The city was the political center of the Chaones, one of the three major Greek tribes in ancient Epirus. From the second half of the 5th century BC, an acropolis was erected, which hosted a number of public buildings, while at the end of the next century the fortifications of the city were expanded as part of Pyrrhus, leader of united Epirus, defensive strategy. The walls of Phoenice consisted of massive blocks up to 3,60 meters thick, the Chaonians primary concern being to defend the city against Illyrian attacks.


It was also the location of the Treaty of Phoenice which ended the First Macedonian War, as well as one of the wealthiest cities in Epirus until the Roman conquest. During the early Byzantine period, Phoenice was the see of a bishopric.


The city vanished after the 6th century and the urban center of the area moved to nearby Mesopotamos.




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