Sites & cities that bear the name of Farsala


Today in : Greece
First trace of activity : ca. 11th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Phthia?, Φάρσαλος, Pharsalos, Pharsalus, Φάρσαλα, Çatalca

Description : Farsala (Greek: Φάρσαλα), known in Antiquity as Pharsalos (Ancient Greek: Φάρσαλος, Latin: Pharsalus), is a city in southern Thessaly, in Greece. Farsala is located in the southern part of Larissa regional unit, and is one of its largest towns. Farsala is an economic and agricultural centre of the region. Cotton and livestock are the main agricultural products, and many inhabitants are employed in the production of textile. Farsala is famous for its distinctive halva, but even more so for its significance in ancient history. It is inhabited by a large Aromanian (Vlach) population. The Homeric Phthia of the Mycenaean period, capital of the Kingdom of the Myrmidons and of Peleus, father of Achilles, has sometimes been identified with the later city of Pharsalos (Greek: Φάρσαλος), now Farsala. A Cyclopean Wall which protected a city still exists today near modern Farsala, as does a vaulted tomb from that period. There is a theory that claimed the existence of an earlier Pharsalos in the form of a locality identified as Palaepharsalus. This is supported by excavated remains of a fortified site called Xylades near Enipeus, which is located in the easternmost part of the Pharsalian territory. This ancient site was also associated by accounts of ancient writers with a holy place dedicated to Thetis called Thetidium. For instance, Euripides used this as a setting for Andromache. Archaic era The Pharsalos of the historic era was built over a hillside of the Narthacius mountains at an elevation of some 160 m, where modern Farsala stands. It was one of the main cities in Thessaly and was the capital of the Phthian tetrarch. It was also a polis (city-state). Classical era In the Persian Wars it sided with the Athenians. A distinctive tribe of the city was that of Echecratidon. In 455 BC Pharsalos was besieged by the Athenian commander Myronides, after his victory in Boeotia, but without success.Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. 1.111. </ref> At the commencement of the Peloponnesian War, Pharsalus was one of the Thessalian towns that sent succour to the Athenians. Medius of Larissa took Pharsalus by force, about 395 BC. Pharsalus, under the conduct of Polydamas, resisted Jason of Pherae for a time, but subsequently formed an alliance with him. In the early 4th century BC, the city was a part of the Thessalian Commons. Later, it joined the Macedonian Kingdom under Philip II. The area became a theatre of war where the Aetolians and the Thessalians clashed with the Macedonians, especially during the Second and the Third Macedonian Wars. The city during the classical period was influential as demonstrated in the influence wielded by the tetrach Daochos, who ruled from Pharsalos. He was part of the Council of Amphictyonic League, administered the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, and conducted the Pythian Games. Daochos built several monuments at Pharsalos dedicated to members of his family. Parts of the eight portraits that survived showed classical style, depicting subjects in their youthful vigor. Hellenistic era In the war between Antiochus III and the Romans, Pharsalus was for a time in the possession of the Syrian monarch; but on the retreat of the latter, it surrendered to the consul Acilius Glabrio in 191 BC. Roman era After the defeat of the Macedonian Kingdom, Pharsalos and the whole area became a part of the Roman Republic. The whole area suffered great destruction during the Roman Civil War. The Battle of Pharsalus, where Julius Caesar defeated Pompey and changed the course of the Roman Republic forever, took place in 48 BC in the fields of the Pharsalian Plain. The geographer Strabo speaks of two towns, Old Pharsalos, Παλαιοφάρσαλος (Palaeopharsalos) and Pharsalos, existing in historical times. His statement (9.5.6) that the Thetideion, the temple to Thetis south of Scotussa, was “near both the Pharsaloi, the Old and the New”, seems to imply that Palaeopharsalos was not itself close by Pharsalos. Although the battle of 48 BC is called after Pharsalos, four ancient writers – the author of the Bellum Alexandrinum (48.1), Frontinus (Strategemata 2.3.22), Eutropius (20), and Orosius (6.15.27) – place it specifically at Palaeopharsalos. In 198 B.C. Philip V had sacked Palaeopharsalos (Livy 32.13.9). If that town had been close to Pharsalos he would have sacked both, and Livy would have written “Pharsalus” instead of “Palaeopharsalus”. The British scholar F. L. Lucas demonstrated (Annual of the British School at Athens, No. XXIV, 1919–21) that the battle of 48 BC must have been fought north of the Enipeus, near modern-day Krini. It has been suggested that Krini was built on the site of Palaeopharsalos, where the old road south from Larissa emerged from the hills on to the Pharsalian Plain. In the time of Pliny the Elder, Pharsalus was a free state. It is also mentioned by Hierocles in the sixth century.

See on map »