, Strab. vii. pp. 326, 327; Πηλαγονία
, Steph. B. sub voce
a district of Macedonia, bordering on Illyricum, occupied by the PELAGONES (Πελαγόνες,
Strab. vii. pp. 327, 331, Fr.
38--40, 434; Ptol. 3.13.34
; Plin. Nat. 4.17
). Although Livy employs the name of Pelagonia, corresponding with the fertile plains of Bitólia,
in his narrative of the campaigns of Sulpicius, as that of a large district containing Stymbara, it is evident, from his account of the division of Macedonia after the Roman conquest, that Pelagonia became the appellation of the chief town of the Pelagones, and the capital of the Fourth Macedonia, which included all the primitive or Upper Macedonia E. of the range of Pindus and Scardus. (Liv. xlv 29.)
It was perhaps not specifically employed as the name of a town until the other two cities of Pelagonia were ruined; for that Pelagonia, or a portion of it, once contained three, may be inferred from the adjunct Tripolitis, given to it by Strabo (vii. p.327
The town, which, from the circumstance of its having been the capital of the Fourth Macedonia, must have been of some importance, existed till a late period, as it is noticed in the Synecdemus
of Hierocles, and by the Byzantine historian, Malchus of Philadelphia, who speaks of the strength of its citadel (ap. Const. Porph. Excerpt. de Legat. p. 81). From its advantageous position it was occupied by Manuel Comnenus, in the war with Geïsa II. and the Hungarians. (Nicet. p. 67; Le Beau, Bas Empire,
vol. xvi. p. 141.)
The name of Pelagonia still exists as the designation of the Greek metropolitan bishopric of Bitólia
now the chief place of the surrounding country, and the ordinary residence of the governor of Rumilí.
At or near the town are many vestiges of ancient buildings of Roman times.
The district was exposed to invasions from the Dardani, who bordered on the N., for which reasons the communication ( “fauces Pelagoniae,” Liv. 31.34
) were carefully guarded by the kings of Macedonia, being of great importance, as one of the direct entrances from Illyricum into Macedonia by the course of the river Drilon. Between the NE. extremity, Mt. Ljubatrin,
and the Klisúra
there are in the mighty and continuous chain of Scardus (above 7000 feet high) only two passes fit for an army to cross, one near the N. extremity of the chain from Kalkandele
a very high “col,” not less than 5000 feet above the sea-level; the other considerably to the S, and lower as well as easier, nearly in the latitude of Ákridha.
Leake (Northern Greece,
vol. iii. pp. 318--322) is of opinion that the passes of Pelagonia, in which Perseus was stationed by his father Philip, were this latter depression in the chain over which the modern road from Scodra
runs, and the Via Egnatia travelled formerly. The Illyrian Autariatae and Dardani, to the N. of Pelagonia, no doubt threatened Macedonia from the former pass, to the NE. of the mountain-chain of Scardus. (Comp. Grote, Greece,
c. xxv. and the references there to Pouqueville, Boué, Grisebach, and Miller.) Stymbara or Stubara, was situated apparently on the Erigon, as also were most of the Pelagonian towns. Polybius (5.108
) speaks of a Pelagonian town named PISSAEUM
). Ptolemy (l.c.
) assigns to the Pelagones the two towns of Andraristus or Euristus (Peut. Tab.,
the orthography is not quite certain), and STOBI