I figured we’d need a map for the walk through. So here’s one I’ve been working on. If you click on it it gets bigger.
It’s a topographical map – so those lines you see? That’s a very steep hill. You can see how they made handy use of it with the Amphitheater.
I’ve marked the route of our tour in gray. We’ve already entered down at the lower right – we’ll walk straight for a bit then turn right. then go down to that big rectangle and turn left, then follow the other big rectangles as we head south again to the road we first came in on.
Looking around we see – Philippians.
Practically everyone would be considered middle class or poor by those around them. But they’d almost all look woefully poor to us. We would run into slaves here and there, but we would hardly notice them as such.
There would be some military Roman types around but mostly we’d see shop-keepers, quarry men, bakers, butchers, fabric traders, money changers, and actors. We’d see lots of the guys on the right of the picture below – and very few of the ones in the middle and left.
Philippi was a not too big, not too small, and very urban city.
When Rome attacked and conquered Greece they granted large amounts of property (read wealth) to the soldiers. The soldiers moved in and the formerly Greek city of Philippi became…a Roman colony.
There were lots of Greeks left, but they had lost citizenship along with their property. They were no longer citizens of Greece, and only a very special few were allowed to become citizens of Rome. They were not happy about this.
The first thing we noticed as we entered the city gates was a gleaming amphitheater to our right. After ooohing and ahhhhhing we’d look straight ahead to see the road continue clear to the opposite city wall.
It would be lined solidly on both sides by 4 and 5 story high buildings. They’d look very much like ancient city apartment buildings, row after row, and with narrow alleys between them. That’s because it’s what they were.
This is a part of Roman city planning that we aren’t familiar with. We know of great temples and coliseums but these tenements, called insulae, are one of the dark secrets of Roman society –cramped, unlit, unsanitary, and unsafe.
Almost everyone in Philippi was living day to day with just enough to get by.
When the Romans displaced farmers from the surrounding area to build nice big villas – most moved inside the city walls.
There were ten thousand people cramped into a small hilltop plateau. The only way to get so many people inside the gates was to build upwards.
The elite would own the tenement buildings and the regular people (plebians) would rent a small living space. For most, it was so small that they would choose to spend most of their lives out in the city streets and only use their ‘apartment’ like we would use a hotel room on a vacation.
Tomorrow we’ll take a closer look at these “apartment” buildings.
This is where almost all of the church at Philippi lived.