Olynthus (ōlĭnˈthəs) [key], ancient city of Greece, on the peninsula of Chalcidice (now Khalkidhikí), NE of Potidaea. A league of Chalcidic cities grew up in the late 5th cent. B.C., and Olynthus, as the head of this Chalcidian League, vigorously opposed the threats of Athens and Sparta. Athens captured the city and held it for a brief time. In 379 B.C., Sparta defeated Olynthus and dissolved the league, which was, however, re-formed after the fall of Sparta. Olynthus had been allied with Philip II of Macedon against Athens, but, fearing Philip's power, sought Athenian aid. Philip attacked, and Demosthenes in his Olynthiac orations eloquently urged his fellow Athenians to aid the threatened city. Philip destroyed (348 B.C.) the city despite Athenian aid. Excavations at Olynthus have revealed the layout of the city.
See M. Gude, A History of Olynthus (1933); D. M. Robinson et al., Excavations at Olynthus (13 vol., 1929–50).
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