Amphipolis: lion monument

Amphipolis © David Gill

A funerary monument, marked with a lion, stands beside the river Strymon to the south of the city of Amphipolis in Macedonia. It probably dated to c. 300 BC.

The structure was reconstructed from ancient blocks in 1936/7.

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Philippi

The forum, Philippi © David Gill

The Roman colony of Philippi in Macedonia, northern Greece, has been designated as one of the latest additions to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites (“Philippi becomes UNESCO World Heritage site“, 15 July 2016). Excavations have revealed parts of the Roman city including a series of Byzantine churches.

The site is described as follows:
The remains of this walled city lie at the foot of an acropolis in north-eastern Greece, on the ancient route linking Europe and Asia, the Via Egnatia. Founded in 356 BC by the Macedonian King Philip II, the city developed as a “small Rome” with the establishment of the Roman Empire in the decades following the Battle of Philippi, in 42 BCE. The vibrant Hellenistic city of Philip II, of which the walls and their gates, the theatre and the funerary heroon (temple) are to be seen, was supplemented with Roman public buildings such as the Forum and a monumental terrace with temples to its north. Later the city became a centre of the Christian faith following the visit of the Apostle Paul in 49-50 CE. The remains of its basilicas constitute an exceptional testimony to the early establishment of Christianity.

The colony was the setting of the Apostle Paul’s mission to Macedonia as described in the Acts of the Apostles.


The Royal Cemetery at Vergina © David Gill

The World Heritage site of Vergina in Macedonia, Greece contains the Macedonian royal palace as well as the royal cemetery. Tomb II has been reconstructed to make a display for the objects found in the cemetery. It was thought that Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, was buried in the tomb but the inscribed silver plate appears to be later. Other tombs dating to the fourth century BC have been found in the vicinity.

4th century BC tomb at Vergina © David Gill

The Macedonian palace overlooks the plain and cemetery. It contained a series of dining rooms as part of the complex.

The Royal Palace at Vergina © David Gill

Immediately below it was the theatre where Philip II was assassinated.

The theatre at Vergina © David Gill

Archaeology and the Macedonia Campaign


The First World War campaign in Macedonia uncovered a number of archaeological objects. The objects were collected in a museum. The members of the Royal Scots Fusiliers inspect an inscription of Manius Salarius Sabinus found near the ancient site of Lete.

Exploring Philippi


The Archaeological Receipts Fund of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture has produced a valuable series of guides for the range of sites in public ownership. (See, for example, the guide to the Laurion in Attica.) The guide to the Roman colony of Phlippi in Macedonia is by Ch. Koukouli-Chrysanthanki and Ch. Bakirtzis. The guide, which is illustrated throughout in colour, has three main sections: a history of the site from the prehistoric settlement into Late Antiquity; a guided tour (‘promenade’) taking in the walls, the acropolis, the theatre, and the forum area; the battle of Philippi in 42 BC; other literary texts; and finally the finds.

Attention is drawn to the appearance of the colony in the Acts of Apostles and its association with early Christianity.

The guide itself includes relevant bibliography that allows the reader to explore further.

15th Annual Cambridge Heritage Research Seminar: 1914 Inherited

15th Annual Cambridge Heritage Research Seminar: 1914 Inherited

The 15th Cambridge Heritage Research Seminar is taking place this weekend. The programme contains a range of topics that take us not only to the Western Front, but also to the Italian campaigns in the Alps, the Macedonian campaign, and to Sarajevo.


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