Anatolian Elements in the Order Architecture of Philippopolis

  • Zdravko Dimitrov Department of Classical Archaeology National Archaeological Institute with Museum Bulgarian Academy of Sciences 2 Saborna Str. BG-1000 Sofia
Keywords: Philippopolis, Asia Minor, Roman order architecture, workshops, stone-carving


Roman Philippopolis is the city with the finest monumental architecture within the boundaries of present-day Bulgaria. This Thracian centre shows us the entire development of architectural orders from Late Hellenistic age to the early Byzantine period. In the beginning was the Doric order, used in the decoration of the agora of the city as early as the Flavian times. But only a few decades later, at the beginning of the 2nd c. AD, a number of significant changes occurred. Monumental complexes in the agora, stadium, theatre, and a number of other complexes that today are not known by archaeological data, were decorated in the Ionic, Corinthian and Composite orders.

The decorative models from the architectural environment of Philippopolis are almost entirely copied from the original productions of Asia Minor cities. Most clearly visible are the decorative models taken from Pergamon, Ephesos, Aphrodisias and Nicomedia.

The main purpose of the paper is to show the great wealth of architectural models in the largest Thracian city of the Roman era and to put research of architectural decoration in Thrace to the required level. In contrast to studies of Anatolian influences on the luxurious Villa Armira, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Marcianopolis, Abritus, Odessos and the Black Sea region, we must acknowledge that the studies of the vast complexes in today’s Plovdiv are significantly less.