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PELLA (Πέλλα, Hdt. 7.123; Thuc. 2.99, 100; Strab. vii. pp. 320, 323, 330, Fr. 22, 23: Ptol. 3.13.39, 8.12.8; Plin. Nat. 4.17; Itin. Anton.; Itin. Hierosol.; Peut. Tab.; Πέλλη, Hierocles), the capital of Macedonia. At the time when Xerxes passed through Macedon, Pella, which Herodotus (l.c.) calls a πολίχνιον, was in the hands of the Bottiaeans. Philip was the first to make Pella, which Amyntas had been obliged to evacuate (Xen. Hell. 5.2.13; comp. Diod. 14.92, 15.19), a place of importance (Dem. de Cor. p. 247), and fixed the royal residence there: there was a navigation from the sea by the Lydias, though the marshes, which was 120 stadia in length, exclusive of the Lydias. (Scyl. p. 26.) These marshes were called BORBOROS (Βόρβορος), as appears from an epigram (Theocrit. Chius, ap. Plut. de Exil. vol. viii. p. 380, ed. Reiske), in which Aristotle is reproached for preferring a residence near them to that of the Academy. Archestratus (ap. Athen. 7.328a.) related that the lake produced a fish called “chromis,” of great size, and particularly fat in summer. From its position on a hill surrounded by waters, the metropolis of Philip, and the birthplace of Alexander (Juv. 10.168; Lucan 10.20), soon grew into a considerable city. Had Alexander not been estranged from Macedonia, it would probably have attained greater importance. Antipater lived there as regent of Macedonia, but Cassander spent less of his time at Pella, than at Thessalonica and Cassandreia ; from the time of Antigonus Gonatas till that of Perseus, a period of nearly a century, Pella remained the capital, and was a splendid town. (Liv. 26.25, 37.7, 13.41, 51, 67, 43.43, 44.10.) Livy (44.46) has left the following description, derived undoubtedly from Polybius, of the construction of the city towards the lake. “Pella stands upon a height sloping to the SW., and is bounded by marshes which are impassable both in winter and summer, and are caused by the overflowing of a lake. The citadel” (the word “arx” is wanting in our copies of Livy, but seems absolutely necessary both to the sense and the grammar) “rises like an island from the part of the marsh nearest to the city, being built upon an immense embankment, which defies all injury from the waters; though appearing at a distance to be united to the wall of the city, it is in reality separated from it by a wet ditch, over which there is a bridge, so that no access whatever is afforded to an enemy, nor can any prisoner whom the king may confine in the castle escape, but by the easily guarded bridge. In the fortress was the royal treasure.” It was surrendered to Aemilius Paullus (Liv. 45.45), and became, according to Strabo (p. 323) and the Itineraries, a station on the Egnatian Way, and a colony. (Plin. l.c.) Dion Chrysostomus (Orat. Tars. Prior. vol. ii. p. 12, ed. Reiske) says that Pella was a heap of ruins; but from the fact that there are coins of the colony of Pella, ranging from Hadrian to Philip, this must be an exaggeration. The name of the city is found as late as the sixth century of our era, as it occurs in Hierocles. It Would seem indeed as if the name had survived the ruins of the city, and had reverted to the fountain, to which it was originally attached; as at a small distance from the village named Neokhóri or Yenikiuy, which has been identified with a portion of the ancient Pella, there is a spring [p. 2.570]called by the Bulgarians Pel, and by the Greeks Πέλλη. Below the fountain, are some remains of buildings, said to have been baths, and still called τὰ Λουτρά. These baths are alluded to by the comic poet Machon (ap. Athen. 8.348e.) as producing biliary complaints. Although little remains of Pella, a clear idea may be formed of its extent and general plan by means of the description in Livy, compared with the existing traces, consisting mainly of “tumuli.” The circumference of the. ancient city has been estimated at about 3 miles. The sources of the fountains, of which there are two, were probably about the centre of the site; and the modern road may possibly be in the exact line of a main street which traverses it from E. to W. The temple of Minerva Alcidemus is the only public building mentioned in history (Liv.42.51), but of its situation nothing at present is known. Felix Beaujour, who was consul-general at Saloníki (Tableau du Commerce de la Grèce, vol. i. p. 87), asserted that he saw the remains of a port, and of a canal communicating with the sea. Leake (Northern Greece, vol. iii. pp. 261--266), who carefully went over the ground, could find no traces of a port, of which indeed there is no mention in ancient history: remains of a canal could be seen, as he was told, in summer.

An autonomous coin of Pella has the type of an ox feeding, which explains what Steph. B. sub voce (s.v. comp. Ulpian, ad. Dem. de Fals. Leg.) reports, that it was formerly called Βουνόμος. (Eckhel, vol. ii. p. 73; Sestini, Mon. Vet. p. 37.)



hide References (16 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (16):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.19
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 14.92
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.123
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.100
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.99
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.2.13
    • Lucan, Civil War, 10.20
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.17
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 26, 25
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 37, 7
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 13, Summary
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 44, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 44, 46
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.13
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 7
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 8
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