Macedonian Sovereignty - Roman Sovereignty - the Great Ancient Thessalian Feast «Eleutheria» (=dedicated to the God Eleftherios Zeus)
Around 4th century B.C., Larissa city, in its effort to maintain its force and its primacy in the institution of «tageia» (=leadership) was involved in a battle with its competitor, Farsalos city and a support provided by forces from Central Greece, Larissa overcame Farsalos. This victory however exhausted the city and it is likely that Larissa loose her autonomy because of that previous defeat. Its freedom was lost once and ever when Philippos [B]' invaded the region. From 344 B.C. until 196 B.C., Larissa was subjugated in the name of coalition of the kings of the ancient Greek city-state of Macedonia.
Larissa suffered financially as well as demographically. Later, however, when Romans invaded the region, “releasing” Larissa from the Macedonians, the anti- Macedonian party consolidated its authority, which was encouraged by the Roman conquerors. Under their own democratic governing, the city lived a short period of prosperity without being omitted also many intermediate phases of decline.
One of the most brilliant moments in its history was the foundation of the feast “Eleutheria”. Eleutheria was founded in honour of, the father of Olympian Gods, Zeus at 2nd century B.C. It was a big feast of Pan-Hellenic fame and respect.
Also it was of great fame in ancient cities of Asia Minor or even in many cities of Italy. Feast’s main events included impressive horse races as well as poetry festivals, dancing and athletic events and music concerts.
On the contrary, a phase of decline is observed when big land properties were concentrated to the hands of Romans in Thessaly. The previously powerful administrative institution of Public of Thessalians is now downgraded. Everyday life became even more difficult at the ages of Roman civilian wars while it is observed a general reduction of population. Despite these unfavourable conditions Larissa managed to overcome the crisis when new populations, from other cities, came to inhabit in Larissa while at the same time political rights were given to slaves and from now on they were free citizens (1).
Larissa managed to pass over crisis not only because of the above measurements which have been undertaken on the right time but also of the continuous efforts of its citizens to preserve their urban and rural landscape. Ancient Greek geographer and historian Stravon characteristically reports (3) that citizens of Larissa constructed “flood-preventing structure” in the region of Amirio in order to protect and improve their agricultural production.
At the end of 1st century B.C., Larissa and its suburbs from a small hemispheric space with an economical system of limited capabilities, which prevailed for centuries in ancient Greece, transformed into a political and economic unit that included all the plain of Pelasgiotis State.
References in Greek language :
(1) F. Stählin, Η αρχαία Θεσσαλία (Θεσσαλονίκη: Εκδοτικός Οίκος Αδελφών Κυριακίδη α.ε./ Φιλολογικός Ιστορικός Λογοτεχνικός Σύνδεσμος (Φ.Ι.Λ.Ο.Σ.) Τρικάλων, 2008), Σειρά: Κείμενα και Μελέτες, 2η Έκδοση διορθωμένη
(2) Helly, Br., 1985 Η περιοχή της Αρχαίας Λάρισας. Έκταση, όρια, οργάνωση. Πρακτικά του Α' Ιστορικού- Αρχαιολογικού Συμποσίου, Λάρισα: Παρελθόν και μέλλον, Συντακτική Επιτροπή: Γαλλής Κ., Σακελλίων Γ., Σπανός Κ. Λάρισα, Δήμος Λάρισας, 1985
(3) Στράβων, Γεωγραφικά, IX, 440.