Monday, 16 September 2019

History of Skyros

Skyros has been inhabited since the Neolithic period (5500-2800 BC) as it is testified by the remains that have been found in various areas of the island. It flourished during the early Bronze age (2800 – 1900 BC) and reached the peak of acme during the Mycenaean period (1650 – 1100 BC).

Skyros has a significant presence in the geometric and archaic years. In 475 BC it was conquered by the Athenians and in 323 – 322 BC it passed into the hands of the Macedonians. In 197 BC, the Romans occupied it and then the Byzantines succeeded them. Since then Skyros had been a part of the Aegean Sea theme.

Skyros had a variety of names over the course of centuries since antiquity and the years that followed, most of which owed their origin to its morphology, land, people and nature. It has been given the name of  Aigibotos (the place which nourishes goats), Anemoessa (because of its winds), Pelasgia as it was inhabited by the Pelasgians, Dolopia,the island of Dolopons, Perirrytos, the place that is surrounded by sea, Pelagia,the island of the open sea, Skyros because of the porous stone that was excavated in quarries and  many other  names mentioned by ancient geographers and following writers at different periods of time.

Skyros is also mentioned in Greek mythology, and its presence was perceptible throughout the course of Greece. There are four mythical persons connected with the island of Skyros. Theseus, Lycomedes, Achilles and Neoptolemus. When Theseus, after his labors, returned from Hades,he was disappointed by  Menesthea who took the throne.So he decided to go to Skyros, which was the land of his origin and the place where he had a fortune from his father Aegeus. When he arrived at Skyros,  Lycomedes, King of the island,  annoyed and fearing of the presence of Theseus, whom he considered a competitor to the throne, decided to exterminate him. So, one of the greatest heroes of Greek mythology  met his tragic end in Skyros 

Achilles also lived in the Palace of Likomidis. His mother, Thetis, had hidden him there, because she knew that if her son fought at Troy, we would have a tragic end. In the Palace of Likomidis, Achilles fell in love with the King's daughter Deidamia, who gave birth to their son, Pyrrhus. Odysseus was the one who led Achilles to Troy, resorting to a  trick in order to learn the identity of Achilles. The story followed the known to us course. After the death of Achilles, his son Pyrrhus, at the age of just 12 years old, went to Troy, again with Odysseus’ commixture. He fought bravely and thereafter he was named Neoptolemus (new to war).

The first inhabitants of Greece were the Pelasgians. The Carians, the Leleges, the Dryopes and the Dolopians also lived there . Genders of  these people inhabited Skyros too. There we found the first defensive walls , built by the Pelasgians.

Skyros became a possession of the Athenians, after Kimon’s decision and, apart from minor periods,,it remained an Athenian hegemony for 389 years. During this time, the conquerors were alternatively the  Athenians,the  Persians and the Macedonians,.In 197 BC  Skyros became a Roman possession. The Roman domination  was succeeded by the Byzantium one, during which period Skyros became a  part of the Aegean Sea theme. The Christian religion  prevailed on the island . In 1204 Constantinople was conquered by the Crusaders. Then  the dismemberment of the Byzantine Empire between the Frankish king Boniface of Montferrat and the Doge of Venice began. Skyros was occupied by the brothers Ghizi, as Skiathos, Skopelos and Mykonos had been and it became an acquisition of the  Venetians and the Franks. In 1538 Skyros was conquered by the Ottomans. Yet, it kept a lot of privileges, among which  the fact that  neither Turkish troops, or Turks rulers remained for long in the island.

During the Ottoman rule, Skyros  suffered greatly from pirate raids, which forced the residents to flee to the Castle. In the struggle of national independence in 1821, Skyros offered plenty of economic assistance, sent many sailors to the domestic fleet, offered shelter to chieftains and treated several thousands of refugees from various towns of Greece. Today the tradition of the manners and customs of Skyros testify its ancient origins, while all the  evidence  of its great past can be found in the museums.

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Skyros, 34007
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