Region in central Greece (q.v.) distinguished by a large plain that is surrounded by mountains. The famous rock-top monasteries of Meteora (q.v.) are situated on the edge of this plain. Thessaly's chief Byzantine cities included Larissa, Lamia (qq.v.), Neopatras, and Trikkala (q.v.), as well as the port-cities of Demetrias (q.v.), Nea Anchialos, and Halmyros. The region's importance derived from the fertility of its large plain, which also served as an intersection of major road systems. Slavs (q.v.) settled in Thessaly beginning in the later sixth century. Vlachs (q.v.) settled in numbers by the 11th century. The region was subjected to numerous and occasionally devastating invasions (e.g., that of the Catalan Grand Company [q.v.] in 1309), and to successive foreign rulers (e.g., the Gabrielopoulos family).

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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