6.1.15

Amphipolis - Description

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The economy of Amphipolis depended on the rural population which cultivated the "fruitful Strymon vale", but there were also large numbers of merchants, industrialists, craftsmen and slaves. The economic prosperity of the city is reflected in the Lavish series of coins minted during its period of independence and later in the Macedonian period, when it was the seat of the royal mint, and again afterwards with its own autonomous issues. The archaeological finds also tell us something about the administrative organisation of the city, which controlled trade and protected the life and property of its citizens through its institutions and special officials.

The excavations uncovered one of the most important buildings in the city, the Gymnasium, where young men trained and exercised. Of particular interest is the "Ephebarchical Law", which tells us a great deal about the education of youths from their 16th to 18th years. The city theatre must be located near the Gymnasium. The prosperity of the city was sustained by the local production of vases, figurines, statuary and minor works of art. Local art was moulded by the influences of Attic and north Aegis Ionian art before it became a part of the Hellenistic Koine of the Macedonians.

Finds from the houses, sanctuaries and graves also paint a picture of the everyday life of the inhabitants, the occupations of the men, the tasks of the women and the children's games.

Cemeteries

The dead were buried outside the city walls in different classes of graves in accordance with their social and economic status. The monumental tombs of Macedonian type clearly belonged to the city notables. The grave goods in the form of vases, figurines, weapons and jewellery testify to the wealth and artistic flowering of ancient Amphipolis.

The lion of Amphipolis is a burial monument dating to the 4th century BC. It probably belongs to Laomedon, a general and close friend of Alexander the Great.

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