Sirae, Serrhae, Eth. Siropaioneis, Serres. A town of Macedonia, standing
in the widest part of the great Strymonic plain on the last slopes of the range
of mountains which bound it to the NE. Xerxes left a part of his sick here, when
retreating to the Hellespont (Herod. Herod. viii. 115.): and P. Aemilius Paulus,
after his victory at Pydna, received at this town, which is ascribed to Odorantice,
a deputation from Perseus, who had retired to Samothrace. (Liv. xlv. 4.) Little
is known of Serrhae, which was the usual form of the name in the 5th century (though
from two inscriptions found at Serres it appears that Sirrha, or Sirrhae, was
the more ancient orthography, and that which obtained at least until the division
of the empire), until the great spread of the Servian kingdom. Stephen Dushan
in the 14th century seized on this. large and flourishing city, and assumed the
imperial crown here, where he established a court on the Roman or Byzantine model,
with the title of Emperor of Romania, Sclavonia, and Albania. (Niceph. Greg. p.
467.) After his death a partition of his dominions took place. but the Greeks
have never. since been able to recover their former preponderance in the provinces
of the Strymonic valley. Sultan Murad took this town from the Servians, and when
Sigismund, king of Hungary, was about to invade the Ottoman dominions, Bayezid
(Bajazet Ilderim) summoned the Christian princes who were his vassals to his camp
at Serrhae, previous to his victory at Nicopolis, A.D. 1396. (J. von Hammer, Gesch.
des Osman. Reiches, vol. i. pp. 193, 246, 600.)
Besides the Macedonian inscriptions of the Roman empire found by Leake (Inscr. 126) and Cousinery, the only other vestige of the ancient town is a piece of Hellenic wall faced with large quadrangular blocks, but composed within of small stones and mortar forming a mass of extreme solidity. Servian remains are more common. (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. iii. pp. 200 - 210.)
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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