The principal seaport of Macedonia. The city was founded in 316-315 B.C.E. by Cassander, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. Cassander named it after his wife, Thessalonike, who was Alexander’s half sister. In the middle of the second century B.C.E., Thessalonica became the administrative seat of the Roman provincial government in Macedonia. (See MACEDONIA.) With the construction of the Egnatian Way (the route connecting Italy to Asia Minor), the city also became an important trading center. It grew prosperous in the early years of the Roman Empire. When the Christian congregation was established in Thessalonica about 50 C.E., the city was a thriving metropolis. It featured places of worship for both local and foreign deities as well as for the cult of the emperor. (See study note on 1Th 1:9.) Thessalonica had a Jewish synagogue and an influential Jewish community.—Ac 17:1-9; see App. B13.