During our project work along Via Egnatia, we encountered the ancient Amphipolis, next to Thessalonica and Kavala, neighboring important trading centers on the ancient Roman road between Durres and Istanbul.
For us, however, the term peraia was first of all striking in the research on the environment, which we often have noticed in this or very similar ways in other place names of Greek settlements.
Originating from Greek language, Peraia means as much as the opposite lands. Thus in ancient Greece, for example, landscapes were described which were situated opposite or on the other side of a river or a sea-bed. Frequently, the continental areas, which were situated opposite the islands, were called in the same way, if there were direct connections to the place, as the term "Thasitic Peraia" also pointed out to us, here the importance of the settlement as opposed to Thasos. Another example is the Rhodian Peraia, which refers to the Carian coast as opposed to the island of Rhodes.
In modern Greece, five local authorities bore the corresponding Neo-Greek name Perea, including the city of Perea, which is located opposite Thessalonica on the Thermaic Gulf and is now the center of Thermaikos municipality.
The first colonists in the Thasitic Peraia were thus the inhabitants of the island of Thasos, whose settlements arose on the mainland. A settlement of the Thasitic Peraia in the region of the regional district Serres was the port town Aion at the mouth of Strymonas in the Aegean Sea.
In the year 437 BC Athens founded the city (Polis) Amphipolis north of Aion, which served Aion as a harbor city. The control of Amphipolis and of the Pangeo mine, led to the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta.
Amphipolis was repeatedly at the center of the war until the Nikias peace 421 BC. 356 BC the Macedonian king Philip II conquered Amphipolis and extended its kingdom to the east of the territory of the regional district. This remained under Macedonian control until 168 BC: with the Macedonian defeat against the Roman Empire, the Romans became rulers in the region.
With the Roman empire division in 395 AD, the area of Serres fell to the East Roman and Byzantine empire. This kept the exclusive control up to the 6th century.
The settlement of Slavic tribes in the sixth century AD and the birth of the Bulgarian Empire weakened the Byzantine rule in the following centuries. Repeatedly the area got under the control of the Bulgarian Empire (for example, after the Battle of Dression 1014). In the 11th century AD, the Byzantine Empire consolidated its control of the area for a brief century. In 1204 Constantinople fell in the Fourth Crusade and the Byzantine Empire was replaced by the Latin Empire.
Later the regional district belonged to the Kingdom of Thessalonica, but remained there for a short time under its control: the regaining Bulgarian Empire conquered the territory of the Kingdom of Thessalonica and kept it until the re-conquest by the imperial empire Nikaia in the middle of the 13th century. The subsequent Byzantine rule ended in the middle of the 14th century through the advance of the Serbian king Stefan Dušan, who was able to conquer large parts of today's Greece, including Serres. After his death in 1355 a Serbian local prince could take control of the country before the Ottoman Empire conquered the area in the 1380s.
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