Laurium or Laurion (Λαύριον, Thoricum before early 1000s BC, Ergastiri throughout the medieval times and the mid to late 1000s, Ergastiri is Greek for Workplace) is a town in southeastern part of Attica, Greece and is one of the southernmost and the seat of the municipality of Lavreotiki, famous in Classical antiquity for the silver mines which were one of the chief sources of revenue of the Athenian state, and were employed for coinage. In modern times, the town is also known as Lavrio or Lavrion. It is a sea port of much less importance than nearby Piraeus. Today it is a suburb of Athens.
Latitude: 37°42’N; Longitude: 024°04’E. The Time Zone is Greenwich Mean Time + 2 hours.
It is located about 60 km SE of Athens, SE of Keratea, S of Porto Rafti and Nea Makri and N of Cape Sounio.
Laurium is situated on a bay overlooking the island of Makronisos (ancient times: Helena) in the east. The port is in the middle and gridded streets cover the residential area of Lavrio. GR-91 runs through Lavrio and ends south in Sounio.
Kato Sounio (pop. 193, 1991)
Division of the municipality of Lavreotiki
Lavrio has schools, lyceums, gymnasia, banks, a post office, and squares (plateia).
After the battle of Marathon, Themistocles persuaded the Athenians to devote the revenue derived from the mines to shipbuilding, and thus laid the foundation of the Athenian naval power, and made possible the victory of Salamis. The mines, which were the property of the state, were usually farmed out for a certain fixed sum and a percentage on the working; slave labour was exclusively employed. Towards the end of the 5th century the output was diminished, partly owing to the Spartan occupation of Decelea. But the mines continued to be worked, though Strabo records that in his time the tailings were being worked over, and Pausanias speaks of the mines as a thing of the past. The ancient workings, consisting of shafts and galleries for excavating the ore, and pans and other arrangements for extracting the metal, may still be seen.
The mines were still worked in the early 20th century by French and Greek companies, but mainly for lead, manganese and cadmium.
The population of the modern town was 10,007 in 1907.
The city is now a suburb of Athens. It is now connected by the new Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport and Attiki Odos. The nearest cities are Sounion, and Keratea.
It used to have a nearby train station but the line in the mid to the 20th century became abandoned.
The mining town of Laurium, Michigan was named after the famous Greek Laurium.
See Laurium Quicktime and additional Information
E Ardaillon, "Les Mines du Laurion dans l'antiquite," No. Ixxvii. of the Bibliotheque des ecoles françaises d'Athenes et de Rome.
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