Saturday, December 27, 2008
Upper Macedonia, Lynkos
The earliest mention of Lynkos occurs in Thoukididis (Peloponesian war, book II, 99), who considered that it belonged in Upper Macedonia/ However, the literary record for this remote district remains fragmentary. The only etymological version for its name is that it derived from the local tribe of Lynkestes.
Thoukididis (IV, 128) mentioned that Brasidas retreating to the south, passed from Lynkos to Arnissa (a site of Eordaia), while Strabo (Geografiia, VII, 323), describing the route of the Via Egnatia, testified that after Lynkos (to the south) lay Eordaia. Professor and archaeologist Maria Girtzy assumed that Lynkos was located to the north of Eordaia and north-northwest of Orestis (which lay to the west of Eordaia); thus prolongations of Mts. Boras, Vitsi and Pindos formed the southern boundaries, the lake Prespa the southwestern and Mts. Varnous and Vitsi the western. Furthermore, according to another passage of Strabo (Geografia, VII, fr.8) Almopia was after (i.e. to the north of) Eordaia, near (i.e. to the east of) Lynkos; therefore, it is clear that Lynkos bordered on Almopia to the east, having hence as eastern frontier, another prolongation of Mt. Boras.Finally, Livy (XXVI, 25), describing the way to Thessaly, placed Lynkos after (i.e. to the south of) Pelagonia, stating thus that prolongations of Pindos, Varnous and Boras along with the upper Erigon valley served as the north-northeastern borders.
This district according to several historians (Hammond, Borza) was initially occupied by several different tribes. Namely, in Lynkos once lived Pelasgoi (theory based on the archaeological finds of the prehistoric mounds at Porodin, that testify the habitation of pre-Hellenic-Pelasgian tribes), Phryges, Illyrians (theory relying on the observation of Illyrian influence in the archaeological finds of the prehistoric cemeteries at the borders of Pelagonia and Lynkos) and Orestes. However, a dominant tribe, the Lynkestes, arrived once in this area and displacing all the others became the local inhabitants. It was claimed that they were of Illyrian or Macedonian origin; however, those suggestions were rejected, since they were not well supported. Nevertheless, Lynkestes played an important role in the Macedonian history, being sometimes allies, sometimes enemies.
In the Alexander's army Lynkestes constituted an army troop along with Orestes, having Perdikkas as general (Diodorus XVII, 57). Moreover, Lynkos was the birthplace of Leonnatos, Macedonian general who after Alexander's death, became ruler of Hellespontic Phrygia. During the 2nd Macedonian war, Lynkos was one of the battlefields, where Philip V defeated the Romans (Livy XXXI, 34) that had already ravaged this district. Finally, during the first phase of the Roman occupation (167-146 BC) Lynkos was included in «Macedonia Quarta».
Unfortunately, this district (which partly belongs to modern FYROM) is not thoroughly excavated. Moreover, the ancient sources referring to Lynkos are vague.
Consequently, the sites listed in ancient sources that were attirubted with certain reservation to it were: Herakleia Lynkestis, Brygias, Scirtonia, Castra-Parembole, Athacos, Octalophus, and Beuve.
Professor Girtzy said that the lack of any additional evidence does not allow a secure identification for the place or the date of the foundation of this site.
Herakleia was a rather important site of Upper Macedonia. It was named after Herakles, in the attempt[ of either the Bacchiadai (the royal family of Lynkos, coming from Corinth) or Philip II, to honour him. According to Ptolemy [Sa.5], it belonged to Lynkos, a fact that gave initial evidence for its location (map 5) in the broader area of this district. However, Polybius [Sa.l], Strabo [Sa.2] and Hierocles [Sa.6] being more specific, testified that the Via Egnatia passed through it, and Itin. Anton. [Sa.7,8] and Itin. Bur [Sa.9] recorded it at a distance of 62-69m from Edessa, 90-99m from Pella and 117-129m from Thessalonike. In addition, a mileston[ of the Via Egnatia found at Pella, mentioning that the «site of Herakleiotai» was at a distance of 249m from Dyrrachio, along with the discovery of some inscriptions [Sb.1,2] at Monastir (modern Bitola) referring to Herakleia's inhabitants, made the identification obvious. Consequently, the majority of the scholars, following the above evidence, located[ it in the vicinity of ex. Monastir (modern Bitola), 2km to the south of the modern site.
Brygias was mentioned by Stephanos Byzantius [S.l] as a site of Macedonia. Moreover, Δήμιτσας315 identifying it as the «Brucida» of Itin. Bur [S.2] and thus placing at a distance of 31m from Herakleia, suggested that it belonged to Lynkos and lay to the northern side of Prespa.
Scirtonia was mentioned only in Itin. Anton. [S], as being on the Via Egnatia, at a distance of 18m from Herakleia. Furthermore, Professor Demitsas claimed that it belonged to Lynkos and should be placed in modern Resna. Girtzy said that the lack of any additional evidence does not allow a secure identification for the place or the date of the foundation of this site.
Castra was recorded in Itin. Anton. [S.l] as being a «mutatio» of the Via Egnatia at a distance of 12m from Herakleia, while according to Itin. Bur. [S.2], at the same direction and distance was placed Parembole. Professor Girtzy said that the lack of any additional evidence does not allow a secure identification for the place or the date of the foundation of this site.
Athacos was a site mentioned only in Livy [S] as a place that Philip V passed through. Moreover, Desdevises-du-Dezert and Δήμιτσας identified it as belonging to Lynkos, and lying somewhere to the northeast of Prespa. Professor Girtzy said that the lack of any additional evidence does not allow a secure identification for the place or the date of the foundation of this site.
Demitsas M, Ancient Geography of Macedonia,1879
Nicholas Hammond, History of Macedonia Vol 1, 1972, Greek edition (1996)
Eugene Borza, the Shadow of Olympus,1993
Maria Girtzy, Historical topography of ancient Macedonia, 2001