Amphipolis - customs taxes on wood and mines made it rich

Amphipolis - customs taxes on wood and mines made it rich

After our stop at the Monument of the Lion of Amphipolis, we continued along the Strymonas to the inner countryside, where we first noticed the Marmariou Tower at the entrance of Amphipolis.

A little further along the road, we came across the museum building (unfortunately it was closed) with an imposing section of the ancient city wall, which is behind it and where a footpath leads along the wall, so the visitor is impressed by the strength of the fortification.

During the Peloponnesian War, Amphipolis also gained great importance, among other things because of the procurement of timber for shipbuilding, revenue from the local mines, various tolls and the strategic position. The location of the city as a strategically very convenient location, what we had noticed already, since the river runs in a large arc around the town hill, a natural protection by the river arose already.

However, in 424 BC, the city was taken by the armies of the Spartan general Brasidas because the Athenian strategos Thucydides, who later became well known as a historian, arrived too late with his army to save the city from Athens. Later on he had to go into exile. In 422 BC, the Athenian General Kleon attacked the squadrons of Brasidas at Amphipolis. In the battle, in which Sparta was the winner, both generals were killed. Shortly after, the peace of Nicias was concluded between Athens and Sparta. The inhabitants buried the Spartan within the walls. They regarded him as the second founder of their city, and worshiped him with games and celebrations as a heroe.

In 356 BC, Amphipolis was conquered by Philip II of Macedonia. As the Athenians adhered to their claims to the city, the conflict about Amphipolis in the following years (until 338 BC) played an important role in the development of Macedonian-Athenian relations.

In the time of the Diadochen wars, Kassander took the minor son and legitimate heir to the throne of Alexander the Great, Alexander IV Aigos, together with his mother Roxane, the first wife of Alexander the Great, under house arrest in Amphipolis, 309 BC, by the commander of Glaucia.

In the Third Macedonian-Roman War, the Roman commander Lucius Aemilius Paullus and the Macedonian King Perseus fought in the battle near Pydna. After this lost battle, Perseus escaped accompanied with servants and his golden treasures to Amphipolis, Aemilius Paullus took the city and put him in under arrest, by that the Macedonian kingdom ended. In 167 BC, the Senate Commission in Amphipolis negotiated the division of the territories and the city was declared the Protectorate of Rome.

Amphipolis is also mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament as the travel destination of the Apostle Paul and his collaborator Silas (Acts 17: 1 EU). After a period of prosperity in Late Antiquity, where there were numerous new church buildings, but also a population decline, the early Middle Ages saw a gradual dismantling of the city in the troubled times of the invasion of the Slavs. First, the lower city was abandoned and the inhabitants retreated into the area around the Acropolis, later the decline in population led to a complete loss of urban structures. Lastly, a bishop of Amphipolis is mentioned in the late 8th century.

Only a few hundred meters down the river, we had passed by, there is another huge section of the city wall, where, besides the usual fortifications, there are also remains of round towers. As a highlight you can certainly see the remains of a former wooden bridge construction that has been found and restored at the shores mud of the river during excavations.

Since also parts of the Roman viaduct are preserved, we also wanted to visit them, but this was not possible despite four-wheel drive, rough tire profile and multiple attempts, the road was so much muddy and steeply uphill. We had to leave the driveway (very reluctantly) and even had great problems at the departure, as there was absolutely no grip in the ground. So it was rather a slide down the mountain. We will be back at better weather conditions.

Marmariou Tower: 40°49'43.3"N 23°50'30.9"E 40.828694, 23.841931

Construction of Bridge: 40°49'43.2"N 23°50'04.8"E 40.828670, 23.834657

After exploring Argilos - The Lion of Amphipolis

Argilos - early Greek colony west of Strymonas


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