Map of the Roman Empire - Nicopolis

Nicopolis
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Ancient Nicopolis A city situated on a peninsula, near the bay of Actium. It was founded by Augustus in 31 B.C. to commemorate his victory (Gk. 'nike') over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium; Tit. 3. 12

Titus 3:12 - When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.

Nicopolis (city of victory) is mentioned in Tit 3:12 as the place where St. Paul was intending to pass the coming winter. Nothing is to be found in the epistle itself to determine which Nicopolis is here intended. One Nicopolis was in Thrace, near the borders of Macedonia. The subscription (which, however, is of no authority) fixes on this place, calling it the Macedonian Nicopolis. But there is little doubt that Jerome's view is correct, and that the Pauline Nicopolis was the celebrated city of Epirus. This city (the "city of victory") was built by Augustus in memory the battle of Actium. It was on a peninsula, to the west of the bay of Actium. - Smith's Bible Dictionary

Nicopolis A city at the southwestern extremity of Epirus, on the point of land which forms the north entrance to the Gulf of Ambracia, opposite to Actium. It was built by Augustus in memory of the victory (nike) of Actium, and was peopled from Ambracia, Anactorium, and other neighbouring cities, and also with settlers from Aetolia. (See Actium.) There were cities of the same name in Moesia Inferior, Armenia Minor, Cilicia, Lower Egypt (now Kars), and Thrace. - Harry Thurston Peck. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898.

Nicopolis (Greek: Νικόπολις, city of victory) or Actia Nicopolis was an ancient city of Epirus, founded 31 BC by Octavian in memory of his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. It was later the capital of Epirus Vetus. The colony, composed of settlers from a great many of the towns of the neighboring countries (Ambracia, Anaktorio, Calydon, Argos of Amphilochia, Leukas etc.), proved highly successful, and the city was considered the capital of southern Epirus and Acarnania, and obtained the right of sending five representatives to the Amphictyonic council. Nicopolis had about 30.000 citizens. On the spot where Octavian's own tent had been pitched he built a monument adorned with the beaks of the captured galleys; and in further celebration of his victory he instituted the so-called Actian games in honor of Apollo Actius. The city was restored by the emperor Julian, and again after the Gothic invasion by Justinian; but in the course of the Middle Ages it was supplanted by the town of Preveza. The ruins of Nicopolis, now known as Palaia Preveza (Old Preveza) lie about 3 miles north of that city, on a small bay of the Gulf of Arta (Sinus Ambracius) at the narrowest part of the isthmus of the peninsula which separates the gulf from the Ionian Sea. Besides the Acropolis, the most conspicuous objects are two theatres (the larger with 77 rows of seats) and an aqueduct which brought water to the town from a distance of 27 miles. It continued under Roman and later Byzantine rule, experiencing three brief periods of Bulgarian rule in the 10th century (in 920-922, 977-983, and 996-997). The apostle Paul planned to spend the winter in Nicopolis where, in his Epistle to Titus, he invited his co-worker Titus to join him from Crete about AD 66 or 67 Titus 3:12. This is the city to which the Stoic philosopher Epictetus was exiled (c. AD 93), and in which he died (c. AD 135). - Wikipedia

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Nicopolis NICO´POLIS
NICO´POLIS, III. In Europe. A city of Epeirus, erected by Augustus, in commemoration of the victory of Actium, B.C. 31. It was situated near the entrance of the Ambraciot gulf, on the promontory of Epeirus, which is immediately opposite that of Actium in Acarnania. The extremity of the Epeirot promontory is now occupied by the town of Prévesa; and Nicopolis lay 3 miles to the N. of this town, on a low isthmus separating the Ionian sea from the Ambraciot gulf. It was upon this isthmus that Augustus was encamped before the battle of Actium. His own tent was pitched upon a height immediately above the isthmus, from whence he could see both the outer sea towards Paxi, and the Ambraciot gulf, as well as the parts towards Nicopolis. He fortified the camp, and connected it by walls with the outer port, called Comarus. (D. C. 1. 12.) After the battle he surrounded with stones the place where his own tent had been pitched, adorned it with naval trophies, and built within the enclosure a sanctuary of Neptune open to the sky. (D. C. 51.12.) But, according to Suetonius (Suet. Aug. 18), he dedicated this place to Neptune and Mars. The city was peopled by inhabitants taken from Ambracia, Anactorium, Thyrium, Argos Amphilochicum, and Calydon. (D. C. 51.1; Suet. Aug. 12; Strab. vii. pp. 324, 325; Paus. 5.23.3, 7.18.8, 10.38.4.) Augustus instituted at Nicopolis a quinquennial festival, called Actia, in commemoration of his victory. This festival was sacred to Apollo, and was celebrated with music and gymnastic games, horse-racing and sea-fights. It was probably the revival of an old festival, since there was an ancient temple of Apollo on the promontory of Actium, which is mentioned by Thucydides (1.29), and was enlarged by Augustus. The festival was declared by Augustus to be a sacred contest, by which it was made equal to the four great Grecian games; it was placed under the superintendence of the Lacedaemonians. (Dio Cass., Suet., Strab., II. cc.) Augustus caused Nicopolis to be admitted into the Amphictyonic council (Paus. 10.38.3), and made it a Roman colony. (Plin. Nat. 4.1. s. 2; Tac. Ann. 5.10.) A Christian church appears to have been founded at Nicopolis by the Apostle Paul, since he dates his letter to Titus from Nicopolis of Macedonia, which was most probably the colony of Augustus, and not the town in Thrace, as some have supposed. Nicopolis continued to be the chief city in Western Greece for a long time, but it had already fallen into decay in the reign of Julian, since we find that this emperor restored both the city and the games. (Mamertin. Julian. 9.) At the beginning of the fifth century it was plundered by the Goths. (Procop. B. Goth. 4.22.) It was again restored by Justinian (de Aedif. 4.2), and was still in the sixth century the capital of Epeirus. (Hierocl. p. 651, ed. WesseL) In the middle ages Nicopolis sunk into insignificance, and the town of Prévesa, built at the extremity of the promontory, at length absorbed all its inhabitants, and was doubtless, as in similar cases, chiefly constructed out of the ruins of the ancient city.

The ruins of Nicopolis are still very considerable. They stretch across the narrowest part of the isthmus already described. Strabo (vii. p.324) erroneously describes the isthmus as 60 stadia in breadth; but the broadest part, from the southeastern extremity of the lagoon called Mázoma to Mýtika, is only three miles; while the narrowest part is less than half that distance, since the eastern half of the isthmus is occupied by the lagoon of Mázoma. This lagoon is separated from the Ambraciot gulf only by a narrow thread of land, which is a mile long, and has openings, where the fish are caught in great numbers, as they enter the lagoon in the winter and quit it in the summer. This illustrates the statement of an ancient geographer, that fish was so plentiful at Nicopolis as to be almost disgusting. (Geogr. Graec. Min. vol. iii. p. 13, ed. Hudson.) Nicopolis had two harbours, of which Strabo (vii. p.324) says that the nearer and smaller was called Comarus (Κόμαρος), while the further, and larger, and better one, was near the mouth of the gulf, distant about 12 stadia from Nicopolis. It would appear, that Strabo conceived both the ports to have been on the western coast outside the gulf; but it is evident from the nature of the western coast that this cannot have been the case. Moreover, Dio Cassius (1. 12) calls Comarus [2.427] the outer port; and there can be little doubt that the second harbour, intended by Strabo, was the port of Vatý within the gulf, the distance of which from Nicopolis corresponds to the 12 stadia of Strabo, and where there are some Roman ruins a little within and on the eastern shore of the creek. The port of Comarus was doubtless at Mýtika, but the name of Gómaro is now given to the wide bay north of Mýtika

The ruins of Nicopolis are now called Paleoprévesa. On approaching them from Prévesa, the traveller first comes to some small arched buildings of brick, which were probably sepulchres, beyond which are the remains of a strong wall, probably the southern enclosure of the city. Near the southwestern extremity of the lagoon Mázoma, is the Paleókastron or castle. It is an irregular pentagonal enclosure, surrounded with walls and with square towers at intervals, about 25 feet in height. On the western side, the walls are most perfect, and here too is the principal gate. The extent of the enclosure is about a quarter of a mile. The variety of marble fragments and even the remains of inscriptions of the time of the Roman Empire, inserted in the masonry, prove the whole to have been a repair, though perhaps upon the site of the original acropolis, and restored so as to have been sufficiently large to receive the diminished population of the place. It may have been, as Leake conjectures, the work of Justinian, who restored Nicopolis.

Three hundred yards westward of the Paleókastron are the remains of a small theatre but little dilapidated. Col. Leake says that it appears to be about 200 feet in diameter; but Lieut, Wolfe describes it as only 60 feet in diameter. Being built upon level ground, the back or highest part is entirely supported upon an arched corridor. Between this theatre and the shore, are the ruins of a quadrangular building of brick, which was perhaps a palace, as it has numerous apartments, with many niches in the walls for statues, and some remains of a stone pavement. It stands just within an aqueduct, supported upon arches, which entered Nicopolis on the north, and was 30 miles in length. Considerable remains of it are met with in different parts of Epeirus.

Farther north, at the foot of a range of hills, are the remains of the great theatre, which is the most conspicuous object among the ruins. It is one of the best preserved Roman theatres in existence. The total diameter is about 300 feet. The scene is 120 feet long, and 30 in depth. There are 27 rows of seats in three divisions. From the back of the theatre rises the hill of Mikhalítzi, which was undoubtedly the site of the tent of Augustus before the battle of Actium. Close to the theatre are the ruins of the stadium, which was circular at both ends, unlike all the other stadia of Greece, but similar to several in Asia Minor, which have been constructed or repaired by the Romans. Below the stadium are some ruins, which are perhaps those of the gymnasium, since we know from Strabo (vii. p.325) that the gymnasium was near the stadium. The accompanying map is taken from Lieut. Wolfe's survey. (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. i. p. 185, seq.; Wolfe, in Journal of Geogr. Soc. vol. iii. p. 92, seq.) - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed.  

 

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