Stageira was founded in 655 BC by Ionian settlers from Andros. Xerxes I of Persia occupied it in 480 BC. The city later joined the Delian League, lead by Athens, but left in 424 BC: as a result, the Athenian demagogue Cleon laid siege to it in 422 BC. However, Cleon was a poor strategist and his conduct of the siege was very inefficient: so much so that the ancient Greek comedy writer Aristophanes satirised him in the play The Knights. Cleon died in the same year, in the battle of Amphipolis.
Philip II of Macedon later had more success, occupying and destroying the city. As payment for Aristotle's tutoring of his son, who became Alexander the Great, Philip later rebuilt the city and resettled the old city's inhabitants, who had been enslaved, there. Many new structures were built at this time, including an aqueduct, two shrines to Demeter and many houses.