Heraclea Lyncestis – Archaeological Site

heraclea lyncestis bitola macedonia

Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis is ancient Macedonian city located 2 km from Bitola. Founded in the middle of IV-th century B.C. by Philip the Macedon, Heraclea existed for over a millennium as an important strategic point.

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In the middle of the II-nd century B. C. the Romans conquered Macedonia, destroying its political power, making it a province, disintegrated it into four districts. Heraclea which belonged to the fourth district, prospered a lot during this time, mainly due to Via Egnatia road, on which this town was an important station.

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From the Roman period in Heraclea, today can be seen several buildings such: Roman baths, portico of a courtroom, Theatre, and parts of other buildings within the town walls.

Heraclea - view from Roman Theatre

During the Early Christianity (IV-VIth century A. D.) Heraclea was an important episcopal center. Several of its bishops are mentioned in documents from church councils. Bishop Eugrius is mentioned in documents from the Council in Serdica in 343, Bishop Quintilius in the Council in Ephesus in 449, and bishop Benignus in Constantinople in 533.

Buildings from Early Christianity in Heraclea are the Small and large Basilica, the Episcopal Residence and the Cemetery Basilica with a necropolis outside the town walls.

Portico of the courtroom

The portico is a porch with a rectangular base whose roof on the north side leaned on the wall and on the south side on a row of columns. Besides the northern wall stood a row of honorable and vivacious monuments, from which three postaments with Greek inscriptions and two statues have been uncovered.

Heraclea Lyncestis, Bitola, Macedonia
Heraclea Lyncestis, Bitola, Macedonia

In addition to the first postament, on which is inscribed an inscription:

” To Nemesis the goddess Julia Tertila* (erects this statue) “

a marble statue in life-size was found of the goddess of justice and fate – Nemesis. Her posture, clothing, and appearance as a whole give rise to classical inspirations typical of the first years of the 2nd century AD.
On the second pedestal on which the inscription is engraved:

“The city (erects this monument) to T(itus) Flavius Orestus twice high priest and benefactor because of his love (for this city) at the proposal of Gaius Maria Vlosianus (son of) Trason during the rule of the polytarch Maria Claudius Puicher”

a marble statue of Titus Flavius Orestus, a prominent Heraclean, was discovered.

The inscription on the third pedestal reads:

“To the Goddess of Justice”

and on the upper frame above the inscription field, two verses from Hesiod’s Works and Days are engraved.

Heraclea Lyncestis, Bitola, Macedonia
Heraclea Lyncestis, Bitola, Macedonia

The Portico dates back to the beginning of the second century AD.

Therma – Roman baths

The Therma of Heraclea is an impressive building consisting of three main premises: Frigidarium – unheated room for a cold plunge; Tepidarium – a room at an intermediate temperature; and Caldarium – a sweating-room with a plunge bath. The Therma was heated by a so-called hypocaust system, which is obtained by placing the floor on brick columns, while hot air circulates through its cavities, and smoke went out through hollow tubes vertically set beside the walls.

Roman baths - Therma - Heraclea Lyncestis

The term was built in the Roman period and was also used in late antiquity.