Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Bridge of Amphipolis used by Alexander

Amphipolis lies on the Strymon River, which Alexander crossed in 334 BC when he set out from Pella towards Asia. When history books mention a river crossing, I automatically picture the army wading through the water unless a bridge of some kind is specifically mentioned. This is not the case at Amphipolis as far as I know so it comes as a surprise to learn that the remains of an ancient bridge were found there in 1977.

Successive repairs and maintenance works of the bridge have been documented during the Roman and Byzantine occupation and the last of such a report dates from the Ottoman period around 1620. A Byzantine extension of the bridge and the construction of a dam survived amazingly till 1929-1932 when works were carried out to shift the bed of the Strymon River. This means that it existed in one form or another for nearly two thousand five hundred years!

[Picture from Ancient History]

The remains we can witness today are mainly petrified wooden piles that supported the bridge on the south bank but there are also some stone masonry and marble blocks around the south abutment of the bridge that led to one of the city gates. The piles are between 1.5 and 2 meter high with a diameter varying between 70 and 290 mm. A timber deck composed of horizontal beams -  the longest one measures 4.5 meters - covered the bridge that was 13-meters wide and 275 meters long.

History mentions this bridge for the first time during the Peloponnesian War in 422 BC when Amphipolis played a key role in controlling the access to the gold and silver mines in the hinterland, as well as to the oak forests used in shipbuilding. On the other hand, carbon dating has revealed that the first bridge was constructed at some time between 600 and 550 BC.

More details about the bridge and its historical background can be found in this article by Spyros Kamilalis that was published in Ancient History.

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