Settlements > Pella

Pella

Background

Pella (Greek: Πέλλα) is an ancient city located in Central Macedonia, Greece, best known as the historical capital of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and birthplace of Alexander the Great. In Antiquity, Pella was a strategic port connected to the Thermaic Gulf by a navigable inlet, but the harbour and gulf have since silted up, leaving the site landlocked.

Pella is first mentioned by Herodotus of Halicarnassus (VII, 123) in relation to Xerxes' campaign and by Thucydides (II, 99,4 and 100,4) in relation to Macedonian expansion and the war against Sitalces, the king of the Thracians. It was probably built as the capital of the kingdom by Archelaus I, replacing the older palace-city of Aigai although there appears to be some possibility that it may have been created by Amyntas.

Archelaus invited the painter Zeuxis, the greatest painter of the time, to decorate his palace. He also later hosted the poet Timotheus of Miletus and the Athenian playwright Euripides who finished his days there writing and producing Archelaus. Euripides Bacchae was first staged here, about 408 BC. According to Xenophon, in the beginning of the 4th century BC Pella was the largest Macedonian city.[10] It was the birthplace and seats of Philip II, in 382 BC and of Alexander the Great, his son, in 356 BC.

It became the largest and richest city in Macedonia and flourished particularly under Cassander's rule. The reign of Antigonus most likely represented the height of the city's prosperity, as this is the period which has left us most archaeological remains. The famous poet Aratus died in Pella c. 240 BC. Pella is further mentioned by Polybius and Livy as the capital of Philip V and of Perseus during the Macedonian Wars fought against the Roman Republic.

Sources

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