Roman Forum, Philippi

Roman Forum, Philippi

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Battle of Philippi

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Battle of Philippi, (3 and 23 October 42 bce ). The climactic battle in the war that followed the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 bce , Philippi saw the final destruction of those who favored the old Republican constitution of Rome. The battle was a brutal killing match with much confusion and little generalship on either side.

Caesar loyalists Mark Antony, Octavian Caesar, and Marcus Lepidus formed a triumvirate. They seized control of Rome and the empire’s western provinces, then set off to defeat Caesar’s killers, Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius, who had joined with other opponents of Caesar—the optimates—in raising the eastern provinces of the empire.

In late September, Antony and Octavian found the enemy, led by Brutus and Cassius, entrenched in the gap between an impassable marsh and unscalable cliffs near Philippi in Greece. On 3 October, Antony and Octavian launched a frontal assault. Octavian’s troops were repulsed in disorder, and Brutus captured his camp. Antony broke through Cassius’s defenses, but had to pull back to aid Octavian. Cassius, however, committed suicide thinking that his army had lost the battle. Brutus took over command of Cassius’s forces and the fighting ended inconclusively. Antony then began building a fortified causeway across the marsh to outflank Brutus’s defenses.

On 23 October, Brutus launched an assault on the causeway, which developed into a general action between the armies. The confined space between marsh and mountain did not allow the cavalry to play much role, so the infantry slogged it out at close quarters. Eventually Brutus’s army broke and ran. Brutus pulled about a third of his army back in good order, but Antony’s cavalry surrounded them. Brutus committed suicide, and his men surrendered.

Losses: Triumvirate, unknown of 100,000 Brutus and Cassius, unknown, although all survivors surrendered and the army of 100,000 ceased to exist.

How Roman Was First Century Philippi?

When Paul arrived in Philippi in late A.D. 49 the city was one of the most important cities in Eastern Macedonia. Luke refers to Philippi as a “first city” in the region (Acts 16:12). The old Greek city of Philippi was founded in 350 B.C. By Philip II. The Greek city was conquered by the Romans in 86 B.C. and by 42 B.C. it could be described as a “small settlement” (ECM 1151).

Marc Anthony began to settle retired veterans from the 23 rd Legion in 42 B.C. after he defeated Cassius and Brutus. After the battle of Actium, Augustus re-founded the city in 31 B.C. as Colonia Iuilia Augusta Philippiensis. There were at least 1000 colonists settled in the city. The city was originally populated by “veterans of Antony’s praetorian guard who had lost their claims to land in Italy” (ABD 5:314).

As a colony, Philippi was considered an extension of Rome. The citizens enjoyed Roman citizenship and ius Italicum, a legal status which permitted self-government and tax-exemption to its citizens. Thessalonica was a free city, but Philippi had a higher status as a colony.

The total population of Philippi at the time of time of Paul’s visit was nearly 10,000 with slaves making up about 20% of the population (Verhoef, Philippi, 9, 12). Verhoef suggests the eleven named individuals associated with Philippi implies there were as few as 33 adult members in a city of 10,000.

Religious life in first century Philippi was similar to most Greco-Roman cities. Although it was not as ancient as many Greek cities, Philippi was “rich with pagan connections” (Keener, Acts, 3:2381). On the Acropolis above the city there are “more than 90 sculptures represent Diana, goddess of the hunt” (Verhoef, Philippi). These 90 or so figurines represent around 50 per cent of the total number of pictures and inscriptions that have been found at the acropolis. Consequently Diana must have been incredibly important in the life of the Philippians” (62).

Lynn Cohick suggests several factors which make Philippians fertile ground for Empire studies (“Philippians” in Jesus is Lord, Caesar is Not). First, inscriptional evidence indicates that the imperial cult was present in first century Philippi (169). Second, there is a great deal of citizenship language in Philippians as well as the usual “Jesus is Lord.” Third, there are studies on Philippians that describe Paul as “colonialist and imperialist” as well as those who see Paul as critiquing the Empire. Cohick concludes that if Paul is anti-imperial, it is part of his Jewish context. Certainly there is a challenge to the power of Rome, but that is not very different than any Jew living in the middle of the first century. There were two temples dedicated to Imperial Cult, although it is difficult to know how influential the imperial cult was in first century Philippi.

In the mid first century, the city was populated with “relatively privileged core of Roman veterans and their descendants” as well as Greeks descended from the original inhabitants of the region (ABD 5:315). The Roman veterans owned agricultural estates worked by slaves.

At the time of Paul’s visit to the city, Philippi was a moderately sized Greek city with a strong Roman influence.

The Forum of Philippi during the Imperial Period: The Evolution of a Civic Center

Jean-Yves Marc (Université de Strassbourg)
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 / 6:00 PM
HSSB 4080

The Forum at Philippi was not built on the site of the city’s Hellenistic Agora. Rather, the Forum was built as an entirely new project in the Roman imperial period. At the height of its development the Forum occupied ten percent of the city’s surface area. In spite of the fact that the Forum was an entirely new project, its architecture, design, and building techniques present a paradoxical combination of imported Roman and local Hellenistic features. This paper explores the reasons for these surprising developments by comparing them with other Roman colonies in the provinces of Achaia and Macedonia, and with local developments in Thessaloniki and Thasos.

Prof. Marc is the director of the French School excavations in the Agora of ancient Thasos, an island off the coast of northern Greece near Philippi. He also collaborates with the French School excavations at Philippi.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Ancient Borderlands Research Focus Group co-sponsored by the Department of Classics the Department of History the IHC’s Archaeology Research Focus Group and the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Forum of Augustus history

After the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC when Augustus – then Octavian – and Marc Anthony avenged the assassination of Julius Caesar, Augustus vowed to build a temple honouring Mars. When he became Princeps of Rome in 27 BC (‘first man’ of the Senate) under the name Augustus, he planned to build a temple in a new forum named for himself.

Augustus harnessed social propaganda by creating an image of himself in Caesar’s likeness and fulfilling the dictator’s wishes to create the temple to Mars Ultor, ‘greater than any in existence’. The land upon which the new forum was built was already owned by Augustus, but he would need more.

Securing more land without force took time, and the forum and its temple were eventually inaugurated in 2 BC, albeit incomplete, 40 years after Augustus first vowed them. Not only housing the temple, the Forum of Augustus provided an alternate social and political space besides the crowded Roman Forum.

Before battles generals would set off from the Temple of Mars after a ceremony and later dedicate their spoils to Mars at the altar. The space was also lined with over a hundred statues of notable Roman men, inscribed with their achievements, including Augustus and reinforcing his lineage. The forum was also where Augustus’ lost standards were returned from the Parthians.

Tiberius added 2 triumphal arches to the Forum of Augustus in 19 AD to honour Drusus the Younger and Germanicus. However, by the 4th century the forum was in decreasing use, seriously damaged during earthquakes and wars. In the 9th century, a Basilian monastery was established on the ruined temple.

Roman Forum, Philippi - History

Map of the Roman Empire - Philippi

M-5 on the Map

Philippi. A city of Macedonia which was rebuilt by Philip II of Macedon and named Philippi. It became a Roman colony and after the assassination of Julius Caesar his avengers Marc Anthony and Octavian fought Marcus Brutus and Cassius, at the Battle of Philippi in a nearby plain west of Philippi in 42 BC. The Bible mentions that Philippi was visited by Paul, Acts 16:12ff. Acts 20:6 1 Thessalonians 2:2 Philippians 1:1ff. Philippians 4:15. Today the Greeks call the city Philippoi and the Arabs call it Felibedjik.

Acts. 16:12ff. - And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, [and] a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

Acts. 20:6 - And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days where we abode seven days.

1 Thess. 2:2 -But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.

Phil. 1:1ff. - Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Phil. 4:15 - Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

Philippi (Φίλιπποι). A city of Macedonia, now Filibah. It was situated on the river Gangas or Gangites, and was founded by Philip on the site of an older town, Crenides (. de?). In the vicinity were productive gold mines. Here Octavianus and Antony won a decisive victory over Brutus and Cassius in B.C. 42, and here the Apostle Paul first preached in Europe, in A.D. 53. The seaport of Philippi was Datus or Datum on the Strymonic Gulf. - Harry Thurston Peck. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898.

Philippi (in Greek Φίλιπποι/ Philippoi) was a city in eastern Macedonia, established by Philip II in 356 BC and abandoned in the 14th century after the Ottoman conquest. The present municipality Filippoi is located near the ruins of the ancient city and it is part of the periphery of East Macedonia in Greece.

History of Philippi. The city reappears in the sources during the Roman civil war that followed the assassination of Julius Caesar. His heirs Mark Antony and Octavian confronted the assassins of Caesar, Marcus Junius Brutus and Cassius, at the Battle of Philippi in the plain to the west of the city in October, 42 BC. Antony and Octavian were victorious in this final battle against the partisans of the Republic. They released some of their veteran soldiers, probably from legion XXVIII and colonized them in the city, which was refounded as Colonia Victrix Philippensium. In 30 BC, Octavian became Roman emperor, reorganized the colony, and established more settlers there, veterans possibly from the Praetorian Guard and other Italians. The city was renamed Colonia Iulia Philippensis, and then Colonia Augusta Iulia Philippensis after January, 27 BC, when Octavian received the title Augustus from the Roman Senate. Following this second renaming, and perhaps after the first, the territory of Philippi was centuriated (divided into squares of land) and distributed to the colonists. The city kept its Macedonian walls, and its general plan was modified only partially by the construction of a forum, a little to the east of the site of Greek agora. It was a "miniature Rome," under the municipal law of Rome and governed by two military officers, the duumviri, who were appointed directly from Rome. The colony recognized its dependence on the mines that brought it its privileged position on the Via Egnatia. This wealth was shown by the many monuments that were particularly imposing considering the relatively small size of the urban area: the forum, laid out in two terraces on both sides of the main road, was constructed in several phases between the reigns of Claudius and Antoninus Pius, and the theatre was enlarged and expanded in order to hold Roman games. There is an abundance of Latin inscriptions testifying to the prosperity of the city. In AD 49 or 50, the city was visited by the apostle Paul who was guided there by a vision (Acts 16:9-10). Accompanied by Silas, Timothy and possibly Luke, the author of the Acts of the Apostles, he preached for the first time on European soil in Philippi (Acts 16:12-40) and baptized Lydia, a purple dye merchant, in a river to the west of the city. While in Philippi, his exorcism of a demon from a slave girl caused a great uproar in the city, which led to their (Paul and Silas) arrest and public beating (Acts 16:16-24). An earthquake caused their prison to be opened. When the jailer awoke, he prepared to kill himself, thinking all the prisoners had escaped and knowing that he would be severely punished. Paul stopped him, indicating that all the prisoners were in fact still there. The jailer then became one of the first Christians in Europe (Acts 16:25-40). At this time, there was barely a Jewish community and no synagogue (Acts 16:13). Those Jews present did not seem to include any men and met by the river, a common meeting place in the absence of a synagogue. Paul visited the city on two other occasions, in 56 and 57. The Epistle to the Philippians dates from around 61-62 and shows the immediate impact of Paul's instruction. The subsequent development of Christianity in Philippi is well-attested, notably by a letter from Polycarp of Smyrna addressed to the community in Philippi around 160 and by funerary inscriptions. - Wikipedia

Old ruins of a building, Roman Forum, Philippi, East Macedonia And Thrace, Greece

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Hellenistic Paneas Edit

Alexander the Great's conquests started a process of Hellenisation in Egypt and Syria that continued for 1,000 years. Paneas was first settled in the Hellenistic period. The Ptolemaic kings, in the 3rd century BC, built a cult centre.

Panias is a spring, today known as Banias, named for Pan, the Greek god of desolate places. It lies close to the "way of the sea" mentioned by Isaiah, [6] along which many armies of Antiquity marched. In the distant past a giant spring gushed from a cave in the limestone bedrock, tumbling down the valley to flow into the Huela marshes. Currently it is the source of the stream Nahal Senir. The Jordan River previously rose from the malaria-infested Huela marshes, but it now rises from this spring and two others at the base of Mount Hermon. The flow of the spring has decreased greatly in modern times. [7] The water no longer gushes from the cave, but only seeps from the bedrock below it.

Paneas was certainly an ancient place of great sanctity and, when Hellenised religious influences were overlaid on the region, the cult of its local numen gave place to the worship of Pan, to whom the cave was dedicated and from which the copious spring rose, feeding the Huela marshes and ultimately supplying the river Jordan. [8] The pre-Hellenic deities that have been associated with the site are Ba'al-gad or Ba'al-hermon. [9]

The Battle of Panium is mentioned in extant sections of Greek historian Polybius's history of "The Rise of the Roman Empire". The battle of Panium occurred in 198 BC between the Macedonian armies of Ptolemaic Egypt and the Seleucid Greeks of Coele-Syria, led by Antiochus III. [10] [11] [12] Antiochus's victory cemented Seleucid control over Phoenicia, Galilee, Samaria, and Judea until the Maccabean revolt. The Hellenised Sellucids built a pagan temple dedicated to Pan (a goat-footed god of victory in battle [creator of panic in the enemy], desolate places, music and goat herds) at Paneas. [13]

Roman period Edit

During the Roman period the city was administered as part of Phoenicia Prima and Syria Palaestina, and finally as capital of Gaulanitis (Golan) was included together with Peraea in Palaestina Secunda, after 218 AD. The ancient kingdom Bashan was incorporated into the province of Batanea. [14]

Herod and Philip (20 BC – AD 34) Edit

On the death of Zenodorus in 20 BC, the Panion, which included Paneas, was annexed to the Kingdom of Herod the Great. [15] He erected here a temple of "white marble" in honour of his patron. In the year 3 BC, Philip II (also known as Philip the Tetrarch) founded a city at Paneas. It became the administrative capital of Philip's large tetrarchy of Batanaea which encompassed the Golan and the Hauran. Flavius Josephus refers to the city as Caesarea Paneas in Antiquities of the Jews the New Testament as Caesarea Philippi (to distinguish it from Caesarea Maritima on the Mediterranean coast). [16] [17] In 14 AD, Philip II named it Caesarea in honour of Roman Emperor Augustus, and "made improvements" to the city. His image was placed on a coin issued in 29/30 AD (to commemorate the founding of the city), this was considered as idolatrous by Jews but was following in the Idumean tradition of Zenodorus. [18]

Province of Syria (AD 34–61) Edit

On the death of Philip II in AD 34, the tetrarchy was incorporated into the province of Syria with the city given the autonomy to administer its own revenues. [19]

"Neronias" (AD 61–68) Edit

In 61 AD, King Agrippa II renamed the administrative capital as Neronias in honour of Roman Emperor Nero: "Neronias Irenopolis" was the full name. [20] But this name held only until 68 AD when Nero committed suicide. [21] Agrippa also carried out urban improvements [22] It is possible that Neronias received "colonial status" by Nero, who created some colonies [23]

During the First Jewish–Roman War, Vespasian rested his troops at Caesarea Philippi in July 67 AD, holding games over a period of 20 days before advancing on Tiberias to crush the Jewish resistance in Galilee. [24]

Gospel association Edit

In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus is said to have approached the area near the city, but without entering the city itself. Jesus, while in this area, asked his closest disciples who they thought he was. Accounts of their answers, including the Confession of Peter, are found in the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Here Saint Peter made his confession of Jesus as the Messiah and the "Son of the living God", and Christ in turn gave a charge to Peter. The apostles Peter, James and John were eyewitnesses to the Transfiguration of Christ, which happened "in a high place nearby" and is recorded in Matthew (17:1-7), Mark (9:2-8) and Luke (9:28-36). [25]

According to the Christian ecclesiastical tradition, a woman from Paneas, who had been bleeding for 12 years, was miraculously cured by Jesus. [26]

Byzantine period Edit

Julian the Apostate Edit

On attaining the position of Emperor of the Roman Empire in 361 AD Julian the Apostate instigated a religious reformation of the Roman state, as part of a programme intended to restore the lost grandeur and strength of the Roman State. [27] He supported the restoration of Hellenic paganism as the state religion. [28] In Panease this was achieved by replacing the Christian symbols. Sozomen describes the events surrounding the replacement of a statue of Christ (which was also seen and reported by Eusebius):-

Having heard that at Caesarea Philippi, otherwise called Panease Paneades, a city of Phoenicia, there was a celebrated statue of Christ, which had been erected by a woman whom the Lord had cured of a flow of blood. Julian commanded it to be taken down, and a statue of himself erected in its place but a violent fire from the heaven fell upon it, and broke off the parts contiguous to the breast the head and neck were thrown prostrate, and it was transfixed to the ground with the face downwards at the point where the fracture of the bust was and it has stood in that fashion from that day until now, full of the rust of the lightning." [29]

Early Islamic period Edit

In 635, Paneas gained favourable terms of surrender from the Muslim army of Khalid ibn al-Walid, after the defeat of Heraclius's army. In 636 AD, a newly formed Byzantine army advanced on Palestine, using Paneas as a staging post, on the way to confront the Muslim army at Yarmuk. [30]

The depopulation of Paneas after the Muslim conquest was rapid, as the traditional markets of Paneas disappeared (only 14 of the 173 Byzantine sites in the area show signs of habitation from this period). The Hellenised city fell into decline. The council of al-Jabiyah established the administration of the new territory of the Umar Caliphate, and Paneas remained the principal city of the district of al-Djawlan (the Golan) within Jund Dimashq, jund meaning "military province" and Dimashq being the Arabic name of Damascus, due to its strategic military importance on the border with Filistin (Palestine). [31]

Around 780, the nun Hugeburc visited Caesarea and reported that the town had a church and a "great many Christians". [32]

Caesarea Philippi became the seat of a bishop at an early date: local tradition has it that the first bishop was the Erastus mentioned in Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans (Romans 16:23). What is historically verifiable is that the see's bishop Philocalus was at the First Council of Nicaea (325), that Martyrius was burned to death under Julian the Apostate, that Baratus was at the First Council of Constantinople in 381. Flavian, (420) Bishop of Caesarea Philippi [33] [34] [35] [36] and Olympius at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. In addition there is mention of a Bishop Anastasius of the same see, who became Patriarch of Jerusalem in the 7th century.

In the time of the Crusades, Caesarea Philippi became a Latin Church diocese and the names of two of its bishops, Adam and John, are known. [37] [38] [39] [40] No longer a residential bishopric, Caesarea Philippi is today listed by the Roman Catholic Church as a titular see. [41] It is also one of the sees to which the Antiochian patriarchate of the Orthodox Church has appointed a titular bishop.

Today Caesarea Philippi is a site of archeological importance, and lies within the Hermon Stream Nature Reserve. [42] The ruins are extensive and have been thoroughly excavated. Within the city area the remains of Agrippa's palace, the cardo, a bath-house and a Byzantine-period synagogue can be seen. [43]

What Were Roman Prisons Like in Paul’s Time?

In the New Testament, we hear a lot about Christians being imprisoned—especially Paul. In fact, he wrote his letter to the Philippians while in a Roman prison! We’ve gathered information from the ESV Archaeology Study Bible for you to learn more about Roman jails were like.


In the Roman world, imprisonment was rarely a long-term punishment. Most prisoners were awaiting either trial or execution. Debtors could be imprisoned until their friends or family paid o‘ the debt (Matt. 18:30). The length of imprisonment depended on the swiftness of a trial, which could be drawn out for years, especially in political cases. Conditions of imprisonment were closely linked to the status of the prisoner. Non-Roman citizens, even of high status, were often harshly treated. In contrast, house arrest was typically more comfortable for the prisoner, who was usually physically chained to a guard but could still host visitors.


Paul experienced a wide variety of Roman prison conditions. He was chained in a common holding cell in Philippi (Acts 16:23– 30), imprisoned in probably better conditions in the praetorium at Caesarea (Acts 23:35), and held in relative comfort while in house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:16). In Rome, Paul was responsible for maintaining himself during his imprisonment, including his meals and clothes (Acts 28:30). Paul’s Roman citizenship meant he was eligible for a daily food allowance, but Paul depended on his friends and fellow believers to supply this food. While under house arrest in Rome, Paul was guarded around the clock by soldiers of the elite Praetorian Guard.


Finally, when he was later rearrested and executed (likely a few years after this letter), Paul was probably placed in an underground cell somewhere in Rome. It is possible that he was then imprisoned in the Roman Mamertine Prison in the Roman Forum. This was where major convicted enemies of the state were strangled or kept before being thrown off the Tarpeian Rock on the Capitoline Hill. However, if Paul was executed by a sword outside the city, as later tradition claimed, he probably would not have been imprisoned at Mamertine.



Paul is the stated author of Philippians, and while Timothy is listed in 1:1 as a coauthor, the main voice is clearly Paul’s. Timothy may have been Paul’s amanuensis, or secretary. The letter was written to the Christians in the Roman colony of Philippi. Some scholars have suggested that the current epistle combines two authentic letters of Paul, with the first letter concluding at 3:1 (“Finally, my brothers . . .”). However, Paul elsewhere uses “finally” in the middle of an epistle (1 Thess. 4:1 2 Thess. 3:1 cf. 1 Pet. 3:8).


Paul wrote this letter while in a Roman prison, and the date of the composition of Philippians depends on where Paul was imprisoned. His statements to the Philippians concerning his possibly imminent death (e.g., Phil. 1:20) indicate the letter was most likely written from Rome, perhaps in AD 62. This also fits most naturally with the mention of the praetorium and “Caesar’s household”.


The church at Philippi had a special significance for Paul, as it was the first church he founded in Europe (see Acts 16:6–40). The first convert was Lydia, a seller of purple cloth, and women continued to have a prominent role in the Philippian church (e.g., Phil. 4:2). His brief incarceration in Philippi (Acts 16:23–40) would make Paul’s later imprisonment mentioned in this letter all the more poignant for the Philippians, especially for the converted Philippian jailer. Paul visited Philippi a few times after his initial departure, and the church maintained active support for his ministry (Phil. 4:15–16). Imprisonment carried with it a social stigma, and it would have been easy for the Philippians to turn their back on Paul at this point instead, however, they remained faithful to him. Paul thus writes of his gratitude for the Philippian church and for their loyalty to the gospel.


This blog is adapted from notes inside the ESV Archaeology Study Bible. This resource roots the biblical text in its historical and cultural context. Then it offers readers a framework for better understanding the people, places, and events recorded in Scripture. With this knowledge, Christians will be better equipped to read, study, understand, and apply the Bible in their daily lives.

The ESV Archaeology Study Bible is part of the ESV Study Pack, a hand-picked collection that includes everything you need to effectively study and apply God’s word. Learn more about Study Packs.

Archaeological Site of Philippi

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.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Site archéologique de Philippes

Les vestiges de cette cité fortifiée se trouvent au pied d’une acropole située au nord-est de la Grèce, sur l’ancienne route reliant l’Europe à l’Asie, la Via Egnatia. Fondée en 356 av. J.-C. par le roi macédonien Philippe II, la ville s'est ensuite développée comme une « petite Rome », avec la création l’établissement de l’Empire romain dans les décennies qui ont suivi la bataille de Philippes, en 42 av. J.-C. La dynamique cité hellénistique de Philippe II, dont les murs et les portes, le théâtre et l’hérôon funéraire (temple) sont encore visibles, sont alors complétés, dans sa partie nord, par des édifices publics romains comme le forum et la terrasse monumentale surmontée de temples. La ville devint ensuite un centre de la foi chrétienne après la visite de l’apôtre Paul en 49-50 de notre ère. Les vestiges de ses églises sont constituent un témoignage exceptionnel de l’établissement primitif précoce du christianisme.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

مدينة فيلبي الأثريّة

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Археологический комплекс Филиппы

Руины города-крепости Филиппы расположены у подножия акрополя в районе современной Восточной Македонии и Фракии, на древней Эгнатиевой дороге, некогда соединявшей Европу и Азию. Город был основан в 365 году до н.э., в период правления царя Македонии Филиппа II. С возникновением Римской империи, спустя десятилетия после битвы при Филиппах в 42 году до н.э, город стал принимать облик «маленького Рима». Наряду с памятниками эллинистической эпохи, такими как большой театр и погребальный храм, в городе были построены подобные римским сооружения, в частности, форум. После того, как апостол Павел посетил Филиппы в 49-50 году н.э., город стал центром христианства. Руины городских церквей того времени являются уникальным свидетельством становления раннего христианства.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Sitio arqueológico de Filipos

Fundada en 356 a.C. durante el reinado de Filipo II de Macedonia, los vestigios de esta ciudad fortificada se extienden al pie de una acrópolis situada en la actual región griega de Macedonia Oriental y Tracia, por la que pasaba la antigua vía romana Egnatia que unía Europa con Asia. En tiempos del Imperio Romano, en los decenios subsiguientes a la batalla de Filipos (42 a.C.), vinieron a añadirse a los anteriores monumentos de la época helenística –el gran teatro y el templo funerario– importantes construcciones como el foro que hicieron de la ciudad una “pequeña Roma”. Después de la visita del apóstol San Pablo a Filipos en los años 49 a 50 de nuestra era común, la ciudad se convirtió en un centro de propagación del cristianismo. Los vestigios de sus iglesias constituyen un testimonio excepcional del asentamiento de los primeros cristianos.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Archeologische site van Philippi

De overblijfselen van deze ommuurde stad liggen aan de voet van een acropolis in de tegenwoordige regio Oost-Macedonië en Thracië. De stad werd in 356 v.Chr. gesticht door de Macedonische koning Philip II, langs de antieke route die Europa en Azië verbindt, de Via Egnatia. De stad ontwikkelde zich tot een ‘kleine versie van Rome’, na de vestiging van het Romeinse Rijk in de decennia na de slag om Philippi, in 42 v.Chr. Het Hellistische theater en de graftempel (heroön) werden aangevuld met Romeinse bouwwerken zoals het forum. Later werd de stad een centrum van het christelijk geloof na het bezoek van de apostel Paulus in 49-50 n.Chr. De overblijfselen van diverse basilieken getuigen op bijzondere wijze van de vroege stichting van het christendom.

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Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Archaeological Site of Philippi is lying at the foot of an acropolis in north-eastern Greece on the ancient route linking Europe with Asia, the Via Egnatia. The city of Philippi, re-founded by Philip II on a former colony of Thasians in 356 BCE, was reshaped by the Romans into a "small Rome" with its elevation to a Colonia Augusta of the Roman Empire in the decades following the Battle of Philippi. 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 adorned and transformed with Roman public buildings including the Forum and a monumental terrace with temples to its north. Later the city became a centre of Christian faith and pilgrimage deriving from the visit of the Apostle Paul in 49/50 CE and the remains of Christian basilicas and the octagonal church testify to its importance as a metropolitan see.

Criterion (iii): Philippi is an exceptional testimony to the incorporation of regions into the Roman Empire as demonstrated by the city’s layout and architecture as a colony resembling a “small Rome”. The remains of its churches are exceptional testimony to the early establishment and growth of Christianity.

Criterion (iv): The monuments of Philippi exemplify various architectural types and reflect the development of architecture during the Roman and Early Christian period. The Forum stands out as an example of such a public space in the eastern Roman provinces. The Octagon Church, the transept Basilica, and the domed Basilica stand out as types of Early Christian architecture.

The walled city includes all elements necessary to convey its values, and is not subject to development or neglect. The modern asphalted road, closed in 2014, which essentially follows the route of the ancient Via Egnatia, will be dismantled east of the west entrance to the site near the Museum.


The walled city was subject to major destruction in the earthquake of 620 CE. Many stones and elements of the buildings including inscriptions and mosaic and opus sectile floors remain in situ from that time, although some stones were subsequently reused in later buildings. Modern constructions and interventions at the site have been generally limited to archaeological investigations and necessary measures for the protection and enhancement of the site. For the most part the principle of reversibility has been respected and the walled city can be considered authentic in terms of form and design, location and setting.

Protection and management requirements

The property and buffer zone are protected at the highest level under the antiquities Law 3028/2002 ‘On the Protection of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage in General’ as re-designated in 2012, and as protected zone A in 2013. This covers both State and privately-owned land and, except for the buffer zone extension in the south-east corner which covers part of the adjacent town, is a ‘non-construction’ zone. The area of the adjacent town is covered by planning requirements to report archaeological finds during works. The boundaries of the property and buffer zone are clearly defined on the maps and the property will be fully fenced in the near future.

The property is managed at the local level by the Ephorate of Antiquities, the Regional Service of the General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, within the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The Management Plan was drafted in 2014 and will be implemented by a seven-member committee including representatives of government and municipal agencies and co-ordinated by the Head of the local Ephorate of Antiquities. A conservation strategy aimed at unifying and upgrading the property and identifying the priority projects and funding sources will be included in the Management Plan, together with a co-ordinated archaeological research plan aimed at better understanding and interpretation of the site and an overall database as a basis for monitoring and conservation.

Is this the end of the Church of Philippi?

It is clear that, as a Roman colony, Philippi had a certain status in Macedonia. This status influenced a lot the development of its church. Its significant geographic position between the East and the west and the great population mobility from East to West via the Egnatia road explain the above fact. Especially, this population renewal amplified Philippi’s status, because it treated the various religious trends within the bounds of a loyal Christian community, known throughout Christianity for its stable loyalty to the Paulian tradition while constituting a model for all local churches, especially those of Macedonia. During the fourth century, the administrative reorganization performed by Dioclitianus (tetrarchy) placed Macedonia in the wider administrative area lllyric in which Thessaloniki became the chief city. The administrative marginalization of Phillipi was completed at the end of the fourth century where Macedonia also became attached to the eastern part with the foundation of Constantinople. Philippi’s status was constricted due to this new administrative and ecclesiastic reality.

Already weakened by the Slavic invasions at the end of the 6th century, which ruined the agrarian economy of Macedon, and probably also by the Plague of Justinian in 547, the city was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake around 619, from which it never recovered.

Prokopios, Metropolian of Philippi, Meapolis and Thassos, Saint Paul the Apostle and Philippi, Holy Metropolis of Philippi – Kavala, 2003.

Ch. Bakirtzis, H. Koester (ed.), Philippi at the Time of Paul and after His Death, Harrisburg, 1998.