Information about the place NEAPOLIS (Ancient city) KAVALA - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  A coastal city, a colony of Thasos, on the site of the modern city of Kavala. It seems to have been founded ca. the middle of the 7th c. B.C. in this very strategic position through which pass the ancient coast road which joins Asia and Europe, and the road which leads from the shore to gold-bearing Mt. Pangaeum and the proverbial land of Datos.
  After the flight of the Persians from Greece, Neapolis was a member of the first Athenian League, and from 454-453 B.C. on it is entered in the Athenian Tribute Lists with an unvarying tribute of 1000 drachmai a year. Close ties of friendship and alliance bound the city to Athens, as shown by two Athenian honorary decrees of 410 and 407 B.C. which praise the Neapolitans and give them several privileges in the sanctuary of Parthenos.
  Around 350 B.C. Philip II of Macedon, who had captured one after another of the Greek cities in Thrace, took Neapolis also and used it as the harbor for Philippi. At the battle of Philippi (42 B.C.), the harbor of Neapolis was used as a base by the Republican generals, Brutus and Cassius. It kept its importance as a station on the Via Egnati through the Imperial and Early Christian periods.
  The remains and known traces of the ancient city are scanty. Of its walls, which probably date to the early 5th c. B.C., a few large sections are preserved, chiefly on the N side of the Kavala peninsula, where the ancient town was, but some also on the E and W. The wall, built of granite blocks of varying sizes, is in places preserved to a height of ca. 2 to 4 m.
  Notable was the sanctuary of the patron goddess of Neapolis, the Parthenos, probably a Hellenized figure of the Thracian Artemis Tauropolos or Bendis. An archaistic figure of the goddess is known from a bas-relief on an Athenian decree of 356-355 B.C. (National Museum 1480). Investigation in the area of the sanctuary, which is approximately in the middle of the ancient town in the years 1936-37 and 1959-63, uncovered sacred hearths, building walls, parts of the peribolos or a supporting terrace wall, and deposits of pottery and figurines. In the beginning of the 5th c. B.C. an Ionic peripteral temple built of Thasian marble was constructed in the sanctuary area (column capitals of excellent workmanship and architectural fragments from the temple are in the Kavala Museum). No houses or other buildings have been uncovered. The well-preserved and very impressive aqueduct of the city is the work of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
  The pottery found in the excavations comes from the workshops of Asia Minor, Chios, Lesbos, the Cyclades, Attica, Corinth, and Lakonia. Among the most interesting pieces are a Melian amphora with representations of Peleus, Thetis, and the Nereids; a Chian krater with a representation of the Chalydonian boar hunt; and an Attic black-figure amphora by the painter Amasis. On the site or in the area of the Parthenon sanctuary three votive inscriptions were found (4th-2d c. B.C.), a marble naiskos-treasury, and a bas-relief of the mid 4th c. B.C. with the representation of a sphinx facing an amphora (Kavala Museum).

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 bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

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Old Town of Kavala

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Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


Neapolis. Eth. Neapolites. A town of Macedonia, and the haven of Philippi, from which it was distant 10 M. P. (Strab. vii. p. 330; Ptol. iii. 13. ยง 9; Scymn. 685; Plin. iv. 11; Hierocl.; Procop. Aed. iv. 4; Itin. Hierosol.) It probably was the same place as DATUM (Daton), famous for its gold-mines (Herod. ix. 75), and a seaport, as Strabo (vii. p. 331) intimates: whence the proverb which celebrates Datum for its good things. (Zenob. Prov. Graec. Cent. iii. 71; Harpocrat. s. v. Datos.) Scylax does, indeed, distinguish between Neapolis and Datum; but, as he adds that the latter was an Athenian colony, which could not have been true of his original Datum, his text is, perhaps, corrupt in this place, as in so many others, and his real meaning may have been that Neapolis was a colony which the Athenians had established at Datum. Zenobius (l. c.) and Eustathius (ad Dionys. Perieg. 517) both assert that Datum was a colony of Thasos; which is highly probable, as the Thasians had several colonies on this coast. If Neapolis was a settlement of Athens, its foundation was, it may be inferred, later than that of Amphipolis. At the great struggle at Philippi the galleys of Brutus and Cassius were moored off Neapolis. (Appian, B.C. iv. 106; Dion Cass. xlvii. 35.) It was at Neapolis, now the small Turkish village of Kavallo (Leake, North. Greece, vol. iii. p. 180, comp. pp. 217, 224), that Paul (Acts, xvi. 11) landed. The shore of the mainland in this part is low, but the mountains rise to a considerable height behind. To the W. of the channel which separates it from Thasos, the coast recedes and forms a bay, within which, on a promontory with a port on each side, the town was situated. (Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epist. of St. Paul, vol. i. p. 308.) Traces of paved military roads are still found, as well as remains of a great aqueduct on two tiers of Roman arches, and Latin inscriptions. (Clarke, Trav. vol. viii. p. 49.)

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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