Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Σάββατο, 9 Απριλίου 2016

Epirus Nova and Greek colonies : The Colonisation of Southerrn Illyria by Ancient Greeks

Epirus Nova (New Epirus) or Illyria Graeca or Illyris proper was a province of the Roman Empire established by Diocletian during his restructuring of provincial boundaries. Until then, the province belonged to the province of Macedonia; it later became a theme of the Byzantine Empire. Dyrrachium(or Epidamnus) was established as the capital of Epirus Nova. The region of Epirus Nova corresponded to a portion of Illyria that was then "partly Hellenic and partly Hellenized". The area was the line of division between the provinces of Illyricum and Macedonia and suffered from terrible earthquakes. The Ostrogoths, led by Theodoric, were stopped in Epirus Nova by Sabinianus Magnus. They entered in 479 and remained until 482.
This is an analysis of the ancient Greek cities and colonies in Illyria and Adriatic coast.
1) Vlorë is one of the oldest cities of Albania. It was founded by Ancient Greeks in the 6th century BC and named Aulōn, one of several colonies on the Illyrian coast,  mentioned for the first time by Ptolemy (Geographia, III, xii, 2). Other geographical documents, such as Peutinger's "Tabula" and the "Synecdemus" of Hierocles, also mention it. The city was an important port of the Roman Empire, when it was part of Epirus Nova. It became an episcopal see in the 5th century. Among the known bishops are Nazarius, in 458, and Soter, in 553. The diocese at that time belonged to the Patriarchate of Rome. In 733 it was annexed, with all eastern Illyricum, to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and yet it is not mentioned in any Notitiae episcopatuum of that Church. The bishopric had probably been suppressed, for, though the Bulgarians had been in possession of this country for some time, Avlona is not mentioned in the "Notitiae episcopatuum" of the Patriarchate of Achrida. During the Latin domination, a Latin see was established, and Eubel (Hierarchia catholica medii aevi, I, 124) mentions several of its bishops. Several of the Latin bishops mentioned by Le Quien (Oriens christianus, III, 855-8), and whom Eubel (I, 541) mentions under the See of Valanea in Syria, belong either to Aulon in Greece (now Salona) or to this Aulon in Albania (Vlorë), which, no longer being a residential bishopric, is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see, a suffragan of Durrës, being distinguished from another titular see called Aulon by the use for it of the adjective Aulonitanus, while the adjective regarding the Aulon in Euboea is Aulonensis. Vlorë played a central role in the conflicts between the Norman Kingdom of Sicily and the Byzantine Empire during the 11th and 12th centuries. After it was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1417, it became a sanjak centre in Rumeli Eyaleti as "Avlonya"; and after coming under Venetian possession in 1690, the city was restored to the Turks in 1691, becoming a kaza of the sanjak of Berat in the vilayet (province) of Janina. The city had about 10,000 inhabitants; there was a Catholic parish, which belonged to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Durrës. In the 16th century, it was an important center for Sephardic Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal. In 1851 it suffered severely from an earthquake.
2) Apollonia (Απολλωνία κατ᾿ Επίδαμνον or Απολλωνία πρὸς Επίδαμνον) was an ancient Greek city in Illyria, located on the right bank of the Aous river (Vjosë). Its ruins are situated in the Fier region, near the village of Pojani, in modern-day Albania. Apollonia was founded in 588 BCE by Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth, on a site initially occupied by Illyrian tribes and was perhaps the most important of the several classical towns known as Apollonia. Apollonia flourished in the Roman period and was home to a renowned school of philosophy, but began to decline in the 3rd century AD when its harbor started silting up as a result of an earthquake. It was abandoned by the end of Late Antiquity. The site of Apollonia lay on the territory of the Taulantii, a cluster of Illyrian tribes that remained closely involved with the settlement for centuries and lived alongside the Greek colonists. The city was said to have originally been named Gylakeia after its founder, Gylax, but the name was later changed to honor the god Apollo. It is mentioned by Strabo in his Geographica as "an exceedingly well-governed city". Aristotle considered Apollonia an important example of an oligarchic system, as the descendants of the Greek colonists controlled the city and prevailed over a large serf population of mostly Illyrian origin. The city grew rich on the slave trade and local agriculture, as well as its large harbour, said to have been able to hold a hundred ships at a time. The city also benefited from the local supply of asphalt which was a valuable commodity in ancient times, for example for caulking ships. The remains of a late sixth-century temple, located just outside the city, were reported in 2006; it is only the fifth known stone temple found in present-day Albania. Apollonia, like Dyrrachium further north, was an important port on the Illyrian coast as the most convenient link between Brundusium and northern Greece, and as one of the western starting points of the Via Egnatia leading east to Thessaloniki and Byzantium in Thrace. It had its own mint, stamping coins showing a cow suckling her calf on the obverse and a double stellate pattern on the reverse, which have been found as far away as the basin of the Danube. The city was for a time included among the dominions of Pyrrhus of Epirus. In 229 BC, it came under the control of the Roman Republic, to which it was firmly loyal; it was rewarded in 168 BC with booty seized from Gentius, the defeated king of Illyria. In 148 BC, Apollonia became part of the Roman province of Macedonia, specifically of Epirus Nova. In the Roman Civil Warbetween Pompey and Julius Caesar, it supported the latter, but fell to Marcus Iunius Brutus in 48 BC. The later Roman emperor Augustus studied in Apollonia in 44 BC under the tutelage of Athenodorus of Tarsus; it was there that he received news of Caesar's murder. Apollonia flourished under Roman rule and was noted by Cicero in his Philippics as magna urbs et gravis, a great and important city. Christianity was established in the city at an early stage, and bishops from Apollonia were present during the First Council of Ephesus (431) and the Council of Chalcedon (451). Its decline, however, began in the 3rd century AD, when an earthquake changed the path of the Aoos, causing the harbour to silt up and the inland area to become a malaria-ridden swamp. The city became increasingly uninhabitable as the inland swamp expanded, and the nearby settlement of Avlona (modern-day Vlorë) became dominant. By the end of antiquity, the city was largely depopulated, hosting only a small Christian community. This community (which probably is part of the site of the old city) built on a nearby hill the church of the Dormition of the Theotokos, (Shën Mëri), part of the Ardenica Monastery.
3) The ancient Greek city of Epidamnus or Epidamnos (Επίδαμνος), later the Roman Dyrrachium (modern Durrës,Albania, c. 30 km W of Tirana) was founded in 627 BC in Illyria by a group of colonists from Corinth and Corcyra (Corfu). Aristotle's Politics several times draws for examples on the internal government of Epidamnos, which was run as a tight oligarchy that appointed a ruling magistrate; tradesmen and craftsmen were excluded from power, until internal strife produced a more democratic government. The exiled oligarchs appealed to Corcyra while the democrats enlisted the help of Corinth, initiating a struggle between the two mother cities described by Thucydides as a cause of the Peloponnesian War. Individual trading with the local Illyrians was forbidden at Epidamnos: all traffic was through the authorized city agent or poletes. In the fourth century BC the city-statewas part of the kingdoms of Cassander and Pyrrhus. The general vicinity of Epidamnus was called Epidamnia. In 229 BC, when the Romans seized the city the "-damnos" part of the name was inauspicious to Latin ears, and its name, as it was refounded, became Dyrrhachium. Pausanias (6.x.8) says "the modern Roman city is not the ancient one, being at a short distance from it. The modern city is called Dyrrhachium from its founder." The name Dyrrachion is found on coins of the fifth century BC; in the Roman period Dyrrachium was more common. However, the city maintained a semi-autonomy and was turned into a Roman colony. Dyrrachium was the landing place for Roman passengers crossing the Ionian Sea from Brundisium, which made it a fairly busy way-station. Here commenced the Via Egnatia, the Roman military road to Thessalonica that connected Roman Illyria with Macedonia and Thrace. The city itself was part of Macedonia, more specifically Epirus Nova. In 48 BC Pompey was based at Dyrrachium and beat off an attack by Julius Caesar. In 345 BC the city was levelled by an earthquake and rebuilt on its old foundations. In the 4th century BC, Dyrrachium was made the capital of the Roman province of Epirus nova. Thus its Archbishopric became the Metropolitan of all dioceses in the province. The name "Epidamnos" was still used by the Byzantines, as for example in the 13th-century Synopsis Chronike, referring to contemporary events. Columns with Corinthian capitals and sections of finished marble revetment, discovered on the nearby hillside at Stani, belong probably to the Temple of Minerva or to the Capitolium. In thenecropolis east of the hills that stand above the city have been found a stele of Lepidia Salvia, a sarcophagus with a scene of the Calydonian Boar hunt (now at Istanbul), and numerous Roman tombs.
4) Amantia (Αμάντια) or Abantia (Αβάντια) was an ancient Greek polis  in Epirus. It occupied an important defensive position above the Vjosa river valley to the east, and on the road to the coast and the Bay of Vlorë, in Vlorë County inAlbania. A Greek temple, the Aphrodite temple, a theatre, and astadium have also been found in the city. The name for an inhabitant was Amantieus (Αμάντιεύς). According to Pausanias, the settlement was founded by Locrians from nearby Thronium andAbantes from Euboea. Stephanus Byzantius similarly attributes the foundation to Euboean Abantes "returning from the Trojan war". Hesychius states that it was an Epirote settlement. One foundation legend had Elpenor, who actually dies at Troy, acting as a nostos and leading the colonists. Their political leaders had titles like prytanis (πρύτανις, "the one that presides") and grammateus (γραμματεύς, "secretary"). The town was surrounded with a walled enclosure roughly 2,100m long. A large fort was built with two gates and two defensive towers in the north. Its name was mentioned for the first time in the 4th century BC. It is situated on the slope of a high hill and had only its acropolis fortified. By the 3rd century BC, the town was strengthened economically and minted its own coins. The town became part of the Roman province of Epirus Novus. Eulalius, one of the Eastern bishops at the Council of Sardica who refused to recognize its right to revoke the condemnation of Athanasius of Alexandria and withdrew in a body to Philippopolis, was probably bishop of this town, but some think he was bishop of Amasea. No longer a residential bishopric, Amantia is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.
5) Lezhë (Alessio, Λισσός, Lissòs, Leş) is a town and municipality in northwest Albania, in the countywith the same name. In ancient history it was an ancient Greek colony named Lissus. The latter is an Archaeological Park of Albania. The present municipality was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Balldren, Blinisht, Dajç, Kallmet, Kolsh, Lezhë, Shëngjin, Shënkoll, Ungrej and Zejmen, that became municipal units. The seat of the municipality is the town Lezhë. The total population is 65,633 (2011 census), in a total area of 509.10 square kilometres (197 sq mi). The population of the former municipality at the 2011 census was 15,510. The city dates back to at least 8th century BC. Around 385 BC, a Greek colony was found by Dionysius I of Syracuse by the name of Lissos (Λισσός)
, as part of a strategy by Dionysius to secure Syracusan trade routes along the Adriatic
. Diodorus calls it a polis. The city was separated into sectors by diateichisma (διατείχισμα, "cross-wall") and there are elements of Syracusan architecture in part of its walls. At a later time it came under Illyrian rule. In 211 BC, Philip V of Macedon captured the citadel of Akrolissos, and Lissos surrendered to him. The town was later recovered by the Illyrians. It was in Lissos that Perseus of Macedon negotiated an alliance against Rome with the Illyrian king Gentius, and it was from Lissos that Gentius organized his army against the Romans. Lissos maintained a large degree of municipal autonomy under both Macedonian and Illyrian rule, as evidenced by the coins minted there.The city was of some importance in the Roman Civil War, being taken by Marc Antony  and then remaining loyal to Caesar. In Roman times, the city was part of the province of Epirus Nova, its name Latinized as Lissus. From 2004 an excavation started around the ancient Acropolis of Lissos and the Skanderbeg Memorial, which revealed Hellenistic, Roman and Early Byzantine buildings, tombs and other findings.

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