MACEDONIA IN ANCIENT
The Ancient epoch was time when material and spiritual development of Macedonia reached its peak. The phenomenon civilization was the basis of this development. Slowly, but surely, with grave difficulties the ancient city conceived and established its image. The crafts were developed first. They opened up the opportunities for emancipation of culture and art.
Early Ancient Times
Macedonians and Paonians settled down after the great Aegean movements on
the territory of Macedonia. Both
peoples will develop their culture and civilization and
as a result, the first cities - polis- will erect on Macedonian territory.
Classes will establish in these cities more and more. The rulers and the dukes lived in mansions built on the highest fortified part of the city - the acropola- while the craftsman and court in the suburbs. These ancient cities were located on high mountainous positions, while later on they were built near regional roads and rivers. In addition, there were military fortresses built on carefully selected defence positions suitable to control specific strategic buildings and the valleys dangerous to cross
cities trade developed, especially with the Greek merchants. Metal ore and
slaves was the most prominent commodity. Slowly, cultural novelties were
was the most developed craft because it created cheap and practical goods. Such
products were wineglasses decorated with relief ornaments of lotus leaves
and figures of women and divinity. These cities used coins with the
mark of the ruler of the city (usually the image or symbol).
Novelties came about in burial rites - cremation of the dead that were laid down in the so-called "Macedonian type tomb". These tombs were made of stone blocks and had an arch on the top. They were covered with dirt.
Macedonia in Roman Times
BC Macedonia became
part of the Roman Empire. Roman
merchants and other businessmen came to the new province
looking for an opportunity to extract raw materials and to market their
products. As a result, Macedonia will have an enormous quantity of republican
the territory of the
Republic of Macedonia was part
of the province Macedonia while
region was part
of the province Gorna
Mezia and Thrace.
traffic started to develop in Macedonia. The
most prominent three routes were Vardar road in
the direction towards the Northern border of the Empire, the Via Egnatia from
the Adriatic Sea towards the Dardanelles, and
the Diagonal road
from Heraclea (Bitola)
via Stobi towards Serdika
from these other second-rate roads existed between many ancient centres
the rich reserves or the greater craft centres.
city in Macedonia
acquired the image of the Roman ancient cities with newly built
amphitheatres, therms, aquaducts, temples, and
court rooms. Such
cities of the time were Stobi, Skupi, Heraclea, Lihnid,
Romans did not impose their pagan religion onto the Macedonians.
They allowed for each ancient settlement to have a separate place for a
sacred temple dedicated to the protector to whom they sacrificed many big
acquired novelties in their
burial rites. Long rows of tombs and vaults with tombstones and
epitaphs were established alongside the two exits of the city. The
difference in status was noticeable in the size of the monuments and
structures like a temple).
Christianity was recognized as the state religion in Macedonia churches
started to emerge. New churches were built like the Roman basilicas,
however the altar was always turned towards the East. In the apsidal space
Episcopal thrones were made, with
seats for priests on both sides and a table for the service. The
believers gathered in the large room, men on the right and women on the
them were the catachumens i.e. candidates
to enter the new belief. They used to learn Christian
mysteries and secrets for 2-3 years
and they were obliged to come out during the service.
are ruins from over 230 basilicas in
Macedonia of which 8 were discovered in Stobi, 7 in Lihnid, 3 in Skupi etc. The
oldest basilica dates back from the first half of 4th century in Stobi. It had 3 navels and a baptisterium.
were deposited in
previously dug chambers in rocks with an arch on top or they used to make
underground galleries - catacombs. Pits,
sarcophagus and brick-laid tombs can be found in Macedonia.
In the late Classical period the city acquired a new image - several basilicas, residential compounds for priests, episcopal council, and attractive city fontains. Strong and tall walls so-called "City Walls" for protection surrounded the city from barbarian attacks. In addition, every bigger city was secured with several smaller fortified guarding points located on mountain peaks alongside major roads, always bearing in mind the visual contact.
Map with sites from this period