We’ve been in Philippi a little while now but we haven’t gone very far into the city. We walked in the city gate, glanced to the right, and stopped right there in the not so nice city “apartments”. The tour of Philippi began here in case you missed any.
and so we need the map again.
We’re still pretty much at the city gates. But ahead about 50 yards into the city, the road forks.
Straight ahead are more apartments buildings. But Paul would know that the main avenue,
the continuation of our Via Egnatia,
the road to downtown,
would mean a right turn.
The left side of the street would still be bordered by wall to wall insulae (apartments) with narrow alleys between. But peeking down the alleys we’d see a wider (nine foot) cross street or two.
About the length of a football field ahead would be some very white, very clean, very ornate, very marble-y, very Roman looking buildings. That would be the Forum on the left and some stately villas on the right.
The villas would be off limits unless Paul had an invitation or referral. There is very VERY little chance of that. So he would probably follow the Via Egnatia and turn left at the Forum to continue to get the lay of the city.
One: I’ve highlighted our tour path in blue – we’ll be headed counter clockwise.
Two: just a little further up the Via Egnatia, if we didn’t turn left at the Forum would be the tiny jail. This wasn’t Paul’s destination…
not yet anyway.
This picture here is pretty much what the Via Egnatia would look like as we approached the forum.
That big building at the end of the street? That would be the Forum. Very nice.
After the left turn, up ahead, the Forum would be on our right. This street would be different from the Via Egnatia, and much different from the ones in the apartments to the south. This one would be a nice wide avenue lined with colonnades and dotted with fountains.
Now we’d feel like we were in Rome. To the right we’d notice a few small temples and a library fronting the Forum. The left side of the avenue would be lined by more insulae – but nicer ones then in the southern part of town.
Now every first floor of these would house shops of some sort.
This was the bustling center of the town.
Merchants would be everywhere selling chickens, vegetables, flowers, bread, fish, jewelry, art, clothing, soup, nuts, etc…
But as many shops as there would be there’d be just as many restaurants.
The never at home Philippians would aways be filling the public buildings, common spaces, or streetside cafés. They were true people of the city, and this area, called the Agora, was downtown.
That big area is the Forum. The street in front of it is the Via Egnatia – except now it’s a paved road.
To the left of the forum would be the street we’d now be on.
The excavating is getting so complete there that it doesn’t take much imagination to see exactly what the city looked like – just a little filling in of the details that’s all.
But seriously – look! That is Philippi!
Thank you for touring with me.
It makes me smile to have you along.
Tomorrow the plan is to head inside the forum…
… and maybe more.