), a commander or
ruler, was more particularly the name applied to the chief magistrate of
Thessaly, and to magistrates of the Thessalian towns, at various periods of
the history of that country. Under this head it is proposed to give a short
account of the constitution of Thessaly.
The Thessalians are said to have been an Epirot tribe, which crossed the
Pindus, conquered the country to which it subsequently gave its name, and
either drove out or reduced to subjection the original inhabitants (Hdt. 7.176
; Diod. 4.57
). They [p. 2.756]
seem to have settled originally in that part of Thessaly known
xxii. p. 262), and soon after to have completed the
conquest of Πλασγιῶτις,
for it was to
these two districts that the Penestae, who were the remains of the earliest
of the native tribes which submitted to their dominion, belonged (Archemach.
ap. Athen. 6.264
; see PENESTAE
). They then completed
the conquest of the rest of Thessaly, and reduced the neighbouring tribes of
Achaeans, Perrhaebi, and Magnetes, with which they had been long at war
2.9, 2), to the condition of
permanent dependencies (ὑπήκοοι,
; see PERIOECI
The princes who led the Thessalians to their new homes across the Pindus
were, like the leaders of the Dorian invasion, Heracleidae (Pind. P. 1.10
Hom. Il. 2.679
ii. p. 260). As the Heracleidae were found at Sparta
in the families of the Agids and Eurypontids, and at Corinth in that of the
Bacchiadae, so in Thessaly they were represented chiefly by the Aleuadae and
Scopadae; and it is with the names first of Aleuas and later of Scopas that
the organisation of Thessaly is connected. Thessaly appears as a united
whole under the rule of Aleuas the Redhaired (Ἀλεύας ὁ Πύρρος
), a semi-mythical personage, to whom no
date can even approximately be assigned (Plut. de Fr. am.
Ael. de Nat. anim.
8.11). We are told, on the authority of
Aristotle, that he divided the country into the four districts of
Thessaliotis, Phthiotis, Pelasgiotis, and Histiaeotis, which were called
(Harpocrat. s. v. τετραρχία:
Phot., Suid., s.v. Strabo. ix. p.
430). This division, which was probably based on some preceding natural
division due to the mode in which the country had been conquered, continued
unchanged to the latest times; and that it was not merely nominal, but had a
material significance of the nature of which we are ignorant, is shown by
the frequency with which it asserted itself as a real element in the
Thessalian constitution. Aleuas is also said to have fixed certain regular
military contingents, enjoining each κλῆρος,
which was perhaps a subdivision of the τετράς,
to furnish forty horsemen and eighty
hoplites (Arist. ap. Schol. vac. in Eur. Rhes.
307). We are
further told that the tribute to be paid by the subject states was fixed by
a certain Scopas (Xen. Hell. 6.1
, προεῖπε δὲ καὶ
τοῖς περιοίκοις πᾶσι τὸν ψόρον ὥσπερ ἐπὶ Σκόπα τεταγμένος
), who is assigned by modern authorities to the
first half of the sixth century B.C. (Gilbert, Staatsalt.
p. 8; Buttmann, Abh. der Berl. Akad.
1832, p. 190 sq.
From this time to the Persian wars Gilbert thinks that there was always a
king of Thessaly, and that he was chosen from the Heracleidae, though not
always from the same family of this race. Herodotus calls the Aleuadae
“kings of Thessaly” at the time of the Persian invasion
), and he also states that in 510
B.C. Thessaly as a united whole (κοινῇ γνωμῇ
) sent their king Κινέην
Stein) to help the Pisistratidae (Hdt. 5.63
). As late as 454 B.C. we find a certain
Orestes of Pharsalus called king of Thessaly (Thuc.
), and even at this period Thessaly may have been a united
nation, and the noble families have still considered. themselves vassals to
a king of their own race and perhaps of their own choosing. There is no
evidence to show that the names βασιλεὺς
were interchangeable; ταηὸς
may have been one of the titles of the
monarch, as “dictator” and “magister populi” were
probably amongst the titles of the ancient kings of Rome; and as the king at
Athens became the. ἄρχων,
so in Thessaly
he may have become the ταηός
ii. p. 275). The office was a temporary
resumption of the monarchy, chiefly in respect of its military authority,
and was created for the purpose of uniting the independent states of
Thessaly for some common purpose. The Tagus was apparently elected by a
majority of the states (Xen. Hell. 6.1
) and the whole military force of the
country was placed under his command: the surrounding tribes, which seem,
after the fall of the monarchy, to have been dependent on particular states,
as the Perrhaebi in Larisa (Strabo, p. 440), were all brought under the
control of this temporary central government (Xen.
, πάντα τὰ κύκλῳ ἔθνη ὑπήκοα μὲν ἐστιν, ὅταν
ταηὸς ἐνθάδε καταστῇ
). The tribute (ψόρος
), which they seem usually to have paid to the
particular states on which they were directly dependent (Strabo, l.c.
), was now exacted for the common purposes of
the league (Xen. Hell. 6.1
); and they were made to furnish
light-armed troops, which the Tagus levied (ib. 6.1, 9). At the same time he
raised the greatest force which the free states of Thessaly were capable of
affording, and which amounted on these occasions to 6,000 cavalry and more
than 10,000 infantry (Xen. Hell. 6.1
But such a union of the states of Thessaly was rarely realised; and we meet
with no actual instance of the appointment of a Tagus until after the
Peloponnesian war. It is not known when the monarchy came to an end, but it
probably continued, in name at least, down to the year 454 B.C. (Thuc. 1.111
); it was followed by a general
break--up of the union of Thessaly; and though the words of Thucydides
τὸ πάντων κοινόν,
may point to some
loose confederacy or common council, and though there seems to have been a
strong common democratic sentiment running through the whole country, yet
the different states were largely independent of one another and almost
entirely under the control of their separate hereditary oligarchies (Thuc.
). Thus Larisa was governed by the Aleuadae,
Cranon by the Scopadae, and Pharsalus by the Creondae (Hdt. 6.127
; Diod. 15.61
; Schol. in Theocr. 16.34). The Aleuadae and
Scopadae we know were related (Tab. 512
ii. p. 270), and perhaps most of the great
families of Thessaly were connected, at least by being Heraclidae, and
therefore of the original royal race, if not by being offshoots of the
Aleuadae, who, we are told, ruled in many cities (Pind. P. 10
ἐν δ᾽ ἀγαθοῖσι κεῖται πατρωΐαι κεδναὶ πολίων
). Sometimes a powerful state, like Pharsalus,
extended its rule over other smaller cities (Xen.
), but each of the
larger states seems to have been practically independent both in foreign and
domestic politics. In 431 B.C., at the
commencement [p. 2.757]
of the Peloponnesian war, we find
that each of the cities which sent help to the Athenians appointed its own
commander, and that the forces from Larisa were led by two generals, each
chosen from a separate clan or faction in the city (ἀπὸ τῆς στάσεως ἑκάτερος,
); and we also find nobles, like Menon
of Pharsalus in 364 B.C., arming their Penestae
and taking an independent part in the wars of foreign nations (Dem.
§ 238). These instances point to
the disorganised condition of Thessaly, which was indeed a noted
characteristic of the country throughout its history (Liv. 34.51
). The towns were under the control of a feudal
nobility, who maintained their power the more easily through the
preponderance of cavalry amongst the Thessalians, which their wealth and the
character of the country enabled them to support, and the comparative
unimportance of the ὁπλῖται
4.3, 3; Thuc.
; Hdt. 5.63
; Dem. l.c.
). The country was distracted at once by
clan-feuds and by the struggles of the democracy against the dominant
castes. In some states a compromise was for a time effected, as at Larisa,
where a mediator (ἄρχων μεσίδιος
) was at
one time called in to allay the feuds in the ruling family (Arist. Pol.
5.6, 13), and where different magistrates of a
democratic character, called πολιτοψύλακες
were appointed, to satisfy
the claims of the popular party (ib. 5.6, 6, 3.2, 2; Etym. M.
s. v. δημιουργός
The rule of the nobility continued until the close of the Peloponnesian war;
and it was not until 404 B.C. that the democratical reaction became strong
enough to cause its overthrow. In this year Lycophron of Pherae attempted to
raise himself to the position of Tagus of Thessaly (Xen. Hell. 2.3
). Unable to
secure his election by constitutional means, he made himself tyrant (Diod. 14.82
), and attempted to unite the whole of
Thessaly under his sway. This object was actually accomplished by his
successor Jason in 375 B.C. (Xen. Hell. 6.1
); but after the assassination of
the latter in 370 B.C., his successors Polydorus,
Polyphron, and Alexander of Pherae were unable to maintain the
constitutional hegemony, and the office of Tagus developed into an irregular
tyranny (Xen. Hell. 6.4
), for the suppression of which the aid of the Thebans under
Pelopidas was repeatedly called in.
Meanwhile we find that, about 364 B.C., an attempt
was made at a reconstruction of the constitution of united Thessaly, for the
purpose of joint action against Alexander of Pherae. We find again the
κοινὸν τῶν πετταλῶν,
composed of the
(C. I. A.
n. 88). At its head stood an ἄρχων,
seems to have had its πολέμαρχοι,
for the command of the foot-soldiers and ἵππαρχοι
for the command of the cavalry, and
other officers, apparently of a religious character, called λ̔ερομνήμονες
(C. I. A.
88, where πολέμαρχοι
are mentioned; Dittenberger, n. 85--a
treaty of alliance between Athens and Thessaly in 361 B.C.--50.17, τὸ κοινὸν τὸ θετταλῶν--τὸν ἄρχοντα ὃν εἵλοντο
Ἀγέλαον τὸν ἄρχοντα καὶ τοὺς πολεμάρχους καὶ τοὺς ἱππάρχους
καὶ τοὺς ἱππέας καὶ τοὺς λερομνήμονας καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους
ἄρχοντας, ὅποσοι ὑπὲρ τὸ κοινὸ τὸ θετταλῶν
). But this independent organisation was not of long
duration. The subsequent usurpations of Sisiphorus and Lycophron induced the
aristocracy to call in the assistance of Philip of Macedon, who deprived
Lycophron of his power in 352 B.C. (Dem. Olynth.
19.7); and this interference in the affairs of Thessaly paved the way for
its subjection to Macedonia, which was effected in 344 B.C.
Philip re-organised the country by instituting tetrarchies (τετραρχίαι,
120.35; Harpocr. s. v.) and decarchies (δεκαδαρχίαι,
ii. p. 71.24); but it is
doubtful whether these two modes of organisation were coexistent, and, if
so, what relation the latter bore to the former. The tetrarchy was no doubt
a re-institution of the division into τετράδες:
and the decarchy has been variously explained as a
council of ten under which each of the principal cities was placed, or as a
similar council which governed each of the four divisions, or as a supreme
council which was invested with the government of the whole country: this
last alternative being on the whole the most probable (Dem. l.c.
τὴν καθεστῶσαν νῦν δεκαδαρχίαν:
Whiston's note in loc.
). Thessaly remained
henceforth dependent on the Macedonian kings until the year 196 B.C., when the Romans, by the victory of
Cynoscephalae, wrested it from Philip V., and restored the autonomy of the
From this time we get a renewal of the alliance of the Thessalian states
); at the head of this
confederacy stood a στρατηγός,
yearly, and we find the names of such στρατηγοὶ
recorded both in inscriptions and on coins
31.1876, pp. 256, 257). The tribes formerly
dependent on Thessaly--the Dolopes, Perrhaebi, and Magnetes--were now
constituted as independent states (Liv. 33.34
see Mommsen, Staatsr.
iii. p. 658, n. 1): thus we find that
the Magnetes had a general council of their own ( “Magnetum consilium,”
), and a supreme magistrate who bore
the title Magnetarches
and 43). The constitution of the separate Thessalian
states, as they were organised by T. Quintius Flamininus, was of a
timocratic character (Liv. 34.51
, “a cursu
maxime et senatum et judices legit, potentioremque eam partem civitatium
fecit, cui salva et tranquilla omnia magis expediebant” ). On the
occasions when the states were summoned to discuss measures which concerned
the whole of Thessaly, the general council met at Larisa (Liv. 35.31
“Thessalorum Larissae fuit consilium” ).
During the Macedonian and Roman rule we find the word ταγὸς
occurring frequently as a title of the magistrates of
the Thessalian states; it is found in the fourth century B.C. at Pharsalus
and Cranon (Cauer, nn. 395 and 400), in the third century at Larisa (Cauer,
n. 409 B.C. 219 and 214), and about the year 196, at the commencement of the
period of Roman rule, at Cyretiae (C. I. G.
n. 1770). At
Larisa and Cyretiae they were the chief magistrates; thus letters of Philip
V. of Macedon and of T. Quintius Flamininus are addressed τοῖς ταγοῖς καὶ τῇ πόλει χαίρειν
n. 409; C. I. G.
n. 1770): in other states they appear as
directing the proceedings [p. 2.758]
of the ἐκκλησία,
and as the executive and finance
officers (Cauer, n. 386 a, τροστατεύοντος τᾶς
ἐκκλησίας τᾶν ταγῶν ψίλωνος:
ii. p. 15). [Gilbert, Handb. der Griech.
ii. pp. 5-16; Buttmann, Mythologus,
No. xxii. (Von dem Geschlecht der Aleuaden
de Thessaliae incolis antiqu.,
Frankf. 1829; Hoew,
de Thessalia Macedonum imperio subjecta,
Gryphiae, 1829; Schömann, Antiq. Jur.> publ.
p. 401; C. F. Hermann, Political Antiquities of
(Eng. trans.), § 178; Wachsmuth, Hellen.
1.2.60, p. 106; Duncker, History of
(Eng. trans.), bk. ii. ch. v.]