„Thessalonica remained Greek and the capital of the country“

—  Theodor Mommsen, Context: While the Macedonians proper on the lower course of the Haliacmon (Vistritza) and the Axius (Vardar), as far as the Strymon, were an originally Greek stock, whose diversity from the more southern Hellenes had no further significance for the present epoch, and while the Hellenic colonization embraced within its sphere both coasts -on the west with Apollonia and Dyrrachium, on the east in particular with the townships of the Chalcidian peninsula - the interior of the province, on the other hand, was filled with a confused mass of non-Greek peoples, [... ] The Greek cities, which the Romans found existing, retained their organisation and their rights; Thessalonica, the most considerable of them, also freedom and autonomy. There existed a League and a Diet ('koinon') of the Macedonian towns, similar to those in Achaia and Thessaly. It deserves mention, as an evidence of the continued working of the memories of the old and great times, that still in the middle of the third century after Christ the diet of Macedonia and individual Macedonian towns issued coins on which, in place of the head and name of the reigning emperor, came those of Alexander the Great. The pretty numerous colonies of Roman burgesses which Augustus established in Macedonia, Byllis not far from Apollonia, Dyrrachium on the Adriatic, on the other coast Dium, Pella, Cassandreia, in the region of Thrace proper Philippi, were all of them older Greek towns, which obtained merely a number of new burgesses and a different legal position, and were called into life primarily by the need of providing quarters in a civilised and not greatly populous province for Italian soldiers who had served their time, and for whom there was no longer room in Italy itself. The granting of Italian rights certainly took place only to gild for the veterans their settlement abroad. That it was never intended to draw Macedonia into a development of Italian culture is evinced, apart from all else, by the fact that Thessalonica remained Greek and the capital of the country. The Provinces of the Roman Empire, vol.1, translated by W.P.Dickson, from the 1909 edition (Chicago, Ares Publishers, 1974), pp. 299–301.
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Theodor Mommsen1
storico, numismatico e giurista tedesco 1817 - 1903
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