Hadrian, Thessalonica and Panhellenion League


In the biography of emperor Hadrian on encyclopaedia britannica, we can find written:


He created the Panhellenion, a federation of Greeks that was based at Athens, which gave equal representation to all Greek cities and thereafter played a conspicuous part in the history of Roman Greece.

According to the Panhellenion Leaque who started about 131 AD, a city could take part ONLY if the city could prove her “greekness”. This “greekness” should be as cultural as much as ancestral.

From inscriptions found we know that certain city members who proved their “greekness” among others were Athens, Megara, Sparta, Chalcis, Argos, Epidaurus, Amphicleia, Corinth and…Thessalonica.

We can find also in <F.Millar, “The Roman Empire and its Neighbours,” 2nd ed. (London: Duckworth, 1981), pp.205-206>


“Hadrian… also founded a temple of `Zeus Panhellenios’,
and established Panhellenic games and an annual Panhelle-
nic assembly of deputies from all the cities of Greece
and all those outside which could prove their foundation
from Greece;… The importance attached to Hadrian’s
institution is best illustrated by an early third-
century inscription from Thessalonica honouring a local
magnate, T.Aelius Geminius Macedo, who had not only held -›Makedon|
magistracies and provided timber for a basilica in his
own city, and been Imperial `curator’ of Apollonia, but
had been archon of the Panhellenic congress in Athens,
priest of the deified Hadrian and president of the
eighteenth Panhellenic Games (199/200); the inscription
mentions proudly that he was the first `archon’ of the
Panhellenic Congress from the city of Thessalonica.
That was one side of the picture, the development of
Greek civilization and the CONSCIOUS CELEBRATION OF ITS
In the native populations of the
East it produced mixed feelings, nowhere better
exemplified than the conversation of three Rabbis of the
second century,…”