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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About eight miles outside the city of Fier are the ruins of the ancient city of Apollonia ... uncovered from a 1000-year nap.



Founded in 588 BC by Greeks from Corinth, the city quickly grew to 50,000 residents by the second century BC. Apollonia later became a free Roman city after it sided with Julius Caesar during the war against Pompey. It developed into a cultural center of the arts until the 3rd century AD when an earthquake rerouted a river and lead to the city's decline.

The Austrians started escavating the site during W.W.I and the French later continued the work through the 1920s and 30s. While Albanian archaeologists have made some progress over the last few decades, much of this ancient city still remains buried in the hill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Archaeological investigations have revealed that for hunderds of years the Illyrian and Greek inhabitants of the site appear to have lived in separate communities.Aristotel took Apollonia as a model in his analysis of oligarchy.

The ancient philosopher being unable to find any element of democracy whatsoever in its political organisation,with descendants of the original Greek colonists controlling the very large Illyrian serf population.

The economic prosperity of apollonia grew on the basis of tradein slaves ,and the local pastoral agriculture ,with coins having been found as far as the Danube basin.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In the years from 214 BC onwards the city was involved in the war between the Illyrian Taulanti and Casander,the King of Macedonia; and in 229 BC came under Roman control.

In 148 BC it was integrated into the province of Macedonia.For 200 years it was of central importance in the Roman effort to colonise the east and may have been an originalterminus of the Egnatian Way.

In the civil war between Pompey and Julius Caesar it was a vital stronghold for Caesar.In 45 and 44 BC, Octavian ,later to become the Emperor Augustus studied for six months in Apollonia.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It was in Apollonia that Octavian heard the news of Julius Caesar´s death, in 44 BC it was noted by Cicero, in the Philipics,as magna urbs et gravis, a great and important city.

Strabo mentions a Fountain of Cephissus near the gymnasium at Apollonia.Under the Roman Empire it remained a prosperous centre,but began to decline as the Vjosa silted up and the coastline changed after the earthquake.

Apollonia was an early centre of Christianity in the region,with a bishop attending the Counsil of Ephesus in 431, and the Counsil of Chalkis in 451.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Entering the site through the small iron gate,you walk towards the central group of ancient religious and mercantile buildings.

In spring,this part of the site is particulary beautiful thanks to profusion of wild flowers here. Tortoises are also wery common.

Passing the foundations of Roman houses to the left of the path you see the bouleuterion,an elegant and compact building from the Hellenism period whose facade with six marble Corinthian columns was restored in the 1960s.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Most of the marble architrave is original.The building measures 15m by 20m and the columns stand 9m high.The interior behind the columns is a U-shaped room surrounded by marble-faced brick walls.

A Greek inscription on the architrave states that the building was constructed by Quintus Villius Crispinus Furius Proculus,in honour of his deceased brother.His identity is unknown.

Excavation in the interior of the building has revealed that it was used as the office of the imperial administration in the city,in particular for the official concerned with administration of the imperial cult ceremonies.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The date of the inscription is also unknown,but the bulding as a whole is thought to date from the second quarter of the 2C AD.Immediately beyond the bouleuterion is the odeon,a small Roman building dating from the 2C AD.

It seats about 600 spectators,and thesteps have been restored to allow it to be used for modern concert performances. The two buildings are thought to have formed the edges of a small square.

The remains of buildings on either side of the odeon were probably used in connection with the imperial cult,of some other religious function.

 

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Bravo Football ! :)
This is an amazing archaeological site which together with Butrint are two of the most important places of interest in the region. And i have the feeling that with the continuous development of albania and the opening (i mean more) to the tourist market , places like that will be of major interest for all the tourists who still most of them ignore them or have not visited yet.
 

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I just love excavation of ancient ruins, especially if they're of greco-roman history.
and this is a major find! a city of 50000, it must have been a major town in the region, and the name shows it must have had an important role around.
too bad earthquakes have leveled so many cities in the region, including this one
 

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Thanks for the images and wonderful descriptions. I'm also fascinated with excavations of ancient remains. And I must say, that 50.000 would not be a town those days, but a very large city. A capital of a particular region for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I visited Apollonia when i was 11 years old.
It's very interesting . It lies in a hill with olive trees just like back in the day.
If you go inside the museum there it has many old statues belonging to the roman days that are still in good shape .
It's a very interesting place for sure.
I will open one thread for Butrint because it's bigger than Apollonia and also just as interesting.
By the way , there is Amantia as well but that city is a little smaller than Apollonia and Butrint
 

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two new pictures of Apollonia:


 

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Actually I highly doubt this city had 50,000 inhabitants as the post says. The size of the city doesn't really show it was that large.

It was more or less a protectorate of Korkyra (Corfu of today). 50,000 would indicate a very major city...but there aren't really the ruins there to indicate something of that size. Amantia and Bylis were of about the same size as Apollonia. Apollonia had the money however to be an important city...since it was where the Korkyrans and Greeks traded with the locals. However this not necessarely by population.

By the way , there is Amantia as well but that city is a little smaller than Apollonia and Butrint
Actually Butrint...is a minor and insignificant town...or it was in antiquity. It was only the capital of the Presaib, a small Epiriot tribe. Its location gave it more credit than due.

Today it is more important because it was preserved...and because it grew larger during the late Roman period and medieval period. However Amanatia and Bylis certainly were far bigger and more important centers that Butrint ever was.

Unfortunately...both Bylis and Amanatia fared very badly through the ages. Little archeological remains of these two cities. Bylis had a very major theater by the 3rd century BC which could seat 12,000 spectators (a LOT bigger than Butrint's)...however all that remains of that theater is its footprint. Amantia had a stadium for 6,000 spectators...which survives pretty well today. However little else remains in these cities for whatever reason.

So Apollonia and Butrint get more attention...becasue a little more has survived. Butrint has surved very well...while Apollonia...in its current look is more or less the result of rebuilding of the ruins by archeologists in the 20th century. The temple of Apollo is more than half of modern construction...to hold up the few pieces of rock that actually remained of that temple.
 

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There are a lot of these ancient cities throughout Albania...the problem is...most aren't uncovered too much...there's not that much attention to them yet except for archeologists...and there's no easy way to get to them.

There's Bylis, Amantia, Foinik, there's remains around Shkodra and Lezha (not the castles, but Illyrian-era remains), there's plenty around Pogradec (the royal tombs of several Illyrian kings) and lots and lots of others.

But none have fared very well at all to time...so unless you'r an archeologist...you'r not going to see big temples standing up anymore (you wouldn't in Apollonia either if t weren't rebuild recently)

Here's some pics of Amantia and Bylis...these were cities the size of Apollonia but not much remains anymore:

Bylis


as you can see it was a huge city


http://alma-hoxha.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/bylis.jpg

The theater of Bylis


Amantia:
The traditional Illyrian style of surrounding protective walls up to the 4th century BC


The stadium of Amantia




Not uch has remained of this city unfortunately












remains of the wall that ran up to the cliffs




Foinik (today's Finiq)


of course Durresi itself is filled with archeological sites





Zgerdhesh...nearby Kruja...believed by somehistorians to be the ancient Albanopolois


what remains of ancient Zgerdhesh
http://www.ziduldacic.go.ro/arhitectura/ist_arh/272.jpg

what remains of ancient Lissi (today's Lezha)
http://www.ziduldacic.go.ro/arhitectura/ist_arh/273.jpg

The graves of Taulanti kings near Progradec...dug into the side of a cliff


Illyrian tumulis all over the place


Unfortunately...most of these places are not well uncovered, not well preserved through time, or not easy to reach...so they remain relaitvly unkown...even to most Albanians.
 

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thanks kapedani. you were right they are not much known. i didnt know about many untill now.
 
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