An ancient city near the mouth of the Aous river (the Vojussa). The remains are scattered over the hill of Pojani near a monastery which is said to have been built on the site of a temple of Apollo on the hill of Sthyllas. In the monastery a single Doric column is preserved, belonging to a hexastyle temple of the 5th c. B.C. The necropolis is in the valley of Kryegyata. The founding of Apollonia, in 588 B.C., is attributed to colonists from Corinth and Kerkyra. Its location favored its development. Quite early, the city must have defended itself against incursions by Macedonians and Illyrians as a result of which it sought an alliance with Rome in 260 B.C., and in 229 it came under Roman protection. Cicero called it an 'urbs gravis et nobilis'; and the city had a renowned school of rhetoric which even Octavian attended.
The walls, ca. 4 km long and well preserved, are constructed of limestone blocks and fortified with towers. The S side of the acropolis is buttressed by a beautifully terraced wall of ornamentally bossed stones. A gate with a pointed arch is set in the walls.
The theater, set apart on the W slopes of the hill of the acropolis, is identified by limestone blocks with a molding characteristic of theater seats.
A Hellenistic portico at the foot of the acropolis had a wall with 17 arched niches in front of which were Ionic half-columns with limestone capitals. In another niche, larger than the others, a small rectangular Hellenistic temple, with angular pilasters, is set. In front of the temple is an elegant altar.
The small odeon or covered theater next to the temple is Roman in design, rectangular in plan, with a semicircular cavea.
The monument of the public games superintendents is rectangular (19 x 15 m) on the outside, with a portico along the front and with a pedimental roof. There is a small vestibule inside and a small cavea with an orchestra. There were Corinthian columns on the facade and a richly carved cornice. On the architrave, there is an inscription in Greek which says that the building was constructed in the Antonine period by Q. Villius Crespinus Furius Proculus, a prytaneus, or superintendent of the public games, and high priest for life, in honor and memory of his brother Villius Valerius Furius Proculus, prefect of a cohort in Syria, tribune of Legio X (or XIV) in Pannonia, and a superintendent designate of the public games. The plan and structure of the building are quite similar to those of the bouleuterion of Miletos.
The acropolis had two summits, the major one being to the S. The lower level of a Greek temple was uncovered there and perhaps a limestone Ionic frieze found in the vicinity is part of that temple. The frieze has relief figures of warriors in combat.
A bath complex has been partially excavated near the W section of the city walls. Two rooms are visible, one of which has a mosaic pavement, as well as the heating room.
The remains of a gymnasium have been partially excavated about 300 m S of the monastery. It is perhaps the gymnasium mentioned by Strabo which was destined for other uses in the Roman period. Two archaic antefixes belonged to an older structure as did a stater struck at Metapontion. It was decorated with statues and the base was discovered there for a statue of Aphrodite, as is clear from a Greek inscription on one of its sides which mentions the prytaneus Psillus and the hieromnemones. During the Hellenistic period, the building was provided with a terracotta bathing tub set into the pavement, but in the Roman period it was turned into a home. Coins dating to the 4th c. A.D., have been discovered there.
Minor monuments include the remains of Roman houses, a triple-opening triumphal arch, a row of shops along a street, and a large hall in which it is tempting to recognize a library.
The necropolis, in the valley of Kryegyata, includes Greek tombs dating to the 6th c. B.C. as well as Roman tombs. The Roman tombs of the Imperial period are often shaped like small temples.
Various works of art have been found in the area of the ancient city. The most important is certainly the previously mentioned archaic frieze, coming perhaps from a temple on the acropolis. In the Louvre is a copy of the Anapauomenos of Praxiteles; in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna is a copy of the head of the Ludovisi Ares; and in Tirana is the Meleager of Skopas. The limestone stelai, which are somewhat reminiscent of Tarentine art works, are the most characteristic, in form and decoration, and can be considered Apollonian originals. Among Apollonian works of art is the votive offering dedicated to Olympia for a victory over Thronion. It is the work of Lykios, the son of Myron. (P. C. SESTIERI)
Info: Princeton Encyclopedia
(Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, from Perseus Project)