The Mermaid Thessalonike
by Wilma Leskinen, from Finland.
Since the Prehistoric years, Thessaloniki area has been inhabited. However, the city was founded later, around 315 BC by King Cassandros of Macedon. He named the new city after his wife Thessalonike, half-sister of Alexander the Great. Thessalonike in turn, had been given the name by her father, Phillip II, in order to celebrate her birth that was on the day of his victory over the Phocians (Thessalonike, "victory of Thessalians", nike in greek means victory).
Now a days, Thessaloniki has the famous White Tower as the icon for its city, but the original historic symbol of the city in actually The Mermaid Thessalonike. This unique myth of the Mermaid of the Thermaikos Gulf is a legend shared by no other city in the world.
The legend goes like this.
”A mermaid lived in the Aegean for hundreds of years who was thought to be Thessalonike, the half-sister of Alexander the Great and wife of Cassander. The legend states that Alexander, in his quest for the Fountain of Immortality, retrieved with great effort a flask of immortal water with which he bathed his sister’s hair.
When Alexander died, his grief-stricken sister, who was also in love with him, attempted to end her life by jumping into the sea. Instead of drowning, however, she became a mermaid passing judgment on mariners throughout the centuries and across the seven seas. To the sailors who encountered her, she would always pose the same question:
“Is Alexander the king alive?”
To which the correct answer would be:
“He lives and reigns and conquers the world.”
Given this answer she would allow the ship and her crew to sail safely away in calm seas. Any other answer would transform her into the raging Gorgon, bent on sending the ship and every sailor on board to the bottom.”
You can still feel these mythical mysteries in the warm breezes from the sea from southwest, if you let it in. Just sit by the seafront and listen to the wind.