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PHERAE (Φέραι: Eth. Φεραῖος, Eth. Pheraeus).


One of the most ancient cities of Thessaly, was situated in the SE. corner of Pelasgiotis, W. of the lake Boebeis, and 90 stadia from Pagasae, which served as its harbour. (Strab. 9.436.) It was celebrated in mythology as the residence of Admetus and his son Eumelus, the latter of whom led from Pherae and the neighbouring towns eleven ships to the Trojan War. (Hom. Il. 2.711-715.) Pherae was one of the Thessalian towns which assisted the Athenians at the commencement of the Peloponnesian War. (Thuc. 2.22.) At this time it was under the government of an aristocracy; but towards the end of the war Lycophron established a tyranny at Pherae, and aimed at the dominion of all Thessaly. His designs were carried into effect by his son Jason, who was elected Tagus or general-issimo of Thessaly about B.C. 374, and exercised an important influence in the affairs of Greece. He had so firmly established his power, that, after his assassination in B.C. 370, he was succeeded in the office of Tagus by his two brothers Polydorus and Polyphron. The former of these was shortly afterwards assassinated by the latter; and Polyphron was murdered in his turn by Alexander, who was either his nephew or his brother. Alexander governed his native city and Thessaly with great cruelty till B.C. 359, when he likewise was put to death by his wife Thebe and her brothers. Two of these brothers, Tisiphonus and Lycophron, successively held the supreme power, till at length in B.C. 352 Lycophlron was deposed by Philip, king of Macedon, and Pherae, with the rest of Thessaly, became virtually subject to Macedonia. (For details and authorities see the Dict. of Biogr. under the respective names above mentioned.)

In B.C. 191 Pherae surrendered to Antiochus, king of Syria, but it shortly afterwards fell into the hands of the Roman consul Acilius. (Liv. 36.9, 14.) Situated at the end of the Pelasgian plain, Pherae possessed a fertile territory. The city was surrounded with plantations, gardens, and walled enclosures. (Plb. 18.3.) Stephanus B. (s. v.) speaks of an old and new Pherae distant 8 stadia from each other.

In the middle of Pherae was a celebrated fountain called Hypereia. (Ὑπέρεια, Strab. ix. p.439; Pind. P. 4.221; Sophocl. ap. School. ad Pind. l.c.; Plin. Nat. 4.8. s. 15.) The fountain Messeis was also probably in Pherae. (Strab. ix. p.432; Hom. Il. 6.457; V. Fl. 4.374; Plin. l.c.

The remains of Pherae are situated at Velestíno, where the ancient walls may be traced on every side except towards the plain. On the northern side are two tabular summits, below the easternmost of which on the southern side is the fountain Hypereia, which rushes from several openings in the rock, and immediately forms a stream. Apollonius says (1.49; comp. Schol. ad loc.) that Pherae was situated at the foot of Mt. Chalcodonium (Χαλκωδόνιον), which is perhaps the southern and highest summit of Mt. Karadágh, (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. iv p. 439, seq.)


In Messenia. [See PHARAE No. 2.]

hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.711
    • Homer, Iliad, 6.457
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.22
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.715
    • Polybius, Histories, 18.3
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 36, 9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 36, 14
    • C. Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica, 4.374
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