First come the Greeks

Thessaloniki’s history goes way back in time, when kings and queens used to rule the worlds. It was first born as a daughter of the royal family in 315 B.C. and since then it has always been praised for its gifts. But it’s like I am talking about a person. Well, I could have been, since a princess who become a queen is the reason we call it that way. But who was this lady? I will let her tell us the story:

“I was born on 345 B.C. (and ignore all those gossips that say that I am hiding my real age and that I was born on 352 B.C.) when my father, king Phillip II, was victorious on the battle of Crocus field in Thessaly. That’s why he decided to name me Thessaloniki (Thessaly + niki, meaning victory). About my mother, well… I don’t even remember her face anymore. Oh, my poor mother, she died soon after bringing me into this world. And my father (what a great man he was) followed seven years after. I grew up with Olympias, my half brother’s mother. She was a kind woman and raised me as her own.

My half brother…my half brother I never knew a lot, but I always admired him. He managed to reach the end of the world and make it his own. But when Hades took him for his own, he took away all the happiness and all the light I ever had. I was morose, doleful. It seemed like the whole empire could hear my tantrums. Maybe that is why they created the myth that I tried to drown myself, but instead I become a gorgon, that was aimlessly asking if Alexander was alive, and if they answer wasn’t yes, I would take them with me in the bottom of the sea.


Alexander’s death was not the only source of my sorrow. His empire was so massive that everybody wanted a piece of it, and we knew that they would destroy anyone who they thought to be an enemy. Olympias and I tried to hide, since our royal blood and connection would make us easy prey. But Cassander found us at Pydna, he killed Olympias and forcefully married me. After that he could reign Macedon without so much fear. I can’t say that it was a happy marriage, but apart from my two sons Phillip, the oldest, Alexander, the youngest, oh and the third Antipater the middle one, he also gave me another important gift, he founded a city when old Therma was and gave it my name, Thessaloniki. I don’t know how long it will last, but I have high hopes, that it will do better than my brother’s torn empire.

Statue of Alexander the Great
The Statue of Alexander in the harbor of Thessaloniki (source: escapegreece.com)


I thought that everything will finally be peaceful after my husband died in 297 B.C. , but as I had always been wrong in my life, tension rose among my sons. I wanted Phillip and Alexander to rule Macedon, as I thought of them as the most capable, but Antipater was always a bitter child. He blamed me that I only cared about his brothers, that I would even forget him sometimes. But I wouldn’t change my mind, and the jealousy was growing in him, poisoning him. He stopped thinking straight. And one day, the year was 295 B.C., he entered my room as I was sleeping, and killed me.

So this is my story, I am now in company of my family, of those I love in the underworld, having left a legacy of two sons and a beautiful city.”

E.V.
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