Homer’s Amydon



When the first European civilization rose in Minoan Crete, our wider region, as well as the Toumba of Axiochori, hosted important settlements (3000 BC). The inhabitants, living on fertile land and near water, were engaged in the cultivation of the land, animal husbandry and the manufacture of copper items, exchanging agricultural products with metals that they did not have.

As a new brilliant civilization, the Mycenaeans, made its appearance in southern and central Greece, centered on the multicolored Mycenae, the Paionians, a Greco-Thracian race related to the Teutroes of Troy, according to Herodotus, made their appearance in Central Macedonia. They were culturally conservative people. They brought the pierced war ax, knew the spear and the bow and fought with chariots.

Around 1350 BC. the Mycenaeans arrived in the area and as Thermaikos was deep then reached Pella and N. Nikomedia, they could communicate directly with locations on the river Axios. Finds from excavations in our area show Axiochori as one of the main sources of Mycenaean pottery, which makes us believe that the workshops of our place remained for a long time in close contact with the Mycenaean trade.What brought the merchants here from Mycenae was the useful timber for construction. The forests of the area were famous and the transport of timber with the stream of Axios was something common the whole year.


Around 1200 BC, shortly before the Trojan War, the presence of the Trojans in the region of Central Macedonia was intense, in an attempt to maintain control of Egnatia , a road between the Ionian Sea and Central Asia. Important places on this road were the passages of Axios and Strymon. The first of these was owned by the allies of Troy, the Paionians of Amydon.

The promotion of the powerful Axes and Muses to the crossing of the Temples on the river Pinios brought the reaction of the Mycenaeans. They made a combined effort to occupy the sea straits between Europe and Asia. Thus began the famous Trojan War, which Homer unmatched describes in his epic “Iliad” where, among other things, it refers to the participation of the Paionians on the side of the Trojans.

From Amydona, the city of Paionian Amphaxitis, the Paionians came to Troy (1190-1180 BC).

Αυτάρ Πυραίχμης άγε Παίονας αγκυλοτόξους, τηλόθεν εξ Αμυδώνος, απ’ Αξιού ευρύ ρέοντος, Αξιού ου κάλλιστον ύδωρ επικίδναται αίαν.

(Then Pyraichmis was the leader of the Paionians with the curved bows, who has come from afar, from Amydona, from Axios with the great stream, Axios whose water is the best of what is scattered on earth. )

The first leader of the Paionians, Pyraichmis, was killed by Patroclus.

And Patroclus threw the glittering pole in front of him, where most of them began to break and King Pyraichmis succeeded, for bringing the Paionians beyond Amydon, to the wide river next to Axios.

Asteropaeus, one of their rulers, son of Pelegonas, grandson of the river-god Axios and Perivoia, threw two spears at Achilles and then apparently was left unarmed. Achilleas killed him with a sword. The Paionians may not have had swords, as archaeological evidence really suggests. On the other hand, they were the only people who are called by the poet “horsemen ”, meaning “warriors who fight by chariots” and such warriors do not need swords.
So we know about the city or country of Amydona, its fertile area, King Pyraichmis and the Paionian tribe.But we do not know exactly where Amydona was. Only in recent years has science taken an interest in it and tried to determine the place.

As we learn from the Greek archaeologist Mr. Th. Savvopoulou, information from the ancient Greek literature (Homer’s Iliad), from pre-war excavations by the British and from a surface excavation in the mound of Axiochori unequivocally confirm that this place must have occupied a significant settlement. of life from the prehistoric to the classical years ..In fact, findings of Roman times have been identified quite recently, which extend the life of the settlement to the imperial times (1st – 2nd century AD).

In 1972 the English historian N. HAMMOND in his book “The history of Macedonia ” carefully expressed the view that the tomb of Vardaroftsa (Axiochori) could be Homer’s Amydona. His proposal was based on the timelessness of the excavation data, the imposing size of the mound and the information of Homer. His conclusions and opinions are identified by Greek and foreign archaeologists and historians.

However, after relevant excavations and geological research by German archaeologists in the Kastana mound (1975-1979) and in combination with those of the previous English, the professor of archeology at the Free University of Berlin, Mr. Bernard Hensel, will be categorical:

“Here in Axiochori was the center of a Kingdom, to which the area up to Kastanas and most probably up to the Lake belonged.”

In the image of Amydona, which he rebuilt as a result of his research, we see that the area east and west of Axiochori was covered by water.. The sea reached the village of Koufalia. River and seawater were mixed in the Kastanas area, as the study of marine microorganisms showed. This is the area that, as Homer says,

“The river grants it with grace”.

It is the country of Pyraechmes, the country of Amidona.

“Its organization is smart,” Bernard Hensel will tell us.

The largest and most important settlement is located in the center. To the north the Lake, as a protective secondary position and to the south the naturally fortified settlement of Kastanas, which was also a port.There were other smaller rural facilities. In other words, we see in Amydona a kingdom, a territory much larger than a village, we see the country of Amydona. »