Triton XV BCD Thessaly Virtual Catalog

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ratidas of Pharsalos. While this appointment signalled the rise of Pharsalos in Thessalian politics, it would be more than six decades before another Pharsalian, Daochos, who ruled until 413 BC, was appointed to that position. By the beginning of the fourth century BC, the city of Pherai had also risen to prominence. Because of its control of the port city of Pagasai, Pherai became the economic nexus between the agricultural wealth of central Thessaly and the overseas markets. Because of this influx of great wealth and with a merchant class in control of its political affairs, Pherai strove to extend its control throughout all of Thessaly (Xen. Hell. 2.3.4; Diod. Sic. 14.82). On 4 September 404 BC, the Pheraians, under the command of Lykophron I, defeated the Aleuadai-led forces, driving many of their members into exile and replacing their rule in Larissa with a more moderate oligarchy. Until his death in about 390 BC, Lykophron struggled to maintain his control of Thessaly against those exiles. The leader of the Aleuadan opposition was Aristippos, whose operations had the financial backing of the Persian prince, Cyrus the Younger (Xen. An. 1.1.10). Following Lykophron’s death, Jason, the son (or son-in-law) of Lykophron, was given control of Pherai and command of its forces against the opposition (Xen. Hell. 6.4.24). By 375 BC, Jason had brought most of Thessaly under his control. The one exception was Pharsalos, which was under the supreme control of Polydamas (see above). To avoid war (and because the hoped-for assistance of Sparta never materialized), Polydamas concluded an agreement with Jason, making the ruler of Pherai tagos of Thessaly. Under Jason’s command was a force of 20,000 infantry and 8,000 cavalry, then the largest military force in Greece. Bolstered by this force, Jason sought to expand his influence beyond Thessaly. To achieve that aim, he entered into alliances with Macedon, Thebes, and Athens. At the Battle of Leuktra in 371 BC, his arrival with the Thessalian army prevented the Spartan relief force under Archidamos from engaging in battle and persuaded the Thebans not to continue attacking the Spartan survivors, an action which prevented an even greater Spartan defeat. On his way home through Phokis, however, Jason devastated the town of Hyampeia and destroyed the fortifications of the Spartan colony at Herakleia Trachineia, thereby giving him open access to central Greece (Xen. Hell. 6.4.27; Diod. Sic. 15.57.2). Jason’s rule became such a threat that while he was on his way to Delphi to lead the Pythian Games in 370 BC, he was assassinated by a group of Thessalian nobles during a cavalry revue. In the immediate aftermath of Jason’s assassination, the succession to rule of Pherai was clouded by political murder and increased tyranny. Depending on the sources (cf. Diod. Sic. 15.60-61 and Xen. Hell. 6.4.34), initially, Jason’s two brothers - first Polydoros and then Alexander or Polyphron (after they murdered Polydoros) - ruled Pherai. Polyphron used his position to order the murder of Polydamas of Pharsalos, along with eight other nobles of that city. In 369 BC, Polyphron was himself murdered by his nephew, Alexander. Alexander appears to have been truly tyrannical. Although Thessaly had been willing to submit to Jason, they were not as willing to submit to Alexander, who demanded all that Jason had had. As a result, the Thessalian nobility (especially the Aleuadai) appealed to Alexander II of Macedon for assistance. This was not the first time that Macedon had intervened in the affairs of Thessaly, but this particular appeal for help set into motion the beginning of the eventual absorption of Thessaly into the Macedonian Empire. Anticipating what Alexander of Pherai would do, Alexander II of Macedon gained control of Larissa and Krannon (among other cities) and forced Alexander of Pherai to retreat back to his home city of Pherai. The Macedonian king, however, personally withdrew from Thessaly, leaving behind only garrisons as a preventative measure (or so he thought). Fearing that Alexander of Pherai would take revenge on them, now that Alexander II of Macedon was no longer there, the Thessalians then appealed to Thebes. In early 368 BC, the Thebans sent a military force commanded by Pelopidas. The military successes of Thebes, including the capture of Larissa by Pelopidas, forced Alexander to present himself to the Theban commander as a sign of submission. Pelopidas, however, soon became angry when he began hearing reports of the cruelty of the tyrant. Worrying for his safety, Alexander of Pherai successfully escaped from Theban custody. During his time in Thessaly, Pelopidas also marched into Macedon and settled the Macedonian succession crisis following the assassination of Alexander II. As part of the terms of of the settlement, Alexander’s younger brother, Philip (later Philip II), was sent as a hostage to Thebes (for the potential historical implications of Phillip’s connection with Thebes and Epaminondas, and its effect on Thessaly, see BCD Boiotia 540 note). Later that same year, Pelopidas again returned to Thessaly as an intermediary, but was captured by Alexander of Pherai (with the assistance of Athenian auxiliaries) and thrown into prison. To rescue him, Thebes sent a large army, which included Epaminondas (though not as commander), into Thessaly. In 367 BC, Alexander displayed particularly arbitrary cruelty against the city of Skotussa for some unknown reason - he summoned its citizens to an assembly and, having surrounded them with mercenaries, slew them all, casting the bodies of the dead into the ditch in front of the walls, and plundered the entire city (Diod. Sic. 15.75). At the same time, the Thebans sent another expedition - this time with Epaminondas as commander - to attempt again a rescue of Pelopidas. Alexander offered little resistance and released the prisoners. Over the next three years, Alexander attempted to capture Magnesia and Phthiotis, once again forcing Thebes to intervene. In the summer of 364 BC, a Theban army, again under the control of Pelopidas, invaded Thessaly. At Kynoskephalai, Alexander was defeated (though Pelopidas was killed). With a second Theban victory, Alexander was compelled to relinquish the conquered towns, confine himself to Pherai, and become a member of the Boiotian League and a dependent of Thebes. Following the death of Epaminondas at the Battle of Mantineia in 362 BC and the political confusion that followed, Alexander added one more colorful chapter to his checkered career by turning pirate against the Cyclades and Sporades. He went so far as to land troops in Attica and seize Panormos (which he subsequently relieved when it was blockaded by the Athenians), and even plundered the Piraeus, capturing several triremes there. In 358/7 BC, Alexander was murdered by Tisiphonos and Lykophron, the brothers of his wife, Thebe. They briefly became joint tyrants of Pherai and appear to have attempted to reclaim Pherai’s dominance of Thessaly. Once more, Macedon would become involved in the affairs of Thessaly. The intervention of Macedon into Thessalian affairs under Philip II began a new chapter in the history of Thessaly, as that region eventually became a part of the rising Macedonian Empire. Before the reign of Philip II, the Thessalian nobles periodically appealed to the Kingdom of Macedon for assistance in their internal affairs. Macedonian intervention, however, was often brief and limited, and the Macedonians were accustomed to leave behind occupying garrisons. Philip II was different, for he saw Macedonian intervention as an opportunity to expand his empire. Such was the case in Thessaly when, once again, the Thessalian nobles (led by the Aleuadai) called upon Macedon to help them check the successors of Alexander of Pherai. 10