Of the former but little remains: the latter, however, is excellently preserved and consists of a circular court about 20 yd (18 m) in diameter with inner and outer gates, the latter flanked by square towers some 11 yd (10 m) apart. The lintel of the inner gate was formed by a single stone 18 ft 8 in (5.7 m) in length, and the masonry of the circular court is of astonishing beauty and accuracy.
The fortress of Ithomi played an important role in A' Messinian War in the late 7th century BC, between Messenia and Sparta.
The fort was the last bastion of Messinia and was finally leveled after a heroic siege. In the next few years Ithomi had a symbolic role at the heart of conquered Messenia.
In 464 BC after a devastating earthquake in Laconia enslaved Messenians revolted, fleeing again to Ithomi, rebuilding fortifications and then resisting for many years before surrendering. With the support and assistance of the Athenians they settled in Nafpaktos.
After the victory of Athens over Sparta
in 426 B.C at Pilos and Sfaktiria a lot of Messenians settled
there. Perhaps that was when Nike of Paioniou was devoted to
The Athenian dominance in Pilos remained until 421B.C and then
the Messenians were transported by the Athenians to settle in
In 369 BC the Theban Epaminondas at the Battle of Leuktra, liberated the area from the Spartan influence and chose Ithomi to build a new city, Messini.
Pausanias has left us a description of the city (iv. 3 1?33), its chief temples and statues, its springs, its market-place and gymnasium, its place of sacrifice, the tomb of the hero Aristomenes and the temple of Zeus Ithomatas on the summit of the acropolis with a statue by the famous Argive sculptor Ageladas, originally made for the Messenian helots who had settled at Naupactus at the close of the third Messenian War.
The other buildings which can be identified are the theatre, the stadium, the council chamber or Bouleuterion, and the propylaeum of the market.