Ancient Stageira

The hometown of the modern civilization pioneer-philosopher 

On the local google map you can easily find the route here

 Ancient Stageira is the most important archaeological site of Halkidiki. Located at Olympiada town, in the Liotopi peninsula, visiting Aristotle’s hometown is a journey back in time. In order to miss nothing you need less than 3 hours. Do not leave before walking along the marvelous seaside path. Ionian settlers from Andros Island founded the city in 655 B.C. Colonists from Halkida settled in before the end of the 7th century. The sources (Herodotus, Thucydides, Plutarch and Strabo) provide information about the city. Strabo (“Geographics”) specifies the Stageira city location in the coastal area north of ancient Akanthos (nowadays Ierissos) mentioning an islet just off the coast of the city named Capros (probably the nowadays Kafkanas Islet). The fact that the same name is attributed to the port of Stageira is a feature, whereas many coins bear the symbol of a boar (wild pig).

[…] ἔστι δ΄Άθων ὄρος μαστοειδὲς ὀξύτατον ὑψηλότατον· οὗ οἱ τὴν κορυφὴν οἰκοῦντες ὁρῶσι τὸν ἥλιον ἀνατέλλοντα πρὸ ὡρῶν τριῶν τῆς ἐν τῇ παραλίᾳ ἀνατολῆς. καὶ ἔστιν ἀπὸ πόλεως τῆςΑκάνθου περίπλους τῆς χερρονήσου ἕως Σταγείρου͵ πόλεως τοῦΑριστοτέλους͵ στάδια τετρακόσια͵ ἐν λιμὴν ὄνομα Κάπρος καὶ νησίον ὁμώνυμον τῷ λιμένι· εἶτα αἱ τοῦ Στρυμόνος ἐκβολαί·
Strabo, Geographics 7.331.16


After the end of the Persian Wars, Stageira allied with Athens, despite their limited potential to financially contribute in the First Athenian Alliance. However, in 424 B.C. during the Peloponnesian War, the city apostatized, allied with the Spartans after given in to General Vrasidas. He presented himself the savior-liberator of the local population partly effected, once they were looking for an alternative to the Athenian economic oppression.

Vrasidas’ plan was to divide the Macedonian and Thracian allies of Athens. He conquered Akanthos as much as Amfipolis, one of the most important Athenian colonies. In spring 423 B.C., Athens and Sparta signed a truce but Vrasidas refused to aline. In April of 422 B.C., the truce ended and Athenians sent an expeditionary force (under Cleon) to recapture the lost properties in northern Greece. However, Vrasidas crashed the Athenians in Amfipolis, where he and his opponent Cleon were both killed. Thus, Stageira never joined the Athenian Alliance again. Later, Stageira joined the “Common of Halkidians”, the confederation of Halkidiki towns based in the capital Olynthos. Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, leveled the city during the Olynthian War, 349 B.C. Reconstructed the city though, according to Aristotle’s request who had just been employed to educate Alexander and his companions and future Macedonian army leaders. According to other sources, the city was probably rebuilt by Alexander the Great himself.


Despite the later reconstruction of the city, this disaster marked the start of decline. The city was deserted during the Greco-Roman era. It is worth noting that Strabo (63 B.C.-23 A.D.) states that Stageira was already deserted when he visited.

[…] ἐν δὲ τῷ κόλπῳ πρώτη μετὰ τὸν Ἀκανθίων λιμένα Στάγειρα͵ ἔρημος͵ καὶ αὐτὴ τῶν Χαλκιδικῶν͵Αριστοτέλους πατρίς͵ καὶ λιμὴν αὐτῆς Κάπρος καὶ νησίον ὁμώνυμον τούτῳ· εἶθ΄ Στρυμὼν καὶ ἀνάπλους εἰς Ἀμφίπολιν εἴκοσι σταδίων·
Stravonas, Geographics 7a.1.35.25


The construction of the Livasdia or Lipsasda medieval castle around 1000 A.D. is reported where the ancient city still laying. The visitor can nowadays see the remains of some buildings on the northern slope of the archaeological site, as well as the small part of the byzantine walling on the hill footpath.


When Aristotle passed away in 322 B.C., in Halkida, his body was transferred to his hometown, Stageira, where he was buried with great honors. He was declared the “founder” of the city and an altar was built on his tomb. In fact, they established the “Aristoteleia Celebrations” to honor him. Nowadays, local authorities and other agencies attempt to revive the “Aristoteleia”.

[…] Ο δε γε Αριστοτέλης έρχεται εν τη Μακεδόνων πόλει, ένθα παιδεύει Αλέξανδρον τον κτίστην, και μέγα μέρος γέγονε της τούτου βασιλείας. Πολλά γαρ εδυνήθη παρά τω βασιλεί, και τη δυνάμει δεόντως εχρήσατο, ευ ποιών και εκάστω ιδία και πάσι κοινή. Και ότι μεν πολλούς ιδία ευ εποίησε, δηλώσουσιν αι φερόμεναι αυτού συστατικαί επιστολαί περί τινων προς τον βασιλέα. Ότι δε και κοινή πολλούς ευ εποίησε, δηλοί το και την των Σταγείρων πόλιν κατασκαφθείσαν, πείθειν Αλέξανδρον αύθις κτίζειν. Όθεν και οι Σταγειρίται εορτήν επιτελούσι τω Αριστοτέλει, Αριστοτέλειαν αυτήν προσαγορεύοντες, και τον μήνα δε, εν ω η εορτή επιτελείται, Σταγειρίτην προσαγορεύοντες […]

Aristotelis opera omnia, Volume 16, Page 288


The first excavation in ancient Stageira took place in the end of 1960 and still continue bringing important findings to light. The recent restoration program of the XVI Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classic Antiquities, which will offer access to a part of the wall that includes a circular tower and the large rectangular tower, is interesting. The XVI Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classic Antiquities, under K. Sismanidis (director-archaeologist) excavated, configured and restored ancient Stagira (1990-2000). The late 60’s first excavations were attempted by F. Petsas. The archaeological museum of Polygyros exhibits the excavations’ findings.



Χώρος ανασκαφής στα αρχαία Στάγειρα

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