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Stageira &
Olympiada
  1   introduction
2   history part 1
3   history part 2
4   history part 3
5   history part 4
6   history part 5
7   history part 6
8   history part 7
9   history part 8
10   facts & figures
11   getting there
12   accommodation
  photo galleries:
Olympiada
Ancient Stageira
 
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My Favourite Planet > English > Europe > Greece > Macedonia > Stageira & Olympiada
Stageira & Olympiada History of Stageira & Olympiada - Part 1   page 2
The archaeological site of the ancient city of Stageira, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

The site of the ancient city of Stageira on the Liotopi pensinsula. See Ancient Stageira gallery page 4.
History of Ancient Stageira - Part 1

Introduction
 
The ancient city of Stageira (Greek, Στάγειρα; originally known as Στάγειρος, Stageiros; in Latin, Stagirus) is on the northeast coast of the northern Aegean peninsula of Halkidiki, and was founded in 655 BC by Ionian colonists from the Cycladic island of Andros (see the map of Greece) who also founded the nearby city of Akanthos (Greek, Ἄκανθος; Latin, Acanthus) in the same year. [1]

Stageira was famous as the birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle, but other than in this context it is hardly mentioned by ancient writers. A small city on the edge of what the Greeks considered the civilized world, it did not play a significant role in historical events.

Almost no written evidence by the Stageirites themselves has survived to tell us of their deeds or how they lived. Since 1990 archaeologists have been investigating the site of the city to learn about its past from the remains of its builldings and the artefacts they uncover.

The following history includes information about the wider history of Halkidiki, Macedonia and Greece to provide a context to events which affected Stageira.
 

Contents
 
Part 1 – Introduction and Timeline (below)
Historical maps showing Olympiada and Stageira

History part 8
Historical maps
Part 2 – Foundation, 7th century BC
Part 3 – Establishment, 6th - 5th centuries BC
Part 4 – The Persian invasions, 514 - 497 BC
Part 5 – Athenians and Spartans, 5th - 4th centuries BC
Part 6 – Macedonians, 4th century BC
Part 7 – Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans... to the present day
Part 8 – Historical maps of Halkidiki and the Stageira area
As far as we know, this is the first attempt to publish the range of existing
historical and literary evidence about Stageira in one publication.

If you think we have made errors or omitted anything, please get in contact.

David John, May 2012.
Ancient Stageira archaeological site

Open daily 8.30 am - 9 pm. Entrance free.
PLEASE NOTE: Ancient Stageira at Olympiada should not be confused
with the modern village of Stageira, which is 25 km further south,
and has no historical connection with Aristotle.

See How to get to Stageira and Olympiada for further information.

national flag of Greece at My Favourite Planet
Vergina Sun, flag symbol of Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet
Stageira &
Olympiada
photo galleries

 
Photo gallery of Olympiada village, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Olympiada
 
Photo gallery of Ancient Stageira, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Ancient Stageira
 
Plan of Ancient Stageira, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece at My Favourite Planet

interactive map
of Stageira

Ancient Stageira booklet by archaeologist Doctor Kostas Sismanidis
"Ancient Stageira
the birthplace of Aristotle"


by Dr. Kostas Sismanidis
 
Dr. Sismanidis led the first systematic archaeological excavations of Stageira, which began in 1990.

His illustrated 20-page booklet contains a brief history
of Stageira and Olympiada and provides a useful guide
to the main features of the archaeological site.

The booklet includes a plan of the site
and photos of finds which are in the
Archaeological Museum of Polygyros.

Very little has yet been published about
Ancient Stageira, so this excellent booklet
remains the essential guide for the general
visitor as well as those who wish to gain
a deeper understanding of the place.
Available free in English, German and Greek
from Hotel Germany and Hotel Liotopi, Olympiada.
 
Stageira &
Olympiada
History
part 1
Stageira Timeline
655 BC   Stageira founded on the North Hill of the Liotopi peninsula by colonists from Andros, with or later joined by settlers from Chalcis, Euboea.

Part 2
6th century BC Stageira mints its own coins.

 
  A number of substantial buildings added, including a large Archaic temple.

Part 3
514 - 513 BC Megabazos, a general of Persian king Darius I, conquers Thrace.

 
Around 500 BC The city walls extended around the North Hill.

 
492 - 490 BC The first Persian invasion of Greece

Part 4
492 BC Mardonius, son-in-law of King Darius of Persia, reconquers Thrace and Halkidiki and subjugates Macedon.

His plan to attack Greece is thwarted when his fleet is destroyed by a storm off the Athos peninsula.

 
490 BC Darius' second attack on Greece is repulsed at the Battle of Marathon.

 
483 - 479 BC The second Persian invasion of Greece

 
483 BC The start of the building of Xerxes' canal across the isthmus between Halkidiki and the Athos peninsula, near Akanthos.

 
480 BC Xerxes I arrives in Halkidiki with part of his enormous invasion army, marching past Stageira on his way to Akanthos.

Local towns forced to feed and house Xerxes' army and provide troops and ships for his invasion of Greece.

The Persians are defeated by the Greeks at the naval Battle of Salamis near Athens.

 
479 BC Xerxes returns to Asia. Mardonius, in charge of the rest of the Persian army in central Greece is defeated at the Battle of Plataea.

Shortly after the last Persian forces are driven out of Thrace.

 
Around 477 BC Stageira becomes a member of the Delian League, an anti-Persian alliance headed by Athens, and is obliged to pay a regular tribute.

Part 5
Around 430 BC The Halkidikian city of Olynthos forms its own alliance, the "Chalcidian League", in defiance of the Delian League. Stageira may have become a member.

 
424 BC The Spartan general Brasidas persuades Stageira and other cities of Halkidiki to revolt against Athens and the Delian League.

 
422 BC The Athenian Cleon attacks the rebels in Halkidiki, and unsuccessfully beseiges Stageira.

 
421 BC The Peace of Niceas between Athens, Sparta and their respective allies ensures the independence and neutrality of the cities of Halkidiki, but they must continue to pay the tribute to the Delian League.

 
393 / 382 BC The Chalcidian League signs treaties with Amyntas III of Macedon, but Olynthos occupies part of Macedon, including the capital Pella.

 
384 BC The philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC) is born in Stageira (see Olympiada gallery page 5).

 
379 BC The Spartans attack Olynthos and dissolve the Chalcidian League after Acanthus and Apollonia complain that they and other cities are being forced to join.

The League reforms a year or two later.

 
348 BC Philip II of Macedon conquers Halkidiki. He destroys Olynthos and Stageira, sells the inhabitants into slavery and takes control of the gold and silver mines around Stageira, which are intensively exploited until around 300 BC.

Part 6
343 BC Aristotle appointed by Philip II to be the tutor to his son Alexander (later Alexander the Great). Either Philip or Alexander rebuilds Stageira and returns its inhabitants from slavery and exile.

Aristotle may have been involved in restoring Stageira and writing its laws.

The city may have been rebuilt inland from its original location.

 
316 BC According to legend, Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great is imprisoned in Stageira or on the island of Kapros by Cassander.

 
Around 300 BC It is thought that the mines around Stageira have been dug as far as the ground water level, beyond which it becomes impossible to excavate ore. The mines may have been abandoned at this time.

 
168 BC Macedonia conquered by Rome.

Part 7
Around 7 BC The Greek geographer Strabo reports that Stageira is deserted.

 
10th-11th centuries AD Middle Byzantine fortress built on the North Hill of Stageira, which by this time is known as Livasdias or Lipsada.

Mining in the Stageira area may have resumed during Byzantine times.

 
1430 AD Ottoman Turks conquer Halkidiki.

Gold and silver mining in the Stageira area continues through the Ottoman period.

 
17th-20th centuries Scholars, travellers and cartographers debate the location of Stageira, based on the accounts of ancient writers (see historical maps in Part 8).

 
1912 Macedonia gains independence from Ottoman Turkey and becomes part of the modern Greek state.

 
1923-1924 Greek refugees from Agia Kyriaki in Asia Minor settle in Olympiada.

 
1924 The village of Kazantzi Machala (Καζαντζή Μαχαλά), 25 km south of Olympiada, mistakenly renamed Stageira, although it is later proved that it is not the location of the ancient city.

 
1968 Following the chance find of an unfinished kouros statue in Liotopi bay, Dr. Fotios Petsas of Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum makes the first brief excavations at Ancient Stageira.

 
1990 Greek archaeologist Dr. Kostas Sismanidis leads the firt systematic investigations at Stageira. By now the site is confirmed as the location of the ancient city.

 
1990s - present Controversy over industrial mining around Olympiada and Stratonike.

 
1999 Dr. Kostas Sismanidis makes a brief investigation of the site of Stageira's ancient mines, 2 km west of Olympiada, and discovers remains of ancient settlements there (see Part 6).

 
2011 Following the Greek national reform of administrative regions, Stageira becomes part of the Halkidiki municipality of Aristotelis (formerly Stagira-Akanthos). (See facts & figures, page 10.)

 
Present Olympiada village has developed into a small low-key seaside resort.

Archaeological investigations continue at the site of Ancient Stageira.

 
Stageira &
Olympiada
History
part 1
Notes, references and links

1. 655 BC: Akanthos and Stageira founded

The remains of ancient Akanthos (or Acanthus; Greek, Ἄκανθος) are near the modern town of Ierissos (Greek, Ιερισσός), 25 km southeast of Olympiada. See map 4 on History part 8.

One of the main sources for the date of foundation is the Chronicle (Chronicon or Temporum liber, Book of Times) of Saint Jerome (Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus; Greek, Εὐσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ἱερώνυμος; circa 347-420 AD), written 380 AD in Constantinople (Istanbul). This work was an edited and updated Latin translation of the Greek Chronicle by Eusebius of Caesarea.

See: Jerome, Chronicle (Eusebius' Chronicle, Part II: Chronological Tables/Canons), pages 16-187, translated and edited by Roger Pearse and friends, Ipswich, UK, 2005. At tertullian.org.

Eusebius of Caesarea (Greek, Ευσέβιος ο Καισαρείας; also known as Eusebius Pamphili; circa 263-339 AD), Christian historian, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine (from about 313 AD). His Chronicle (Παντοδαπὴ Ἱστορία, Pantodape historia, Universal history), written in two parts in Greek, has been lost but is known from copied excerpts and translations in Latin (by Saint Jerome around 380 AD) and Armenian.

The second part, Chronological Canons (Greek, Χρονικοὶ Κανόνες, Chronikoi kanones), contained tables of parallel timelines of historical events (an innovation, though not the invention, of Eusebius), including a list of Olympic Games and winners (mainly in the stadion running race) from 776 BC to 217 AD.

See: Eusebius' Chronicle, translated from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian, at rbedrosian.com.

The date of 655/4 BC concurs with the second year of the 31st Olympiad. However, some scholars, contending that Eusebius’ system of dating is based on a 40–year, rather than 30–year generation, have proposed that the colonies were founded around 635 BC.
 
Photos, maps and articles: © David John

Additional photos: © Konstanze Gundudis

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See also
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photo essays and articles
about Greece:

Athens (street life)

Athens (Aristotle's Lyceum)

Dion

Kastellorizo

Meteora

Pella

Polygyros

Thessaloniki
 
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< Introduction to Stageira & Olympiada page 3: History part 2 >
 
 
 
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