Delium (Greek: Δήλιον, Dḗlion) was a small town in ancient Boeotia with a celebrated temple of Apollo. It was located upon the sea-coast in the territory of Tanagra in Boeotia, and at the distance of about a mile (1.6 km) from the territory of Oropus. This temple, which like the town took its name from the island of Delos, is described by Livy as overhanging the sea, and distant 5 miles (8.0 km) from Tanagra, at the spot where the passage to the nearest parts of Euboea is less than 4 miles (6.4 km).[1] Strabo speaks of Delium as a temple of Apollo and a small town (πολίχνιον) of the Tanagraei, distant 40 stadia from Aulis.[2]

There were two important battles at Delium. In the first battle, called the Battle of Delium, the Athenians suffered a signal defeat from the Boeotians in the eighth year of the Peloponnesian War, in 424 BCE. This battle went over a period of several days. Hippocrates, the Athenian commander, had seized the temple at Delium, which he converted into a fortress by some temporary works, and after leaving there a garrison, was on his march homewards, and had already reached the territory of Oropus at the distance of 10 stadia from Delium, when he met the Boeotian army advancing to cut off his retreat. In the battle which ensued, the Athenians were defeated with great loss; Hippocrates was killed; and on the seventeenth day after the battle, the Boeotians retook the temple.[3] Socrates fought at this battle among the hoplites, and, according to one account, saved the life of Xenophon,[2] while, according to another, his own retreat was protected by Alcibiades, who was serving in the cavalry.[4] The Boeotians grossly outnumbered the Athenians, resulting in the Boeotian victory. The war was won in 404 BCE, with a great financial help from the Persians.[5] The Athenians began the battle 15,000 total and the Boeotians began with 18,500. As with any battle, casualties ensued, in addition to the death of Hippocrates, the Athenians lost many. The Athenians lost 1,200 and the Boeotians lost much fewer, only 500.[6] In the later battle, the Romans were defeated by Antiochus III the Great in 192 BCE.[7][8][9][10][11]

Its site is located near modern Dilesi.[12][13]


  1. ^ Livy. Ab Urbe Condita Libri (History of Rome). Vol. 35.51.
  2. ^ a b Strabo. Geographica. Vol. ix. p.403. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  3. ^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. Vol. 4.90.
  4. ^ Plutarch, Alc. 7.
  5. ^ Brice, Lee L. "The Peloponnesians won the war in 404 with Persian financial support. Among the terms of the surrender was the dissolution of the Delian League." Greek Warfare: From the Battle of Marathon to the Conquests of Alexander the Great (2012): 48.
  6. ^ Hanson, Victor Davis. Ripples of Battle: How Wars Fought Long Ago Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live, and How We Think. Doubleday, 2003. ISBN 0-385-50400-4
  7. ^ Livy. Ab Urbe Condita Libri (History of Rome). Vol. 35.51.
  8. ^ Strabo. Geographica. Vol. viii. p.368. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  9. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. Vol. 9.20.1.
  10. ^ Ptolemy. The Geography. Vol. 3.15.20.
  11. ^ Livy. Ab Urbe Condita Libri (History of Rome). Vol. 31.45.
  12. ^ Richard Talbert, ed. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press. p. 55, and directory notes accompanying.
  13. ^ Lund University. Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire.

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Delium". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.

Coordinates: 38°20′46″N 23°39′41″E / 38.3462075°N 23.661354°E / 38.3462075; 23.661354