The inhabitants THESSALIA (Ancient area) GREECE - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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The inhabitants (6)

Ancient tribes


EOLIS (Ancient area) THESSALIA
  Aeoles (Aioleis) or Aeolii, one of the four races into which the Hellenes are usually divided, axe represented as descendants of the mythical Aeolus, the son of Hellen. (Diet. of Biogr. s. v. Aeolus.) Hellen is said to have left his kingdom in Thessaly to Aeolus, his eldest son. (Apollod. i. 7. ยง 3.) A portion of Thessaly was in ancient times called Aeolis, in which Arne was the chief town. It was from this district that the Aeolian Boeotians were driven out by the Thessalians, and came to Boeotia. (Herod. vii. 176; Diod. iv. 67; Thuc. i. 12.) It is supposed by some that this Aeolis was the district on the Pagasetic gulf; but there are good reasons for believing that it was in the centre of Thessaly, and nearly the same as the district Thessaliotis in later times. (Muller, Dorians, vol. ii. p. 475, seq.) We find the Aeolians in many other parts of Greece, besides Thessaly and Boeotia; and in the earliest times they appear as the most powerful and the most numerous of the Hellenic races. The wealthy Minyae appear to have been Aeolians; and we have mention of Aeolians in Aetolia and Locris, at Corinth, in Elis, in Pylus and in Messenia. Thus a great part of northern Greece, and the western side of Peloponnesus were inhabited at an early period by the Aeolian race. In most of these Aeolian settlements we find a predilection for maritime situations; and Poseidon appears to have been the deity chiefly worshipped by them. The Aeolians also migrated to Asia Minor where they settled in the district called after them Aeolis, and also in the island of Lesbos. The Aeolian migration is generally represented as the first of the series of movements produced by the irruption of the Aeolians into Boeotia, and of the Dorians into Peloponnesus. The Achaeans, who had been driven from their homes in the Peloponnesus by the Dorians, were believed to have been joined in Boeotia by a part of the ancient inhabitants of Boeotia and of their Aeolian conquerors. The latter seem to have been predominant in influence, for from them the migration was called the Aeolian, and sometimes the Boeotian. An account of the early settlements and migrations of the Aeolians is given at length by Thirlwall, to which we must refer our readers for details and authorities. (Hist. of Greece, vol. i. p. 88, seq. vol. ii. p. 82, seq.; comp. Grote, Hist. of Greece, vol. i. p. 145, seq., vol. ii. p. 26, seq.) The Aeolian dialect of the Greek language comprised several subordinate modifications; but the variety established by the colonists in Lesbos and on the opposite coasts of Asia, became eventually its popular standard, having been carried to perfection by the Lesbian school of lyric poetry. (Mure, History of the Language, &c. of Greece, vol. i. p. 108, seq.) Thus we find the Roman poets calling Sappho Aeolia puella (Hor. Carm. iv. 9. 12), and the lyric poetry of Alcaeus and Sappho Aeolium carmen, Aeolia fides and Aeolia lyra. (Hor. Carm. iii. 30. 13, ii. 13. 24; Ov. Her. xv. 200)

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


Penestae (penestai), Thessalian serfs. The word is no doubt from the root of penomai, ponos, penes (Dionys. ii. 9), and we must reject the ancient derivation quoted below. The Penestae of Thessaly were old inhabitants of the land conquered and reduced to villenage by the Thesprotians: according to Theopompus, they were Perrhaebians and Magnetes (Athen. vi.); but Aristotle (Pol, ii. 9, 3) distinguishes these tribes front the Penestae, speaking of them rather as Perioeci than as serfs. Others call them Pelasgi, or, in other words, regarded them as the primitive indigenous people of Thessaly; while Archemachus gives the following account of them:--The Aeolian Boeotians who did not emigrate when their country Thessaly was conquered (compare Thuc. i. 12), but from love of home surrendered themselves to serve the victors, on condition that they should not be carried out of the country (whence, he adds, they were formerly called Menestai, but afterwards Penestai), nor be put to death, but should cultivate the land for the new owners of the soil, paying by way of rent a portion of the produce of it; and many of them are richer than their masters. It appears, then, that they occupied an intermediate position between purchased slaves and freemen, being reduced to serfdom by conquest, and they are generally conceived to have stood in the same relation to their Thessalian lords as the Helots did to the Spartiatae; but this is not exactly the case, for they were apparently not, like the Helots, serfs of the state, but belonged each to some family for whom the personal service was performed, for which reason they were sometimes called Thettaloiketai (Athen. vi.). They were very numerous, for instance, in the families of the Aleuadae and Scopadae (Theoc. xvi. 35), but they were not only tillers of the soil; they formed the retainers of these great families, and served under their masters as cavalry: a body of 300 Penestae under Menon of Pharsalus assisted the Athenians in the Peloponnesian war (Dem. c. Arist.,199; Dem. peri Sntax., 23). They resembled the Helots, however, in the fact that they often rose against their masters.

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Aethices a barbarous Epirot clan, who lived by robbery, are placed by Strabo on the Thessalian side of Pindus. They are mentioned by Homer, who relates that the Centaurs, expelled by Peirithous from Mt. Pelion, took refuge among the Aethices. (Hom. Il. ii. 744; Strab. pp. 327, 434; Steph. B. s. v. Aithikhia.)

Names of the inhabitants


Belong to Amphictyonic League, identify Eurytion with Oechalia, attempt in vain to capture Ceressus, at war with Phocians, dedicate image of Zeus at Olympia, their treachery at battle of Tanagra, Thessalian cavalry help Athenians in Peloponnesian war, defeated by Agesilaus, revolt from Macedonia, lie in wait for retreating Gauls, grave of Thessalian cavalry at Athens.

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