Settlements > Antigonia

Antigonia

Background

Antigonea (Greek: Αντιγόνεια), also transliterated as Antigonia and Antigoneia, was an ancient Greek city in Chaonia, Epirus, and the chief inland city of the ancient Chaonians. It was founded in the 3rd century BC by Pyrrhus of Epirus, who named it after one of his wives, Antigone, daughter of Berenice I and step-daughter of Ptolemy I of Egypt. In 198 BC the Romans defeated the Macedonian armies of Philip V.

The inhabitants of Antigoneia had sided with the Macedonians and so when the Romans were victorious over the Macedonians in 167BC they decided to punish those who had fought against them. The Romans set fire to 70 towns in Epirus including Antigoneia and the town was not rebuilt. A newly discovered church, on the floor of which there is a mosaic of Saint Christopher and a Greek emblem, testifying to the city’s existence in the palaeo-Christian period, was the last building constructed in ancient Antigonea. It was destroyed during Slav assaults in the 6th century AD.

Its ruins are located just south of the village of Saraqinisht in the Antigonë municipal unit, Gjirokastër County, Albania. Now that area has been declared a National Archaeological Park by the Albanian Government. The ruins are accessible from Gjirokastër by car or by nature trail. The Archaeological Park is known for having organized since 2007 a yearly Festival of the Pagan Rites and the Popular Games (Albanian: Festivali i Riteve Pagane dhe Lojrave Popullore). Recently, the village has hosted an annual culinary exhibition showcasing the best of local organic production and traditional specialties.

The ancient town was identified and excavated by the Albanian archaeologist Dhimosten Budina. More recently an Albanian-Greek team of archaeologists has been working on the site.

Sources

Winnifrith, ed. by Tom (1992). Perspectives on Albania. Basingstoke, Hampshire [u.a.]: Macmillan. p. 37. ISBN 9780333512821.

Ceka, Neritan (2009). Antigoneia. ISBN 978-99956-718-6-0.

The City of Pyrrhos' Dream, Antigonea National Archaeological Park's Official Website, retrieved 7 September 2013

Antigonea Archaeological Park website

Llojdia, Gezim (2010-06-01). "Pagan rites in Antigonia (Albanian: RITE PAGANE NE ANTIGONE)". Fjala e Lire.

Mbahet panairi kulinarisë në Antigonë (The culinary fair is held in Antigonea) (in Albanian), Top Channel TV, June 5, 2011

Zacho, K.L, 'The Antigonea Project: Preliminary report on the first season' in Bejko and Hodges, 'New Directions in Albanian Archaeology' ICAA 2006

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