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)

Monday, August 6, 2018

Setting the bounderies of Philippi

The city of Philippi is only casually mentioned by Arrian when Alexander rides up from Amphipolis to subdue the rebelling Thracian tribe of the Triballi. This happened in 335 BC and the purpose was to safeguard his rear before setting out for Asia.

The event may have passed me by were it not that the Museum of Philippi exhibits two fragments of an inscription showing a royal decree of Alexander the Great defining the limits of the agricultural area that was under control of Philippi. The decree, probably written between 336-334 BC, was on the wall of one of the city’s public buildings although we don’t know which one. From Philippi, the king passed Mount Orbelus (in the Pirin Mountains of modern Bulgaria) and crossed the Haemus Mountains, heading for the Danube. But that is another story.

Early in his march, an embassy from Philippi came to Alexander with the request to set clear boundaries for the agricultural lands under their dominion. In this decree, Alexander confirms the boundaries between Philippi and its Thracian neighbors as enacted by his father Philip, and suggests tax payment for the agriculture of areas that were uncultivated in those days  - probably because originally these were marshlands. The ‘land’ of Philippi includes the plain that is surrounded by hills and the area of marshes as far as the land of Serres (some 80 km west of Philippi) and the bridges of the River Aggites (a tributary of the Strymon River that empties into the Aegean Sea at Amphipolis). The decree also tells us that Philotas and Leonnatus were sent to make sure that the king’s decision was implemented.

We tend to look at cities as an entity on their own but often forget that they were depending for their food on the farmers cultivating the surrounding fields. This decree certain sheds light on the urban organization in antiquity.

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