Fanoti – Doliani

11/12/2015

The fortified settlement in Doliani, extending over an area of approximately 50,000m2, is built on top of a limestone hill, west of the contemporary settlement of Geroplatanos, in the municipality of Parapotamos. The location is particularly privileged in terms of natural protection, given that on the south and the west it is protected by a steep gorge traversed by river Kalamas.

Moreover, without being visible from a distance, because of the hillocks surrounding it, the location allowed the control of the entire lowland area, north and south of midstream Kalamas. Professor S. Dakaris was the first to suggest that the settlement of Doliani corresponds to ancient Fanoti, centre of the Thesprotian tribe of the Fanotians, owing to its crucial location and its strong fortification. The correctness of this suggestion is supported also by archaeological research, given that in the area of midstream Kalamas, i.e. the part of the river extending from Vrosyna, on the prefecture’s border with Ioannina, until Skala of Filiates, which is believed to have been controlled by the Fanotians Thesprotians in Antiquity, no other significantly-sized fortified settlement has been discovered to date. It is a particularly long-lasting settlement location. The establishment of the fortified settlement is believed to date since the late Classical period (4th century BC). Despite the extensive destruction of its fortifications after the Roman conquest, the settlement remains inhabited over a very long period of time. It is probably the only example of a 4th century BC Thesprotian settlement that remains more or less active until the post-Byzantine period. Evidence The name of Fanoti is known from ancient literature and is directly connected to the facts that preceded the Roman conquest of Epirus. The Roman historian Livy suggests that General Aulus Hostilius Mancinus, during his course from Illyria to Thessaly, in the spring of 170 BC, was informed by a Fanotian, Nestor Kropios, about the effort of the king of Macedonia Perseus to capture him en route. He thus changed his course and moved to Gitana and, from there, to Antikyra on boat, to end up in Thessaly. During the winter of 170/169 BC, Appius Claudius tried to conquer Fanoti with 6,000 troops, in order to counterbalance his defeat in Illyria. The city resisted the siege, to surrender to the Roman troops during the next year, first among all Epirus towns, after the defeat of Perseus in Pydna. Sources of the Byzantine and the early Ottoman period confirm the existence of the settlement, surviving on the location of the ancient city. The passing of Slavic tribes from the area during the 6th and 7th century AD is reflected on the new name of the location. A golden bull (chrysobull) of Despot Symeon Paleologos the Serbian, dating from 1321, mentions the locality of Dolianoi, i.e. a name of Slavic origin that is common in the greater area of Epirus, along with other localities of the greater area of the Theme of Vagenetia (western Epirus). Two centuries later, an Ottoman census catalogue of 1431 confirms the existence of the settlement during the first years of the Ottoman rule and the integration of the area in the Ottoman public administration system. The settlement is one of the smallest communities of the area and appears under the name Dulyani, from which the contemporary name of the location, Doliani, has derived. Some years before the end of the Ottoman rule, Doliani is mentioned in yet another Ottoman document, the Statistics published in the Sanlame (administrative yearbook) of 1895, enumerating in detail the population of Epirus at the time. The settlement has by now 300 inhabitants and must have moved to the nearby location of the contemporary village of Geroplatanos. The settlement survives and has preserved the name Doliani, until very recently.

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