Cassope (Ancient Greek: Κασσώπη - Kassōpē, also Κασσωπία - Kassōpia and Κασσιόπη - Kassiopē) was an ancient Greek city in Epirus, today in the Preveza regional unit. Cassope is situated on the south-east slopes of the Zalongo mountain, near the village of Kamarina. It is built on the edge of a cliff, which dragged down a part of the site when it collapsed. It is considered one of the best remaining examples of a city built along the lines of a Hippodamian plan in Greece.

Cassope, the capital of Cassopaea, was founded before the mid-4th century BC, in a naturally fortified location within a spacious plateau, at an altitude of 550 - 650 m on the slopes of Zalongo. The city reached its heyday in the 3rd century BC, when its great public buildings were built and the area of the agora acquired its monumental form. The foundation of the city resulted from the unification (synoecism) of the region’s scattered settlements. Some early finds indicate that a smaller settlement possibly pre-existed in the position of the later city. Cassope acquired economic power from trade, livestock farming and the products of the fertile plain of Acheron. The city had its own mint and retained a political agora, a prytaneum, two theatres, a hostel (xenon) or commercial agora and a temple dedicated to the worship of goddess Aphrodite. City’s prosperity lasted until 168 BC. In 167 BC the Romans led by Aemilius Paulus destroyed the city, while at the end of the 1st century BC the inhabitants were forced to abandon Cassope, in order to settle in Nikopolis.
Professor S. Dakaris conducted excavations in Cassope on behalf of the Archaeological Society in the period 1952-55. The excavations were continued later, from 1977-78 to 1983, by the University of Ioannina in collaboration with the German Archaeological Institute. During the years 2000-2006, the 12th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities - then responsible Archaeological Service for Preveza Prefecture - carried out upgrade works, in order to improve facilities for visitors and make the site visitable. Further works on the overall enhancement of the site are presently being implemented by the 33rd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Preveza-Arta.

The text was provided in Greek by the 33rd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities

The first excavations on the site were carried out between 1952 and 1955 by the Athens Archaeological Society, under the direction of S. Dakaris. A second campain, conducted by the University of Ioannina in collaboration with the German Archaeological Institute, started in 1977-78 and lasted until 1983.

The most important monuments of the site are:

The North Stoa was built in the period of the Epirotan League (234/3-168 B.C.). It had a polygonal stone crepis and the superstructure was built of bricks in a timber frame. The north side of the stoa was supported by 17 buttresses. The interior was divided into two parts by a row of 13 square pillars, and the facade was formed by a colonnade of 27 Ionic columns. In front of the facade were preserved 21 stone bases with inscriptions dated to the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C.

The Prytaneion and the West Stoa. The Prytaneion is located on the west side of the Agora. It had a central peristyle court with 3 x 4 Doric columns and six rooms arranged around it. On the east side was a stoa with 13 Doric columns while in front of the structure extended an open space (temenos) with bases and altars. The whole complex was destroyed by the Romans in 167 B.C.

The Katagogion was a public building, probably a guests' quarter, dated to the Hellenistic period. It has a peristyle central court, surrounded by four stoas with octagonal columns (7 x 8). In the back of the stoas are 17 rooms that do not communicate with each other. The building had a second storey with a balcony and was built on top of an earlier structure, dated to the 4th century B.C.

House 5. The house lies to the NE of the Katagogion and consists of a central court, an open courtyard, the men's quarters (andron), kitchen, baths and subsidiary rooms. It was destroyed by the Romans in 167 B.C. and temporarily repaired afterwards

Site Monuments

Fortification of Cassope

Commercial market or Katagogion

Agora of Cassope/ Theater/Prytaneum/Stoa/Dianery/Town Hall/Odeum


North Stoa

Sources / Bibliography / Photos

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http://www.panoramio.com/user/1316065 Νίκος Γρηγορόπουλος

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