Acts 17:1 After meeting with the believers at Lydia’s house, Paul and Silas leave Luke behind in Philippi and travel along the Via Egnatia through Amphipolis and Apollonia (see Map 24).
Amphipolis and Apollonia
Amphipolis was an important town on the Via Egnatia in Paul’s day, although the modern highway bypasses the town (see Map 24). Founded in 437BC by Athenian settlers, the city was built on a plateau a short distance inland from the Aegean Sea, overlooking the valley of the River Strymon. The city was conquered by Philip II of Macedon in 357BC and subsequently became an important centre in the Macedonian kingdom. After the Roman conquest of Macedonia in 168BC, Amphipolis became the capital of the first meris (administrative district) of Macedonia.
Byzantine churches at Amphipolis (Acts 17:1)
The Acropolis of Roman Amphipolis – on the hillside above the modern road – can still be visited, together with the ruins of a gymnasium and Roman baths, and a number of early Byzantine churches. These were built shortly after the capital of the Roman Empire was transferred to nearby Constantinople by the first Christian emperor, Constantine, in the 4th Century AD.
A range of artefacts from Roman Amphipolis – including an early Christian gravestone inscribed with a cross and the word ‘Emmanuel’ – can be seen in the modern Archaeological Museum at the far end of the village, adjacent to the site of the Roman city. The magnificent stone carved statue known as the Lion of Amphipolis would have stood alongside the old Via Egnatia at the foot of the plateau when Paul visited, just as it does today.
The Lion of Amphipolis alongside the Via Egnatia (Acts 17:1)
At Apollonia, little remains from Roman times, though an old plaque on a deserted church claims that Paul preached at this spot as he passed along the old Via Egnatia.