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Ancient Macedonia

Aigai (Vergina)

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Plan of the archaeological site of Dion
Plan of the archaeological site of Dion 420 BC-500 AD.

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Dion, the Macedonians' religious centre, was situated at the northern foothills of Mount Olympus. There, from the end of the 5th until the 2nd century BC, the theatrical and athletic competitions dedicated to Olympian Zeus and the Muses, the "Olympia at Dion", took place. The city of Dion, which was not big, was surrounded by defensive walls and was laid out according to the Hippodameian system.

Plan of the archaeological site of Dion
420 BC-500 AD

The city had luxurious private houses decorated with mosaics and works of art, shops, public baths and workshops. Outside its walls there were theatres, a stadium and sanctuaries. For instance, sanctuaries of Zeus and the Muses, Demeter, Dionysos, and Isis, as well as two theatres -- one Hellenistic, one Roman -- have been located and are being excavated. Dion's cemeteries were situated north and west of the city and contained burials from the mid-5th century BC to the beginning of the 5th century AD.

Immediately after 31 BC, by order of Augustus, a Roman colony was founded at Dion. Despite the settlement of Roman colonists there, the city preserved its Greek character, as manifested by the numerous Greek inscriptions that have been found. Basilicas were built in the city in the early Byzantine years, but the decline had already set in in the 5th century AD.

See Also
Civilization - Architecture in Antiquity
Mosaics in Antiquity
Religion in Antiquity

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.