Northern Greece

The northern verge of Hellas, a relatively less populated area, containing peoples and cultures considered by most Classic Hellenes to be little better than barbarians. Yet, these northerners have contributed some of the most notable features of the Greek historical and mythological landscape. Here will be found the Macedonians and Thracians, the Epirotes and Thessalians. Here also is located Mount Olympus itself.

Includes: Abdera, Acanthos, Aenia, Ambracia, Amphipolis, Astean, Athos, Canites, Demetrias (Pheres), Draviskos, Eion, Elimea, Epirus, Gjirokaster, Great Wallachia, Ioannina, Iolkos, Larissa, (Hellenic) Macedonia, Maronea, Meliboea, Odrissae, Olyanthos, Ormenio, Phthia, Pindos, Potidaea, Preveza, Thessalonika, Thessaly, Thrace, Tilis, Toroni, Vodonitsa.


ABDERA City of Thrace, NE Greece, near the mouth of the Mesta River. It is a small agricultural settlement. Abdera was founded by the citizens of Teos, a city of Ionia south of Clazomenæ, fleeing their city when the Medeans of Harpagus, a general of Cyrus the Great, took it around 545 BCE, as part of his conquest of Ionia. Abdera is the birthplace of Protagoras, Democritus, Leucippos, Anaxarchos, and Ekataeos. The term Abderite was used by the ancient Greeks as a synonym for "stupid".

ACANTHOS (Ierissos)A town in eastern Chalkidiki, at the base of Agio Oros Peninsula.

ÆNIA A town in Chalkidiki

AMBRACIA (Arta) A city in south-central Epirus, just north of Amvrikikos Bay. In ancient times known as Ambracia, for a time it was the capital of Epirus. The place was devastated by the Romans, and eclipsed completely during when a new city, Nicopolis Actia, was established a few miles away. It's recovery began when Nicopolis itself was destroyed in the 11th century by Bulgar incursions.

AMPHIPOLIS A town in Macedonia (Seres Nomos), on the Strymonas River about 3 miles (5 km.) from the sea. Originally called Ennea Odoi, it was the capital  of a federate state under Roman hegemony after 167 BCE.

(Mount) ATHOS The easternmost fingerling peninsula (Agio Oros) jutting out from Chalkidiki, on the northwestern coast of the Aegean. The district is severely mountainous and geographically isolated; it has therefore been an attractive locale for monasteries and anchorites since at least the 9th century. There are presently 20 monastic establishments located there; a law dating from 1060 forbids the presence of any female in the area, human or animal.

DEMETRIAS (earlier: Pheres) In southern Thessaly, beside the modern port of Volos.

DRAVISKOS (Drabescus, Zdravik) An ancient town in the Nomos of Seres, in Greek Macedonia. It is now a small village, located about 6 miles (10 km.) north of Amphipolis.

EION A town in Macedonia

ELIMEA An ancient town in southern Macedonia, about 40 miles (65 km.) from the Albanian frontier; nowadays called Grevena.

EPIRUS A Classic-Age Kingdom, Epirus re-emerged as a large and powerful Despotate in the north-central portion of modern Greece, below the Albanian-Macedonian frontier, but above Achaea and Morea. It was formed as a result of the chaos that erupted when the Empire was overturned by marauding Crusaders in 1204. Note as well, several Bandit kingdoms within Epirus during the time of Ottoman conquest - these were governed by Albanian warlords, the Despotates of Angelokastro and Arta, and the...

Principality of GJIROKASTER

Gk: Megáli Vlachía; Rom: Vlahia Mare)
was a polity that existed in the highlands of western Thessaly in the early Middle Ages. It was ruled by Aromanians, a Vlach people living in Greece. Benjamin of Tudela, a rabbi traveling through the Balkans in the twelfth century, wrote of the inhabitants of Great Wallachia, saying "no man can go up and battle against them and no king can rule over them."

IOANNINA A city and district in northwestern Greece; central Epirus.

IOLKOS A very ancient state in Thessaly, the ruins of which are near Demetrias, within the greater metroplitan area of the port of Volos.

LARISSA The biggest town of modern Thessaly, capital city of the Nomos of Larissa; 35 miles (55 km.) northwest of the port of Volos. The older name of the city was Pelasgis.

MACEDONIA See Controversy (I) file. See Controversy (II) file. The original Macedonians were an aggressive and turbulent folk of Hellenic stock, responsible for one of the world's great (if ephemeral) empires. What follows is a record of the Hellenic state, together with the subsequent development of the area, and ending with a record of the southern portions of Macedonia which are now once again in Greek hands. If you are visiting here from other portions of the archive, here is an express to get you back to where you were:

Aegina, Aegion, Afghanistan, Armenia, Athens, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Cappadocia, Caria, Characene, Commagene, Corinth, Cos, Crete, Cyprus, Egypt, Euboea, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lemnos, Lesbos, Libya, Lydia, Megalopolis, Megara, Mesopotamia, Pheres, Phthia, Samos, Sicyon, Syria, Thebes, Thessaly, Zante.

MARONEIA A town in Thrace, Rodopi Nomos, a short distance from the coast, and about 35 miles (55 km.) from the Turkish frontier.

MELIBOEA (mod. Melivia) A town in eastern Thessaly, about 3 miles (5 km.) from the coast, on the southeastern flank of Mount Ossa. The place is mentioned in the Iliad as a participant in the Seige of Troy.

OLYNTHOS Ancient city of Greece, on the peninsula of Chalcidice, NE of Potidaea. A league of Chalcidic cities grew up in the late 5th cent. BCE, and Olynthos, as the head of this Chalcidian League, vigorously opposed the threats of Athens and Sparta.

ORMENIO Ancient town in Magnesia (Thessaly).

PHTHIA A region in south Thessaly, called "Achaean Phthiotis" in classical years.

POTIDAEA A town in Chalkidiki. Renamed Kassandreia in 316. This city, located on the western finger (Kassandra Peninsula) of Chalkidicia, was the spark which ignited the Peloponessian War (432-404) - the old Alliance broke asunder and Sparta commenced hostilities when Athens ruthlessly suppressed a revolt here, forcing the evacuation of a number of Chalkidician communities.

PREVEZA A town and fortress guarding the entrance to Amvrakikos Gulf, in coastal Epirus.

THESSALONIKA A Crusader Kingdom set up over much of present-day Greece following the toppling of the Empire in 1204. Technically the Liege of many of the other states listed on this page, its actual control was minimal. In 1271, it was granted as a despotate to the younger heir of Epirus.

THESSALY In northern Greece, at the angle of the peninsula, where the land shifts from north/south to east/west.; souyh of Macedonia and southwest of Thrace. Thessaly is a rather wild and forbidding country, and it's chief fame seems to be the presence of numerous and powerful witches; in ancient times the cult of Hekate was very strong here.

THRACE A large region once considered to encompass all the northern verge of Hellas, but later coming to be regarded as the northeastern hill country, to distinguish it from Paeonia and Macedonia. The Thracians were regarded as a wild a savage set of barbarians, inhabiting a mountainous wilderness with a rigorous climate. Much of ancient Thrace is now Bulgaria, but the Aegean coast from the island of Thassos to Turkish Gallipoli is still in Greek hands.

TORONI A town in Chalkidiki, near the tip of the middle finger (Sithonia Peninsula).

VODONITSA A little town near Lamia, presently called Mendenitsa. A Mediaeval principality.