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Heraclea Lyncestis, was a town founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC in what was once the north-western region of the ancient kingdom of Macedon. The town was named in honor of the mythological Greek hero Heracles. The epithet Lyncestis is from Greek meaning "the Land of the Lynx". Today its ruins fall within the borders of the Republic of Macedonia, near the modern town of Bitola.

It was an important strategical town during the Hellenistic period as it was at the edge of Macedon's border with Epirus to the west, and to the non-Greek world to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. In the middle of the 2nd century BC, the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The Romans divided Macedonia into 4 regions and Heraclea was in the fourth region. The main Balkan road Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. Objects discovered from the time of Roman rule in Heraclea are: Votive monuments, thermi, theatres and town walls. In the early Christian period Heraclea was an important Episcopal seat. Some of its bishops are mentioned in synods in Serdica and other nearby towns. From this period are the ensembles of the small and great basilica. The grave basilica with a necropolis is located east of the theatre.

Roman Theater
The Roman emperor Hadrian built the theater in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in Macedonia and Greece were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Discovered in 1931, a small bone ticket for a seat in the 14th (out of 20) row is the earliest known proof of the theaterís existence. The theatre itself wasnít discovered until 1968. Inside the theater there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theater went out of use during the late 4th century BC, when gladiator fights in Macedonia and all the Empire were banned. In place of the deserted theater several houses were built in the 6th century and 7th century AD, when Slavic tribes setteled throughout the Balkans.

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Additional Photos by Boshko Slavevski (starky) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 170 W: 4 N: 30] (1616)
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