This Macedonian city played an important part in early Greek history. Occupying an eminence on the left bank of the Strymon, just below the egress of the river from Lake Cercinitis, 3 miles from the Strymonic Gulf, it commanded the entrance to a pass leading through the mountains into the great Macedonian plains. It was almost encircled by the river, whence its name ‘Amphi-polis.’
Thucydides (i. 100) says that the Athenians ‘sent 10,000 settlers of their own citizens and the allies to the Strymon, to colonize what was then called the “Nine Ways” (Ἐννέα ὁδοί), but now Amphipolis.’ It was the jewel of their empire, but they lost it in 422 b.c., and never recovered it. It was under the Macedonian kings from 360 till the Roman conquest of the country in 167 b.c. The Romans made it a free city and the capital of the first of four districts into which they divided Macedonia.
It lay on the Via Egnatia, which connected Dyrrachium with the Hellespont. From Philippi it was 32 miles to the south-west, and ‘this was one of the most beautiful day’s journeys Paul ever experienced’ (Renan, Saint Paul, Eng. tr., p. 91). The Apostle and his fellow-travellers evidently remained in Amphipolis over night, and next day went on to Apollonia (Ac 17:1). It is now represented by Neochori.
Literature.—W. M. Leake, Northern Greece, London, 1835, iii. 181f.; G. Grote, Hist. of Greece, new ed., do. 1870, iii. 254ff.; Conybeare-Howson, St. Paul, do. 1872, i. 374ff.