Philippi

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Philippi (in Greek Φίλιπποι/ Philippoi) was a city in eastern Macedonia, established by Philip II in 356 BC and abandoned in the 14th century after the Ottoman conquest. The present municipality Filippoi is located near the ruins of the ancient city and it is part of the periphery of East Macedonia in Greece.

Contents

History

Philippi was established by the king of Macedon, Philip II, on the site of the Thasian colony of Krinides or Crenides (Κρηνἱδες, "Fountains"), near the head of the Aegean Sea at the foot of Mt. Orbelos about 8 miles north-west of Kavalla, on the northern border of the marsh that in Antiquity covered the entire plain separating it from the Pangaion hills to the south of Greece.

The objective of founding the town was to take control of the neighbouring gold mines and to establish a garrison at a strategic passage: the site controlled the route between Amphipolis and Neapolis, part of the great royal route which crosses Macedonia from the east to the west and which was reconstructed later by the Roman Empire as the Via Egnatia. Philip II endowed the new city with important fortifications, which partially blocked the passage between the swamp and Mt. Orbelos, and sent colonists to occupy it. Philip also had the marsh partially drained, as is attested by the writer Theophrastus. Philippi preserved its autonomy within the kingdom of Macedon and had its own political institutions (the Assembly of the demos). The discovery of new gold mines near the city, at Asyla, contributed to the wealth of the kingdom and Philip established a mint there. The city was finally fully integrated into the kingdom under Philip V.

The city remained despite its modest size of perhaps 2000 people. When the Romans destroyed the Antigonid dynasty of Macedon in 167 BC and divided it into four separate states (merides), it was Amphipolis and not Philippi that became the capital of the eastern Macedonian state.

Almost nothing is known about the city in this period, aside from the walls, the Greek theatre, the foundations of a house under the Roman forum and a little temple dedicated to a hero cult. This monument covers the tomb of a certain Exekestos, is possibly situated on the agora and is dedicated to the κτίστης (ktistès), the foundation hero of the city.

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