History Files
 

 

European Kingdoms

Ancient Greece

 

 

 

Phthia (Achaean Phthiotis)

This was a Mycenaean city state in southern Thessaly, on the eastern mainland of Greece facing Euboea and occupying both sides of Mount Othrys, on the western side of the Pagasitic Gulf. The city of Phthia itself has not yet been unearthed by archaeologists, but it was home to the Myrmidons of ancient Greece who took part in the Trojan War under the leadership of Achilles. Interestingly, there is a Pelasgia immediately to the south, suggesting a pre-Mycenaean native Greek settlement.

Records regarding the Mycenaeans are very sparse, usually being limited to myths and legends. Many of their leaders are semi or wholly legendary. The latter are backed in lilac, usually for events prior to the Trojan War. These individuals are very poorly recorded, even in myth, and in the case of Phthia even their order of descent is extremely uncertain.

Xouthos

First of the Aeolides line and progenitor of the Greek nation.

Doros

Brother, and uncle to Achaeos.

Achaeos / Aiakos

Founder of Phthia. Sometimes named grandfather of Achilles.

Phthios I

Phthios II

Hellen

King of Thessaly. After whom the the Hellenes were named.

Succeeding Hellen, Myrmidon is the son of Zeus and Eurymedousa, the 'wide-ruling' princess of Phthia. She is the daughter of Achelous or Cletor. The former is a pre-Greek name, possibly Pelasgian, suggesting perhaps an element of Late Mycenaean settlement in the region, albeit very tentatively.

Myrmidon

First of the Myrmidones line.

Actor

Echecles

Eurytion

Co-ruler?

Pileas is said to originate from Magnesia, which borders Phthia on the western side of Mount Othrys. The same homeland is ascribed to Jason of Iolkos, leader of the Argonauts. This Pileas is not the same as the Pelias who robs Jason of his throne, but is the founder of the Pileides, who provide not only the subsequent kings of Phthia, but who are also claimed as the ancestors of the kings of Classical Epirus.

Pileas / Peleus

Son of King Aeacus of Aegina. First of the Pileides line.

? - c.1183 BC

Achilles

Took part in the Trojan War.

c.1193 - 1183 BC

Achilles leads his fierce Myrmidones (Myrmidons) in the Mycenaean army which attacks Troy. When the fleet lands in Mysia, he wounds Telephas, and at Troy he kills Cygnus of Kolonae, Mynes of Lyrnessos, and Hector son of Priam, but is subsequently killed by Paris.

Achilles and Hector
Achilles in battle with Hector son of Priam, just before the latter is killed

c.1183 BC

Neoptolemus

Son. Killed Priam of Troy and Eurypylos of Mysia.

c.1183 BC

The Greek myths and stories about Phthia end with Neoptolemus. The only recorders of the kingdom's history (mythical or otherwise) are overthrown throughout much of Mycenaean Greece by the invading Dorians. Greece enters a Dark Age. Following the Trojan War, Neoptolemus himself settles his contingent of Mycenaean Greeks in Epirus, where he founds a kingdom and his successors survive the Doric invasion of Greece.

Phthia

A former Mycenaean city state, Phthia re-emerged following the Greek Dark Age as a Thessalonian subject region. It had a capital in the town of Pharsalos in which three families governed in the form of the Daochides, Echekratides, and Menonides. During this period it was more usually known as Achaean Phthiotis. Unfortunately, even by the usual standards for this period, there seems to be very little on Phthia and its place in Classical Greece, suggesting that it was a minor state of little importance, perhaps a sub-kingdom of Thessaly.

Plato refers to Phthia in Crito, where the imprisoned Socrates mentions 'fertile Phthia'. This is a conscious repetition of Homer's use of the same expression in The Iliad, when Achilles threatened to return home in the face of Agamemnon usurping his war prize.

fl c.530 BC

Echecratidas I

Of the Echecratides of Thessaly. King of Thessaly.

fl c.525 BC

Menon I

Of the Menonides.

fl c.515 BC

Andiochos

Of Thessaly. King of Thessaly.

fl c.480 BC

Acnonios

Of the Daochides.

? 476 BC

Menon II

Of the Menonides.

476 - 460 BC

Echecratidas II

Of the Echecratides. King of Thessaly.

460 - 454 BC

Orestes

Son. King of Thessaly.

454/453 BC

An Athenian army under the command of Myronides marches into Thessaly, being joined by allied Boeotians and Phocians along the way. The campaign is partly in revenge for losses suffered in a previous campaign, but also by a wish to restore Orestes to his native city. Orestes' late father had been an Athenian ally. The campaign ends without a result, and the Athenians return home along with Orestes. It seems that many of the former noble families of Thessaly have been subject to heavy losses in the past half a century, and Thessalian kingship suffers as a result.

Halos in Greece
The town of Halos, near modern Almyros on the western side of the Pagasitic Gulf, fell within Achaean Phthiotis and was occupied from the early tenth century BC onwards

454 - 432 BC

Menon III

Of the Menonides.

c.440s BC

'Some years' after the expedition by Myronides, Pericles of Athens summons a conference of all the Greeks to confer about the shrines destroyed by the Persians during the invasion of 480-479 BC. Among those invited to attend are the Thessalians, the Phthiot Achaeans (one of the few direct mentions of Phthia itself), the Oetaeans and the Malians. However, opposition by Sparta causes the project to be abandoned.

432 - 405 BC

Daochos I / Daochus I

Of the Daochides of Thessaly. King of Thessaly.

405 - ? BC

Menon IV

Of the Menonides.

? - c.380 BC

Sisyphus I

Of the Daochides.

fl c.380 - 370 BC

Polydamas

fl c.360s BC

Menon V

Of the Menonides.

fl c.361 BC

Agelaos / Agelas

Of Thessaly. King of Thessaly.

346 - 339 BC

Cottyphus

fl c.339 - 338 BC

Daochos II / Daochus II

Of the Daochides.

338 - 337 BC

Philip II of Macedonia defeats the Greek states at the Battle of Chaeronea and gains overlordship over all of Greece, including Athens, Corinth and Sparta. Athens and other city states join the Corinthian League (or Hellenic League) which is formed by Phillip to unify the military forces at his command so that he can pressure Persia.

338 - c.330? BC

Sisyphus II

Of the Daochides.

c.330 - 229 BC

Phthia is conquered by Macedonia, although there seems to be no explanation regarding why it had not been included in the list of conquests of 337 BC.

229 - 217 BC

Phthia is part of the Aetolian League from 229 BC. The details regarding its withdrawal from Macedonian control are unknown, but in the same year, Demetrius of Macedonia dies shortly after a disastrous battle against the Dardanii on the kingdom's northern border. His son, Philip, is an infant, so his cousin is offered the throne as his guardian. He rescues the kingdom from collapse, and defeats the Dardanii, but perhaps Phthia takes the opportunity to leave Macedonian protection.

Instead, the Aetolian League is a confederation of Greek cities that has been established to oppose Macedonia. It consists of territory on the southern borders of Epirus and Macedonia, with the Achaean League to its east and south, on the Peloponnese.

217 - 168 BC

Phthia is re-conquered by Macedonia. Following Macedonia's defeat in the Third Macedonian War against Rome in 168 BC, Phthia is annexed by the republic as the Macedonian kingdom itself is dismantled.

AD 395

Greece becomes the central segment of the Eastern Roman empire. It is held until the Fourth Crusade's invasion of the Byzantine empire in 1204. Claimants to the Byzantine throne set up rival powerbases, including one centred on Thessalonica. In 1222, the division of this powerbase results in Phthia falling under the control of a subsidiary powerbase in Epirus.