Leontio (Greek: Λεόντιο, Ancient/Katharevoussa: -ον -on), older form: -on, is a community former municipality in Achaea, West Greece, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Erymanthos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is built on the foot of the Panachaiko. Its 2001 population was 373 for the village, 570 for the communal district and 743 for the community. Leontio is located about 40 km southeast of Patras, about 40 to 50 km southwest of Aigio and about 40 km northwest of Kalavryta.
It is the rural community head township overlooking the other villages in the area. Located in picturesque mountains with natural springs, forests, valleys with rich irrigation ideal for farming and grazing.
The municipal unit Leontio is subdivided into the following communities (constituent villages in brackets):
Leontio (Leontio, Vetaiika, Golemi, Thomaiika, Katsaitaiika, Kounavaiika, Ovryokampos)
After the Trojan Wars, evidence suggests that the Achaians settled Leontio, at this time it was a Polis. This is supported by archeological excavations in the area by the archaeologist N. Kiparisis during the period of 1931-32. The different artifacts excavated in a number of ancient cemeteries confirmed the Polis flourished at about 1,000 B.C. Though older findings date it back to 3,000-2,000 B.C.
So its settlement then as a city dates back to ancient times and was known as Leontium. The city was founded by Ionian refugees and was a member of the Ionian Dodecapolis or the Achaean Community. It was located on the ancient border of Achaea and Arcadia near Vlassia where excavations uncovered a Mycenean tomb and an ancient theater from the 4th century BC. The temple of Artemis is located along the ancient road which lead to Arcadia. Its length was 35 m and its width was 11 m.
The city was destroyed at the end of the 3rd century BC by Philip V Macedon. From Leontio descended a soldier of the Achaean League Callicrates. Leontio controlled several places including Chios and Leontopoda. The city later became a part of the Roman Empire, later it came under the control of the Byzantines, the Franks, the Venetians and the Ottomans. Between the Dark Ages and the Medieval era, its status of a city was lost and the village was renamed Gourzoumisa (Γουρζούμισα). It finally joined Greece after the Greek War of Independence of 1821.
Archaeological remains were found in the 1930s and uncovered Mycenean tombs (14th-12th century BC). Also it featured an acropolis that dates back to around the 3rd century BC. After World War II and the Greek Civil War, its buildings were rebuilt. Emigration hit the economy hard as they moved to larger cities and to more economically affluent countries like the USA, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Canada, etc., for a better life.
Interestingly it became one of a few areas in Greece where population growth returned. This occurred between the 1991 and the 2001 censuses encouraged from easy access to electricity, telephone, radio and television as well as road surface pavement allowing the use of cars. Finally, the use of computer and the internet at the turn of the millennium helped the community with communication and access to information.
Several mountains block the view of other mountains, Leontio offers views of mounts Omplos and Panachaiko to the northwest, Erymanthos to the southwest and several more to the east. The Gulf of Corinth cannot be seen.
Its main economy is based on agriculture from locally grown crops of fruit, vegetables as well as some small wine production. Dairy products are derived from cattle, sheep and goats. Also some employees work in maintenance for the community.
^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
^ Stefanos Thomopoulos, History Of The Cities In Patras From The Ancient Period Until 1821, Volume I, Achaikes Editions, Patras 1998 ISBN 9607960084 which knew that was written by Adamantios Korais in Atakta
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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