Amphipolis

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Amphipolis (Ancient Greek: ἈμφίπολιςAmphípolis) was an ancient Greek city in the region once inhabited by the Edoni people in the present-day periphery of Central Macedonia. It was built on a raised plateau overlooking the east bank of the river Strymon where it emerged from Lake Cercinitis, about 3 m. from the Aegean Sea. Founded in 437 BC, the city was finally abandoned in the 8th century AD. The present municipality Amfipoli (Greek: Αμφίπολη), named after the ancient city, occupies the site. Currently, it is a municipality in the Serres Prefecture, Central Macedonia with a population of 3,623 (2001 census).

Contents

History

Origins

Archaeology has uncovered remains at the site dating to approximately 3000 BC. Due to the strategic location of the site it was fortified from very early.In the 8th and 7th century BC the site of Amphipolis was ruled by Illyrian tribes.[2] Xerxes I of Persia passed during his invasion of Greece of 480 BC and buried alive nine young men and nine maidens as a sacrifice to the river god.[citation needed] Near the later site of Amphipolis Alexander I of Macedon defeated the remains of Xerxes' army in 479 BC.

Throughout the 5th century BC, Athens sought to consolidate its control over Thrace, which was strategically important because of its primary materials (the gold and silver of the Pangaion hills and the dense forests essential for naval construction), and the sea routes vital for Athens' supply of grain from Scythia. After a first unsuccessful attempt at colonisation in 497 BC by the Milesian Tyrant Histiaeus, the Athenians founded a first colony at Ennea-Hodoi (‘Nine Ways’) in 465, but these first ten thousand colonists were massacred by the Thracians.[3] A second attempt took place in 437 BC on the same site under the guidance of Hagnon, son of Nicias.

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