Pydna was an ancient city in Macedonia that is featured mainly in Volume Two of SHADOW OF THE LION: The Fields of Hades. It is situated in the area of Pieria near the Thermaic Gulf.
Ruins from Byzantine Era
I visited the site some years ago while researching the novel. There isn’t too much left of the archaeological site, however the interesting thing was, as I talked to the local hotel owner she called over one of the archaeologists who happened to be excavating there at the time. He was part of a team looking for the tomb of Queen Olympias, however he said that it would likely be just as token grave, as she probably was interred in the royal tombs at Vergina. The most interesting thing for me was, this archaeologist was the one who had discovered the old trench that Kassandros had dug around the fortress blocking the royal family inside. Olympias and the royal family had fled there in 317 to take shelter from Kassandros’ wrath. They were trapped there that long winter of 316 BC leading to a tragic conclusion
Coin showing Kassandros
That meeting with the archaeologist and his discovery made my trip all the more worthwhile, so when I wrote the chapters about the internment at Pydna of the royal family, I had a clearer vision of what it must have been like there. From the fortress there is a clear view of Mt Olympus and I imagined Olympias standing in the fortress yard, looking up to the mountain, praying that the gods would rescue her.
Medallion showing Olympias
Pydna remained under Macedonian rule until its conquest by the Romans in 168 BC. Today it is a pleasant town by the seaside with a stretch of beautiful white beach and a backdrop of the distant Mt. Olympus.