Philippi Archaeological Site (Φίλιπποι)




Location: Map


Description of Archaeological Site

Philippi is an ancient archaeological site situated in the North- east Greece. The city of Philippi was named after Phillip II Macedonian, father of Alexander shortly he conquered it from the Thasians in 365 BC. However most of the buildings from that period are gone and most of remains are from that of the Roman period.
Philippi Archaeological Site played an important part in history. A battle was fought near the city between murders of Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, and Octavian with his ally Mark Anthony in 42 BC. It was called Philippi battle after the city. The murder was avenged and Brutus and Cassius committed suicide. The most famous part of the city is probably the remains of the prison where Apostle Paul was held in 49 AD during his first trip to Europe. Here he baptized first woman on an European continent by the name of Lydia. Another notable sites include Basilica B and ironically public latrine with beautifully preserved 50 marble seats.

Philippi Map

Basilica B (Philippi)
Basilica C (Philippi)
Prison cell (Philippi)
Lavatory (Philippi)


From the Neolithic era in the Kingdom of the Macedonians
The area of ​​Philippi has been inhabited at least by indigenous people since the Neolithic era uninterruptedly. It is located in Dikli Tas SE of the current settlement. The history of the settlement of Philippi begins in 360/359 BC. when settlers from Thassos found the first city, Krinides. When in 356 BC. threatened by the Thracians, they sought the help of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. Seeing the economic and strategic importance of the city, he captured it, fortified it and renamed it Philippi.

Roman times
In Roman times, Philippi was the most important city in eastern Macedonia, built in a very strategic position and in the middle of a region rich in goods. After the battle of Philippi (42 BC) it was converted into a Roman colony and colonized by Roman veteran soldiers, twice. The first colonization (deductio) took place, immediately after the battle, by order of Antonios and was attended by veterans of the Roman army. The second colonization, in which Italian citizens also participated, took place after the naval battle of Aktio (31 BC) by order of Octavian Augustus, who was considered the second settler of the city, after Philip II and for this reason the colony henceforth it bore the name of its genus: colonia Iulia Augusta Philippensis. As the colony was mainly rural, the Roman colonists settled not only in the city of Philippi but also in the comas and rural villas that were scattered throughout the vast territory of the colony, which included within its borders the largest part of the current prefectures of Drama and Kavala, as well as a part of the Paggaio area of ​​the prefecture of Serres. The inscriptions mention the inhabitants (vicani) of various comas, such as: the Kalpapouretes, the Proptosourians, the Ochrins, the Iollitas, the Tripolitans, the Profiters, Mediani, Nicaenses, Coreni, Scaporeni, Tasibasteni, Montani, Suritani.

The main road of the Egnatia Road passed through Philippi, which after a journey of 10-12 Roman miles brought to Naples and from there to Thrace, as evidenced by the Roman Travels and the miles found so far. Egnatia entered the city through the gate of Amphipolis, passed through the forum, where a paved part of it is preserved, exited through the gate of Naples and after crossing an extensive suburb, continued its course to the south. Another important Roman road that started successively in Philippi, which led successively to the cities of Siris (Serres), Heraklion Sintiki and ended in ancient Sardinia (today's Sofia).

From the arrival of the Apostle Paul in the Byzantine era
A very important date was the year 49 or 50 AD, when the Apostle Paul visited Philippi and founded the first Christian Church in Europe. This event made the city a metropolis of Christianity. During the Byzantine times, between 963 and 969 AD, the city walls were rebuilt and the towers and the citadel wall were built. During the 7th century, natural disasters and raids forced the population to leave the urban center and turn into a fortress, retaining its importance due to its location on the main land route east - west. In the 14th century the area was completely abandoned.