At first, Edessa was considered as the ancient city of Aigai, the first capital of the Macedonians, but the excavational research conducted by professor M. Andronikos brought to light remains near Vergina, which are attributed to ancient Aigai.
Eth. Edessaios, Edessenos, the ancient capital of Macedonia, was seated
on the Egnatian way, at the entrance of a pass, which was the most important to
the kingdom, as leading from the maritime provinces into Upper Macedonia, and,
by another branch of the same pass, into Lyncestis and Pelagonia. (Polyb. v. 97.
§ 4, xxxiv. 12. § 7; Strab. vii. p. 323, x. p. 449; Ptol. iii. 13. § 39, viii.
12. § 7; Itin. Anton.; Itin. Hierosol.; Peut. Tab.; Hierocl.; Const. Porph. de
Them. ii. 2.) Aegae and Edessa, though some have considered that they were different
towns, are no doubt to be considered as identical, the former being probably the
older form. The commanding and picturesque site upon which the town was built
was the original centre of the Macedonians, and the residence of the dynasty which
sprang from the Temenid Perdiccas. The seat of government was afterwards transferred
to the marshes of Pella, which lay in the maritime plain beneath the ridge through
which the Lydias forces its way to the sea. But the old capital always remained
the national hearth (hestia, Diod. Excerpt.) of the Macedonian race, and the burial-place
for their kings. The body of Alexander the Great, though by the intrigues of Ptolemy
it was taken to Memphis, was to have reposed at Aegae (Paus. i. 6. § 3),--the
spot where his father Philip fell by the hand of Pausanias (Diod. xvi. 91, 92).
The murdered Eurydice and her husband were buried here by order of Cassander,
after having been removed from Amphipolis. (Diod. xix. 52; Athen. iv. p. 155.)
Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, when he had taken the town, gave up the royal tombs to
be rifled by his Gallic mercenaries, in hopes of finding treasure. (Plut. Pyrrh.
26.) After the Roman conquest, Edessa (nobilis urbs, Liv. xlv. 30) belonged to
the third region; and imperial coins, ranging from Augustus to Sabinia Tranquillina,
wife of the third Gordian, have been found, with the epigraph EDESSAION.
In the reign of Basil II., Bodena (Bodena, Cedren. vol. ii. p. 705; Glycas, p. 309),--whence the modern name,--which was strongly fortified, was one of the Bulgarian conquests of that emperor.
Vodhena, in the grandeur of its situation, in the magnificence of the surrounding country, and the extent of the rich prospect which it commands, is not inferior to any situation in Greece. Notwithstanding its ancient importance, the Hellenic remains are few; the site, from its natural advantages, has doubtlessly been always occupied by a town, and new constructions have caused the destruction of the more ancient. The only vestige of Hellenic fortifications that has been discovered is a piece of wall which supports one of the modern houses on the edge of the cliff; but there are many scattered remains in the town, among which are some inscriptions of the time of the Roman Empire.
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited May 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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