Ancient Sani


Ancient Sani, one of the three colonies of Andros in Chalkidiki, was founded in the 7th century BC. on the southwest coast of Akti (Mount Athos peninsula), facing the Gulf of Siggiti. The choice of location is probably related to the existence of the well-known mines within a short distance of it, as well as to the fact that this location offered ships safe access to the south sea, avoiding the dangerous passage of Mount Athos, thus facilitating the trade.

There are few written testimonies about the city and its history, mainly referring to its role during the two great wars that shook ancient Greece, the war with the Persians and the Peloponnesian. Sani was destroyed during the wars for the annexation of Halkidiki to the Macedonian Kingdom during the years of Philip II. It is founded in 317/6 BC. from Alexarchos, brother of the King of Macedonia, Kassandrou, a new city, Ouranoupoli, or “Uranidon polis”, as it is written in its coins.

The research carried out by the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in collaboration with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on the hill of Tripiti, to the left of the road to Ouranoupoli, a short distance from the beach, yielded fruit and there were many indications of a settlement in position. These data, combined with other findings from time to time, lead us to the hypothesis that probably the ancient Sani was built on this hill.

Archaeological research revealed a unbroken layer of archaic times (7th-6th centuries BC), with no architectural remains, with only small circular or elongated earth gorges, length and diameter of 0.50-1.50 m, made with slow stones or successive layers of roof tiles. The intense burns, the number of bones, which ultimately seem to belong to animals and not to humans, at the initial estimate, the numerous and excellent quality shells and figurines, as well as the multi-pointed lamps – scattered all over the place around, the rhinestones – advocate the existence of an open-air cult of a Chthon deity. It should be considered certain during the night of sacrificial sacrifices and bursts on grids in the light of numerous lamps, which gave to the whole scenery mysterious character. The image is complemented by a stone built structure. It is a small tank (0.60 x 0.60 m), 1.00 m deep, founded on an unstable muddy subsoil at the bottom of which led three steps. It has been interpreted as a reservoir for the purifying bath of the worshiper.

The problem of the possession of the sanctuary, which arose with the first revelation of the scarlet and the collection of the movable finds, found its solution after the careful examination and examination of all the excavations. Considering the place of the sanctuary, in a limited marshy expanse, Dionysus, the Nymphs, Artemis and Aphrodite came to claim his property. They are deities of vegetation and fertility, of nature, deities worshiped in places rich with abundant water, without necessarily having to have a temple (in the case of the Sani sanctuary few excavations imply the existence of a sacred building, to be fully documented).

The worship of a male deity on the bay was blocked from the beginning almost as well as the coexistence of two deities in the area – Artemis and Aphrodite – as the moving findings themselves do not support such a thought.

Figurines represent only female forms, mainly in the type of upright poles, but also in the form of Ionic or Corinthian workshops. Many, standing upright, clearly depict Artemis as illustrated with a bow, deer or other symbols, such as a fruit, a flower or a small bird. The existence of numerous such figurines and the complete absence of findings, which characterize the worship of Aphrodite or other Chthian deity, give the homily of Apollo-Artemis the sights of ownership of the sanctuary.

From ancient Sani were the three clay cauldrons of the temple of Apollo that was in the country of the colony. These are the three Victories with a written decoration, two in standing and one in a “furry street” attitude, dating back to the late Archaic period.