Herakleia
View of Marmara Ereğlisi from Acropolis.

View of Marmara Ereğlisi from Ancient Acropolis of Perinthos

Herakleia (ancient Perinthos, modern Marmara Eregli) was a city on the north shore of the Sea of Marmara, at the junction of the Via Egnatia and the main Balkan road to Nassius.

Renamed Herakleia by Diocletian (who was Herculius in official terminology), it continued to be called Perinthos by antiquarians up to the mid-15th century. According to Procopius, it had been the most important city in the province of Europa, but was replaced by Constantinople, which was originally its suffragan. A bishopric in 325, Herakleia appeared as a metropolis in notitiae: the number of its suffragans increased, but Constantinople became independent of Herakleia in 330 or 381.

Herakleia was attacked by the Goths after the battle of Adrianople in 378, then by Attila, by the Avars, and the Bulgars. The city is mentioned by many later authors mostly as a geographical site or an ecclesiastical center. The citizens of Herakleia supported Thomas the Slav against Michael II. In the Partitio Romaniae, "Yraclee" was assigned to the Venetians. The city played an important role during the civil wars of the 14th century. In 1382, together some other Thracian towns, Herakleia was given over to Andronikos IV.  The remains of an aqueduct and at least one church—perhaps that of St. Glykeria, damaged by the Avars in 591 and rebuilt by Maurice—have been preserved. 

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The ruins of a Late Antique basilica were discovered in Marmara Ereğlisi in 1992. The church was perhaps destroyed by the Avars in 591 and rebuilt by Emperor Maurice (582-602) shortly after. It is shares features to the Studios Monastery in Constantinople. Coins of Anastasius (491-518) found on the site suggest at date from end of 5th century to beginning of 6th century. The excavated sections of the basilica, including the atrium, are around 51x24 meters. Its extensive mosaic floor were also uncovered. A later phase, a smaller chapel with a floor made of marble and opus sectile, perhaps dates to the 12th century. It has been proposed that it was dedicated to St. Glykeria

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Plan from Yeşil-Erdek

Walls of Herakleia

From Buildings of Procopius

The well-known city of Heraclea which is situated on the coast near by, the ancient Perinthus — which in former times men regarded as the first city of Europe, though it now takes a place second to Constantinople — suffered cruelly from lack of water in recent times. This was not because the country about it had no water, nor yet because this matter was neglected by the ancient builders of the city (for Europe has an abundance of springs and the men of ancient times were careful to build aqueducts), but because Time, following its custom, had destroyed the city's aqueduct, since it either failed to notice that its masonry had become enfeebled by age, or else was leading the people of Heraclea to their own destruction through their neglect of it; and the city was nearly left depopulated for this reason. And Time was having the same effect upon the palace there, a very admirable building. But when the Emperor Justinian saw the city, he in no careless fashion, but rather in a manner befitting an Emperor, flooded it with crystal-clear drinking-water, and he, far from permitting the city to be deprived of the honour of its palace, rebuilt it throughout.

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Open Museum of Marmara Ereğlisi

Bulgarian National Archaeological Museum
Mosaic Icon of Virgin Hodegetria (Early

Mosaic Icon of Virgin Hodegetria (early 14th century)
From Church of St. George in Heracleia

References

“M. Ereğlisi (Perinthos) Bazilika Kazısı Raporu” by M. Akif Işın

“Perinthos Bazilikası 2007 Yılı Kazısı” by N. Önder Öztürk

“Perinthos-Herakleia Bazilikası Taban Döşemelerinin Konservasyonu” by Şehrigül Yeşil-Erdek

Die Basilika am Kalekapi in Herakleia Perinthos by Stephan Westphalen

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium edited by Alexander Kazhdan

Sources

Buildings of Procopius translated by HB Dewing

Resources

Herakleia Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

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Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016