A large and populous city on the Thermaic bay. It was the capital of one of the four Roman districts of Macedonia, and was ruled by a praetor. It was named after Thessalonica, the wife of Cassander, who built the city. She was so called by her father, Philip, because he first heard of her birth on the day of his gaining a victory over the Thessalians. On his second missionary journey, Paul preached in the synagogue here, the chief synagogue of the Jews in that part of Macedonia, and laid the foundations of a church (Acts 17:1-4; 1 Thes. 1:9). The violence of the Jews drove him from the city, when he fled to Berea (Acts 17:5-10). The "rulers of the city" before whom the Jews "drew Jason," with whom Paul and Silas lodged, are in the original called politarchai, an unusual word, which was found, however, inscribed on an arch in Thessalonica. This discovery confirms the accuracy of the historian. Paul visited the church here on a subsequent occasion (20:1-3). This city long retained its importance. It is the most important town of European Turkey, under the name of Saloniki, with a mixed population of about 85,000.
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