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PYDNA Macedonia, Greece.

A city in Pieria, the ethnic being Pydnaios. It issued coinage as early as the late 6th c. B.C. Like Methone, Pydna was considered a Greek city, as opposed to the Thracian and Macedonian cities along the coast of the Thracian gulf and inland. It is mentioned first by Thucydides (1.137) in connection with Themistocles' flight to Persia, as “Pydna of Alexander,” the king of Macedonia. It became important during the Peloponnesian War. In 432 B.C. it was besieged by the Athenians (Thuc. 1.61). Archelaus made a brief siege of the fortified seashore city of Pydna with the help of the Athenian navy (ca. 410 B.C.) and after taking it moved the city 20 stades inland from the shore (Diod. Sic. 13.14). But after Archelaus' death it appears that the citizens of Pydna moved their city back to the shore. Pydna issued coins again from 389 to 379 B.C. In 364-363 B.C. the Athenians took it, but in 357-356 B.C. it fell into Philip's hands. In 317-316 B.C. after a long siege of the city Kassander put Olympias, Alexander the Great's mother, to death there (Diod. 19.36.1, 49.1). In the same place the last act of the drama of Macedonian Hellenism took place: the battle of Pydna (22 June 168 B.C.) in which M. Aemilius Paulus defeated Perseus, last king of Macedonia, and put an end to Macedonian power.

Although the site of Pydna is disputed, it is reasonably well established. The city on the shore is on a hill S of the town of Makrygialos, called by the natives “Old Pydna” or Paliokitros. The Pydna of Archelaus is at Kitros. The port is by the promontory Atherida. The battle of Pydna, according to a recent study, took place on the hills on either side of the river now called Mavroneri (ancient Leukos), while its tributary, the Pelikas, is identified as the Aeson. Another theory is that the battle took place nearer Pydna, by the modern town of Ano and Kato Joannis, near Kourinos, where there are two grave tumuli.

There have never been excavations in the area of Pydna except for the discovery of a “Macedonian” tomb by Heuzey. The information about the topography of Pydna and the battle near it is based on continual surface observations by many investigators, and on chance finds, which are in the Thessalonika Museum and the Archaeological Collection of Katerini, the present capital of the Nome of Pieria.


L. Heuzey & H. Daumet, Mission Archéologique de Macédoine (1876) 239-66MPI; Ch. Edson, “The Tomb of Olympias,” Hesperia 18 (1949) 84-95I; id., ATL I (1939); III (1950) passim; V. Kahrstedt, “Städte in Makedonien,” Hermes 81 (1953) 85-111; Chr. M. Danoff,“Pydna,” RE Suppl. X (1965) 833-42; W. K. Pritchett, Studies in Ancient Greek Topography II; Battlefields (1969) 145-76MI.


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