NEAPOLIS (Ancient city) UKRAINE
The chief city of the Scythians from the 3d c. B.C., situated E of modern Simferopol (Strab. 7.4.7). It ceased to exist in the 3d c. A.D. when the Crimea was overrun by Sarmatians, Alans, and Goths.
Although the capital of the Scythian state in the Crimea, there is evidence in the remains of considerable Greek influence, and graffiti suggest the possibility of a permanent Greek settlement in the city. Covering an area of ca. 20 ha, the city was surrounded in the 3d c. B.C. with stone walls bonded with mortar. The walls are 2.5 m thick, later reinforced to a thickness of 11-12 m in some places, and have been preserved to a height of ca. 2.7 m. The main gate, in the middle of the S wall, was protected on either side by towers. There were two other gates. Architectural remains within the city include a large stone structure opposite the main gate with two porticos, columns with Doric capitals, and a tiled roof; a rich dwelling of the 3d-2d c. with a semi-cellar, tiled roof, and plastered and painted walls; Hellenistic dwellings with rooms opening onto paved courtyards.
The city's funerary architecture was monumental. Most noteworthy is a mausoleum built on a rectangular plan (8.65 x 8.10 m). Its walls, which consisted of slabs of stone, have been preserved up to 3 m. Inside were 72 richly furnished tombs, probably belonging to dynastic kings buried between the 2d c. B.C. and the 2d c. A.D. A wooden sarcophagus with feet carved in the shape of fantastic animals is especially remarkable. The sides of the sarcophagus are decorated with garlands, acanthus leaves, flowers, and pine cones. Gold rings, earrings, etc., and Scythian arms have been found here. The necropolis has also been excavated, on the outskirts of the city. Cut in the rock, the tombs are small square chambers containing niches. On the walls are painted friezes depicting scenes of everyday Scythian life (leaving for the hunt; a Scythian drawing his bow; also houses and huts). Some Greek inscriptions have been uncovered (including one mentioning King Skylurus) and a relief from the 3d c. B.C. showing Palakos on horseback. The Simferopol Museum and the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, contain material from the site.
M. L. Bernhard & Z. S. Ztetyllo, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
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