Thursday, December 06, 2007

Upper Macedonia, Almopia

General Information:
Thucydides (II, 99) offered the most ancient testimony preserved, related to Almopia, identifying it as the place from where the Macedones had driven out the Almopes. Unfortunately, the literary, historical and archaeological evidence for this region is scanty. As regards the name, there were suggestions that it derived from:
  • Almops, a giant that was son of Poseidon and Elle (Stephanos Byzantius, s.v. Almopia)
  • goddess Almopia
  • a compound word, consisting of «Alma-» and «ops» and referring to Almopia as a place inhabited by the Almopians (giants) with the well developed faces
  • Almopians, the local pre-Macedonian tribe.

Strabo (VII, fr 8), in his account of the area, placed Almopia after Eordaia, near Lynkos and Derriopos, while Pliny (IV, 17) mentioned the Almopians after the Eordians and before the Pelagonians.

Those passages could imply that Almopia was adjacent to Eordaia, Lynkos, Derriopos and Pelagonia. Moreover, Pliny (IV, 35), in his reference to the sites of Almopia, mentioned a tributary of the Loudias (upper Loudias) running through it (maps 4,5). Evidently, Mts. Bora and Paikon formed the boundaries to the north and west the former and to the east the latter. Finally, the southern border was the physical plateau of Edessa. Consequently, Almopia bordered on Emathia and Bottiaia to the south and east respectively. Professor Demitsas (book 1, page 215) placing Almopia south of Pieria, on the frontiers between Macedonia and Thessaly.

As regards the pre-Macedonian ethnography of this area, Professor Maria Girtsi claim that apart from the general conception for the existence of Pelasgian, Paionians, Phrygians etcl a local tribe, the Almopes, occupied this area. The Almopes were of unidentified origin and according to Thucydides (II, 99) were expelled by Macedonians. There were several suggestions such as Demitsas that identified them as Pelasgians and Fanula Papazoglou that considered them as Paionians. However, neither of these identifications was based on conclusive evidence.

Sites :

The sites of Almopia listed in the ancient sources were: Orma, Europos, and Apsalos


was listed as a site of Almopia only by Ptolemy (III, 13.24). Delacoulonche suggested that its name derived from the Greek word «orme» (=rush) and referred to the rush of the torrent that flowed through it and Demetsas located it at modern Orma (=ex. Tresino)


was as well mentioned by Ptolemy (III, 13.24) and Pliny ( IV, 35). Pliny located it near the river Loudias or Rhoedias, since it changed its name at this district. However, this single literary evidence combined with the absence of secure archaeological evidence led to a debate (Hammond, Demitsas, Dezert e.t.c.), as regards the place, that Europus had occupied.


was also recorded in Ptolemy' (III, 13.24) account of Almopian sites. Chrisostomou that its name meant a place that was adjacent to water. The only archaeological finds of the area were traces of fortifications to the south of the village modern Apsalso, some surface finds from the broader area of Apsalos and early-Christian buildings.


  • Demitsas M, Ancient Geography of Macedonia,1879
  • Nicholas Hammond, History of Macedonia Vol 1, 1972, Greek edition (1996)
  • Sakellariou, Macedonia: 4000 Years of Greek History, 1982
  • Nikolaos Martis, the Falsification of Macedonian History, 1984
  • Eugene Borza, the Shadow of Olympus,1993
  • Maria Girtzi, Historical topography of ancient Macedonia,2001

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