Potidaea: Its History and Remains

Potidaea: Its History and Remains

Potidaea: Its History and Remains

Potidaea: Its History and Remains

Excerpt

The history of ancient Greece during the three or four centuries preceding the final supremacy of Philip of Macedon in 338 B.C. is essentially the story of a score of independent city-states, united by a common language, religion, and general culture, but separated by localism and the love of political freedom and autonomy. These elements of unity and separation shaped the course of Greek civilization to such an extent that the history of some of the more important states represents a sort of cross section of the history of Greece itself.

The history of Potidaea offers such a cross section, in spite of the limitations of our literary and archaeological sources. From the founding of the city as a colony of Corinth (ca. 600 B.C.) to its capture by Philip II in 356 B.C., and even to the establishment of Cassandreia on the same site forty years later, nearly all the major events of the history of Greece are represented. In fact, it is mainly from isolated comments on Potidaea's participation in these events that the history of the city has been pieced together with some degree of continuity; as for the domestic developments, aside from general inferences, the coinage of the city, and the scanty archaeological remains from the site, our sources have completely failed us. The same holds true regarding the history and archaeology of Potidaea's neighbors in Chalcidice.

The cause for this scarcity of information about Potidaea and the Chalcidic region in general is not difficult to ascertain. Ancient historical works dealing with this area have perished, and with the exception of one site, Olynthus, no appreciable excavations have been undertaken on these ancient sites. The works of ancient authors who wrote on the history of Pallene, for example, which naturally must have contained much information about the local history of the towns in that peninsula, have not survived. Dionysius of Halicarnassus mentions Hegesippus of Mecyberna (whom . . .

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