Ancient Pydna

Pydna: A city throughout ancient history

Pydna: A city throughout ancient history

Ancient Pydna ,

The ancient city of Pydna is located 15 klm from the city of Katerini. It is said that its first name was Kydna, although we have no information about its foundation. It is worth noting that Macedonia became a possession after the Persian wars and specifically carved a course with the reign of Alexander I, until the apostasy of 410 BC.

The year 168 BC was a milestone in the history of Pydna as a special battle took place, that of Pydna, where King Perseus lost and handed over the reins to the Roman Leucius Aemilius Paulus. Many years ago, however, Archelaus, in another great battle, forced Pydna to surrender from the port of Pydna. Pydna, after its reconstruction, very soon became rich and powerful again. Philip II had seen that he would not be able to achieve the strengthening of the Macedonian kingdom if he did not manage to become the masterand the Pydnians to relocate miles away. They themselves, of course, returned and allied with the Athenians and became autonomous.

Thus, from Archelaus until the reign of Philip (359-336 BC), Pydna took advantage of the internal turmoil of the Macedonian state, and managed to regain and maintain its autonomy. The Athenians respected the rights of its autonomy, so that its subordination to the Athenians and the friendly relations with them were aimed at the greater security of the autonomy of Pydna. Apart from that, the Athenians were the best market for the products of Pieria, which were exported of the rich and fortified coastal cities, and especially of the port of Pydna.

Philip II knew that the conquest of Pydna was not easy, and even more so if the Athenians came to its aid. For this reason, in negotiations with the Athenian ambassadors Antiphon and Charidimos, He devised the famous secret agreement, he himself to grant the Athenians Amphipolis and the Athenians to him, the Pydna, so that each to receive the city that he possessed earlier, and belongs to him as of right. The agreement was kept secret, according to the cunning wish of Philip II, and was not announced to the Municipality of Athens, so that the Pydnians would not learn of it and react, because they did not want to be subjected to the Macedonians.

Ancient Pydna

The negotiations must have taken place the following year, immediately after the failure of the Athenian campaign in Macedonia, when the general Mantia came to Methoni to help Argaeus, who was claiming the Macedonian throne against Philip II in 359 BC.

The Athenians then premeditated, that their purpose was the recovery of Amphipolis. But Philip decided, to grant autonomy to Amphipolis and managed to mislead the Athenians, so that they become even more inactive. In this way, quiet now quietly expelled in 358 e. g. , and subdued the Paeonians, defeated the Illyrians, and made peace with them, and then undisturbed besieged Amphipolis, after he deceived again the Athenians .

Philip II, after the capture of Amphipolis in 357 BC, without delay turned against Pythnos and besieged it. The Pydnians bravely resisted, but in the face of Philip’s insistence, they retreated
The Athenians again did not take advantage of the resistance of the Pydnians to decide and act in time. It seems that part of the inhabitants of Pydna gave in to the promises of Philip II, since they waited in vain for the Athenian fleet to appear in the Thermaikos Gulf, and the city was probably conquered by treachery. Also, Pydna was tested by King Archelaus, who put her through her toughest trials. Those who escaped death were forced to relocate.

The commercial and martial importance of Pydna, for the Macedonian state was necessary, so that it would soon be reconstructed and become a powerful city, as it appears after forty years, during the conflict of the queens “Olympiad” (mother of Alexander the Great), and “Eurydice” (wife of Philip III). Thus, in October 317 BC, the Olympiad after winning, entered as a trophy in Macedonia, and proceeded to savage massacres of her opponents, mainly the followers of the family Antipater – Kassandrou, and imposed martyrdom to Eurydice. This, however, converted the spirits of the Macedonians.

Cassander took advantage of the opportunity and broke the siege of Tegea, and from the Peloponnese he reached and entered Macedonia through the straits of Petra. Then the Olympiad considered, Pydna as safer for her city, and to this fled, to make the last resistance against Cassander. Thus, Cassander when he arrived in Pydna and saw that because of the winter, it was not possible with the siege of the walls to become master of the city, he camped and constructed a trench from one coastal end of the city, to the other end, while at the same time he had blocked the port, to stop the taxing of the city in food and from the sea.

Soon, however, there was a great paralysis within the city, due to lack of food. It seems that apart from the army and other population of the area, had taken refuge in the city out of fear, without the city authorities, to take the provision for a long siege, because they were waiting for help from other Macedonians. They reached the point, in principle, that each soldier would take five days’ worth of grain for a month, sawing beams to feed the elephants, and slaughtering the rest of the animals for their food. However, the Olympiad did not retreat, because it was waiting for reinforcements from outside.

But the situation became more tragic. The elephants and the sub-animals died because they were no longer fed. But too many soldiers had the same fate every day. Some of the mercenary barbarians ate the flesh of the dead. The dead became more numerous, and many were no longer buried, but were thrown outside the walls, so that not only was the picture ugly, but the stench was unbearable. In the spring of 316 BC, Olympias was forced to release her soldiers because she could not feed them.

They went to Cassander, who received them willingly, and sent them to their cities, to make known the plight, in which the Olympiad is. So, in this way, succeeded Kassandros to thwart, the preparing help to the Olympiad, and to turn the spirits in his favor, except Aristonos who had Amphipolis, and Monimus who had Pella. The Olympiad, frustrated, attempted to escape by boat. But her attempt failed, after treachery, and in desperation she sent ambassadors for capitulation, and after being assured only of her safety, she surrendered Pydna to Cassander. Immediately after, and Aristonus delivered the Amphipolis, and the Monimos the Pella, after a letter of the Olympiad.

Cassander wanted to kill Olympias, despite his promise, fearing her great fame. He called the assembly of Macedonians, and urged the familiar, who were killed by her, to present themselves as accusers, absent the Olympiad. The assembly decided to kill her. So he thought and proposed to Olympiada, to help her escape, but with the aim of killing her inside the ship, during her journey. The Olympiad but accepted to leave to Athens, according to the cunning advice of, but asked to apologize before the Macedonians. But Cassander then feared, lest the memory of the benefits of Philip II and Alexander the Great, change the minds of the people, and ordered two hundred soldiers to kill her as soon as possible. They entered the royal house, but as soon as they saw the Olympiad, they respected her office, and again left without action.

Some relatives of the slain, from the followers of the Olympiad, asked Kassandros and slaughtered the queen. But according to another tradition, after the surrender of Pydna because of hunger, the Olympiad was killed by stoning . The Olympiad was undoubtedly buried in Pydna, but in an insignificant grave. All the Macedonian kings, even more so the prostitutes of Pydna, Archelaus, Philip II, and Cassander, recognized the excellent position and importance of the city for the Macedonian state and strengthened it, so that it would soon heal its wounds from the wars, and appear again with its old glory. That’s why immediately regained again the prosperity of Pydna, and became a naval power, since through it Cassander supplied his allies, Ptolemy, Seleucus and Lysimachus, with weapons and ships, in the civil wars of the successors of Alexander the Great.

After fifteen years or so, he (Cassander) had sent a fleet of 36 ships from Pydna to the coast of Asia Minor against Antigonus, “And after this, the fleet from Phoenicia was transferred (i. e. the Antigonus), Medius admiral, who martyrs the Pydnaian nausin, thirty-six, and consumed, self-sufficient of the ships sailed”, (i. e. in 301 BC. before the battle of Ipso). After the defeat of Perseus in 168 BC, at the battle of Pydna, the enemy freely entered the defenseless city and engaged in the well-known looting. Whatever was most valuable in the flourishing Pydna was seized, and together with the captured Macedonian rulers, they were carried to Rome and adorned the triumph of Paul of Amilion.

Macedonia was divided into four parts. Pydna, along with all of Pieria, was included in the third section with Pella as its capital. For its safety, the Roman garrison was stationed inside the city. Pydna, in the revolt of Andriscus (149-148 BC), experienced a new devastation by the Romans and perhaps worse than the first. The Romans’ revenge against Pydna must have been harsher. Then the 25 bronze statues of Lysippus were seized by Metellus and transported from Pydna to Rome. The city, however, survived the Roman occupation, since the Roman garrison named it “Citron”. The progress made over time and especially during the 4th century. aD, was stopped by barbarian raids, and since then it fell into decline. However, it was never abandoned for good, because its port was still the most important on the Pierian coast, and also because it was close to the road that connected Thessaloniki with southern Greece, via the river Tempi. That is why her name has never been forgotten. In fact, both “Pydna and Citron” coexist throughout the Medieval period.