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Nicopolis (3)



A titular see and metropolis in ancient Epirus. Augustus founded the city (B.C. 31) on a promontory in the Gulf of Ambracia, in commemoration of his victory over Anthony and Cleopatra at Actium. At Nicopolis the emperor instituted the famous quinquennial Actian games in honor of Apollo. The city was peopled chiefly by settlers from the neighboring municipia, of which it was the head (Strabo III, xiii, 3; VII, vii, 6; X, ii, 2). According to Pliny the Elder (IV, 2) it was a free city. St. Paul intended going there (Tit., iii, 12) and it is possible that even then it numbered some Christians among its population; Origen sojourned there for a while (Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", VI, 16). Laid waste by the Goths at the beginning of the fifth century (Procopius, "Bell. goth.", IV, 22), restored by Justinian (Idem "De Ædificiis", IV, 2), in the sixth century it was still the capital of Epirus (Hierocles, "Synecdemus", ed. Burchhardt, 651, 4). The province of ancient Epirus of which Nicopolis was the metropolis, constituted a portion of the western patriarchate, directly subject to the jurisdiction of the pope; but, about 732, Leo the Isaurian incorporated it into the Patriarcate of Constantinople. Of the eleven metropolitans mentioned by Le Quien (Oriens christianus, II, 133-38) the most celebrated was Alcison who, early in the sixth century, opposed the Monophysite policy of Emperor Anastasius. The last known of these bishops was Anastasius, who attended the Ecumenical Council in 787, and soon afterwards, owing to the decadence into which Nicopolis fell, the metropolitan see was transferred to Naupactus which subsequently figured in the Notitiae episcopatuum. Quite extensive ruins of Nicopolis are found three miles to the north of Prevesa and are called Palaio-Prevesa.

SMITH, Dict. Greek and Roman Geography, II (London, 1870), 426; LEAKE, Northern Greece, I, 185; WOLFE, Journal of Geographical Society,III, 92 sq.

S. VAILHÉ








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