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Photo by Eolos

Lamia was an ancient city in southern Thessaly, whose name still survives in Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos. Some remains of the late antique city including a basilica were found on the acropolis and in its vicinity; the remains of city walls on the acropolis are thought to be Justinianic. But already at that time Lamia was in decline, and the Tabula Peutingeriana does not mention it. The bishopric of Lamia, suffragan of Larissa, is known from 431 onward. Occupied by the Slavs, Lamia reappears from the 9th century under the name of Zetounion, probably of Slavic origin. Lamia-Zetounion was an important fortress guarding the approach to Thermopylai: Basil II chanced to observe there the traces of a bloody battle between Nikephoros Ouranos and Samuel of Bulgaria. In the 12th century Benjamin of Tudela counted 50 Jewish families in Zetounion. After 1204 the Templars temporarily held the city and rebuilt its ramparts. By 1259 it was again in Greek hands, but in 1318 the city was seized by the Catalans, who seem to have retained it until 1391.The Acciajuoli dominated Zetounion for several years, but Bayezid I demolished it in 1394. In 1403-26 the Byzantine held the fortress, then the Turks recaptured it. A short chronicle says that in 1444 Constantine XI Palaiologos captured Thebes and attacked Zetounion.

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Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium edited by Alexander Kazhdan


Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

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