Nikopolis

Photo by Harrygouvas

Nikopolis, located on Ambrakian Gulf, was the late antique capital of Old Epirus. In 362 the rhetorician and high official (consul) Claudius Mamertinus lamented the decline of Nikopolis and praised Emperor Julian for its restoration. The city flourished in the 5th and 6th centuries. The walls of the city, constructed at the end of the 5th century, are well preserved and stand in some places to nearly their full height. Five Early Christian basilicas have been uncovered, all of the 5th-6th centuries. Basilica A (Doumetios Basilica) is a three-aisled structure with transept; it has mosaics representing the Earth surrounded by Ocean, with many varieties of flora and fauna and inscriptions. Basilica B, the so-called Alkison Basilica with five aisles, has mosaics, one of which (in an annex east of the church) names the bishop Alkison. Attacked by the Vandals in 474/5 and the Ostrogoths in 551, Nikopolis was restored by Justinian I. Its fate at the time of the Slavic invasions is uncertain. Nikopolis is identified as a metropolis in earlier notitiae, but seals of the 8th-9th centuries refer only to an archbishop.

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Photo by Jean Housen

Sources

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium edited by Alexander Kazhdan

Resources

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Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016