Servia
Βυζαντινό_κάστρο_Σερβίων_12.jpg

Byzantine Castle

Servia is a city in southern Macedonia controlling the main road between Berroia and Larissa. Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos defines Serblia as a site in the theme of Thessaloniki where Herakleios (allegedly) settled the "Serbloi" in the 7th century. Servia is first attested in the early 10th century as a bishopric suffragan to Thessaloniki. In Skylitzes Servia appears as a stronghold (phrourion) that several times changed hands during the Bulgarian war of Basil II; the general Xiphias destroyed it in 1018. Kekaumenos and later John VI Kantakouzenos described Servia as a well-fortified polis divided into three sections: the akra, where the archon lived, and the upper and the lower sections inhabited by the politai. The strategos and the doux of Servia are mentioned on several seals of the 11th century, but it is unclear whether they were connected with the fortress and bishopric of Servia. 
After 1204 Servia was in the hands of the Latins, but around 1216 it fell to Theodore Komnenos Doukas of Epiros. In 1257 it was ceded, along with Dyrrachion, to Theodore II Laskaris of Nicaea. Around 1341 Servia was taken by Stefan Uroš IV Dušan. It was besieged by John VI Kantakouzenos in 1350; although the siege ended in failure, a treaty of the same year ceded Servia to Byzantium. Around 1393 Servia fell to the troops of Bayezid I. 
In their present form the fortifications should be dated to the 13th century, although the towers of the acropolis were probably built under the Serbs. In the upper city are the ruins of a large basilica with three aisles, built in the first quarter of the 13th century, later remodeled, with paintings of the late 12th-early 13th century. There are two other single-aisled basilicas within the city and another at a ruined monastery 3 km to the west. 

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Basilica ruins

Sources

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium edited by Alexander Kazhdan

Resources

Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

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Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016