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date: 30 November 2022

Buthrotumlocked

Buthrotumlocked

  • David R. Hernandez

Summary

Buthrotum (Bouthrotos; modern Butrint in southern Albania) was a seaport occupying a headland on the coast of Epirus in ancient NW Greece. Described as a “little Troy” in Vergil’s Aeneid, the city was said to have been founded by Helenus after the sack of Troy. Established by the end of 7th century bce, Buthrotum served as an emporium and enclave of Corcyra during the Archaic and Classical periods. Occupying a fortified acropolis with a Doric temple, evidently dedicated to Athena Polias, the city was identified as a polis c. 500 bce. An Epirote city of the Chaones during the Hellenistic period, it established a sanctuary of Asclepius with a theatre, inscribed with over 200 manumission decrees, and an agora. After 167 bce, Buthrotum was the capital of the koinon of the Prasaiboi. In the Late Republic, Titus Pomponius Atticus and Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa were patrons of the city, the former owning a lucrative and attractive villa praised by Cicero. Colonised by Rome in July 44 bce under a plan devised by Julius Caesar, Buthrotum was refounded by Augustus as colonia Augusta Buthrotum. The city’s colonisation involved the confiscation and centuriation of land and the construction of an aqueduct, bridge and new urban centre with a forum. In the Early Empire, a substantial suburb arose opposite the headland and well-appointed maritime villas dotted the hinterland, including the villa at Diaporit. The Byzantine city saw the construction of new city walls, as well as the Triconch Palace, Great Basilica, and Baptistery.

Subjects

  • Ancient Geography
  • Greek Material Culture: Bronze Age
  • Greek Material Culture

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