September 2018

A milestone of ancient Via Egnatia from Sindos, Thessaloniki

Μilestone of ancient Via Egnatia. © YPPOA-AMTh

Milestone in the form of a 1.31m tall column made of grey-greenish marble.

One of its faces preserves, in excellent condition, a carefully chiselled inscription with an identical text in both Latin and Greek alphabets. The abbreviated Latin text reads as follows:


The find was collected during excavation for the Elliniki Viomichania Ochimaton plant in the Industrial Area of Sindos (some 10 Km to the West of Thessaloniki), under 7 m. deep of alluvial sand. The numerals CCLX stand for number 260. This fact -and the mention of Egnatius’ name- led to identifying the find as a milestone of Roman Via Egnatia, and to realising that this Road bore the name of the governor (proconsul) of the Province of Macedonia, who commanded its construction sometime before 120 B.C., when the Via Egnatia is mentioned by the Greek historian Polybius. The starting point of Via Egnatia was either Dyrrachium or Apollonia, both on the eastern coast of the Adriatic and its course passed by modern Elbasan, Lychnidos (m. Ohrid), Heraclea Lyncestis (m. Bitola), Edessa and Pella. It reached Thessaloniki after 267 roman miles and there was one milestone erected after every mile. The present milestone must have been positioned in the direction towards Thessaloniki, seven miles before the city walls, a well-fitting distance for its find spot. Being a road of principally military use, Via Egnatia didn’t enter the city but turned north, towards the lakes Koroneia and Volvi. It then continued for Amphipolis, Philippi and Neapolis (m. Kavala), before leaving the Province of Macedonia for Topeiros, Maximianopolis, Sali, Traianopolis and, finally, Evros river and Cypsela.

Via Egnatia was later extended to the East to reach Byzantium and it so became the main overland route connecting Rome to the East. Parts of the stone paved road are still visible today, while a handful (out of dozens) of rest stations that existed on its way have been identified or excavated up to now. The well-plotted course and robust construction, led to the continuous use of this road for transporting people, goods and ideas, until the construction of modern motorways during the last decades. The Ministry of Culture and Sports has created a network connecting most of the archaeological sites and museums along Via Egnatia in the district of Macedonia, while other ways of exploitation are planned, such as reviving Egnatia as a trekking route of both cultural and environmental interest, following modern trends of leisure industry.

The exhibit is located at the permanent exhibition: Macedonia from the 7th century B.C. until the late Antiquity