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AMPHI´POLIS (Ἀμφίπολις: Eth. Ἀμφιπολίτης, Eth. Amphipolites: Adj. Amphipolitanus, Just. xiv. sub fin.), a town in Macedonia, situated upon [p. 1.126]an eminence on the left or eastern bank of the Strymon, just below its egress from the lake Cercinitis, at the distance of 25 stadia, or about three miles from the sea. (Thuc. 4.102.) The Strymon flowed almost round the town, whence its name Amphi-polis. Its position is one of the most important in this part of Greece. It stands in a pass, which traverses the mountains bordering the Strymonic gulf; and it commands the only easy communication from the coast of that gulf into the great Macedonian plains. In its vicinity were the gold and silver mines: of Mount Pangaeus, and large forests of ship-timber. It was originally called Ennea Hodoi, or “Nine-Ways” (Ἐννέα ὁδοί), from the many roads which met at this place; and it belonged to the Edonians, a Thracian people. Aristagoras of Miletus first attempted to colonize it, but was cut off with his followers by the Edonians, B.C. 497. (Thuc. l.c.; Hdt. 5.126.) The next attempt was made by the Athenians, with a body of 10,000 colonists, consisting of Athenian citizens and allies; but they met with the same fate as Aristagoras, and were all destroyed by the Thracians at Drabescus, B.C. 465. (Thuc. 1.100, 4.102; Hdt. 9.75.) So valuable, however, was the site, that the Athenians sent out another colony in B.C. 437 under Agnon, the son of Nicias, who drove the Thracians out of Nine-Ways, and founded the city, to which he gave the name of Amphipolis. On three sides the city was defended by the Strymon; on the other side Agnon built a wall across, extending from one part of the river to the other. South of the town was a bridge, which formed the great means of communication between Macedonia and Thrace. The following plan will illustrate the preceding account. (Thuc. 4.102.)

  • 1. Site of Amphipolis.
  • 2. Site of Eion.
  • 3. Ridge connecting Amphipolis with Mt. Pangaeus.
  • 4. Long Wall of Amphipolis: the three marks across indicate the gates.
  • 5. Palisade (σταύρωμα) connecting the Long Wall with the bridge over the Strymon.
  • 6. Lake Cercinitis.
  • 7. Mt. Cerdylium,
  • 8. Mt. Pangaeus.

Amphipolis soon became an important city, and was regarded by the Athenians as the jewel of their empire. In B.C. 424 it surrendered to the Lacedaemonian general Brasidas, without offering any resistance. The historian Thucydides, who commanded the Athenian fleet off the coast, arrived in time from the island of Thasos to save Eion, the port of Amphipolis, at the mouth of the Strymon, but too late to prevent Amphipolis itself from falling into the hands of Brasidas. (Thuc. 4.103-107.) The loss of Amphipolis caused both indignation and alarm at Athens, and led to the banishment of Thucydides. In B.C. 422 the Athenians sent a large force, under the command of Cleon, to attempt the recovery of the city. This expedition completely failed; the Athenians were defeated with considerable loss, but Brasidas as well as Cleon fell in the battle. The operations of the two commanders are detailed at length by Thucydides, and his account is illustrated by the masterly narrative of Grote. (Thuc. 5.6-11; Grote, Hist. of Greece, vol. vi. p. 634, seq.)

From this time Amphipolis continued independent of Athens. According to the treaty made between the Athenians and Lacedaemonians in B.C. 421, it was to have been restored to Athens; but its inhabitants refused to surrender to their former masters, and the Lacedaemonians were unable to compel them to do so, even if they had been so inclined. Amphipolis afterwards became closely allied with Olynthus, and with the assistance of the latter was able to defeat the attempts of the Athenians under Timotheus to reduce the place in B.C. 360. Philip, upon his accession (359) declared Amphipolis a free city; but in the following year (358) he took the place by assault, and annexed it permanently to his dominions. It continued to belong to the Mace donians, till the conquest of their country by the Romans in B.C. 168. The Romans made it a free city, and the capital of the first of the four districts, into which they divided Macedonia. (Dem. in Aristocr. p. 669; Diod. 16.3. 8; Liv. 45.29; Plin. Nat. 4.10.)

The deity chiefly worshipped at Amphipolis appears to have been Artemis Tauropolos or Brauronia (Diod. 18.4; Liv. 44.44), whose head frequently appears on the coins of the city, and the ruins of whose temple in the first century of the Christian era are mentioned in an epigram of Antipater of Thessalonica. (Anth. Pal. vol. i. no. 705.) The most celebrated of the natives of Amphipolis was the grammarian Zoilus.

Amphipolis was situated on the Via Egnatia. It has been usually stated, on the authority of an anonymous Greek geographer, that it was called Chrysopolis under the Byzantine empire; but Tafel has clearly shown, in the works cited below, that this is a mistake, and that Chrysopolis and Amphipolis were two different places. Tafel has also pointed out that in the middle ages Amphipolis was called Popolia. Its site is now occupied by a village called Neokhório, in Turkish Jeni-Keui, or “New-Town.” There are still a few remains of the ancient town; and both Leake and Cousinery found among them a curious Greek inscription, written in the Ionic dialect, containing a sentence of banishment against two of their citizens, Philo and Stratocles. The latter is the name of one of the two envoys sent from Amphipolis to Athens to request the assistance of the latter against Philip, and he is therefore probably the same person as the Stratocles [p. 1.127]mentioned in the inscription. (Tafel, Thessalonica, p. 498, seq., De Via Egnatia, Pars Orient. p. 9; Leake, Northern Greece, vol. iii. p. 181, seq.; Cousinery, Voyage dans le Macédoine, vol. i. p. 128.)


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