(θεσσαλονίκη, in classical writers also θεσσαλονικεία and θετταλονίκη), a large and important town of Macedonia, visited by Paul on several occasions, and the seat of a Church to which two of his letters were addressed. (For fuller details we refer to Smith's Dict. of Greek and Roman Geography, s.v.)
I. Name. —Two legendary names which Thessalonica is said to have borne in early times are Emathia (Zonar. -Hist. 12:26) 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 (θέρ μα, Esch.; θέρμη, Herod.,Thucyd.; θέρ μαι, Malelas, Chronog. p. 190, ed. Bonn), 1 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 four English miles from the modern city (see Scylax, p. 278, ed. Gail). Three stories are told of the origin of the name Thessalonica. The first (and by far the most probable) is given by Strabo (7, 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. 2, 51. ed. Bonn); the third is in the Etym. Magn. (s.v.), where it is stated that Philip himself gave the name in honor 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 13th century the name appears, With a Teutonic termination, as Salnek. The uneducated Greeks of the present day call the place, Σαλο νίκη, the Turks Selanik.
II. Situation. —This is well described by Pliny (4, 10) as "medio flexu litoris [sinus Thermaici]." The gulf extends about thirty leagues in a north- westerly direction from the group of the Thessalian islands, and then turns to the north-east, forming a noble basin between Capes Vardar and Karaburnu. On the edge of this basin is the city, partly on the level shore and partly on the slope of a hill, in 40° 38'47" N. lat., and 22° 57'22" E. long. The present appearance of the city, as seen from the sea, is described by Leake, Holland, and other travelers as very imposing. It rises in the form of a crescent up the declivity, and is surrounded by lofty whitened walls with towers at intervals. On the east and west sides of the city ravines ascend from the shore and converge towards the highest point, on which is the citadel called ῾Επταπύργιον, like that of Constantinople. The port is still convenient for large ships, and the anchorage in front of the town is good. These circumstances in the situation of Thessalonica were evidently favorable for commanding the trade of the Macedonian sea. Its relations to the inland districts were equally advantageous, With one of the two great levels of Macedonia, viz. the plain of the "wide-flowing Axius" (Homer, II. 2, 849), to the north of the range of Olympus, it was immediately connected. With the other, the plain of the Strymon and Lake Cercinitis, it communicated by a pass across the neck of the Chalcidic peninsula. Its distance from Pella, as given by the Itineraries, is twenty-seven miles,: and from Amphipolis (with intermediate stations; see Ac 17:1) sixty-seven miles. It is still the chief center of the trade of the district. It contains a population of 60,000 or 70,000, and (though Adrianople may possibly be larger) it is the most important town of European Turkey next after Constantinople.
III. Political and Military History. —Thessalonica was a place of some importance even while it bore its earlier name of Therma. Three passages of chief interest may be mentioned in this period of its history. Xerxes rested here on his march, his land-forces being encamped on the plain between Therma and the Axius, and his ships cruising about the Thermaic gulf; and it was the view from hence of Olympus and Ossa which tempted him to explore the course of the Peneus (Herod. 7:128 sq.). A short time (B.C. 421) before the breaking out of the Peloponnesian war, Therma was occupied by the Athenians (Thucyd. 1, 61); but two years later it was given up to Perdiccas (ibid. 2, 29). The third mention of Therma is in Eschines (De Fals. Leg. p. 31, ed. Bekk.), where it is spoken of as one of the places taken by Pausanias.
The true history of Thessalonica begins, as we have implied above, with the decay of Greek nationality. The earliest author who mentions it under its new name is Polybius. It seems probable that it was rebuilt in the same year (B.C. 315) with Cassandrea, immediately after the fall of Pydna and the death of Olympias. We are told by Strabo. (loc.cit.) that Cassander incorporated in his new city the population not only of Therma, but likewise of three smaller towns, viz. Anea and Cissus (which are supposed to have been on the eastern side of the gulf) and Chalastra (which is said by Strabo [7, Epit. 9] to have been on the farther side of the Axius, whence Tafel [p. 22], by some mistake, infers that it lay between the Axius and Therma). It does not appear that these earlier cities were absolutely destroyed; nor, indeed, is it certain that Therma lost its separate existence. Pliny (loc. cit.) seems to imply that a place bearing this name was near Thessalonica; but the text is probably corrupt.
As we approach the Roman period, Thessalonica begins to be more and more mentioned. From Livy (44, 10) this city would appear to have been the great Macedonian naval station. It surrendered to the Romans after the battle of Pydna (ibid. 44, 45), and was made the capital of the second of the four divisions of Macedonia (ibid. 45, 29). Afterwards, when the whole of Macedonia was reduced to one province (Flor. 2, 14), Thessalonica was its most important city, and virtually its metropolis, though not so called till a later period. SEE MACEDONIA. Cicero, during his exile, found a refuge here in the quaestor's house (Pro Planc. 41); and on his journeys to and from his province of Cilicia he passed this way, and wrote here several of his extant letters. During the first civil war Thessalonica was the headquarters of the Pompeian party and the Senate (Dion Cass. 41, 20). During the second it took the side of Octavius and Antonius (Plutarch, Brut. 46; Appian, B. C. 4:118), and reaped the advantage of this course by being made a free city (see Pliny, loc. cit.). It is possible that the word ἐλευθερίας, with the head of Octavia, on some of the coins of Thessalonica, has reference to this circumstance (see Eckhel, 2, 79); and some writers see in the Vardar gate, mentioned below, a monument of the victory over Brutus and Cassius.
Even before the close of the Republic, Thessalonica was a city of great importance, in consequence of its position on the line of communication between Rome and the Earst. Cicero speaks of it as "posita in gremio imperil nostri." It increased in size and rose in importance with the consolidation of the Empire. Strabo, in the 1st century, and Lucian.'in the 2nd, speak in strong language of the amount of its population. The supreme magistrates (apparently six in number) who ruled in Thessalonica as a free city of the Empire were entitled πολιτάρχαι, as we learn from the remarkable coincidence of Luke's language (Ac 17:6) with an inscription on the Vardar gate (Bockh, 1967.'Belley mentions another inscription containing the same term). In Ac 17:5 the δῆμος is mentioned, which formed part of the constitution of the city. Tafel thinks that it had a βουλή also.
During the first three centuries of the Christian sera Thessalonica was the capital of the whole country between the Adriatic and the Black Sea; and even after the founding of Constantinople it remained practically the metropolis of Greece, Macedonia, and Illyricum. In the middle of the 3rd century, as we learn from coins, it was made a Roman colonia; perhaps with the view of strengthening this position against the barbarian invasions, which now became threatening. Thessalonica was-the great safeguard of the Empire during the first shock of the Gothic inroads. Constantine passed some time here after his victory over the Samarians; and perhaps the second arch, which is mentioned below, was a commemoration of this victory. He is said also, by Zosimus (2, 86, ed. Bonn), to have constructed the port, by which we are, no doubt, to understand that he repaired and improved it after a time of comparative neglect. Passing by the dreadful massacre by Theodosius (Gibbon, Rome, ch. 27), we come to the Slavonic wars, of which the Gothic wars were only the prelude, and the brunt of which was successfully borne by Thessalonica from the middle of the 6th century to the latter part of the 8th. The history of these six Slavonic wars, and their relation to Thessalonica, has been elaborated with great care by Tafel.
In the course of the Middle Ages, Thessalonica was three times taken; and its history during this period is thus conveniently divided into three stages. On Sunday, July 29, 904, the Saracen fleet appeared before the city, which was stormed after a few days fighting. The slaughter of the citizens was dreadful, and vast numbers were sold in the various slave-markets of the Levant. The story of these events is told by Jo. Cameniata, who was crosier-bearer to the archbishop of Thessalonica. From his narrative it has been inferred that the population of the city at that time must have been 220,000 (De Excidio Thessalonicensi, in the volume entitled Theophanes Continuatus of the Bonn ed. of the Byzantine writers ). The next great catastrophe of Thessalonica was caused by a different enemy-the Normans of Sicily, The fleet of Tancred sailed round the Morea to the Thermaic gulf, while an army marched by the Via Egnatia from Dyrrhachium. Thessalonica was taken on Aug. 15, 1185, and the Greeks were barbarously treated by the Latins, whose cruelties are de scribed by Nicetas Choniates (De Andron. Commeno, p. 4388, ed. Bonn, 1835). The celebrated Eustathius was archbishop of Thessalonica at this time; and he wrote an account of this capture of the city, which was first published by Tafel (Tub. 1832), and is now printed in the Bonn ed. of the Byzantine writers (De Thessalonica a Latinis Capta, in the same vol. with Leo Grammaticus ). Soon after this period follows the curious history of Western feudalism in Thessalonica under Boniface, marquis of Montferrat, and his successors, during the first half of the 13th century. The city was again under Latin dominion (having been sold by the Greek emperor to the Venetians), when it was finally Ataken by the Turks under Amurath II, in 1430. This event also is described by a writer in the Bonn Byzantine series (Joannes Anagnostes, De Thessalonicensi Exidio NVarratio, in the same vol. with Phranzes and Cananus ).
For the mediaeval history of Thessalonica see Mr. Finlay's works, Mediaeval Greece (1851), p. 70, 71,135147; Byzantine and Greek
Empires (1853), 1, 315-332; (1854), 2, 182, 264-266, 607. For its modern condition we must refer to the travelers, especially Beaujour, Cousindry, Holland, and Leake.
IV. Ecclesiastical History. —The annals of Thessalonica are so closely connected with religion that it is desirable to review them in this aspect. After Alexander's death the Jews spread rapidly in all the large cities of the provinces which had formed his empire. Hence there is no doubt that, in the 1st century of the Christian era, they were settled in considerable numbers at Thessalonica; indeed, this circumstance contributed to the first establishment of Christianity there by Paul (Ac 17:1). It seems probable that a large community of Jews has been found in this city ever since. They are mentioned in the 7th century, during the Slavonic wars; and again in the 12th, by Eustathis and Benjamin of Tudela. The events of the 15th century had the effect of bringing a large number of Spanish Jews to Thessalonica. Paul Lucas says that in his day there were 30,000 of this nation here, with 22 synagogues. More recent authorities vary between 10,000 and 20,000. The present Jewish quarter is in the south-east part of the town.
Christianity, once established in Thessalonica, spread from it in various directions, in consequence of the mercantile relations of the city (1 Thessalonians 1, 8). During the succeeding centuries this city was the bulwark, not simply of the Byzantine empire, but of Oriental Christendom; and was largely instrumental in the conversion of the Slavonians and Bulgarians. Thus it received the designation of "The Orthodox City." It is true that the legends of Demetrius, its patron saint (a martyr of the early part of the 4th century), disfigure the Christian history of Thessalonica; in every siege success or failure seems to have been attributed to the granting or withholding of his favor: but still this see has a distinguished place in the annals of the Church. Theodosius was baptized by its bishop; even his massacre, in consequence of the stern severity of Ambrose, is chiefly connected in our minds with ecclesiastical associations. The see of Thessalonica became almost a patriarchate after this time; and the withdrawal of the provinces subject to its jurisdiction from connection with the see of Rome, in the reign of Leo Isauricus, became one of the principal causes of the separation of East and West. Cameniata, the native historian of the calamity of 904, was, as we have seen, an ecclesiastic. Eustathius, who was archbishop in 1185, was, beyond dispute, the most learned man of his age, and the author of an invaluable commentary on the Iliad and
Odyssey, and of theological works, which have been recently published by Tafel. A list of the Latin archbishops of Thessalonica from 1205 to 1418, when a Roman hierarchy was established along with Western feudalism, is given by Le Quien (Oriens Christianus, 3, 1089). Even to the last we find this city connected with questions of religious interest. Simeon of Thessalonica, who is a chief authority in the modern Greek Church on ritual subjects, died a few months before the fatal siege of 1430; and Theodore Gaza, who went to Italy soon after this siege, and, as a Latin ecclesiastic, became the translator of Aristotle, Theophrastus, and Hippocrates, was a native of the city of Demetrius and Eustathius.
V. Connection with the Apostle Paul. —Paul's visit to Thessalonica (with Silas and Timothy) occurred during his second missionary journey, and to this is due the introduction of Christianity into Thessalonica. Timothy is not mentioned in any part of the direct narrative of what happened at Thessalonica, though he appears as Paul's companion before at Philippi (Ac 16:1-13), and afterwards at Beroea (Ac 17:14-15); but from his subsequent mission to Thessalonica (1Th 3:1-7; see Ac 18:5), and the mention of his name in the opening salutation of both epistles to the Thessalonians, we can hardly doubt that he had been with the apostle throughout.
Three circumstances must here be mentioned, which illustrate in an important manner this visit and this journey, as well as the two epistles to the Thessalonians, which the apostle wrote from Corinth very soon after his departure from his new Macedonian converts.
(1.) This was the chief station on the great Roman road called the Via Egnatia, which connected Rome with the whole region to the north of the Eggean Sea. Paul was on this road at Neapolis (Ac 16:11) and Philippi (ver. 12-40), and his route from the latter place (Ac 17:1) had brought him through two of the well-known minor stations mentioned in the Itineraries. SEE AMPHIPOLIS; SEE APOLLONIA
(2.) Placed as it was on this great road, and in connection with other important Roman ways, Thessalonica was an invaluable centre for the spread of the Gospel. It must be remembered that, be sides its inland communication with the rich plains of Macedonia and with far more remote regions, its maritime position made it a great emporium of trade by sea. In fact, it was nearly, if not quite, on a level with Corinth and Ephesus in its share of the commerce of the Levant. Thus we see the force of what Paul says in his first epistle, shortly-after leaving Thessalonica— ἄφ᾿ ὑμῶν ἐξήχηται ὁ λόγος τοῦ Κυρίου οὐ μόνον ἐν τῇ Μακεδονιᾷ καὶ ἐν τῇ Α᾿χαϊvᾷ ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ (1, 8).
(3.) The circumstance noted in Ac 17:1, that here was the synagogue of the Jews in this part of Macedonia, had-evidently much to do with the apostle's plans, and also doubtless with his success. Trade would inevitably bring Jews to Thessalonica; and it is remarkable that, ever since, they have had a prominent place in the annals of the city.
The first scene of the apostle's work at Thessalonica was the synagogue. According to his custom, he began there, arguing from the ancient Scriptures (Ac 17:2-3); and the same general results followed as in other places. Some believed, both Jews and proselytes, and it is particularly added that among these were many influential women (ver. 4); on which the general body of the Jews, stirred up with jealousy, excited the Gentile population to persecute Paul and Silas (ver. 5-10). It is stated that the ministrations among the Jews continued for three weeks (ver. 2); but we are not obliged to limit to this time the whole stay of the apostles at Thessalonica. A flourishing church was certainly formed there; and the epistles show that its elements were much more Gentile than Jewish. Paul speaks of the Thessalonians as having turned "from idols;" and he does not here, as in other epistles, quote the Jewish Scriptures. In all respects it is important to compare these two letters with the narrative in the Acts; and such references have the greater freshness from the short interval which elapsed between visiting the Thessalonians and writing to them. Such expressions as ἐν θλίψει πολλῇ (1Th 1:6), and ἐν πολλῷ ἀγῶνι (2, 2), sum up the suffering and conflict which Paul and Silas and their converts went through at Thessalonica (see also ver..14, 15; 3, 3, 4; 2Th 1:4-7). The persecution took place through the instrumentality of worthless idlers (τῶν ἀγοραίων ἄνδρας τινὰς πονη ρούς, Ac 17:5), who, instigated by the Jews, raised a tumult. The house of Jason, with whom the apostles seem to have been residing, was attacked; they themselves were not found, but Jason was brought before the authorities on the accusation that the Christians were trying to set up a new king in opposition to the emperor; a guarantee (τὸ ἱκανόν) was taken from Jason and others for the maintenance of the peace, and Paul and Silas were sent away by night southward to Beroea (Ac 17:5-10). The particular charge brought against the apostles receives an illustration from the epistles, where the kingdom of Christ is prominently mentioned (1Th 2:12; 2Th 1:5). So, again, the doctrine of the resurrection is conspicuous both in Luke's narrative (Ac 17; Ac 3) and in the first letter (1Th 1:10; 1Th 4:14,16). If we pass from these points to such as are personal, we are enabled from the epistles to complete the picture of Paul's conduct and attitude at Thessalonica, as regards his love, tenderness, and zeal, his care of individual souls, and his disinterestedness (see 1Th 1:5; 1Th 2:1-10). As to this last point, Paul was partly supported here by contributions from Philippi (Php 4:15-16), partly by the labor of his own hands, which he diligently practiced for the sake of the better success of the Gospel, and that he might set an example to the idle and selfish. (He refers very expressly to what he had said and done at Thessalonica in regard to this point; see 1Th 2:9; 1Th 4:11; comp. 2Th 3:8-12.) SEE THESSALONIANS. To complete the account of Paul's connection with Thessalonica, it must be noticed that he was certainly there again, though the name of the city is not specified, on his third missionary journey, both in going and returning (Ac 20:1-3). Possibly he was also there again after his liberation from his first imprisonment. See Philippians 1:25; 26; 2:24, for the hope of revisiting Macedonia, entertained by the apostle at Rome, and 1Ti 1:3; 2Ti 4:13; Tit 3:12, for subsequent journeys in the neighborhood of Thessalonica.
Of the first Christians of Thessalonica, we are able to specify by name the above-mentioned Jason (who maybe the same as the apostle's own kinsman mentioned in Ro 16:21), Demas (at least conjecturally; see 2Ti 4:10), Gaius, who shared some of Paul's perils at Ephesus (Ac 19:29), Secundus (who accompanied him, from Macedonia to Asia on the eastward route of his third missionary journey, and was probably concerned in the business of the collection; see 20:4), and especially Aristarchus (who, besides being mentioned here with Secundus, accompanied Paul on his voyage to Rome, and had therefore probably been with him during the whole interval, and is also specially referred to in two of the epistles written during the first Roman im-prisonment; see 27:2; Col 4:10; Phm 1:24; also, Ac 19:29, for his association with the apostle at Ephesus in the earlier part of the third journey).
VI. Ancient Remains. —The two monuments of greatest interest at Thessalonica are two arches connected with the line of the Via Egnatia. The course of this. Roman road is undoubtedly preserved in the long street which intersects the city from east to west. At its western extremity is the Vardar gate, which is nearly in the line of the modern wall, and which has received its present name from the circumstance of its leading to the river Vardar, or Axius. This is the Roman arch believed by Beaujour, Holland, and others to have been erected by the people of Thessalonica in honor of Octavius and Antonius, and in memory of the battle of Philippi. The arch is constructed of large blocks of marble, and is about twelve feet wide and eighteen feet high; but a considerable portion of it is buried deep be-low the surface of the ground. On the outside face are two bas-reliefs of a Roman wearing the toga and standing before a horse. On this arch is the above-mentioned inscription containing the names of the politarchsof the city. Leake thinks from the style of the sculpture, and Tafel from the occurrence of the name Flaviusin the inscription, that a later date ought to be assigned to the arch (a drawing of it is given by Cousinerry). The other arch is near the eastern (said in Clarke's Travels, 4:359, by mistake, to be near the western) extremity of the main street. It is built of brick and. faced with marble, and formerly consisted of three archways. The sculptured camels give an Oriental aspect to the monument; and it is generally supposed to commemorate the victory of Constantine over Licinius or over the Sarmatians.
Near the line of the main street, between the two above-mentioned arches, are four Corinthian columns supporting an architrave, above which are caryatides; his monument is now part of the house of a Jew; and, from a inoion that the figures were petrified by magic, it is called by the Spanish Jews Las Incantadas. The Turks call it Sureth-Maleh. (A view will be found, with architectural details, in Stuart and Revett, Athen. Antiq. 3, 53). This colonnade is supposed by some to have been part of the Propylea of the Hippodrome, the position of which is believed by Beaujour and Clarke to have been in the south-eastern part of the town, between the sea and a building called the Rotunda, now a mosque, previously the church Eski- Metropoli, but formerly a temple, and in construction similar to the Pantheon at Rome. Another mosque in Thessalonica, called Eski-Juma, is said by Beaujour to have been a temple consecrated to Venus Thermeea.
The city walls are of brick, and of Greek construction, resting on a much older foundation, which consists of hewn stones of immense thickness. Everywhere are broken columns and fragments of sculpture. Many remains were taken in 1430 to Constantinople. One of the towers in the city wall is called the Tower of the Statue, because it contains a colossal figure of Thessalonica, with the representation of a ship at its feet. The castle is partly Greek and partly Venetian. Some columns of verd antique, supposed to be relics of a temple of Hercules, are to be noticed there, and also a shattered triumphal arch, erected (as an inscription proves) in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, in honor of Antoninus Pius and his daughter Faustina.
In harmony with what has been noticed of its history, Thessalonica has many remains 'of ecclesiastical antiquity. Leake says that in this respect it surpasses any other city in Greece. The church of greatest interest (now a mosque) is that of St. Sophia, built, according to tradition, like the church of the same name at Constantinople, in the reign of Justinian, and after the designs of the architect Anthemius. This church is often mentioned in the records of the Middle Ages, as in the letters of pope Innocent III, and in the account of the Norman siege. It remains very entire, and is fully described by Beaujour and Leake. The Church of St. Demetrius (apparently the third on the same site, and now also a mosque) is a structure of still greater size and beauty. Tafel believes that it was erected about the end of the 7th century; but Leake conjectures, from its architectural features; that it was built by the, Latins in the 13th. Tafel has collected with much diligence the notices of a great number of churches which have existed in Thessalonica. Dapper says that in his day the Greeks had the use of thirty churches. Walpole (in Clarke's Travels, 4:349) gives the number as sixteen. All travelers have noticed two ancient pulpits, consisting of "single blocks of variegated marble, with small steps cut in them," which are among the most interesting ecclesiastical remains of Thessalonica.
VII. Authorities. —The travelers who have described Thessalonica are numerous. The most important are Lucas, Second Voyage (1705); Pococke, Description of the East (1743-45); Beaujour, Tableau du Commerce de la Graec, translated into English (1800); Clarke, Travels in Europe, etc. (1810-23); Holland, Travels in the Ionian Isles, etc. (1815); Cousindry, Voyage dans la Macedoine (1831); Leake, Northern Greece (1835); Zacharia, Reise in dem Orient (1840); Griesbach, Reise durch
Rumelien (1841); Bowen, Mount Athos, Thessaly, and Epirus (1852); Dodd, in the Biblioth. —Sacra, 11:830; 18:845.
In the Memoires de Academie des Inscriptions, tom. 38 Sect. Hist. p. 121- 146, is an essay on the subject of Thessalonica by the abbé Belley. But the most elaborate work on the subject is that by Tafel, Hist. Thessalonicae usque ad A.D. 904, the first part of which was published at Tübingen in 1835; this was afterwards reprinted as Prolegomena to the Dissertatio de Thessalonica ejusque Agro Geographica (Berl. 1839). With this should be compared his work on the Via Egnatia. To these authorities we ought to add the introduction to some of the commentaries on Paul's Epistles to the Thessalonians-especially those of Koch (ibid. 1849) and Linemann (Gött. 1850). The early history of the Thessalonian Church is discussed by Burgerhoudt, De Coetu Chr. Thessal., Ort, Fatisque :(Leid. 1825). A good description of the modern place is given in Murray's Handbook for Greece, p. 455.