(Nea Poteidaia) Chalkidike, Greece.
On the isthmus of the Pallene peninsula, the modern Kassandra. Though founded by Corinth ca. 600 B.C.,
an earlier settlement on the site cannot be discounted. The
city experienced a high degree of development and played
a prominent role in the major events of Classical Greece
until it was captured by Philip II in 356 B.C. and was
handed over to the Olynthians.
With the destruction of Olynthos by Philip in 348 B.C.,
Poteidaia came under the direct dominion of Macedonia.
In 316 B.C., Kassander founded on the same site a new
city and named it Kassandreia. He included in his city
additional land and provided for the settlement of Poteidaians, Olynthian survivors, and others from neighboring
towns. Kassandreia soon became one of the most prosperous and powerful cities in Macedonia during the Hellenistic period and continued to play an important role during Roman times, especially after it received Roman
colonists, the privilege of jus Italicum, and the right to
coin money. In A.D. 269, it repulsed an attack of the
Goths and, finally, was destroyed by the Huns and Slavs
in A.D. 539-40. It seems to have accepted Christianity at
an early period and served as the see of a bishop.
In spite of the prominence of the two cities and the
length of their historical existence, the literary evidence
that has survived is scanty and disconnected. The most
important references for Poteidaia are to be found in
Herodotos, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Demosthenes,
while for Kassandreia there are references in Diodoros,
Polybios, Livy, Pliny the Elder, and Procopius. Other
writers add but little to our knowledge of either city. The
archaeological record of the site, however, though limited
thus far mainly to chance finds and a mass of material
(mostly architectural) unearthed during the cutting of
the canal through the isthmus in 1935-37, is impressive
enough in its content and variety.
Archaeologically, Poteidaia is best represented by a
good number of silver and bronze coins, the foundations
of a treasury at Delphi, several bronzes in the British
Museum, and a few terracottas (including a 4th c. life-size female protome of clay), and a 4th c. “Apollo” relief. As for Kassandreia, the discovery of the ruins of a temple attributed to Poseidon deserves special mention. Other important finds include inscriptions, coins of the
Roman period, and several sculptural fragments. Two
Latin inscriptions provide information regarding Roman magistracies in the city and the presence of two
Roman tribes, the Papiria and the Romilia. A bilingual
inscription commemorating the construction of a gymnasium is also worth mentioning.
The finds from the site, which are now at the elementary school at Nea Poteidaia and at the Thessalonika
Museum, are to be transferred to the recently erected
museum at Polygyros, the capital of Chalkidike.
Valuable contributions to our knowledge of the two
cities have been made by discoveries in other sites of the
mainland and the islands where the Kassandreians, especially, are recorded as participants in some form of activity or as recipients of honors, such as proxeny and theorodicy.
M. G. Demitsas, Ἡ Μακεδονία
H. Gaebler, Die Antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands
; D. Kanatsoules, Μακεδονικὴ Προσωπογραφία
(1955); J. A. Alexander, Potidaea: Its History and Remains
; E. Meyer, “Potidaia,” “Kassandreia,”
Suppl. x (1965); 1. A. Alexander, “Cassandreia During the Macedonian Period: An Epigraphical Commentary,” Ancient Macedonia
, ed. B. Laourdas & Ch. Makaronas (1970).
J. A. ALEXANDER