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Name of the location (1)

Ancient authors' reports

  Two legendary names, which Thessalonica is said to have borne in early times, are Emathia (Zonar. Hist. xii. 26) and Halia (Steph. B. s. v.), the latter probably having reference to the maritime position of the town. During the first period of its authentic history, it was known under the name of Therma (Therma, Aesch.; Therme, Herod., Thucyd.; Thermai, Mal. Chronog. p. 190, ed. Bonn), derived, in common with the designation of the gulf (Thermaicus Sinus), from the hot salt-springs, which are found on various parts of this coast, and one of which especially is described by Pococke as being at a distance of 4 English miles from the modern city. Three stories are told of the origin of the name Thessalonica. The first (and by far the most probable) is given by Strabo (vii. Epit. 10), who says that Therma was rebuilt by Cassander, and called after his wife Thessalonica, the daughter of Philip: the second is found in. Steph. B. (s. v.), who says that its new name was a memorial of a victory obtained by Philip over the Thessalians (see Const. Porphyrog. De Them. ii. p. 51, ed Bonn): the third is in the Etym. Magn. where it is stated that Philip himself gave the name in honour of his daughter. Whichever of these stories is true, the new name of Thessalonica, and the new eminence connected with the name, are distinctly associated with the Macedonian period, and not at all with the earlier passages of true Greek history. The name, thus given, became permanent. Through the Roman and Byzantine periods it remained unaltered. In the Middle Ages the Italians gave it the form of Salonichi or Saloniki, which is still frequent. In Latin chronicles we find Salonicia. In German poems of the thirteenth century the name appears, with a Teutonic termination, as Salnek. The uneducated Greeks of the present day call the place Salonike, the Turks Selanik.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


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