A city in the plain of Datos, proverbial for its fertility, at the
16th km of the Kavala-Drama road. In 360-359 B.C., colonists from Thasos, led
by the exiled Athenian politician and rhetor, Kallistratos, founded a city on
this site which they called Krenides (springs) from the abundant springs at the
foot of the hill where the ancient settlement was made. Four years later, in 356
B.C., King Philip II of Macedon took the city, fortified it with a great wall,
collected new settlers in it, and changed its name to Philippi. Exploitation of
the recently discovered gold mines of the area gave Philip an income of as much
as 1000 talents a year.
During the period of Macedonian supremacy Philippi had no particular importance, but was simply one among the cities of the kingdom. In 42 B.C., a battle between the forces of Brutus and Cassius on the one side and Antony and Octavian on the other, made the name of the city known to the whole world. Immediately after the battle numbers of Roman colonists were settled at Philippi and the villages around, and the Roman colony, Colonia Augusta Julia Philippensis, was founded. The Apostle Paul came to Philippi in the fall-winter of 49 A.D. and founded the first Christian church. With the official establishment of Christianity, Philippi was raised to a metropolitan see with five to seven bishops subject to it, and became an important religious center, as its Early Christian monuments attest. The city appears to have existed into the mid 14th c. A.D., but already had passed its peak, and in a short time was deserted. So, when the traveler P. Belon visited the site between 1546 and 1549 there were no more than five or six houses and those outside the wall.
Among the older remains of the settlement which belong to the time of Philip II is the wall, which has a length of approximately 3500 m and is preserved chiefly on the slopes and summit of the acropolis hill. In Byzantine times the ancient wall was used as a basis for the fortification of the city (an inscripiton of 963-69 tells of the building or repair of the castle of Philippi).
Of three known gates in the section of wall in the plain, the Neapolis gate in the E and the Krenides gate in the W wall are noteworthy partly for their fortification, and partly because the road leading from Philippi to its port, Neapolis, and into the interior passes through them.
It appears that the earliest parts of the theater, the circular orchestra and the isodomic parados walls, were built in the time of Philip II. These were uncovered in the E part of the settlement at the foot of the hill near the wall. In the Roman period (2d-3d c. A.D.) new rows of seats were built on the upper part of the cavea, the scene building was reconstructed, and several changes were made to adapt the theater for the spectacles demanded in that period, and to change the orchestra into an arena for wild-beast hunts.
Also to the Hellenistic period belongs a small Ionic prostyle temple or heroon (2d or 3d c. B.C.) which was uncovered at the foot of the acropolis hill, SW of the theater, on the site of the Early Christian Basilica A. A second heroon, belonging to Euephenes son of Exekestos, according to the inscription carved on the cover of his tomb, was uncovered outside the E side of the forum. This heroon, which probably belongs to the second half of the 2d c. B.C., was an underground Macedonian chamber tomb with a temple-style building erected on top of it. Only the foundation of the latter is preserved.
Of other buildings of the Classical and Hellenistic city, the peribolos of the Temple of Apollo Komaios and Artemis (according to a dedicatory inscription of the second half of the 4th c. B.C.) was uncovered in the center of the city, E of the Roman agora.
The great military highway, the Via Egnatia, running through the city from the Krenides gate to the Neapolis gate was the decumanus maximus and the chief arterial of the Roman colony. A large part of this road, paved with marble slabs in which ruts are worn by cart wheels, has been excavated in different parts of the city. Along the S edge of the road are the monumental propylaia of the episkopeion (Episcopal building complex), a semicircular portico 35 m in diameter, with 18 Ionic columns, and the imposing architectural complex of the forum, whose buildings are dated by inscriptions to the period of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The buildings of the forum are arranged around a rectangular court 100 x 50 m, paved with marble. On the N side, a speaker's platform, two small temple-style buildings, and two large fountains have been uncovered. At the NE and NW corners are two matching Corinthian temples, each consisting of a naos and pronaos. The E side is occupied by the buildings of the library, and the W by government buildings. A large stoa divided in two lengthwise, which was used for public gatherings and commerce, bounded the S side of the forum.
South of the forum a wide road paralleled the Via Egnatia. Its side was bordered by a row of shops which backed on the outer side of the forum's S wall. Along the S side the excavations uncovered three large blocks of buildings bordered by roads at right angles to the one just mentioned. The middle block, with a hexastyle Corinthian colonnade on its facade, was a market; the W, a palaestra; and the E has not yet been investigated. In the palaestra, the exercise area, rooms, a small amphitheater, and a large underground lavatory have been uncovered. These structures date to the Antonine period. South of the palaestra are spacious baths. Their mosaic floor with animal and bird motifs has been destroyed. In the rock of the acropolis hill are open air shrines (Silvanus, Artemis Bendis, Cybele, Bacchus) and a Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods. More than 140 bas-reliefs of the gods have already been discovered carved in the cliff. The marble arch symbolizing the political preeminence of the Roman colony, which was erected in the first half of the 1st c. A.D., two km W of the city, no longer exists. East of the city is the Roman and Christian necropolis.
The importance of Philippi in the Early Christian period is revealed by four large, magnificent basilicas and an octagonal chapel which make up a large part of the architectural whole of the Episkopeion. Finds from the excavations are in the museum at Philippi.
D. Lazarides, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains 30 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
A city of Macedonia, now Filibah. It was situated on the river Gangas or Gangites, and was founded by Philip on the site of an older town, Crenides (Krenides). In the vicinity were productive gold mines. Here Octavianus and Antony won a decisive victory over Brutus and Cassius in B.C. 42, and here the Apostle Paul first preached in Europe, in A.D. 53. The seaport of Philippi was Datus or Datum on the Strymonic Gulf.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Philippi was a Macedonian town, on the borders of Thracia.
Situated on the summit of a hill, it dominated a large and fertile plain, intersected
by the Egnatian Way. It was northwest of Mount
Pangea, near the River Gangites and the Aegean
In 358 B. C. it was taken, enlarged, and fortified by the King of Macedonia, Philip II, hence its name Philippi. Octavius Augustus (42 B. C.) made the town a miniature Rome, and granted it the institutions and privileges of the citizens of Rome. That is why we find at Philippi, along with a remnant of the Macedonians, Roman colonists together with some Jews.
Philippi was the first European town in which St. Paul preached the Faith. His labours were rewarded by many conversions, the most important taking place among women of rank, who seem to have retained their influence for a long time. The Philippians remained very attached and grateful to their Apostle and on several occasions sent him pecuniary aid. Paul returned there later; he visited them on his second journey, about 58, after leaving Ephesus. It is believed that he wrote his Second Epistle to the Corinthians at Philippi, whither he returned on his way back to Jerusalem, passing Easter week there. He always kept in close communication with the inhabitants. Having been arrested at Caesarea and brought to Rome, he wrote to them the Epistle we have in the New Testament, in which he dwells at great length on his predilection for them. Paul probably wrote them more letters than we possess.
Little is known of the subsequent history of the town. Later it was destroyed by the Turks; today nothing remains but some ruins.
A. Vander Herren, ed.
Transcribed by: W. G. Kofron
This extract is cited June 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.
Philippoi: Eth. Phillippeus, Philippesios. A city of Macedonia, which
took its name from its founder, Philip, the father of Alexander. Origin. ally,
it had been called Crenides (Krenides, Strab. vii. p. 331; Appian, B.C. iv. 105,
107; Steph. B. s. v Philippoi), or the Place of Fountains, from the numerous streams
in which the Angites takes its source. Near Crenides were the principal mines
of gold in a hill called, according to Appian (l. c.) Dionysi Collis (lophos Dionusou),
probably the same mountain as that where the Satrae possessed an oracle of Dionysus
interpreted by the Bessi. (Herod. vii. 111.) Crenides does not appear to have
belonged to the Thasians in early times although it was under their dominion in
the 105th Olympiad (B.C. 360). When Philip of Macedon got possession of the mines,
he worked them with so much success, that they yielded 1000 talents a year, although
previously they had not been very productive. (Diodor. xvi. 4--8.) The old city
was enlarged by Philip, after the capture of Amphipolis, Pydna, and Potidaea,
and fortified to protect his frontier against the Thracian mountaineers. On the
plain of Philippi, between Haemus and Pangaeus, the last battle was lost by the
republicans of Rome. Appian has given a clear description of Philippi, and the
position on which Cassius and Brutus encamped. The town was situated on a steep
hill, bordered to the N. by the forests through which the Cassian army advanced,--to
the S. by a marsh, beyond which was the sea, to the E. by the passes of the Sapaei
and Corpili, and to the W. by the great plains of Myrcinus, Drabescus, and the
Strymon, which were 350 stadia in length. Not far from Philippi, was the hill
of Dionysus, containing the gold mines called Asyla; and 18 stadia from the town,
were two other heights, 8 stadia asunder; on the one to the N. Brutus pitched
his camp, and Cassius on that to the S. Brutus was protected on his right by rocky
hills, and the left of Cassius by a marsh. The river Gangas or Gangites flowed
along the front, and the sea was in the rear. The camps of the two leaders, although
separate, were enclosed within a common entrenchment, and midway between them
was the pass, which led like a gate from Europe to Asia. The galleys were at Neapolis,
70 stadia distant, and the commissariat in Thasos, distant 100 stadia. Dion Cassius
(xlvii. 35) adds, that Philippi was near Pangaeus and Symbolum, and that Symbolum,
which was between Philippi and Neapolis, was so called because it connected Pangaeus
with another mountain stretching inland; which indentifies it with the ridge which
stretches from Pravista to Kavala, separating the bay of Kavala from the plain
of Philippi. The Pylae, therefore, could be no other than the pass over that mountain
behind Kavala. M. Antonius took up his position on the right, opposite to that
of Cassius, at a distance of 8 stadia from the enemy. Octavius Caesar was opposed
to Brutus on the left hand of the even field. Here, in the autumn of B.C. 42,
in the first engagement, Brutus was successful against Octavius, while Antonius
had the advantage over Cassius. Brutus, incompetent to maintain the discipline
of his troops, was forced to fight again; and in an engagement which took place
on the same ground, twenty days afterwards, the Republic perished. Regarding the
battle a curious mistake was repeated by the Roman writers (Manil. i. 908; Ovid,
Met. xv. 824; Flor. iv. 42; Lucan, i. 680, vii. 854, ix. 271; Juv. viii. 242),
who represented it as fought on the same ground as Pharsalia,--a mistake which
may have arisen from the ambiguity in the lines of Virgil (Georg. i. 490), and
favoured by the fact of the double engagement at Philippi. (Merivale, Hist. of
Roman Empire, vol. iii. p. 214.) Augustus afterwards presented it with the privileges
of a colonia, with the name Col. Jul. Aug. Philip. (Orelli, Inscr. 512, 3658,
3746, 4064; and on coins ; Rasche, vol. iii. pt. 2. p. 1120), and conferred upon
it the Jus Italicum. (Dion Cass. li. 4.) It was here, in his second missionary
journey, that St. Paul, accompanied by Silas, came into contact with the itinerant
traders in popular superstitions (Acts, xvi. 12--40); and the city was again visited
by the Apostle on his departure from Greece. (Acts, xx. 6.) The Gospel obtained
a home in Europe here, for the first time; and in the autumn of A.D. 62, its great
teacher, from his prison, under the walls of Nero's palace, sent a letter of grateful
acknowledgment to his Macedonian converts. Philippi was [p. 600] on the Egnatian
road, 33 M. P. from Amphipolis, and 21 M. P. from Acontisma. (Itin. Anton.; Itin.
Hierosol.) The Theodosian Table presents two roads from Philippi to Heracleia
Sintica. One of the roads passed round the N. side of the lake Cercinitis, measuring
55 M. P., the other took the S. side of the lake, and measured 52 M. P. When Macedonia
was divided into two provinces by Theodosius the Younger, Philippi became the
ecclesiastical head of Macedonia Prima, and is mentioned in the Handbook of Hierocles.
The site, where there are considerable remains of antiquity, is still known to the Greeks by its ancient name; by the Turks the place is called Felibedjik.
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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