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LARISSA (Λάρισσα, but on coins and inscr Λάρισα or Λάρεισα: Eth.Λαρισσαῖος, Eth. Λαρισαῖος), a name common to many Pelasgic towns, and probably a Pelasgic word signifying city. (Comp. Strab. xiii. p.620; Dionys. A. R. 1.21; Niebuhr, Hist. of Rome, vol. i. note 60.) Hence in mythology Larissa is represented as the daughter of Pelasgus (Paus. 2.24. [p. 2.127] § 1), or of Piasus, a Pelasgian prince. (Strab. xiv. p.621.)


An important town of Thessaly, the capital of the district Pelasgiotis, was situated in a fertile plain upon a. gently rising ground, on the right or south bank of the Peneius. It had a strongly fortified citadel. (Diod. 15.61.) Larissa is not mentioned by Homer. Some commentators, however, suppose it to be the same as the Pelasgic Argos of Homer (Hom. Il. 2.681), but the latter was the name of a district rather than of a town. Others, with more probability, identify it with the Argissa of the poet. (Il. 2.738.) [See Vol. I. p. 209.] Its foundation was ascribed to Acrisius. (Steph. B. sub voce The plain of Larissa was formerly inhabited by the Perrhaebi, who were partly expelled by the Larissaeans, and partly reduced to subjection. They continued subject to Larissa, till Philip made himself master of Thessaly. (Strab. ix. p.440.) The constitution of Larissa was democratical (Aristot. Pol. 5.6), and this was probably one reason why the Larissaeans were allies of the Athenians during the Peloponnesian War. (Thuc. 2.22.) During the Roman wars in Greece, Larissa is frequently mentioned as a place of importance. It was here that Philip, the son of Demetrius, kept all his royal papers during his campaign against Flamininus in Greece; but after the battle of Cynoscephalae, in B.C. 197, he was obliged to abandon Larissa to the Romans, having previously destroyed these documents. (Plb. 18.16.) It was still in the hands of the Romans when Antiochus crossed over into Greece, B.C. 191, and this king made an ineffectual attempt upon the town. (Liv. 36.10.) In the time of Strabo Larissa continued to be a flourishing town (ix. p. 430). It is mentioned by Hierocles in the sixth century as the first town in Thessaly (p. 642, ed. Wessel.). It is still a considerable place, the residence of an archbishop and a pasha, and containing 30,000 inhabitants. It continues to bear its ancient name, though the Turks call it Yenishehér, which is its official appellation. Its circumference is less than three miles. Like other towns in Greece, which have been continually inhabited, it presents few remains of Hellenic times. They are chiefly found in the Turkish cemeteries, consisting of plain quadrangular stones, fragments of columns, mostly fluted, and a great number of ancient cippi and sepulchral stelae, which now serve for Turkish tombstones. (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. i. p. 439, seq.)



LARISSA CREMASTE ( Κρεμαστὴ Λάρισσα), a town of Thessaly of less importance than the preceding one, was situated in the district of Phthiotis, at the distance of 20 stadia from the Maliac gulf, upon a height advancing in front of Mount Othrys. (Strab. ix. p.435.) It occupied the side of the hill. and was hence surnamed Cremaste, as hanging on the side of Mt. Othrys, to distinguish it from the more celebrated Larissa, situated in a plain. Strabo also describes it as well watered and producing vines (ix. p. 440). The same writer adds that it was surnamed Pelasgia as well as Cremaste (l.c.). From its being situated in the dominions of Achilles, some writers suppose that the Roman poets give this hero the surname of Larissaeus, but this epithet is perhaps used generally for Thessalian. Larissa Cremaste was occupied by Demetrius Poliorcetes in B.C. 302, when he was at war with Cassander. (Diod. 20.110.) It was taken by Apustius in the first war between the Romans and Philip, B.C. 200 (Liv. 31.46), and again fell into the hands of the Romans in the war with Perseus, B.C. 171. (Liv. 42.56, 57.) The ruins of the ancient city are situated upon a steep hill, in the valley of Gardhíki, at a direct distance of five or six miles from Khamcáko. The walls are very conspicuous on the western side of the hill, where several courses of masonry remain. Gell says that there are the fragments of a Doric temple upon the acropolis, but of these Leake makes no mention. (Gell, Itinerary of Greece, p. 252; Dodwell, Travels, vol. ii. p. 81; Leake, Northern Greece, vol. iv. p. 347.)


The citadel of Argos, [Vol. I. p. 202.]

hide References (12 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (12):
    • Aristotle, Politics, 5.1306b
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.61
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.738
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.24
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.681
    • Polybius, Histories, 18.16
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.22
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 42, 56
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 36, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 42, 57
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 46
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 20.110
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