Τετάρτη 7 Φεβρουαρίου 2024

Pontic Olbia or Borysthenes, Ukraine

Olbia (Olvia) (greek.Óλβια-happy) – is the ancient Greek city that was founded by the Milet people in 647-646 BC on the banks of the Dnieper-Bug estuary, 50 km to the south from the modern Nikolaev.

The city of the ancient Greeks is waiting for you after 2.5 thousand years. Narrow streets and houses, temples, museum, tombs, estuary waters, - is a good recipe for happiness.
The city had gymnasium, theater, court, baths were situated ect. 33 hectares of the territory of the ancient Greek city are included to the reserve, 330 hectares of its necropolis and Berezan island, where in the VII century BC the first ancient Greek settlement appeared in the Southern Black sea areas. 
The ancient city was surrounded by some Scythes tribes. Scythians-farmers lived to the south of the settlement. Pllymeds were attached to the Olbia, that were called Hellenic-Scythians by Herodotus. Alazons were to the north and north-west. 
The workshop and the estates in the city’s necropolis reveal the secrets of the ordinary life of the people lived in Olbia.

History
Founded in the early 6th century BC by Greek settlers from Miletus and other Ionian cities, Olbia soon became a prominent trading center on the northern Black Sea coast.
The Greek colony was highly important commercially and endured for a millennium. The first evidence of Greek settlement at the site comes from Berezan Island where pottery has been found dating from the late 7th century. It is possible that it had been the site of an earlier native settlement and may even have been a peninsular rather than an island in antiquity. It is not thought that the Berezan town survived until the 5th century BCE when it was either absorbed into the growing Olbian settlement on the mainland.
During the 5th century BCE, the colony was visited by Herodotus, who provides our best description of the city and its inhabitants from antiquity.


It produced distinctive cast bronze money during the 5th century BCE in both the form of circular tokens with Gorgon heads and unique coins in the shape of leaping dolphins.  These are unusual considering the struck, round coins common in the Greek world. This form of money is said to have originated from sacrificial tokens used in the Temple of Apollo Delphinios.

Martin Litchfield West speculates that early Greek religion, especially the Orphic Mysteries, was heavily influenced by Central Asian shamanistic practices. A significant amount of Orphic graffiti unearthed in Olbia seems to testify that the colony was one major point of contact.
After the town adopted a democratic constitution, its relations with Miletus were regulated by a treaty, which allowed both states to coordinate their operations against Alexander the Great's general Zopyrion in the 4th century BCE. By the end of the 3rd century, the town declined economically and accepted the overlordship of King Skilurus of Scythia. It flourished under Mithridates Eupator but was sacked by the Getae under Burebista, a catastrophe which brought Olbia's economic prominence to an abrupt end.

Having lost two-thirds of its settled area, Olbia was restored by the Romans, albeit on a small scale and probably with a largely barbarian population. Dio of Prusa visited the town and described it in his Borysthenic Discourse (the town was often called Borysthenes, after the river).

The settlement, incorporated into the Roman province of Lower Moesia, was eventually abandoned in the 4th century CE, when it was burnt at least twice in the course of the so-called Gothic (or Scythian) wars.

Description
The remains of Olbia reflect a prosperous and well-planned city. It was built in a triangular shape along a north–south axis.
 
Coin with the shape of an arrow from Pontic Olbia. 7-th -5th Century

The lower town, the area initially settled by the Greek colonists, was located along the estuary and was well suited for port facilities. With Olbia's rapid growth, the settlement expanded to an upper town on the adjacent bluffs. The main square, or agora, was situated precisely in the middle of the city, with the principal civic structures, a gymnasium, a theater, a hippodrome, and a temple complex nearby. The city is laid out on an orthogonal grid typical of Greek (Miletian) colonial cities, with a main thoroughfare running the length of the upper town. Statues of gods, heroes, and prominent civic figures lined the main streets. Streets and a stairway connected the upper and lower towns. 
Aqueducts supplied the city with water, though cisterns finished with waterproof plaster were also numerous. The apogee of building technique came in the 5th to 4th century BC, with carefully laid masonry walls, often rusticated for effect. Stone basements and ground stories topped with one story (or sometimes two) in mud brick were common throughout all periods. Public buildings and wealthy homes were further enhanced with columns and capitals of the Ionic and Doric orders, and other architectural ornaments which developed a specific regional character.

Monuments
 Ruins of the city

Theater ruins

Ancient road

Gymnasium

Court House

Artifacts from Olbia can be found in Saint Petersburg's Hermitage, Moscow's Museum of History, Kyiv's National Museum of the History of Ukraine, the Odesa Archeological Museum, the Mykolaiv Regional Studies Museum, the Kherson Regional Museum, and a number of Western European and North American museums.
 Ancient Greek inscription from the city of Pontic Olbia or Borysthenes
  Ancient Greek inscription from the city of Pontic Olbia or Borysthenes