In 356 BCE the Thasian settlement, Crenides, was under attack by the neighboring Thracians. In their time of need they looked to King Philip II of Macedonia for help, who had a previous interest to be a governing force for the gold mines around the area. He responded by conquering the city and renaming it Philippi after himself. Under his reign, Philip drained the surrounding swampland and built up fortifications, and a theater, among other architectural developments.
King Philip II Of Macedonia
Geography and Climate
Philippi is located on the north coast of the Aegean sea and about 18 km northwest of Kavala. It has a tropical, dry climate, with the average annual high being 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average annual low 35 degrees Fahrenheit. In the dry months, precipitation averages 2.12 inches, and the wetter months 10.3 inches. Much like the rest of the Macedonian region, Philippi had a rough, rocky terrain.
When the Roman empire took control of the city, it became a major spot on the roman road, Via Egnatia, the major road which connected Philippi to the Adriatic in the south and the Dardanelles in the north. Being a flourishing city along the route, Philippi was meant to be a model of Rome although a miniature one. Regardless of the distance from the sea port of Kavala, Philippi was a vital part to the road.
During the Roman reign, the population of the city was divided between newly settled Romans, Greeks, and Thracians. Philippi was also the location of the Battle of Philippi, the battle in which Mark Antony and Octavian defeated Brutus and Cassius, Julius Caesar’s assassins.
Philippi was then abandoned in the 14th century after the Ottoman Empire.
Philippi was weakened by the Slavic invasions into Macedonia, and in about 619 AD, a massive earthquake wreaked havoc on the city. Philippi was left totally destroyed, and it never recovered.
Philippi is mentioned in the New Testament as a place where Paul preached the gospel on his first evangelistic journey. Paul was also arrested here because of the Philippians’ devotion to Roman culture, and their low population of Jewish citizens. It is believed he wrote his epistle to the Philippians during his jail time. However, once Christianity was accepted, the first Christian Church in Europe was built here, and the first citizen to be baptized was Lydia, a purple dye merchant.
What to See in Philippi Today
The archeological site of Philippi has revealed ruins of Roman bath houses, basilicas, temples, a Roman forum, and one of the largest Roman theaters of its time. Ruins of an acropolis and town walls have also been excavated, along with the remains of the Agora, which sits atop the Via Egnatia.
The current city is now renamed Filippoi and is located near the ruins of the ancient city. It was named a world heritage site in 2016.
The Theater in Philippi (Pictured Left) was one of the largest of the ancient world. Multiple renovations were made on it to include space for gladiatorial competitions and later on, wild beast fights.
Cartwright, Mark. “Philippi.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., 04 May 2016. Web. 04 Dec. 2016.
“Macedonia Terrain.” Macedonia Terrain – Geography. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.
“Nearby Climate Guides.” Philippi Climate and Weather. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.
Padfield, David. “Philppi, Greece.” Padfield. N.p., 2015. Web. 04 Dec. 2016.
Page Created by Nick Ritchie and Lexi Saenz