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Ancient Philippi

Philippi in Roman period

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Gold oak wreath
Gold wreath with oak leaves from a Macedonian tomb in the region of Philippi, 2nd century BC, Kavala, Archaeological Museum.

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Gold oak wreath
2nd century BC

In 360 BC colonists from Thasos founded a city named Krenides on the site of latter-day Philippi. The colony was on a road leading to the hinterland, had fertile land, facilities for exploring the shipbuilding timber of the forests, and, principally, the control of two regions rich in gold and silver Mount Pangaion and Orbelos.

In 356 BC Philip II captured this vitally important site and renamed it Philippi. The city was then fortified and settled by Macedonian colonists. The discovery of fresh sources of gold in the area confirmed the importance of Philippi for the Macedonian state.

The city continued to prosper in the Hellenistic period, although few monuments of the time survive, as its constant occupation to the end of the early Byzantine years covered older constructions.

We do, however, know that Philippi was laid out according to the Hippodameian system, was encircled by walls starting from the acropolis at the top of the hill, and was crossed by a main road in an East-West axis, which was later followed by the Via Egnatia. The city also had a theatre, and two 'heroa', which were very important for its religious life.

Towards the end of the Hellenistic period Philippi gradually declined, to enjoy, however, a resurgence in Roman times.

See Also
Civilization - Architecture in Antiquity
Coins in Antiquity


Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.