Ancient Macedonian kingdom is linked to Hercules. Representatives of his future dynasty, the Herakleides, ruled the land at times.
Thessalonike, Alexander the Great’s sister, was born on the day of the decisive battle of the Crocus Field. Her father, King Phillip II of Macedon, defeated the Phocians in central Greece near Delphi. Her mother was from Thessaly. In order to celebrate this significant event, Phillip named the new-born child ‘Thessalonike’, meaning Thessalian + Victory, as the battle took place on the plain of Thessaly.
Cassander, one of Alexander’s generals, overran the fortress of Pydra in the area of Pieria where Thessalonike had taken refuge along with Olympia, after Alexander’s death. Cassander took Thessalonike to be his wife. He paid her the honour of naming the new city, which was to be the new capital of Macedonia, Thessaloniki in her honour.
Although Thessalonike had not spent a great deal of time with Alexander, the story behind her becoming a mermaid is connected with Alexander’s quest to find the Fountain of Youth. It is said that he brought back with him a flask of this invaluable water and with it he washed his sister’s hair. Instead of drowning out of grief, she became a mermaid. In this form she was believed to flow around the sea and ask all sailors the same question, and not let go any ship that didn’t answer correctly.