Archaeological site of Philippi
Ministry of Culture, 20-22 Bouboulinas Street, 10682 Athens
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A. History The first evidence of the existence of organized settlements in the region is the site of Dikili Tash, east of Philippi, dating from the Neolithic period. In 360 BC the Thasian colony of Krenides was established on the site. It was occupied by Philip II of Macedonia in 356 BC, who fortified it, established Macedonian settlers there, and renamed it Philippi. The new city grew to become an important economic power in the kingdom, and afterwards, during the Roman and Early-Christian periods, also enjoyed prosperity because of the region's wealth-producing resources and because the Via Egnatia ran through it. An important date in the city's history was the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, fought between Octavian and Mark Antony on the one hand, and the republicans Cassius and Brutus on the other. The event and the place are described by William Shakespeare in his play 'Julius Caesar'. The defeat of Cassius and Brutus marked the end of Roman democracy. In 49/50 AD the Apostle Paul came to Philippi from Asia Minor and founded the first Christian church in Europe, as described in the Acts of the Apostles and the Letter from St Paul to the Philippians. With the rise to dominance of Christianity in the second half of the fourth century, the city changed from a Roman colony into a centre of Christian worship, and recovered its original ancient Greek character. At the end of the sixth century the manifest decline of the city was accelerated by earthquakes and Slav incursions. The population grew smaller, and during the Byzantine period Philippi shrank to become a fortified stronghold. It was captured by the Turks at the end of the fourteenth century, and since then has been known to travelers as an area of archaeological ruins. B. Monuments - Walls: The most ancient date from the reign of King Philip II and the more recent from the Justinianian period (527-565 AD). - Akropolis (mid-Byzantine and late-Byzantine periods) - Theatre (mid-4th century BC) - Sanctuaries carved out of the rocks, on the foundations of previous quarries: the Sanctuary of Artemis, the Sanctuary of Silvanus, the Three-Conch Sancturay, the Sanctuary of Cybele, the Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods (Roman period). - Basilica A (end of the 5th century AD): a large three-aisle basilica with a transverse aisle, narthex, peristyle courtyard, and atrium. - Heroon of the Hellenistic and Roman periods: in the middle of the peristyle courtyard of Basilica A. - The 'prison' of St Paul (19th century tradition): A Roman cistern turned into a chapel after the destruction of Basilica A. - Roman forum: single planned complex of public buildings organized around a central square. Most of the relics belong to the phase of construction that occurred during the Age of the Antonines. The last repair dates from the Early-Christian period. - Roman macellum from the Age of the Antonines: building complex with peristyle courtyard in the centre, surrounded by functional areas. - Basilica B (mid-6th century AD): three-aisle basilica with dome and opulent marble ornamentation. - Palaistra (2nd century AD) - Baths-Clubhouse (mid-3rd century AD) - Octagon (400 AD); An externally oblong and internally octagonal structure, with a baptistery and additional buildings where, according to one opinion, the tomb of St Paul was worshipped. The cathedral of Philippi, at the heart of which is a Hellenistic heroon, and the city's first Christian church (312-343 AD), dedicated to St Paul. A three-aisle colonnade, pilgrim guesthouses and a courtyard, a two-floor bishop's palace and a bath-house also belong to the complex. - Bishop's palace: A large two-floor secular building with four wings of apartments and a covered courtyard in the centre, built on the site of an ancient Roman building. - Bath-house: Augustan era - Basilica C (6th century AD): three-aisle basilica with narthex and transverse aisle, opulent marble inlays and rich sculptural ornamentation. - Eastern cemetery and three-aisle basilica extra muros - Western cemetery - Tomb of C. Vibius Quartus