Pherae, a city of ancient Thessaly, near the S. E. limits of Pelasgiotis, about 10 m. W. of its port Pagasse on the Pagassean gulf (the modern gulf of Volo). Its site is that of the modern Velestino, where its ancient walls may still be traced. It is spoken of as governed by an aristocracy at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war (in which it aided Athens), and it was even then one of the most powerful of the Thessalian towns. In the latter part of the war, however, Lycophron became tyrant of the place, and under his son Jason Pherse was the leading power of Thessaly. Jason became tagus or chief general of the whole country about 374 B. C, and ruled for four years, when he was assassinated, and succeeded by his brother Polydorus, who in turn was poisoned by another brother, either Alexander or Polyphron. Alexander, the most famous of the tyrants of Pherse, appears to have succeeded one or the other of his murdered brothers in 369. His tyranny excited the opposition of the Thessalian states, and they applied to Alexander, king of Mace-don (son of Amyntas II.), for aid against him. The Macedonian penetrated to Larissa, where he left a garrison and retired. Left thus exposed, the Thessalians next applied successfully to Thebes, which sent Pelopidas to negotiate.
Alexander at first showed a disposition to yield, but, finding Pelopidas hostile to him personally, kept beyond his reach, and on his repeating his visit of negotiation in the next year (368) entrapped and imprisoned him, afterward defeating the Theban army sent to his rescue. A second Theban incursion under Epaminondas compelled him, however, to give up the prisoner. The next few years were marked by renewed acts of cruelty in Thessaly, and about 364 the Thebans again came to the aid of the oppressed states, defeating Alexander at Cynoscephalas, where Pelopidas fell, and again a little later, compelling him to resign all pretensions except those to Pherse. In 362 he attacked several Athenian dependencies, and landed troops in Attica, but was promptly defeated, though he succeeded in withdrawing his troops, and in plundering Pirseus. Alexander was murdered about 359 by the connivance of his wife Thebe, and was succeeded by the latter's brothers till 352, when Philip of Macedon became the controlling power in Thessaly. Pheree fell into the hands of Antio-chus the Great of Syria in 191, and soon after was captured by the Romans under Glabrio. The city appears to have been unusually prosperous and beautiful, the celebrated fountain of Hyperia supplying it with much water, and the neighborhood being very fertile.