Herodotus on Thessaly

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  • Carlin
    Senior Member
    • Dec 2011
    • 3332

    Herodotus on Thessaly

    If Thessalians were Greek, if at all, they did not care much for the "Greek cause" during the war with the Persians. They cared for their own country and their own interests first thank you very much.

    The History of Herodotus, parallel English/Greek, tr. G. C. Macaulay, [1890], full text etext at sacred-texts.com

    The History of Herodotus, parallel English/Greek, tr. G. C. Macaulay, [1890], full text etext at sacred-texts.com




    The Thessalians demand surrender, and threaten to have the Persians overrun tiny Phocis, the site of the oracle at Delphi. The angry refusal of the Phocians is motivated by hatred of Thessaly, not by Panhellenic feeling.

    Notice the interesting translation: it says that the Thessalians, in the past, were on the Greek side solely out of their interest ("so long as it pleased us to be on that side"):

    Bearing then a grudge for both of these things, the Thessalians sent a herald and addressed them thus:

    "Phokians, we advise you to be more disposed now to change your minds and to admit that ye are not on a level with us: for in former times among the Hellenes, so long as it pleased us to be on that side, we always had the preference over you, and now we have such great power with the Barbarian that it rests with us to cause you to be deprived of your land and to be sold into slavery also. We however, though we have all the power in our hands, do not bear malice, but let there be paid to us fifty talents of silver in return for this, and we will engage to avert the dangers which threaten to come upon your land."


    30. Thus the Thessalians proposed to them; for the Phokians alone of all the people in those parts were not taking the side of the Medes, and this for no other reason, as I conjecture, but only because of their enmity with the Thessalians; and if the Thessalians had supported the cause of the Hellenes, I am of opinion that the Phokians would have been on the side of the Medes. When the Thessalians proposed this, they said that they would not give the money, and that it was open to them to take the Median side just as much as the Thessalians, if they desired it for other reasons; but they would not with their own will be traitors to Hellas.

    31. When these words were reported, then the Thessalians, moved with anger against the Phokians, became guides to the Barbarian to show him the way: and from the land of Trachis they entered Doris; for a narrow strip of the Dorian territory extends this way, about thirty furlongs in breadth, lying between Malis and Phokis, the region which was in ancient time called Dryopis; this land is the mother-country of the Dorians in Peloponnese. Now the Barbarians did not lay waste this land of Doris when they entered it, for the people of it were taking the side of the Medes, and also the Thessalians did not desire it.

    32. When however from Doris they entered Phokis, they did not indeed capture the Phokians themselves; for some of them had gone up to the heights of Parnassos,--and that summit of Parnassos is very convenient to receive a large number, which lies by itself near the city of Neon, the name of it being Tithorea,--to this, I say, some of them had carried up their goods and gone up themselves; but most of them had conveyed their goods out to the Ozolian Locrians, to the city of Amphissa, which is situated above the Crissaian plain. The Barbarians however overran the whole land of Phokis, for so the Thessalians led their army, and all that they came to as they marched they burned or cut down, and delivered to the flames both the cities and the temples:

    33. for they laid everything waste, proceeding this way by the river Kephisos, and they destroyed the city of Drymos by fire, and also the following, namely Charadra, Erochos, Tethronion, Amphikaia, Neon, Pedieis, Triteis, Elateia, Hyampolis, Parapotamioi and Abai, at which last-named place there was a temple of Apollo, wealthy and furnished with treasuries and votive offerings in abundance; and there was then, as there is even now, the seat of an Oracle there: this temple they plundered and burnt. Some also of the Phokians they pursued and captured upon the mountains, and some women they did to death by repeated outrage.


    Were Ancient Thessalians bilingual/multilingual? Strabo stated that certain parts of Thessaly were held by Thracians. Also, there were a few Epirote tribes which were incorporated into Thessaly. It wouldn't be too hard to speculate and propose that Thessalians were a mix of Thracians, Epirotes, Hellenes, and (perhaps) others.
    Last edited by Carlin; 09-30-2012, 11:47 AM.
  • Epirot
    Member
    • Mar 2010
    • 399

    #2
    Originally posted by Carlin View Post

    Were Ancient Thessalians bilingual/multilingual? Strabo stated that certain parts of Thessaly were held by Thracians. Also, there were a few Epirote tribes which were incorporated into Thessaly. It wouldn't be too hard to speculate and propose that Thessalians were a mix of Thracians, Epirotes, Hellenes, and (perhaps) others.
    If we are to believe the ancient testimonies, then southern Thessaly is the cradle of the Hellenic nation. Be that as it may, Thessaly was engulfed by northern invasions, i.e Illyrians & Thracians who held a certain part of its territory until the classical period. That's why Thessaly has been excluded from Hellas by Dionysis:


    P.S: I took the scanned image from an Albanian forum
    IF OUR CHRONICLES DO NOT LIE, WE CALL OURSELVES AS EPIROTES!

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    • Carlin
      Senior Member
      • Dec 2011
      • 3332

      #3
      More on the Thracians.

      Not sure where to put the following info, might as well add it here (since according to Strabo, Thracians in his time held significant parts of Thessaly). Let's see if the Thracians appear further south.

      Quotes from "A History of Boeotia", By Robert J. Buck

      Robert Buck's history examines the archaeological record, takes a fresh look at what the ancients said about the Boeotians and at the references of classicists of more recent times, retells the legends, and reconstructs the history of the region from the heroic Bronze Age to the Pelopponesian War.


      Summary:

      - Invasions & expulsions by fierce attackers, variously named Phlegyians, Pelasgi, or Thracians. Phlegyians were held to be of Thracian stock, while Thracians a Pelasgian people [it seems that, Thracians = Pelasgians].
      - Presence in Classical Greece of Thracian cults, divinities, or Thracian traces in various cults, in Boeotia and Arcadia.
      - Thracian place-names, notably in Malis, Attica, Euboea and Arcadia; simple explanation: presence of Thracians in these regions.
      - Memory survived of fights with invading Thracians, fights in Phocis, Boeotia, western Attica and Megara at times close to the Trojan War.
      - Thracians were believed to have maintained their grip for a time in Phocis and western Boeotia.

      Conclusion: ancient Hellenes, notably Boeotians and Arcadians (and others), had a significant Thracian admixture.

      Some of the most notable and famous ancient Thracian Hellenes: Thucydides, Themistocles, Cimon.

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      • Carlin
        Senior Member
        • Dec 2011
        • 3332

        #4
        - To the Athenian mind Thessaly was also foreign. Having colluded with the Persians during their second invasion of mainland Greece, the Thessalians were likewise referred to as barbarians.

        - Thessaly followed a course of development strangely remote from the main channel of Greek civilization.

        - During the prehistoric period Thessaly was ‘largely independent of external influences’ 15 and was more akin to its northern neighbours than its southern. Mycenaean civilisation had little influence, with the
        exception of Phthia and Iolcus in the southeast, as the Homeric catalogue attests 16. Throughout the prehistoric period Thessaly’s culture differed greatly from the south. Without the Mycenaean and civilising influences Thessaly ‘always continued in a backward and barbarous state of civilisation’ 17.

        - From the prehistoric period to the 4th century BCE Thessaly’s development was a complete contrast to the progress in southern Greece.

        - Thessaly was geographically ostracised from the Greek world in the
        pre-classical period:

        Thessaly never became completely Hellenized and was regarded rather as a bulwark against the barbarian north than as a genuine and fully privileged member of the Hellenic world. 47

        - The Athenian accusation of untrustworthiness was also political. Trust in the Thessalians had been broken. In 462 Thessaly had forged an alliance with Athens. Before the development of their own cavalry, the Athenians relied on their Thessalian allies for support since they were ‘famed for their skill as cavalrymen’. 104 When Thessaly’s help was needed against Sparta, the Thessalian cavalry deserted its allies at Tanagara in favour of the Spartans. 105 During the same campaign the Thessalian cavalry were openly hostile towards the Athenians and attacked an Athenian supply train in a premeditated raid. 106
        This was not the first time Athens had felt betrayed by Thessaly. During the Persian wars Thessaly had ‘medized’ 107. Even before Persia marched through Thessaly in 480 BCE, Herodotus suggests a Thessalian contingent journeyed to Persia to offer their support and ‘to promise all the assistance which it was in their power to give’ the Persians for an invasion of Greece. He suggests this support may have contributed to the Persian decision to invade Greece. 108 Xerxes’ army marched
        through Thessaly on its assault of southern Greece. After their defeat at Salamis Mardonios, the Persian general, along with the Persian army wintered in Thessaly where there was ample food and shelter.

        - The Persian invasion helped to consolidate the Greek notion of barbarian and ‘other’:

        The all-embracing genus of anti-Greeks later to be termed ‘the barbarians’ does not appear until the fifth century. 114

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        • momce
          Banned
          • Oct 2012
          • 426

          #5
          Interesting. Do you think what later become known as hellenes were already a mixed lot and the hellenes were just a special development of an underlying mixed mass...that way you can see hellenic as more of a cultural term even in the ancient world

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          • Carlin
            Senior Member
            • Dec 2011
            • 3332

            #6
            Originally posted by momce View Post
            Interesting. Do you think what later become known as hellenes were already a mixed lot and the hellenes were just a special development of an underlying mixed mass...that way you can see hellenic as more of a cultural term even in the ancient world
            Not only do I think that the Classical Hellenes were a mixed people, I am of the 'belief' that the Hellenes (even as late as, say, 4th century B.C.) were primarily a multi-ethnic religious community that was likely bilingual or trilingual in certain communities.

            I am reading Herodotus again - and with a completely new and different approach and frame of mind. When a person is conditioned to think a certain way all his life, it's hard to look at things differently. However, now when I see phrases in Herodotus (who was of Carian stock, but a proud Greek) such as "Greek family of nations", that's a red flag for me.

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            • momce
              Banned
              • Oct 2012
              • 426

              #7
              Interesting I see where your line of thought is going should be very fruitful. The cultic aspect is very interesting; some thoughts: could be the ancient "greeks" were a religious cult that brought their hybrid culture from elsewhere(here I mean only the priesthood etc and the cultic leaders and retinues) whereas the mass was something different(note theres no such thing as mass society in the ancient world). So you may be able to throw out any connection betwen ancient greek culture and tribal development(which may or may not be Hellenic-consider the difference proto-Hellenic, Hellenic, Anatolian is blurred; does Myceanean explain the bridge doubtful, or consider the explanation of the greek dark ages that explains all these discontinuities is mostly forced and extrapolated-i.e merely a hypothesis). Also, political and religious consolidation within the "hellenic" areas of the southern Balkans may explain alot, including the fabricatory quality of processes.
              Last edited by momce; 01-01-2013, 06:07 AM.

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              • Carlin
                Senior Member
                • Dec 2011
                • 3332

                #8

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                • Carlin
                  Senior Member
                  • Dec 2011
                  • 3332

                  #9
                  "The Acheans remained masters of Thessaly until they were driven out or subdued by the Thessalians, an Illyrian tribe, who crossed the Pindus according to traditional chronology in 1124 B.C."

                  -- The Early Age of Greece, Volume II, Sir William Ridgeway

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                  • Amphipolis
                    Banned
                    • Aug 2014
                    • 1328

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Carlin15 View Post
                    "The Acheans remained masters of Thessaly until they were driven out or subdued by the Thessalians, an Illyrian tribe, who crossed the Pindus according to traditional chronology in 1124 B.C."

                    -- The Early Age of Greece, Volume II, Sir William Ridgeway
                    Eeh... traditional chronology in Greece starts at 776 BC. I don't think there are any sources setting ANY event 248(!) years before the beginning of time.

                    Just, HOW do you find this shit?

                    Comment

                    • Soldier of Macedon
                      Senior Member
                      • Sep 2008
                      • 13675

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Amphipolis View Post
                      Eeh... traditional chronology in Greece starts at 776 BC. I don't think there are any sources setting ANY event 248(!) years before the beginning of time.
                      The difference is 348, not 248 (!). And the Iliad was supposedly written in the late 700's B.C. yet refers to events that purportedly took place centuries earlier. Questions about its historicity notwithstanding, do you not consider that a source?
                      In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

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                      • Carlin
                        Senior Member
                        • Dec 2011
                        • 3332

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Amphipolis View Post
                        Eeh... traditional chronology in Greece starts at 776 BC. I don't think there are any sources setting ANY event 248(!) years before the beginning of time.

                        Just, HOW do you find this shit?
                        Well, Sir William Ridgeway was an accomplished and respected classical scholar. He contributed articles to the Encyclopedia Biblica (1903), Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) and wrote The Origin of Metallic Currency and Weight Standards (1892), and The Early Age of Greece (1901) which were significant works in Archaeology and Anthropology.



                        What do you think of the assertion that Thessalians were Illyrians?

                        Another book is cited there (from 1921), "A Companion to Latin Studies":

                        "...whilst there is no doubt that the Thessali, who gave their name to Thessaly, and the Dorians themselves, were Illyrian tribes."
                        Last edited by Carlin; 04-20-2021, 11:17 AM.

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                        • Amphipolis
                          Banned
                          • Aug 2014
                          • 1328

                          #13
                          Yes, he sounds like embarrassingly idiot. I understand this is 19th Century Science, but still I can't even imagine where these dates came from.

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                          • Amphipolis
                            Banned
                            • Aug 2014
                            • 1328

                            #14
                            And there's more:

                            In The Early Age of Greece (1901), Ridgeway introduced the controversial theory that Homeric Achaeans were Celts who invaded Greece about two generations before the Trojan War and learned Greek from the Aegean peoples, and that the civilisation described by Homer belonged to the Early Iron Age. Discouraged by criticism, especially bearing on his insubstantial definition of Celts for purposes of the theory, he did not publish the second volume, which finally appeared in the form of separate essays edited by AJB Wace in 1926.

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