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PHILIPPI (Krenides) Thrace, Greece.

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 heröon (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 heröon, 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 heröon, 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.


L. Heuzey-H. Daumet, Mission archéologique de Macédoine (1876). For studies of various monuments, walls, and sculpture, see BCH (1928) 74ff; (1929) 70ff; (1933) 438ff; (1935) 175ff; (1937) 86ff; (1939) 4ff; P. Collart, Philippes Ville de Macédoine depuis ses origines jusque á la fin de l'époque romaine (1937); P. Lemerle, Philippes et la Macédoine orientale á l'époque Chretienne et Byzantine (1945); D. Lazarides, Οἱ Φίλιπποι (1956). The excavations of the Archaeological Society have been reported in Ergon by A. K. Orlandos (1958-69) and in ΠΑΕ (1958-67). The excavations of the Archaeological Service have been reported in Chronika ΑΔ (1960-63, 1967-69).


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