Kavala was called Neapolis in antiquity. Its modern name appeared during the Turkish occupation and, specifically, at the end of the 15th century.
The exact date of the founding of ancient Neapolis is not known, just like the descent of its first inhabitants. From the archaeological evidence, we come to think that the area was first colonized by the Thassians between 650 and 625 BC.
Although information about Neapolis is scarce, the multitude of pottery found in the city bears witness to the extent of trading it carried out with the rest of Greece, which trading was facilitated by its harbour.
Neapolis gained its autonomy from the Thassians only during the last part of the 6th century BC. After the Persian wars, Neapolis became a member of the Delian Alliance in 454. During the Peloponnesian War, Neapolis remained a faithful ally to Athens.
In 411, the Spartans led by general Eteonikos and with the aid of the Thassians, laid siege to Neapolis, but the Athenean Thracyboulos hurried to put an end to the siege. Neapolis was a member of the second Athenian alliance.
When Phillip appeared in the horizon, Neapolis came under his power in about 340. Not only did Neapolis lose its autonomy, it also lost its importance as a city and came to be the port of Philippi.