamian War against Antipater, and in 279 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 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 and enrolled it in the new Achaean synod. The Phocian League is last heard of under Trajan.

Phocis today

Phocis is today a prefecture and the capital is at Amfissa. It is one of the least populated prefectures in Greece. The neighboring prefectures are Aitoloakarnania to the west, Phthiotis to the north and Boeotia to the east.

Communities in present-day Phocis include Amfissa (commonly known as "Salona"), Delphi (near Boeotia prefecture), Galaxidi, Itea.

Most of the villages are found in the south, the southwest and the west, especially in areas from Amfissa to Itea. The north and the east are sparsely populated.

Much of the south and east are deforested, rocky and mountainous while the valley runs from Itea up to Amfissa. Forests are to the west, the centre and the north.

Its reservoir is the Mornos Dam on the Mornos river. It covers nearly 1 km to 3 km². It was completed in the 1960s and GR-48 passes through the dam.




Formerly there were two provinces in Phocis:


Municipality YPES code Seat Postal code
Amfissa 5101 Amfissa 331 00
Delphi 5105 Delphi 330 54
Desfina 5106 Desfina 330 50
Efpalio 5107 Efpalio 330 56
Galaxidi 5103 Galaxidi 330 52
Gravia 5104 Gravia 330 57
Itea 5108 Itea 332 00
Kallii 5109 Mavrolithari 330 63
Lidoriki 5110 Lidoriki 330 53
Parnassos 5111 Polydroso 330 51
Tolofona 5112 Eratini 330 58
Vardousia 5102 Krokylio 330 61


External link and references