previous next


EDESSA (Ἔδεσσα: Eth.Ἐδεσσαῖος, Eth. Ἐδεσσηνός), the ancient capital of Macedonia, was seated on the Egnatian way, at the entrance of a pass, which was the most important to the kingdom, as leading from the maritime provinces into Upper Macedonia, and, by another branch of the same pass, into Lyncestis and Pelagonia. (Plb. 5.97.4, 34.12.7; Strab. vii. p.323, x. p. 449; Ptol. 3.13.39, 8.12.7; Itin. Anton.; Itin. Hierosol.; Peut. Tab.; Hierocl.; Const. Porph. de Them. 2.2.) Aegae and Edessa, though some have considered that they were different towns, are no doubt to be considered as identical, the former being probably the older form. (Comp. Niebuhr, Lect. on Anc. Hist. vol. ii. p. 254, trans.; Tafel, Thessal. p. 308, de Viae Egnat. Parte Occid. p. 48.) The commanding and picturesque site upon which the town was built was the original centre of the Macedonians, and the residence of the dynasty which sprang from the Temenid Perdiccas. The seat of government was afterwards transferred to the marshes of Pella, which lay in the maritime plain beneath the ridge through which the Lydias forces its way to the sea. But the old capital always remained the national hearth (ἑστία, Diod. Excerpt. p. 563) of the Macedonian race, and the burial-place for their kings. The body of Alexander the Great, though by the intrigues of Ptolemy it was taken to Memphis, was to have reposed at Aegae (Paus. 1.6.3),--the spot where his father Philip fell by the hand of Pausanias (Diod. 16.91, 92). The murdered Eurydice and her husband were buried here by order of Cassander, after having been removed from Amphipolis. (Diod. 19.52; Athen. 4.155.) Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, when he had taken the town, gave up the royal tombs to be rifled by his Gallic mercenaries, in hopes of finding treasure. (Plut. Pyrrh. 26.) After the Roman conquest, Edessa ( “nobilis urbs,” Liv. 45.30) belonged to the third region; and imperial coins, ranging from Augustus to Sabinia Tranquillina, wife of the third Gordian, have been found, with the epigraph ΕΔΕΣΣΑΙΩΝ. (Eckhel, vol. ii. p. 71; Sestini, Mon. Vet. p. 37.)

In the reign of Basil II., Bodena (Βοδηνά, Cedren. vol. ii. p. 705; Glycas, p. 309),--whence the modern name,--which was strongly fortified, was one [p. 1.806]of the Bulgarian conquests of that emperor. (Le Beau, Bas Empire, vol. xiv. p. 195.)

Vodhená, in the grandeur of its situation, in the magnificence of the surrounding country, and the extent of the rich prospect which it commands, is not inferior to any situation in Greece. Notwithstanding its ancient importance, the Hellenic remains are few; the site, from its natural advantages, has doubtlessly been always occupied by a town, and new constructions have caused the destruction of the more ancient. The only vestige of Hellenic fortifications that has been discovered is a piece of wall which supports one of the modern houses on the edge of the cliff; but there are many scattered remains in the town, among which are some inscriptions of the time of the Roman Empire. (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. iii. pp. 272--279.)


hide References (10 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (10):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.91
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.92
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.6.3
    • Polybius, Histories, 34.12.7
    • Polybius, Histories, 5.97.4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 30
    • Plutarch, Pyrrhus, 26
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 19.52
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.13
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 4
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: