Siege of Andros, c.480 BC

Siege of Andros, c.480 BC

Siege of Andros, c.480 BC

The siege of Andros (c.480 BC) is an incident recorded by Herodotus as taking part in the period after the Greek naval victory at Salamis.

In the aftermath of the Persian victory at Thermopylae they had moved south, eventually reaching Attica, where they looted Athens. As they came south a number of previous uncommitted Greek communities joined the Persian cause, including the island of Andros, off the south-eastern tip of Euboea, and not too far to the east of the Greek fleet at Salamis.

In the aftermath of the Greek naval victory at Salamis the Persian fleet retreated back towards the Hellespont. The land army remained in Attica for a little longer, and it took the Greeks some time to realise that the fleet had gone. When they did finally set out in pursuit it was too late. The Greeks soon realised that the Persian fleet had escaped, and put in at Andros, where they debated what to do next. According to Herodotus the Athenians wanted to go to the Hellespont to cut the bridge of ships and thus trap the Persian army, but the rest of the fleet wanted to let Xerxes escape. When the Athenian Themistocles realised that he couldn't win the debate he changed sides, and supported the idea of giving the Persians a way out.

The Greeks next turned their attention to the town of Andros. Again Herodotus gives us an entertaining anecdote. Themistocles demanded money from the Aegean islands, starting with Andros. He argued that the Athenians came armed with 'Persuasion' and 'Compulsion'. In effect the people of Andros were being fined for their brief support of the Persians between Thermopylae and Salamis. They responded that Andros had two cruel gods, 'Poverty' and 'Insufficiency', and claimed that these were stronger than the Athenian claims.

As a result Themistocles laid siege to Andros. He also sent out demands for money to other nearby communities, including Carystus at the south-eastern end of Euboea, and Paros, located a little to the south of Andros. Both of these communities gave in and sent money rather than risk being put under siege themselves.

The siege would appear to have been a short affair. The Greeks gave up quite quickly, proving that the local's defiance had been well founded. The Greeks then crossed to Euboea where they sacked the territory of Carystus (perhaps this triggered the payment), and then returned to Salamis to set up the victory offerings for the battle (this alone would suggest that the siege of Andros was fairly short-lived).


Contarini, with 22 sailing ships, left Porto Poro on 28 July and arrived at Port Gavrion, on the west coast of Andros, on 3 August, while a galley force, under Molino [ disambiguation needed ] , went to Kekhrios, on mainland Greece, ready for an attack on Thebes.

On 6 August the Muslim fleet of 20 Ottoman and 15 African ships was sighted north of Andros. It sailed around to Gavrion and tried to tempt Contarini out, but the wind was from the north (possibly this should be south), and Contarini had orders not to engage unless he had the weather gauge, and even after the Ottomans sent galliots in and landed troops all he did was send a small craft to drive them off. The Ottomans left and anchored to the west. For 10 days nothing happened, except for a French merchantman entering the harbor being fired on by the Venetians, who mistook it for a fireship.


Neolithic era Edit

The most ancient traces of activity (but not necessarily habitation) in the Cyclades were not discovered on the islands themselves, but on the continent, at Argolis, in Franchthi Cave. Research there uncovered, in a layer dating to the 11th millennium BC, obsidian originating from Milos. [5] The volcanic island was thus exploited and inhabited, not necessarily in permanent fashion, and its inhabitants were capable of navigating and trading across a distance of at least 150 km.

A permanent settlement on the islands could only be established by a sedentary population that had at its disposal methods of agriculture and animal husbandry that could exploit the few fertile plains. Hunter-gatherers would have had much greater difficulties. [5] At the Maroula site on Kythnos a bone fragment has been uncovered and dated, using Carbon-14, to 7,500-6,500 BC. [6] The oldest inhabited places are the islet of Saliango between Paros and Antiparos, [5] [7] Kephala on Kea, and perhaps the oldest strata are those at Grotta on Naxos. [5] They date back to the 5th millennium BC.

On Saliango (at that time connected to its two neighbours, Paros and Antiparos), houses of stone without mortar have been found, as well as Cycladic statuettes. Estimates based on excavations in the cemetery of Kephala put the number of inhabitants at between forty-five and eighty. [5] Studies of skulls have revealed bone deformations, especially in the vertebrae. They have been attributed to arthritic conditions, which afflict sedentary societies. Osteoporosis, another sign of a sedentary lifestyle, is present, but more rarely than on the continent in the same period. Life expectancy has been estimated at twenty years, with maximum ages reaching twenty-eight to thirty. Women tended to live less than men. [8]

A sexual division of labour seems to have existed. Women took care of children, harvesting, “light” agricultural duties, “small” livestock, spinning (spindle whorls have been found in women's tombs), basketry and pottery. [8] Men busied themselves with “masculine” chores: more serious agricultural work, hunting, fishing, and work involving stone, bone, wood and metal. [8] This sexual division of labour led to a first social differentiation: the richest tombs of those found in cists are those belonging to men. [8] Pottery was made without a lathe, judging by the hand-modelled clay balls pictures were applied to the pottery using brushes, while incisions were made with the fingernails. The vases were then baked in a pit or a grinding wheel—kilns were not used and only low temperatures of 700˚-800˚C were reached. [9] Small-sized metal objects have been found on Naxos. The operation of silver mines on Siphnos may also date to this period. [5]

Cycladic civilisation Edit

At the end of the 19th century, the Greek archaeologist Christos Tsountas, having assembled various discoveries from numerous islands, suggested that the Cyclades were part of a cultural unit during the 3rd millennium BC: the Cycladic civilisation, [7] dating back to the Bronze Age. It is famous for its marble idols, found as far as Portugal and the mouth of the Danube, [7] which proves its dynamism.

It is slightly older than the Minoan civilisation of Crete. The beginnings of the Minoan civilisation were influenced by the Cycladic civilisation: Cycladic statuettes were imported into Crete and local artisans imitated Cycladic techniques archaeological evidence supporting this notion has been found at Aghia Photia, Knossos and Archanes. [10] At the same time, excavations in the cemetery of Aghios Kosmas in Attica have uncovered objects proving a strong Cycladic influence, due either to a high percentage of the population being Cycladic or to an actual colony originating in the islands. [11]

Three great periods have traditionally been designated (equivalent to those that divide the Helladic on the continent and the Minoan in Crete): [12]

  • Early Cycladic I (EC I 3200-2800 BC), also called the Grotta-Pelos culture
  • Early Cycladic II (EC II 2800-2300 BC), also called the Keros-Syros culture and often considered the apogee of Cycladic civilisation
  • Early Cycladic III (EC III 2300-2000 BC), also called the Phylakopi culture

The study of skeletons found in tombs, always in cists, shows an evolution from the Neolithic. Osteoporosis was less prevalent although arthritic diseases continued to be present. Thus, diet had improved. Life expectancy progressed: men lived up to forty or forty-five years, but women only thirty. [13] The sexual division of labour remained the same as that identified for the Early Neolithic: women busied themselves with small domestic and agricultural tasks, while men took care of larger duties and crafts. [13] Agriculture, as elsewhere in the Mediterranean basin, was based on grain (mainly barley, which needs less water than wheat), grapevines and olive trees. Animal husbandry was already primarily concerned with goats and sheep, as well as a few hogs, but very few bovines, the raising of which is still poorly developed on the islands. Fishing completed the diet base, due for example to the regular migration of tuna. [14] At the time, wood was more abundant than today, allowing for the construction of house frames and boats. [14]

The inhabitants of these islands, who lived mainly near the shore, were remarkable sailors and merchants, thanks to their islands’ geographic position. It seems that at the time, the Cyclades exported more merchandise than they imported, [15] a rather unusual circumstance during their history. The ceramics found at various Cycladic sites (Phylakopi on Milos, Aghia Irini on Kea and Akrotiri on Santorini) prove the existence of commercial routes going from continental Greece to Crete while mainly passing by the Western Cyclades, up until the Late Cycladic. Excavations at these three sites have uncovered vases produced on the continent or on Crete and imported onto the islands. [16]

It is known that there were specialised artisans: founders, blacksmiths, potters and sculptors, but it is impossible to say if they made a living off their work. [13] Obsidian from Milos remained the dominant material for the production of tools, even after the development of metallurgy, for it was less expensive. Tools have been found that were made of a primitive bronze, an alloy of copper and arsenic. The copper came from Kythnos and already contained a high volume of arsenic. Tin, the provenance of which has not been determined, was only later introduced into the islands, after the end of the Cycladic civilisation. The oldest bronze containing tin was found at Kastri on Tinos (dating to the time of the Phylakopi Culture) and their composition proves they came from Troad, either as raw materials or as finished products. [17] Therefore, commercial exchanges between the Troad and the Cyclades existed.

These tools were used to work marble, above all coming from Naxos and Paros, either for the celebrated Cycladic idols, or for marble vases. It appears that marble was not then, like today, extracted from mines, but was quarried in great quantities. [17] The emery of Naxos also furnished material for polishing. Finally, the pumice stone of Santorini allowed for a perfect finish. [17]

The pigments that can be found on statuettes, as well as in tombs, also originated on the islands, as well as the azurite for blue and the iron ore for red. [17]

Eventually, the inhabitants left the seashore and moved toward the islands’ summits within fortified enclosures rounded out by round towers at the corners. It was at this time that piracy might first have made an appearance in the archipelago. [12]

Minoans and Mycenaeans Edit

The Cretans occupied the Cyclades during the 2nd millennium BC, then the Mycenaeans from 1450 BC and the Dorians from 1100 BC. The islands, due to their relatively small size, could not fight against these highly centralised powers. [11]

Literary sources Edit

Thucydides writes that Minos expelled the archipelago's first inhabitants, the Carians, [18] whose tombs were numerous on Delos. [19] Herodotus specifies that the Carians were subjects of king Minos and went by the name Leleges at that time. [20] They were completely independent (“they paid no tribute”), but supplied sailors for Minos’ ships.

According to Herodotus, the Carians were the best warriors of their time and taught the Greeks to place plumes on their helmets, to represent insignia on their shields and to use straps to hold these.

Later, the Dorians would expel the Carians from the Cyclades the former were followed by the Ionians, who turned the island of Delos into a great religious centre. [21]

Cretan influence Edit

Fifteen settlements from the Middle Cycladic (c. 2000-1600 BC) are known. The three best studied are Aghia Irini (IV and V) on Kea, Paroikia on Paros and Phylakopi (II) on Milos. The absence of a real break (despite a stratum of ruins) between Phylakopi I and Phylakopi II suggests that the transition between the two was not a brutal one. [22] The principal proof of an evolution from one stage to the next is the disappearance of Cycladic idols from the tombs, [22] which by contrast changed very little, having remained in cists since the Neolithic. [23]

The Cyclades also underwent a cultural differentiation. One group in the north around Kea and Syros tended to approach the Northeast Aegean from a cultural point of view, while the Southern Cyclades seem to have been closer to the Cretan civilisation. [22] Ancient tradition speaks of a Minoan maritime empire, a sweeping image that demands some nuance, but it is nevertheless undeniable that Crete ended up having influence over the entire Aegean. This began to be felt more strongly beginning with the Late Cycladic, or the Late Minoan (from 1700/1600 BC), especially with regard to influence by Knossos and Cydonia. [24] [25] During the Late Minoan, important contacts are attested at Kea, Milos and Santorini Minoan pottery and architectural elements (polythyra, skylights, frescoes) as well as signs of Linear A have been found. [24] The shards found on the other Cyclades appear to have arrived there indirectly from these three islands. [24] It is difficult to determine the nature of the Minoan presence on the Cyclades: settler colonies, protectorate or trading post. [24] For a time it was proposed that the great buildings at Akrotiri on Santorini (the West House) or at Phylakopi might be the palaces of foreign governors, but no formal proof exists that could back up this hypothesis. Likewise, too few archaeological proofs exist of an exclusively Cretan district, as would be typical for a settler colony. It seems that Crete defended her interests in the region through agents who could play a more or less important political role. In this way the Minoan civilisation protected its commercial routes. [24] This would also explain why the Cretan influence was stronger on the three islands of Kea, Milos and Santorini. The Cyclades were a very active trading zone. The western axis of these three was of paramount importance. Kea was the first stop off the continent, being closest, near the mines of Laurium Milos redistributed to the rest of the archipelago and remained the principal source of obsidian and Santorini played for Crete the same role Kea did for Attica. [26]

The great majority of bronze continued to be made with arsenic tin progressed very slowly in the Cyclades, beginning in the northeast of the archipelago. [27]

Settlements were small villages of sailors and farmers, [12] often tightly fortified. [23] The houses, rectangular, of one to three rooms, were attached, of modest size and build, sometimes with an upper floor, more or less regularly organised into blocks separated by paved lanes. [23] There were no palaces such as were found in Crete or on the mainland. [12] “Royal tombs” have also not been found on the islands. Although they more or less kept their political and commercial independence, it seems that from a religious perspective, the Cretan influence was very strong. Objects of worship (zoomorphic rhyta, libation tables, etc.), religious aids such as polished baths, and themes found on frescoes are similar at Santorini or Phylakopi and in the Cretan palaces. [28]

The explosion at Santorini (between the Late Minoan IA and the Late Minoan IB) buried and preserved an example of a habitat: Akrotiri.

Excavations since 1967 have uncovered a built-up area covering one hectare, not counting the defensive wall. [29] The layout ran in a straight line, with a more or less orthogonal network of paved streets fitted with drains. The buildings had two to three floors and lacked skylights and courtyards openings onto the street provided air and light. The ground floor contained the staircase and rooms serving as stores or workshops the rooms on the next floor, slightly larger, had a central pillar and were decorated with frescoes. The houses had terraced roofs placed on beams that had not been squared, covered up with a vegetable layer (seaweed or leaves) and then several layers of clay soil, [29] a practice that continues in traditional societies to this day.

From the beginning of excavations in 1967, the Greek archaeologist Spiridon Marinatos noted that the city had undergone a first destruction, due to an earthquake, before the eruption, as some of the buried objects were ruins, whereas a volcano alone may have left them intact. [30] At almost the same time, the site of Aghia Irini on Kea was also destroyed by an earthquake. [24] One thing is certain: after the eruption, Minoan imports stopped coming into Aghia Irini (VIII), to be replaced by Mycenaean imports. [24]

Late Cycladic: Mycenaean domination Edit

Between the middle of the 15th century BC and the middle of the 11th century BC, relations between the Cyclades and the continent went through three phases. [31] Right around 1250 BC (Late Helladic III A-B1 or beginning of Late Cycladic III), Mycenaean influence was felt only on Delos, [32] at Aghia Irini (on Kea), at Phylakopi (on Milos) and perhaps at Grotta (on Naxos). Certain buildings call to mind the continental palaces, without definite proof, but typically Mycenaean elements have been found in religious sanctuaries. [31] During the time of troubles accompanied by destruction that the continental kingdoms experienced (Late Helladic III B), relations cooled, going so far as to stop (as indicated by the disappearance of Mycenaean objects from the corresponding strata on the islands). Moreover, some island sites built fortifications or improved their defenses (such as Phylakopi, but also Aghios Andreas on Siphnos and Koukounaries on Paros). [31] Relations were resumed during Late Helladic III C. To the importation of objects (jars with handles decorated with squids) was also added the movement of peoples with migrations coming from the continent. [31] A beehive tomb, characteristic of continental Mycenaean tombs, has been found on Mykonos. [32] The Cyclades were continuously occupied until the Mycenaean civilisation began to decline.

Ionian arrival Edit

The Ionians came from the continent around the 10th century BC, setting up the great religious sanctuary of Delos around three centuries later. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo (the first part of which may date to the 7th century BC) alludes to Ionian panegyrics (which included athletic competitions, songs and dances). [33] Archaeological excavations have shown that a religious centre was built on the ruins of a settlement dating to the Middle Cycladic. [33]

It was between the 12th and the 8th centuries BC that the first Cycladic cities were built, including four on Kea (Ioulis, Korissia, Piessa and Karthaia) and Zagora on Andros, the houses of which were surrounded by a wall dated by archaeologists to 850 BC. [34] Ceramics indicate the diversity of local production, [35] and thus the differences between the islands. Hence, it seems that Naxos, the islet of Donoussa and above all Andros had links with Euboea, while Milos and Santorini were in the Doric sphere of influence. [36]

Zagora, one of the most important urban settlements of the era which it has been possible to study, reveals that the type of traditional buildings found there evolved little between the 9th century BC and the 19th century. The houses had flat roofs made of schist slabs covered up with clay and truncated corners designed to allow beasts of burden to pass by more easily. [37]

A new apogee Edit

From the 8th century BC, the Cyclades experienced an apogee linked in great part to their natural riches (obsidian from Milos and Sifnos, silver from Syros, pumice stone from Santorini and marble, chiefly from Paros). [35] This prosperity can also be seen from the relatively weak participation of the islands in the movement of Greek colonisation, other than Santorini's establishment of Cyrene. [38] Cycladic cities celebrated their prosperity through great sanctuaries: the treasury of Sifnos, the Naxian column at Delphi or the terrace of lions offered by Naxos to Delos.

Classical Era Edit

The wealth of the Cycladic cities thus attracted the interest of their neighbours. Shortly after the treasury of Sifnos at Delphi was built, forces from Samos pillaged the island in 524 BC. [39] At the end of the 6th century BC, Lygdamis, tyrant of Naxos, ruled some of the other islands for a time. [39]

The Persians tried to take the Cyclades near the beginning of the 5th century BC. Aristagoras, nephew of Histiaeus, tyrant of Miletus, launched an expedition with Artaphernes, satrap of Lydia, against Naxos. He hoped to control the entire archipelago after taking this island. On the way there, Aristagoras quarreled with the admiral Megabetes, who betrayed the force by informing Naxos of the fleet's approach. The Persians temporarily renounced their ambitions in the Cyclades due to the Ionian revolt. [40]

Median Wars Edit

When Darius launched his expedition against Greece, he ordered Datis and Artaphernes to take the Cyclades. [40] They sacked Naxos, [39] Delos was spared for religious reasons while Sifnos, Serifos and Milos preferred to submit and give up hostages. [40] Thus the islands passed under Persian control. After Marathon, Miltiades set out to reconquer the archipelago, but he failed before Paros. [40] The islanders provided the Persian fleet with sixty-seven ships, [41] but on the eve of the Battle of Salamis, six or seven Cycladic ships (from Naxos, Kea, Kythnos, Serifos, Sifnos and Milos) would pass from the Greek side. [40] Thus the islands won the right to appear on the tripod consecrated at Delphi.

Themistocles, pursuing the Persian fleet across the archipelago, also sought to punish the islands most compromised with regard to the Persians, a prelude to Athenian domination. [40]

In 479 BC, certain Cycladic cities (on Kea, Milos, Tinos, Naxos and Kythnos) were present beside other Greeks at the Battle of Plataea, as attested by the pedestal of the statue consecrated to Zeus the Olympian, described by Pausanias. [42]

Delian Leagues Edit

When the Median danger had been beaten back from the territory of continental Greece and combat was taking place in the islands and in Ionia (Asia Minor), the Cyclades entered into an alliance that would avenge Greece and pay back the damages caused by the Persians’ pillages of their possessions. This alliance was organised by Athens and is commonly called the first Delian League. From 478-477 BC, the cities in coalition provided either ships (for example Naxos) or especially a tribute of silver. The amount of treasure owed was fixed at four hundred talents, which were deposited in the sanctuary of Apollo on the sacred island of Delos. [43]

Rather quickly, Athens began to behave in an authoritarian manner toward its allies, before bringing them under its total domination. Naxos revolted in 469 BC [44] and became the first allied city to be transformed into a subject state by Athens, following a siege. [45] The treasury was transferred from Delos to the Acropolis of Athens around 454 BC. [44] Thus the Cyclades entered the “district” of the islands (along with Imbros, Lesbos and Skyros) and no longer contributed to the League except through installments of silver, the amount of which was set by the Athenian Assembly. The tribute was not too burdensome, except after a revolt, when it was increased as punishment. Apparently, Athenian domination sometimes took the form of cleruchies (for example on Naxos and Andros). [44]

At the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, all the Cyclades except Milos [46] and Santorini were subjects of Athens. [47] Thus, Thucydides writes that soldiers from Kea, Andros and Tinos participated in the Sicilian Expedition and that these islands were “tributary subjects”. [48]

The Cyclades paid a tribute until 404 BC. After that, they experienced a relative period of autonomy before entering the second Delian League and passing under Athenian control once again.

According to Quintus Curtius Rufus, after (or at the same time as) the Battle of Issus, a Persian counter-attack led by Pharnabazus led to an occupation of Andros and Sifnos. [49]

Hellenistic Era Edit

An archipelago disputed among the Hellenistic kingdoms Edit

According to Demosthenes [50] and Diodorus of Siculus, [51] the Thessalian tyrant Alexander of Pherae led pirate expeditions in the Cyclades around 362-360 BC. His ships appear to have taken over several ships from the islands, among them Tinos, and brought back a large number of slaves. The Cyclades revolted during the Third Sacred War (357-355 BC), which saw the intervention of Philip II of Macedon against Phocis, allied with Pherae. Thus they began to pass into the orbit of Macedonia.

In their struggle for influence, the leaders of the Hellenistic kingdoms often proclaimed their desire to maintain the “liberty” of the Greek cities, in reality controlled by them and often occupied by garrisons.

Thus in 314 BC, Antigonus I Monophthalmus created the Nesiotic League around Tinos and its renowned sanctuary of Poseidon and Amphitrite, less affected by politics than the Apollo's sanctuary on Delos. [52] Around 308 BC, the Egyptian fleet of Ptolemy I Soter sailed around the archipelago during an expedition in the Peloponnese and “liberated” Andros. [53] The Nesiotic League would slowly be raised to the level of a federal state in the service of the Antigonids, and Demetrius I relied on it during his naval campaigns. [54]

The islands then passed under Ptolemaic domination. During the Chremonidean War, mercenary garrisons had been set up on certain islands, among them Santorini, Andros and Kea. [55] But, defeated at the Battle of Andros sometime between 258 and 245 BC, [56] the Ptolemies ceded them to Macedon, then ruled by Antigonus II Gonatas. However, because of the revolt of Alexander, son of Craterus, the Macedonians were not able to exercise complete control over the archipelago, which entered a period of instability. Antigonus III Doson put the islands under control once again when he attacked Caria or when he destroyed the Spartan forces at Sellasia in 222 BC. Demetrius of Pharos then ravaged the archipelago [57] and was driven away from it by the Rhodians. [52]

Philip V of Macedon, after the Second Punic War, turned his attention to the Cyclades, which he ordered the Aetolian pirate Dicearchus to ravage [58] before taking control and installing garrisons on Andros, Paros and Kythnos. [59]

After the Battle of Cynoscephalae, the islands passed to Rhodes [59] and then to the Romans. Rhodes would give new momentum to the Nesiotic League. [52]

Hellenistic society Edit

In his work on Tinos, Roland Étienne evokes a society dominated by an agrarian and patriarchal “aristocracy” marked by strong endogamy. These few families had many children and derived part of their resources from a financial exploitation of the land (sales, rents, etc.), characterised by Étienne as “rural racketeering”. [52] This “real estate market” was dynamic due to the number of heirs and the division of inheritances at the time they were handed down. Only the purchase and sale of land could build up coherent holdings. Part of these financial resources could also be invested in commercial activities. [52]

This endogamy might take place at the level of social class, but also at that of the entire body of citizens. It is known that the inhabitants of Delos, although living in a city with numerous foreigners—who sometimes outnumbered citizens—practiced a very strong form of civic endogamy throughout the Hellenistic period. [60] Although it is not possible to say whether this phenomenon occurred systematically in all the Cyclades, Delos remains a good indicator of how society may have functioned on the other islands. In fact, populations circulated more widely in the Hellenistic period than in previous eras: of 128 soldiers quartered in the garrison at Santorini by the Ptolemies, the great majority came from Asia Minor [61] at the end of the 1st century BC, Milos had a large Jewish population. [62] Whether the status of citizen should be maintained was debated. [60]

The Hellenistic era left an imposing legacy for certain of the Cyclades: towers in large numbers—on Amorgos [63] on Sifnos, where 66 were counted in 1991 [64] and on Kea, where 27 were identified in 1956. [65] Not all could have been observation towers, [65] as is often conjectured. [63] Then great number of them on Sifnos was associated with the island's mineral riches, but this quality did not exist on Kea [65] or Amorgos, which instead had other resources, such as agricultural products. Thus the towers appear to have reflected the islands’ prosperity during the Hellenistic era. [65]

The commercial power of Delos Edit

When Athens controlled it, Delos was solely a religious sanctuary. A local commerce existed and already, the “bank of Apollo” approved loans, principally to Cycladic cities. [66] In 314 BC, the island obtained its independence, although its institutions were a facsimile of the Athenian ones. Its membership in the Nesiotic League placed it in the orbit of the Ptolemies until 245 BC. [66] Banking and commercial activity (in wheat storehouses and slaves) developed rapidly. In 167 BC, Delos became a free port (customs were no longer charged) and passed under Athenian control again. [67] The island then experienced a true commercial explosion, [66] especially after 146 BC, when the Romans, Delos’ protectors, destroyed one of its great commercial rivals, Corinth. [68] Foreign merchants from throughout the Mediterranean set up business there, as indicated by the terrace of foreign gods. Additionally, a synagogue is attested on Delos as of the middle of the 2nd century BC. [69] It is estimated that in the 2nd century BC, Delos had a population of about 25,000. [70]

The notorious “agora of the Italians” was an immense slave market. The wars between Hellenistic kingdoms were the main source of slaves, as well as pirates (who assumed the status of merchants when entering the port of Delos). When Strabo (XIV, 5, 2) refers to ten thousand slaves being sold each day, it is necessary to add nuance to this claim, as the number could be the author's way of saying “many”. Moreover, a number of these “slaves” were sometimes prisoners of war (or people kidnapped by pirates) whose ransom was immediately paid upon disembarking. [71]

This prosperity provoked jealousy and new forms of “economic exchanges”: in 298 BC, Delos transferred at least 5,000 drachmae to Rhodes for its “protection against pirates” in the middle of the 2nd century BC, Aetolian pirates launched an appeal for bids to the Aegean world to negotiate the fee to be paid in exchange for protection against their exactions. [72]

The Cyclades in Rome’s orbit Edit

The reasons for Rome's intervention in Greece from the 3rd century BC are many: a call for help from the cities of Illyria the fight against Philip V of Macedon, whose naval policy troubled Rome and who had been an ally of Hannibal’s or assistance to Macedon’s adversaries in the region (Pergamon, Rhodes and the Achaean League). After his victory at Battle of Cynoscephalae, Flaminius proclaimed the “liberation” of Greece. Neither were commercial interests absent as a factor in Rome's involvement. Delos became a free port under the Roman Republic's protection in 167 BC. Thus Italian merchants grew wealthier, more or less at the expense of Rhodes and Corinth (finally destroyed the same year as Carthage in 146 BC). [73] The political system of the Greek city, on the continent and on the islands, was maintained, indeed developed, during the first centuries of the Roman Empire. [74]

According to certain historians, the Cyclades were included in the Roman province of Asia around 133-129 BC [52] [75] others place them in the province of Achaea [76] at least, they were not divided between these two provinces. [77] Definitive proof does not place the Cyclades in the province of Asia until the time of Vespasian and Domitian.

In 88 BC, Mithridates VI of Pontus, after expelling the Romans from Asia Minor, took an interest in the Aegean. His general Archelaus took Delos and most of the Cyclades, which he entrusted to Athens due to their declaration of favour for Mithridates. Delos managed to return to the Roman fold. As a punishment, the island was devastated by Mithridates’ troops. Twenty years later, it was destroyed once again, raided by pirates taking advantage of regional instability. [78] The Cyclades then experienced a difficult period. The defeat of Mithridates by Sulla, Lucullus and then Pompey returned the archipelago to Rome. In 67 BC, Pompey caused piracy, which had arisen during various conflicts, to disappear from the region. He divided the Mediterranean into different sectors led by lieutenants. Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus was put in charge of the Cyclades. [79] Thus, Pompey brought back the possibility of a prosperous trade for the archipelago. [80] However, it appears that a high cost of living, social inequalities and the concentration of wealth (and power) were the rule for the Cyclades during the Roman era, with their stream of abuse and discontent. [52]

Augustus, having decided that those whom he exiled could only reside on islands more than 400 stadia (50 km) from the continent, [81] the Cyclades became places of exile, chiefly Gyaros, Amorgos and Serifos. [82]

Vespasian organised the Cycladic archipelago into a Roman province. [80] Under Diocletian, there existed a “province of the islands” that included the Cyclades. [83]

Christianisation seems to have occurred very early in the Cyclades. The catacombs at Trypiti on Milos, unique in the Aegean and in Greece, of very simple workmanship, as well as the very close baptismal fonts, confirms that a Christian community existed on the island at least from the 3rd or 4th century. [84]

From the 4th century, the Cyclades again experienced the ravages of war. In 376, the Goths pillaged the archipelago. [80]

Byzantine period Edit

Administrative organisation Edit

When the Roman Empire was divided, control over the Cyclades passed to the Byzantine Empire, which retained them until the 13th century.

At first, administrative organisation was based on small provinces. During the rule of Justinian I, the Cyclades, Cyprus and Caria, together with Moesia Secunda (present-day northern Bulgaria) and Scythia Minor (Dobruja), were brought together under the authority of the quaestura exercitus set up at Odessus (now Varna). Little by little, themes were put into place, starting with the reign of Heraclius at the beginning of the 7th century. In the 10th century the theme of the Aegean Sea was established it included the Cyclades, the Sporades, Chios, Lesbos and Lemnos. In fact, the Aegean theme rather than an army supplied sailors to the imperial navy. It seems that later on, central government control over the little isolated entities that were the islands slowly diminished: defence and tax collection became increasingly difficult. At the beginning of the 12th century, they had become impossible Constantinople had thus given up on maintaining them. [85]

Conflicts and migrations among the islands Edit

In 727, the islands revolted against the iconoclastic Emperor Leo the Isaurian. Cosmas, placed at the head of the rebellion, was proclaimed emperor, but perished during the siege of Constantinople. Leo brutally re-established his authority over the Cyclades by sending a fleet that used Greek fire. [86]

In 769, the islands were devastated by the Slavs.

At the beginning of the 9th century, the Saracens, who controlled Crete from 829, [87] threatened the Cyclades and sent raids there for more than a century. Naxos had to pay them a tribute. [88] The islands were therefore partly depopulated: the Life of Saint Theoktistos of Lesbos says that Paros was deserted in the 9th century and that one only encountered hunters there. [83] The Saracen pirates of Crete, having taken it during a raid on Lesbos in 837, would stop at Paros on the return journey and there attempt to pillage the church of Panaghia Ekatontopiliani Nicetas, in the service of Leo VI the Wise, recorded the damages. [87] In 904, Andros, Naxos and others of the Cyclades were pillaged by an Arab fleet returning from Thessaloniki, which it had just sacked. [87]

It was during this period of the Byzantine Empire that the villages left the edge of the sea to higher ground in the mountains: Lefkes rather than Paroikia on Paros or the plateau of Traghea on Naxos. [89] This movement, due to a danger at the base, also had positive effects. On the largest islands, the interior plains were fertile and suitable for new development. Thus it was during the 11th century, when Palaiopoli was abandoned in favour of the plain of Messaria on Andros, that the breeding of silkworms, which ensured the island's wealth until the 19th century, was introduced. [90]

In 1204, the Fourth Crusade took Constantinople, and the conquerors divided the Byzantine Empire amongst themselves. Nominal sovereignty over the Cyclades fell to the Venetians, who announced that they would leave the islands’ administration to whoever was capable of managing it on their behalf. In effect, the Most Serene Republic was unable to handle the expense of a new expedition. [91] This piece of news stirred excitement. Numerous adventurers armed fleets at their own expense, among them a wealthy Venetian residing in Constantinople, Marco Sanudo, nephew of the Doge Enrico Dandolo. Without any difficulty, he took Naxos in 1205 and by 1207, he controlled the Cyclades, together with his comrades and relatives. [91] His cousin Marino Dandolo became lord of Andros other relatives, the brothers Andrea and Geremia Ghisi (or Ghizzi) became masters of Tinos and Mykonos, and had fiefs on Kea and Serifos the Pisani family took Kea Santorini went to Jaccopo Barozzi Leonardo Foscolo received Anafi [91] [92] Pietro Guistianini and Domenico Michieli shared Serifos and held fiefs on Kea the Quirini family governed Amorgos. [92] [93] Marco Sanudo founded the Duchy of Naxos with the main islands such as Naxos, Paros, Antiparos, Milos, Sifnos, Kythnos and Syros. [91] The Dukes of Naxos became vassals of the Latin Emperor of Constantinople in 1210, and imposed the Western feudal system on the islands they ruled. In the Cyclades, Sanudo was the suzerain and the others his vassals. Thus, Venice no longer profited directly from this conquest, even if the duchy nominally depended on her and it had been stipulated that it could not be transmitted but to a Venetian. However, the Republic had found advantages there: the archipelago had been rid of pirates, and also of the Genoese, and the trade route to Constantinople made safer. [91] Population centres began to descend back toward the coasts and once there, were fortified by their Latin lords examples include Paroikia on Paros, and the ports on Naxos and Antiparos.

The customary law of the Principality of Achaea, the Assizes of Romania, quickly became the base of legislation for the islands. [94] In effect, from 1248, the Duke of Naxos became the vassal of William II of Villehardouin and thus from 1278 of Charles I of Naples. [88] The feudal system was applied even for the smallest properties, which had the effect of creating an important local elite. The “Frankish" nobles reproduced the seigneurial lifestyle they had left behind they built “châteaux” where they maintained courts. The links of marriage were added to those of vassalage. The fiefs circulated and were fragmented over the course of successive dowries and inheritances. Thus, in 1350, fifteen seigneurs, of whom eleven were of the Michieli family, held Kea (120 km 2 in area and, at the time, numbering several dozen families). [92]

However, this "Frankish" feudal system (the Greek term since the Crusades for everything that came from the West) was superimposed on the Byzantine administrative system, preserved by the new seigneurs taxes and feudal corvées were applied based on Byzantine administrative divisions and the farming of fiefs continued according to Byzantine techniques. [94] Byzantine property and marriage law also remained in effect for the local population of Greek origin. [88] The same situation existed in the religious sphere: although the Catholic hierarchy was dominant, the Orthodox hierarchy endured and sometimes, when the Catholic priest was unavailable, mass would be celebrated by his Orthodox counterpart. [94] The two cultures mixed tightly. One can see this in the motifs on the embroidery popular on the Cyclades Italian and Venetian influences are markedly present there. [95]

In the 1260s and 1270s, admirals Alexios Doukas Philanthropenos and Licario launched an attempt to reconquer the Aegean on behalf of Michael VIII Palaiologos, the Byzantine Emperor. This failed to take Paros and Naxos, [83] [88] but certain islands were conquered and kept by the Byzantines between 1263 and 1278. [96] [97] In 1292, Roger of Lauria devastated Andros, Tinos, Mykonos and Kythnos, [96] perhaps as a consequence of the war then raging between Venice and Genoa. [97] At the beginning of the 14th century, the Catalans made their appearance in the islands, shortly before the Turks. [97] In effect, the decline of the Seljuks left the field open in Asia Minor to a certain number of Turkmen principalities, those of which were closest to the sea began launching raids on the archipelago from 1330 in which the islands were regularly pillaged and their inhabitants taken into slavery. [97] Thus the Cyclades experienced a demographic decline. Even when the Ottomans began to impose themselves and unify Anatolia, the expeditions continued until the middle of the 15th century, in part because of the conflict between the Venetians and the Ottomans. [97]

The Duchy of Naxos temporarily passed under Venetian protection in 1499-1500 and 1511-1517. [88] Around 1520, the ancient fiefs of the Ghisi (Tinos and Mykonos) passed under the direct control of the Republic of Venice. [97]

Conquest and administration of the islands Edit

Hayreddin Barbarossa, Grand Admiral of the Ottoman Navy, took the islands for the Turks in two raids, in 1537 and 1538. The last to submit was Tinos, in Venetian hands since 1390, in 1715. [94]

This conquest posed a problem for the Sublime Porte. It was not possible, financially and militarily, to leave a garrison on each island. [98] Moreover, the war it was conducting was against Venice, not against the other Western powers. Thus, as Sifnos belonged to a Bolognese family, the Gozzadini, and the Porte was not at war with Bologna, it allowed this family to govern the island. [98] Likewise, the Sommaripa had Andros. They argued that they were in fact French, originally from the banks of the Somme (Sommaripa being the Italianised form of Sommerive), so as to pass under the protection of the capitulations. [98] Elsewhere too, it was easier, using this model, to leave in place the ruling families who passed under Ottoman suzerainty. The largest of the Cyclades kept their Latin seigneurs, but paid an annual tax to the Porte as a sign of their new vassalage. Four of the smallest islands found themselves under direct Ottoman administration. [94] Meanwhile, John IV Crispo, who governed the Duchy of Naxos between 1518 and 1564, maintained a sumptuous court, attempting to imitate the Western Renaissance. [99] Giovanfrancesco Sommaripa, seigneur of Andros, made himself hated by his subjects. [99] Moreover, in the 1560s, the coalition between the Pope, the Venetians and the Spaniards (the future Holy League that would triumph at Lepanto) was being put in place, and the Latin seigneurs of the Cyclades were being sought out and seemed ready to join the effort (financially and militarily). [99] Finally, the Barbary pirates also continued to pillage the islands from time to time. Eventually the islanders sent a delegation to Constantinople to plead that they could no longer continue to serve two masters. [99] The Duchy of Naxos, to which Andros had been added, was passed to Joseph Nasi, a confidant of the Sultan in 1566. He never visited “his” islands, leaving their administration to a local nobleman, Coronello. [99] However, as the islands were his direct and personal holding, Ottoman administration was never imposed there. [94] Landed properties were left untouched, unlike in other Christian lands conquered by the Ottomans. Indeed, they were left in the hands of their ancient feudal owners, who kept their traditional customs and privileges. [99]

After Nasi died, several seigneurs of Naxos followed, more and more virtual in nature, and little by little, the islands slid under normal Ottoman administration. They were granted to the Kapudan Pasha (grand admiral of the Ottoman navy), which is to say that their income went to him. [99] He only went there once a year, with his entire fleet, to receive the sum total of taxes owed to him. It was in the Bay of Drios, to the southeast of Paros, that he would drop anchor.

At the same time, the Divan only very rarely sent officers and governors to direct the Cyclades in its own name. There were attempts to install kadis and beys on each large island, but Christian pirates kidnapped them in such great numbers to sell them to Malta that the Porte had to abandon such plans. Afterward, the islands were only ruled from afar. Local magistrates, often called epitropes, governed locally their principal role was tax collection. [94] In 1580, the Porte, through an ahdname (agreement), granted privileges to the largest of the Cyclades (those of the Duchy of Joseph Nasi). In exchange for an annual tribute that comprised a poll tax and military protection, the Christian landowners (Catholic and Orthodox) kept their lands and their dominant position, negotiating taxes for their community. [94]

Thus a specific local law came into being, a mixture of feudal customs, Byzantine traditions, Orthodox canon law and Ottoman demands, all adapted to the particular island's situation. This legal idiosyncrasy meant that only native-born authorities could untangle cases. Even the language of the documents issued was a mixture of Italian, Greek and Turkish. [100] This was an additional reason for the absence of Ottoman administration. [101]

Population and economy Edit

Economically and demographically, the Cyclades had suffered harshly from the exactions first of Turkmen and Barbary pirates, then later (in the 17th century) Christian pirates. After the defeat at Lepanto, Uluç Ali Reis, the new Kapudan Pasha, initiated a policy of repopulating the islands. For example, in 1579 the Orthodox priest Pothetos of Amorgos was authorised to settle colonists on Ios, a nearly deserted island. [102] Kimolos, pillaged by Christian pirates in 1638, was repopulated with Sifniot colonists in 1646. [103] Christian Albanians, who had already migrated toward the Peloponnese during the Despotate of the Morea period or who had been moved to Kythnos by the Venetians, were invited by the Ottoman Empire to come settle on Andros. [90]

The regular passage of pirates, of whatever origin, had another consequence: quarantines were clearly not obeyed and epidemics would ravage the islands. Thus, the plague descended on Milos in 1687, 1688 and 1689, each time for more than three months. The epidemic of 1689 claimed 700 lives out of a total population of 4,000. The plague returned in 1704, accompanied by anthrax, and killed nearly all the island's children. [104]

The absence of land distribution to Muslim settlers, along with the Turks’ lack of interest in the sea, not to mention the danger posed by Christian pirates, meant that very few Turks moved to the islands. Only Naxos received several Turkish families. [105]

The Cyclades had limited resources and depended on imports for their food supply. [106] The large islands (chiefly Naxos and Paros) were as a matter of course the most fertile due to their mountains, which retained water, and due to their coastal plains. [107]

The little that was produced on the islands went, as it had since prehistory, toward an intense trade that allowed resources to be shared in common. The wine of Santorini, the wood of Folegandros, the salt of Milos or the wheat of Sikinos circulated within the archipelago. Silkworms were raised on Andros and the raw material was spun on Tinos and Kea. Not all products were destined for the local market: Milos sent its millstone all the way to France and Sifnos’ straw hats (the production of which the Frankish seigneurs had introduced) also left for the West. [108] In 1700, a very lean year, the port of Marseille received eleven boats and thirty-seven dinghies coming from the Cyclades. Also entering the city that year were 231,000 lbs of wheat 150,000 lbs of oil 58,660 lbs of silk from Tinos 14,400 lbs of cheese 7,635 lbs of wool 5,019 lbs of rice 2,833 lbs of lambskin 2,235 lbs of cotton 1,881 lbs of wax 1,065 lbs of sponge. [109]

The Cyclades were also the centre of a contraband wheat trade to the West. In years with good harvests, the profits were large, but in years of poor harvests, the activity depended on the good will of the Ottoman authorities, who desired either a larger share of the wealth or career advancement by making themselves noticed in a fight against this smuggling. These fluctuations were sufficiently important for Venice to follow closely the nominations of Ottoman “officers” in the Archipelago. [110]

Thus, commercial activity retained its importance for the Cyclades. Part of this activity was linked to piracy, not including contraband. Certain traders had specialised in the purchase of plunder and the supply of provisions. Others had developed a service economy oriented toward these pirates: it encompassed taverns and prostitutes. At the end of the 17th century, the islands where they wintered made a living only due to their presence: Milos, Mykonos and above all Kimolos, [111] which owed its Latin name, Argentieri, as much to the colour of its beaches or its mythical silver mines as to the amounts spent by the pirates. This situation brought about a differentiation between the islands themselves: on the one hand the piratical islands (chiefly these three), and on the other, the law-abiding ones, headed by the devoutly Orthodox Sifnos, where the Cyclades’ first Greek school opened in 1687 and where women even covered their faces. [104]

During the wars that pitted Venice against the Ottoman Empire for possession of Crete, the Venetians led a great counter-attack in 1656 that allowed them to close off the Dardanelles efficiently. Thus the Ottoman navy was unable to protect the Cyclades, which were systematically exploited by the Venetians for a dozen years. The Cycladic proverb, “Better to be massacred by the Turk than be given as fodder to the Venetian” seems to date to the period of these exactions. When the Ottoman navy managed to break the Venetian blockade and the Westerners were forced to retreat, the latter ravaged the islands forests and olive groves were destroyed and all livestock was stolen. [112] Once again the Cycladic economy began to suffer.

The Cyclades: a battleground between Orthodox and Catholics Edit

The Sultan, like everywhere else in his Greek territories, favoured the Greek Orthodox Church. He considered the Ecumenical Patriarch as the leader of the Greeks within the Empire. The latter was responsible for Greeks’ good behaviour, and in exchange he was given extensive power over the Greek community as well as the privileges he had secured under the Byzantine Empire. [113] In the whole Empire, the Orthodox had been organised into a millet, but not the Catholics. [114] Moreover, in the Cyclades, Catholicism was the religion of the Venetian enemy. Orthodoxy thus took advantage of this protection to try and reconquer the terrain lost during the Latin occupation. [101] In the rest of the Empire, the agricultural development of unoccupied land (the property of the Sultan) was often entrusted to religious orders and Muslim religious foundations. As the latter were absent on the islands, this function fell to the Orthodox monasteries. [101] Tournefort, visiting the Cyclades in 1701, counted up these Orthodox monasteries: thirteen on Milos, six on Sifnos, at least one on Serifos, sixteen on Paros, at least seven on Naxos, one on Amorgos, several on Mykonos, five on Kea and at least three on Andros (information is missing for the remaining islands). [115] Only three had been founded during the Byzantine era: Panaghia Chozoviotissa on Amorgos (11th century), Panaghia Panachrantos on Andros (10th century) [116] and Profitis Elias (1154) [117] on Sifnos, all the rest belonging to the wave of Orthodox reconquest under Ottoman protection. [101] The numerous monasteries founded during the Ottoman period were privately established by individuals on their own lands. These establishments are proof of a social evolution on the islands. Certainly, in general, the great Catholic families converted little by little, but this is insufficient to explain the number of new monasteries. It must be concluded that a new Greek Orthodox elite emerged which took advantage of the weakening of society during the Ottoman conquest to acquire landed property. Their wealth was later cemented through the profits from commercial and naval enterprises. [118] At the beginning of the 17th century, the Orthodox reconversion was practically complete. It is in this context that the Catholic counter-offensive is situated. [118]

Catholic missionaries, for instance, envisioned the start of a crusade. Père Saulger, Superior of the Jesuits on Naxos, was a personal friend of Louis XIV’s confessor, Père La Chaise. In vain, he used this influence to push the French king to launch a crusade. [94]

The Cyclades had six Catholic bishoprics: on Santorini, Syros, Naxos, Tinos, Andros and Milos. They were part of the policy of a Catholic presence, for the number of parishioners did not justify so many bishops. In the middle of the 17th century, the diocese of Andros contained fifty Catholics that of Milos, thirteen. [119] Indeed, the Catholic Church showed itself to be very active in the islands during the 17th century, taking advantage of the fact that it was under the protection of the French and Venetian ambassadors at Constantinople, and of the wars between Venice and the Ottoman Empire, which weakened the Turks’ position in the archipelago. The Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the Catholic bishops and the Jesuit and Capuchin missionaries all tried to win over the Greek Orthodox inhabitants to the Catholic faith and at the same time to impose the Tridentine Mass on the existing Catholic community, to whom it had never been introduced. [94]

The Capuchins were members of the Mission de Paris and thus under the protection of Louis XIV, who saw in this a way of reaffirming the prestige of the Most Christian King, but also to set up commercial and diplomatic footholds. [118] Capuchin establishments were founded on Syros in 1627, on Andros in 1638 (whence they were driven out by the Venetians in 1645 and where they returned in 1700), on Naxos in 1652, on Milos in 1661 and on Paros, first in the north at Naoussa in 1675, then at Paroikia in 1680. [119] The Jesuits were instead the instrument of Rome, even if they too benefited from French protection and were often of French origin. [119] A Jesuit house was founded on Naxos in 1627, in part due to funding by the merchants of Rouen. [120] They set up missions on Santorini (1642) and on Tinos (1670). A Franciscan mission was also founded in the 16th century on Naxos, and a Dominican friary was established on Santorini in 1595. [119]

Among their proselytizing activities, the Jesuits staged plays in which Jesuit priests and members of the particular island's Catholic high society performed. These plays were performed on Naxos, but also on Paros and Santorini, for more than a century. The subjects were religious and related to local culture: [120] “to win more easily the heart of the Greeks and for this we presented the action in their vernacular and on the same day that the Greeks celebrate the feast of St. Chrysostom”. [121]

By the 18th century, most of the Catholic missions had disappeared. The Catholic missionaries had failed to achieve their objectives, except on Syros, which to this day has a strong Catholic community. On Santorini, they merely managed to maintain the number of Catholics. On Naxos, despite a fall in the number of believers, a small Catholic core endured. Of course, Tinos, Venetian until 1715, remained a special case, with an important Catholic presence. [119] [122] Where they existed, the Catholic communities lived apart, well separated from the Orthodox: entirely Catholic villages on Naxos or a neighbourhood in the center of the island's main village. Thus, they too enjoyed a certain administrative autonomy, as they dealt directly with the Ottoman authorities, without passing through the Orthodox representatives of their island. For Catholics, this situation also created the feeling of being besieged by “the Orthodox enemy”. In 1800 and 1801, noteworthy Naxiot Catholics were attacked by part of the Orthodox population, led by Markos Politis. [114]

Frankish piracy Edit

When North Africa had been definitively integrated into the Ottoman Empire, and above all when the Cyclades passed to the Kapudan Pasha, there was no longer any question of the Barbary pirates continuing their raids there. Thus they were active in the western Mediterranean. In contrast, the Christians had been driven out of the Aegean after the Venetian defeats. As a result, they took the relay stations of the Muslim pirates in the Archipelago. [123]

The principal objective was the commercial route between Egypt, its wheat and imposts (the Mamelukes’ tribute), and Constantinople. [123] The pirates spent the winter (December–March) on Paros, Antiparos Ios or Milos. In spring, they set up in the vicinity of Samos then, at the beginning of summer, in Cypriot waters and at the end of summer on the coast of Syria. At Samos and Cyprus, they attacked ships, while in Syria, they landed ashore and kidnapped wealthy Muslims whom they freed for ransom. In this way they maximized their loot, which they then spent in the Cyclades, where they returned for the winter. [123]

The two most famous pirates were the brothers Téméricourt, originally from Vexin. The younger, Téméricourt-Beninville, was a knight of Malta. In spring 1668, with four frigates, they entered Ios harbour. When the Ottoman fleet, then sailing toward Crete as part of the war against Venice, tried to throw them out that 2 May, they fought it off by inflicting serious damage to it and thus made their reputation. [123] Hugues Creveliers, nicknamed “the Hercules of the seas”, began his career slightly earlier, with the help of the Knights of Malta. He rapidly made his fortune and organised Christian piracy in the Cyclades. He had between twelve and fifteen ships under his direct command and had awarded his villa to twenty shipowners who benefited from his protection and transferred a portion of their earnings to him. He kept the islands afraid of him. [124]

Their career came to a rather abrupt end: Téméricourt-Beninville was decapitated at the age of 22 in 1673 during a celebration marking the circumcision of one of the Sultan's sons Creveliers and his shipmates jumped into the bay of Astypalaia in 1678. [123]

These pirates considered themselves to be corsairs, but their situation was more ambiguous. Of Livornese, Corsican or French origin, the great majority of them were Catholic and acted under the more or less unofficial protection either of a religious order (the Knights of Malta or the Order of Saint Stephen of Livorno) or of the Western powers that sought either to maintain or initiate a presence in the region (Venice, France, Tuscany, Savoy or Genoa). Thus they were nearly corsairs, but liable at any moment to repudiation by their secret protectors, they could become pirates once again. [123] Hence, when Venice surrendered in Crete, it had to agree by treaty to fight against piracy in the Aegean.

Jean Chardin relates thus the arrival at Mykonos of two Venetian ships in 1672:
“They entered there during the night. The admiral, while dropping anchor, launched flares. […] This was to warn the Christian corsairs who might be in the port to withdraw before daybreak. At the time, there were two of them. They set sail the next morning. […] The Republic had committed itself in the Treaty of Candia to drive out Christian corsairs alongside the Great Seigneur, […] making use of this attention to satisfy the Porte without acting at all against the corsairs”. [125]

The Chevalier d'Arvieux also reports the ambiguous attitude of France toward Téméricourt-Beninville, which he witnessed in 1671. This attitude, also shared by the marquis de Nointel, Ambassador of France at Constantinople several years later, was a means of applying quasi-diplomatic pressure when the subject of renegotiating the capitulations came up. [123] Likewise, the marquis de Fleury, considered a pirate, came to settle in the Cyclades with financial backing from the Marseille Chamber of Commerce at a moment when the renewal of the capitulations was being negotiated. Certain Western traders (above all those evading bankruptcy) also put themselves in service of the pirates in the islands they frequented, buying their booty and providing them with equipment and supplies. [123]

There were also very close links between Catholic piracy and the Catholic missions. The Capuchins of Paros protected Creveliers and had masses said for the repose of his soul. On numerous occasions, they also received generous alms from Corsican pirates like Angelo Maria Vitali or Giovanni Demarchi, who gave them 3,000 piastres to build their church. [123] There seems to have been a sort of symbiosis between pirates and Catholic missionaries. The former protected the missions from the exactions of the Turks and the progress of the Orthodox Church. The monks supplied provisions and sometimes sanctuary. [123] The presence of these privateer-pirates in the Cyclades at the end of the 17th century thus owed nothing to chance and formed part of a wider movement to try and return Westerners to the Archipelago.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the face of piracy in the Cyclades changed. The final loss by Venice of Crete diminished the Republic's interest in the region and thus its interventions. Louis XIV also changed his attitude. [126] Western corsairs disappeared little by little and were replaced by natives who took part as much in piracy as in contraband or trade. Then the shipowners’ great fortunes slowly came into being. [127]

Decline of the Ottoman Empire Edit

Life under Ottoman domination had become difficult. With time, the advantages of Ottoman rather than Latin suzerainty vanished. When the old masters had been forgotten, the shortcomings of the new became ever clearer. The ahdname of 1580 granted administrative and fiscal liberties, as well as wide-ranging religious freedom: Greek Orthodox could build and repair their churches and above all, they had the right to ring the bells of their churches, a privilege not enjoyed by other Greek lands under Ottoman rule. [128] The ideas of the Enlightenment also touched the Cyclades, brought by the traders who entered into contact with Western ideas during their voyages. At times, some of them sent their sons to study in Western universities. [129] Moreover, a number of popular legends regarding the liberation of the Greeks and the reconquest of Constantinople circulated during the 17th and 18th centuries.

These stories told of God, his warrior saints and the last Emperor, Constantine XI Palaiologos, who would awaken and leave the cave where angels had carried him and transformed him into marble. These heavenly powers would lead Greek soldiers to Constantinople. In this battle, they would also be accompanied by a xanthos genos, a blond race of liberators come from the North. [130] It was for this reason that the Greeks turned to the Russians, the only Orthodox not to have been conquered by the Turks, to help them recover their freedom.

Russia, which was seeking a warm-water port, regularly confronted the Ottoman Empire in its attempt to access the Black Sea and through it the Mediterranean it knew how to put these Greek legends to good use. Thus, Catherine had named her grandson, due to succeed her, Constantine.

The Cyclades took part in various important uprisings, such as that of 1770-74 during the Orlov Revolt, which brought about a brief passage of Catherine II's Russians through the islands. The operations took place primarily in the Peloponnese, and fighters native to the Cyclades left their islands in order to join the battle. [131] In 1770, the Russian navy pursued the Ottoman navy across the Aegean and defeated it at Chesma. It then went on to spend the winter in the bay of Naoussa, in the northern part of Paros. However, hit by an epidemic, it abandoned its allies and evacuated mainland Greece in 1771. [132] Nevertheless, it seems the Russians remained in the Cyclades at some length: “in 1774, [the Russians] took over the islands of the Archipelago, which they occupied in part for four or five years” [133] Mykonos would remain under Russian occupation from 1770 to 1774 [134] and Russian ships would stay at Naoussa until 1777. [135]

A new Russo-Turkish war (1787-1792) that ended in the Treaty of Jassy once again saw operations in the Cyclades. Lambros Katsonis, a Greek officer in the Russian navy, operated with a Greco-Russian flotilla from the island of Kea, whence he attacked Ottoman ships. [136] A Turkish-Algerian fleet finished by defeating him off Andros on 18 May 1790 (OS). Katsonis managed to flee with just two ships toward Milos. He had lost 565 men the Turks, over 3,000. [137]

However, not all was lost for the Greeks, for the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) allowed the islands to develop their commerce under Russian protection. Moreover, the islands were relatively unaffected by the Ottomans’ retributive exactions.

The Cyclades during the war of independence Edit

The Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca of 1774 ensured the general prosperity of the Greek islands, well beyond those like Hydra or Spetses associated with famous shipowners. Andros took advantage of this situation by putting in place its own merchant fleet. [90] This prosperity had two contradictory consequences also linked to the administrative absenteeism of the Ottomans in the Cyclades. On the one hand, the Turkish “government” no longer seemed so unbearable. On the other hand, to share the fruits of this prosperity with the Turk, rather than keep everything for oneself in an independent state, was becoming less and less acceptable. [133]

For the archipelago's Catholics, the situation was fairly similar. At the beginning of the War of Independence, the Cyclades had around 16,000 Catholics (especially on Naxos, Syros, Tinos and Santorini). [138] The distant Ottoman domination was not unbearable, but the Ottomans were considered the enemies of Christianity in general. If revolution failed, the Turkish reprisals would be cruel, like after the passage of the Russians in the 1770s. However, if the revolution succeeded, the prospect of living in a fundamentally Orthodox state did not please the Catholic islanders. Moreover, on the islands “liberated” from the Ottoman Empire, the Greek commissioners put into place compelled the Catholics to pay them the imposts that until then had gone to the Turks. [114] The Catholics did not participate in the conflict, especially after the Pope declared his neutrality [138] this the Austria of Metternich compelled him to maintain despite the diplomatic mission of Germanos. [114]

The national insurrection was launched in March 1821 with the mythical appeal of Germanos, Metropolitan of Patras. Kapetanoi (commanders, war chiefs) spread the revolt across Greece, principally in the Peloponnese and in Epirus.

This ambivalence explains the differences in attitude in the Archipelago at the moment of the War of Independence. This situation was aggravated by the consequences of the war: a renewal piracy under a patriotic pretext, a “revolutionary tax” demanded by the war chiefs, the disappearance of local institutions, the settling of old scores by those who took advantage of the anarchy to bring about social (poor against rich) or religious (Greek against Latin) upheaval. [133] The French flag flew above the Catholic churches of Naxos throughout the conflict this protected them from the resentment of the Orthodox, who called the Catholics “Turk-lovers”. [114]

Hence, the Cyclades took part in the conflict only sporadically. Like Hydra or Spetses, Andros, [90] Tinos [139] and Anafi [140] placed their fleets in the service of the national cause. Mado Mavrogenis, the daughter of a Phanariote, used her fortune to supply “admiral” Emmanuel Tombazis with 22 ships and 132 cannons from Mykonos. [141] The Orthodox Greeks of Naxos put together a troop of eight hundred men that fought the Ottomans. [142] Paros sent a contingent to the Peloponnese that distinguished itself during the Siege of Tripolitsa led by Theodoros Kolokotronis. [143]

The vicissitudes of conflict on the continent had their repercussions in the Cyclades. The massacres of Chios and Psara (committed in July 1824 by the troops of Ibrahim Pasha) led to an influx of people into the Cyclades, the survivors in effect becoming refugees there. [144] In 1825, when Ibrahim Pasha landed in the Peloponnese with his Egyptian troops, a great number of refugees flooded onto Syros. The ethno-religious composition of the island and its urban structure were totally transformed as a result. The Catholic island became ever more Orthodox. The Greeks using the Greek rite moved onto the coast in what would later become the very busy port of Ermoupoli, while the Latin-rite Greeks remained on the heights of the medieval city. [114]

From the beginning of the insurrection, Milos was occupied by the Russians and the French, who wished to observe what was happening in the Peloponnese. [145]

At the end of the War of Independence, the Cyclades were given to the young Greek kingdom of Otto in 1832. However, their allocation to Greece was not automatic. The Ottoman Empire had no particular wish to keep them (they had never brought it much), but France showed great interest in their acquisition in the name of protecting Catholics. [145]

Economy and society Edit

Fluctuating prosperity in the 19th century Edit

The marble quarries of Paros, abandoned for several centuries, were put back into service in 1844 for a very specific order: that of Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides. [146] Later, in 1878, a “Société des Marbres de Paros” was created.

Syros played a fundamental role in the trade, transport and economy of Greece in the latter half of the 19th century. The island had a certain number of advantages at the end of the War of Independence. It had been protected by the relative neutrality of the Cyclades and by the French, who had taken the Catholics of Syros under their wing (and thus the island as a whole). Moreover, it no longer had rivals: shipowners’ islands like Hydra and Spetses had been so deeply involved in the conflict that it ruined them. [147] Ermoupolis was long Greece's largest port and the country's second city (Thessaloniki was still in the Ottoman Empire). It was also an important industrial centre. [144] In 1872, the first steam engines began to appear in Greece in the Piraeus and at Ermoupolis, gas-powered plants were also set up. [148] At Ermoupolis, the first strike in Greece's social history broke out: 400 tannery and naval shipyard employees stopped working in 1879, demanding salary increases. [149]

When the Corinth Canal was inaugurated in 1893, Syros, and the Cyclades in general, began to collapse. The advent of steamships rendered them even less indispensable as a maritime stopover. The railroad, vector of the industrial revolution, was essentially unable to reach them, which also proved fatal. [144] A similar situation occurred with the triumph of the automobile and of road transportation in the 20th century.

The illness that decimated silkworms during the 19th century also dealt a very heavy blow to the economy of Andros neighboring Tinos. [90]

Meanwhile, starting in this period, certain islands experienced an important rural exodus. The inhabitants of Anafi left in such great numbers for Athens during and after Otto's reign that the neighbourhood they built, in their traditional architecture, at the foot of the Acropolis still bears the name of Anafiotika. [150]

Population movements Edit

The shifting fortunes of the Megali Idea during the 19th century continued to change the islands’ ethnic and social composition. The failure of the Cretan insurrection of 1866-67 brought numerous refugees to Milos, who moved, like the Peloponnesians on Syros a few years earlier, onto the coast and there created, at the foot of the old medieval village of the Frank seigneurs, a new port, that of Adamas. [144]

The censuses of 1889 and 1896 show the evolution in the Cyclades’ population. The total number of inhabitants rose 2.4%, from 131,500 to 134,750. This growth was the weakest in all of Greece (+11% on average, +21% for Attica). At the same time, the city of Ermoupolis lost 8,000 people (-27%), falling from over 30,000 to 22,000 dwellers. It was already suffering the effects of the Corinth Canal's opening and the development of the Piraeus. [151]

In 1922, after the Greek defeat in Asia Minor and above all the capture, massacres and fire at Smyrna, the region's Greek population fled in makeshift crafts. A good part of them first found refuge in the Cyclades, before being directed toward Macedonia and Thrace. [152] Thus the islands too felt, if in lesser measure, the impact of the “Great Catastrophe”.

The 1950s were a period of great change for Greece. The urban share of the population went from 37% to 56% between 1951 and 1961, with Athens absorbing 62% of the total urban growth. From 1956 to 1961, 220,000 people left the countryside for Athens while another 600,000 migrated abroad. [153] Between 1951 and 1962, 417 Pariots left their island for Athens due to what they considered deplorable living conditions and in the hope of finding work in Athens. [154]

20th-century economic transformations (besides tourism) Edit

In the mid-1930s, the Cyclades’ population density was between 40 and 50 inhabitants per km 2 , on par with the national average of 47. [155]

In an overview article on the Greek economy written in the mid-1930s, the author, an American economist, cited very little data about the Cyclades. For agriculture, he noted the wine production of Santorini, but said nothing concerning the fishing industry. His chapter devoted to industry cited basketry workshops on Santorini and for Syros, activity in basketry and tannery. However, the Cyclades did appear for their mineral resources. The emery of Naxos, mined consistently since prehistory, was exploited chiefly for export. Sifnos, Serifos, Kythnos and Milos provided iron ore. Santorini provided pozzolana (volcanic ash) Milos, sulphur and Antiparos and Sifnos, zinc in the form of calamine. Syros remained one of the country's export-oriented ports. [155]

Important bauxite deposits were found in the limestone layers of the islands’ substrata, chiefly on Amorgos, Naxos, Milos, Kimolos and Serifos. The resources of Amorgos were already being exploited in 1940. In 1946, Greek reserves were estimated at 60 million tons. [156]

The exhaustion of iron ore on Kythnos was one of the causes of significant emigration starting in the 1950s. [157]

Andros was one of the rare shipowners’ islands that managed to operate steam engines (for example, the source of the Goulandris’ fortune) and until the 1960s-1970s, it supplied the Hellenic Navy with numerous sailors. [90]

To this day, a certain number of natural resources offer the Cyclades occupations other than tourism. On certain islands, agriculture is still an activity of paramount importance, indeed so developed that the island could do without the presence of tourists (this is the case for Naxos). The Cyclades produce but above all export wine (Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Sikinos and Santorini), figs (Syros, Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Naxos and Sikinos), olive oil (Syros, Sifnos, Naxos and Ios), citrus fruits (Andros, Sifnos and Naxos), vegetables (Syros, Tinos, Sifnos, Ios and Santorini), among which is the famous Naxos potato. Sheep, goats and a few cows are raised (Sifnos, Paros and Naxos). Mineral resources are also present: marble (Paros, Tinos and Naxos) and marble dust for cement (Paros), emery (Naxos), manganese (Mykonos), and iron as well as bauxite (Serifos). Milos is dotted with huge open air mines producing sulphur, alum, barium, perlite, kaolin, bentonite and, as has been true throughout its history, obsidian. Syros still has naval shipyards, metallurgic industry and tanneries. [158]

World War II: famine and guerrilla war Edit

The Italian attack on Greece had been preceded by the torpedoing of the cruiser Elli, a symbolic ship for Greece, [159] in the bay of Tinos on 15 August 1940. [160] The Italians wanted to create an Italian "Provincia delle Cicladi" after the war's end. [161] A process of "Italianization" was started in summer 1941, mainly in the catholic areas: it was partially successful in the city of Ano Syros. [162]

The German attack of April 1941 led to a total defeat and the occupation of Greece from the end of that month. However, the Cyclades were occupied late and more by Italian than by German troops. The first occupation forces appeared on 9 May 1941: Syros, Andros, Tinos and Kythnos were occupied by Italians and Germans took Milos. [163] This delay allowed the islands to serve as a stopover for politicians heading to Egypt to continue the struggle. George Papandreou and Konstantinos Karamanlis thus stopped on Tinos before meeting in Alexandria. [164]

Following the Italian surrender, on 8 September 1943 the OKW ordered commanders of units in the Mediterranean sector to neutralize, by force if necessary, Italian units. On 1 October 1943, Hitler ordered his army to occupy all islands in the Aegean controlled by the Italians. [165]

At the time, Churchill’s objective in the eastern Mediterranean was to take the Italian-occupied Dodecanese so as to pressure neutral Turkey and tip it over into the Allied camp. Thus, British troops took control of this archipelago little by little (see Dodecanese Campaign). The German counter-attack was spectacular. General Müller left continental Greece on 5 November 1943 and moved from island to island, occupying each, until he reached Leros on 12 November and fought off the British. [166] Thus the Cyclades were, for the time being, under definitive German occupation.

Like the rest of the country, the Cyclades would suffer from the Great Famine organised by the German occupier. Moreover, on the islands, caïques no longer had authorization to go out and fish. [167] Thus, on Tinos, it is considered that 327 persons in the town of Tinos and around 900 in the region of Panormos died of hunger during the conflict. [164] Pre-war Naxos depended on Athens for a third of its supplies, transported by six caiques. During the war, as people were dying of hunger in the capital, the island could no longer depend on this contribution and four of its ships had been sunk by the Germans. [167] On Syros, the number of deaths went from 435 in 1939 to 2,290 in 1942, and a birth deficit was also noticeable: 52 excess births in 1939, 964 excess births in 1942. [167]

Resistance was organised on each island, but due to their isolation, the Resistance forces could not mount the kind of guerrilla warfare that occurred on the mainland. However, in spring 1944, the islands became a scene of fighting as the Greek Sacred Band special forces unit and British commandos raided the German garrisons. Thus, on 24 April 1944 the SBS raided Santorini on 14 May 1944, the Sacred Band attacked the aerodrome built on Paros by the Germans and seized it as well as its commander on 24 May 1944, the German garrison of Naxos was attacked, and again on 12 October, leading to the island's liberation on the 15th. In Mykonos a squad of 26 men attacked a munitions depot, killing six German soldiers and finally forcing the Germans to evacuate the island on 25 September 1944. Although nearly all of Greece was evacuated in September 1944, a few garrisons remained, such as that on Milos, which did not surrender to the island's sacred band until 7 May 1945. [168]

A place of exile once again Edit

During the various dictatorships of the 20th century, the Cyclades, first Gyaros and later Amorgos and Anafi, regained their former role as places of exile.

Starting in 1918, royalists were deported there in the context of the Ethnikos Dikhasmos (National Schism). [169] In 1926, the dictatorial government of Pangalos exiled Communists to the islands. [169]

During the Metaxas dictatorship (1936–1940), over 1,000 people (members of the KKE, syndicalists, socialists or opponents in general) were deported to the Cyclades. On certain islands, the deportees outnumbered the local population. They came chiefly from tobacco-producing regions in northern Greece and belonged to all manner of social classes: workers, teachers, doctors, etc. [169] Exile on the islands was the simplest solution. It avoided overcrowding prisons on the mainland and their presence on the islands allowed easier control over the prisoners: communication with the outside world was in essence limited. [169] In contrast with the prisons, where detainees were housed and fed, deportees on the islands had to procure shelter, food, eating utensils, etc. for themselves, making it cheaper for the government. Certain of the Cyclades were partly depopulated by the rural exodus since the mid-19th century, so empty houses were at the disposal of the deportees, who had to rent them. Poor exiles received a daily allowance of 10 drachmai (a quarter of an agricultural labourer's salary) for food and lodging exiles deemed “prosperous” received nothing. [169]

The exiles had to put in place a form of social organisation in order to survive. This organisation was perfectly in place when the Italians or the Germans took the Greek police's place during World War II. [169] Thus they had the possibility of applying in practice the principles that they were defending politically. “Communes” were put into place, headed by an “executive committee” including, among others, a treasurer, a thrift officer and a secretary tasked with organising debates and study groups. The communes had very strict regulations regarding relations between commune members and islanders, with whom they had continual contact for rent payment (on houses, then during the war on land where the exiles cultivated or let their flocks pasture) or food purchase. Work was done in common. The various household chores were divided and performed by each one in turn. The communes forbade their members, the great majority of them men, any sexual relations with the women of the islands, so as to maintain good understanding and perhaps thereby win over the islanders to the deportees’ political ideas. Likewise, exiled doctors not only attended to members of their commune, but also to the natives. [169] The main effect that the exiles’ presence had on the local population was to reveal to the islanders how various governments thought of their island: as a deserted, inhospitable place where no one lived willingly. [169] Some islanders joked that they could have whatever political opinions they wished, for the government had no other place to deport them. [169]

In 1968, 5,400 opponents of the junta were deported to Gyaros, facing Andros. [170]

The refusal of governments in the 1950s and ‘60s to improve port and road infrastructure on certain small islands of the Cyclades was interpreted by the inhabitants as a wish on the part of the state to preserve places of exile still sufficiently cut off from the world, which did not endear Athens to the islanders. [169] Thus, Amorgos was only electrified in the 1980s and the road linking the two principal villages was not paved until 1991. [171] This situation hindered the Cyclades’ tourist development.

19th- and 20th-century tourist development Edit

Greece has been a tourist destination for a very long time. It was already part of the itinerary of the first tourists, the inventors of the word: the British of the Grand Tour.

At the start of the 20th century, the main tourist interest in the Cyclades was Delos, the ancient importance of which had nourished the “tourists’” studies. The Baedeker Guide mentioned only Syros, Mykonos and Delos. Syros was the main port that all ships touched Mykonos was the obligatory stopover before the visit to Delos. Syros featured two hotels worthy of their name (Hôtel de la ville and Hôtel d'Angleterre). On Mykonos, one had to content oneself with Konsolina “house” or rely on the Epistates (police official) of the Antiquities, in which case the competition between potential visitors to Delos must have been rough. [172] The Guide Joanne of 1911 also insisted on Delos (treating it in 12 of 22 pages devoted to the Cyclades), but all the other important islands were mentioned, if only in a single paragraph. Meanwhile, tourist development was already noticeable on these other islands: Mykonos had a hotel at the time (Kalymnios) and two boarding houses other than that of Mme Konsolina (which was well established), there was also that of Mme Malamatenia. [173]

In 1933, Mykonos received 2,150 holiday-goers and 200 foreigners visited Delos and the museum on Mykonos. [174]

Mass tourism to Greece only really took off starting in the 1950s. After 1957, the revenue it generated grew 20% a year. [175] They soon rivalled the revenue obtained from the chief raw material for export, tobacco, and then surpassed it. [176]

Today, tourism in the Cyclades is a contrasting phenomenon. Certain islands, like Naxos with its important agricultural and mining resources, or Syros, which still plays a commercial and administrative role, do not depend solely on tourism for their survival. This is less true for small, infertile rocks like Anafi [177] or Donoussa, which numbers (2001) 120 inhabitants and six pupils in its primary school but 120 rooms for rent, two travel agencies and a bakery open only during summer. [178]

In 2005, there were 909 hotels in the Cyclades, with 21,000 rooms and 40,000 places. The main tourist destinations are Santorini (240 hotels, of which 6 have five stars) and Mykonos (160 hotels, with 8 five-star ones), followed by Paros (145 hotels, just one being five-star) and Naxos (105 hotels). All other islands offer less than 50 hotels. At the other extreme, Schoinoussa and Sikinos each have only one two-star hotel. The chief type of lodging in the Cyclades is the two-star hotel (404 establishments). [179] In 1997, the tourist load was measured: the Cyclades had 32 beds per km 2 , or 0.75 beds per inhabitant. On Mykonos, Paros, Ios and Santorini (from north to south), the tourist load is strongest, not only for the Cyclades, but for all the Aegean islands, with over 1.5 beds per inhabitant. However, at the archipelago level, the tourist load is heavier in the Dodecanese. [180] This is due to the fact that the islands of the Cyclades are smaller and less populated than the other islands, so the load on an individual island is stronger than for the archipelago as a whole.

In the 2006 season, the Cyclades received 310,000 visitors of 11.3 million coming to Greece as a whole [181] the Cyclades had 1.1 million overnight stays while the country had 49.2 million—an occupancy rate of 61%, equivalent to the national average. [182] The figure of 1.1 million overnight stays has remained stable for several years (as of 2007), while the number of tourists visiting Greece has fallen: the Cyclades still attract the same numbers while Greece has brought in fewer. [183] [184]

A tendency beginning in the 2000s (decade) is for foreign tourism to be replaced little by little with domestic Greek tourism. In 2006, 60% of tourists to Santorini were of Greek origin, and they did not differ fundamentally from foreign tourists (average stay: 6.5 nights for a Greek and 6.1 nights for a foreigner average spending for a Greek: 725 € and 770 € for a foreigner). The only differences are that the Greeks prepare their stay later (20 days before) than the foreigners (45 days before) and return (by 2007, 50% of Greeks had made more than two trips, as against 20% of foreign tourists). [185]

Most Bizarre Deaths from Classical History

Classical history is kind of notorious for its menagerie of stories about bizarre and humiliating deaths. Today we will hear stories about a philosopher who covered himself in cow manure and was devoured by wild dogs, a military leader who committed suicide by drinking bull’s blood, a playwright who was killed by a falling tortoiseshell, a poet who jumped into a volcano to make people think he was a god, a tragedian who was killed like a character in one of his tragedies, a tyrant who was assassinated with a poisoned toothpick, a Stoic philosopher who literally laughed himself to death, and even a Christian religious leader who pooped out his own internal organs. All of these stories are almost certainly apocryphal, but they are still interesting to retell!

Herakleitos of Ephesos

Herakleitos of Ephesos (lived c. 535 – c. 475 BC), also known as “Herakleitos the Obscure” and “the Weeping Philosopher,” was a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from the city of Ephesos in Asia Minor. Many fragments of Herakleitos’s writings have survived. He is perhaps best-known for his oracular sayings, such as πάντα ῥεῖ (“All things flow”), ὁδὸς ἄνω κάτω (“The way up is also the way down”), and δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης (“You can never step in the same river twice”).

No one knows how Herakleitos really died, because almost everything we know about him comes from his own writings and, obviously, he was not there to record his own death. Later, however, a bizarre story arose to explain how he died. According to an account given by the third-century AD Greek biographer Diogenes Laërtios in Book IX of his book The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, taken from the earlier writer Neanthes of Kyzikos, Herakleitos suffered from dropsy and, in an effort to cure himself of it, he covered himself in cow manure.

Supposedly Herakleitos had been instructed to do this by a physician, who told him that the warmth of the manure would draw out the noxious humors that were causing his affliction. According to the story, Herakleitos found relief, but not of the variety he was expecting he was supposedly torn to pieces by wild dogs, who mistook him for a wild animal.

ABOVE: Heraclitus, painted in around 1630 by the Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Moreelse, showing the author’s imagining of what Herakleitos might have looked like, based on traditional iconography

Themistokles of Athens

The Athenian general Themistokles (lived c. 524 – c. 459 BC) was probably the most singularly important Greek leader during the Second Persian Invasion of Greece in 480 BC. He was the one who set the trap for the Persians at Salamis, allowing the Athenian navy to utterly crush the Persians and turn the tide of the war. Themistokles, however, received little thanks for his contributions. In 473 or 472 BC, the Athenians ostracized him (i.e. banished him from the city for ten years), believing he had begun to acquire too much power.

Themistokles, ironically, ended up being forced to flee to Asia Minor to seek refuge with the Persians. (Oh yes, you heard that correctly the man who almost single-handed engineered the Persians’ ultimate defeat in the Greco-Persian Wars was forced to go to the Persians for refuge because his own native Greeks would not have him.)

Themistokles convinced the Persian Shah-in-Shah (“King of Kings”) Artaxerxes I (ruled 465–424 BC) to appoint him as satrap of the Persian satrapy of Magnesia, telling him that he had really been on the Persians’ side all along and had really been sincere with his letter prior to the Battle of Salamis telling the Persians that the Greeks were in disarray.

In reality, Themistokles died of natural causes sometime around 459 BC or thereabouts as the governor of Magnesia, but the later Greeks told a very bizarre story about how they thought this old turncoat had died. The story goes that, supposedly, alone, exiled, and depressed, Themistokles had chosen to commit suicide by drinking bull’s blood. The weird thing is, though, that bull’s blood is not actually poisonous and you can actually drink it without it killing you it just is not very appetizing. Obviously, then Themistokles could not have really died this way.

Yet, somehow, the story is retold throughout a number of classical Greek sources, including Thoukydides’s Histories of the Peloponnesian War, Diodoros Sikeliotes’s Universal History, and Ploutarchos of Chaironeia’s Life of Themistokles. In his comedy The Knights, which was first performed in around 324 BC, the Athenian comedic playwright Aristophanes (lived c. 446 – c. 386 BC) uses Themistokles’s example of committing suicide by drinking bull’s blood as the most masculine and heroic way a man could possibly die.

The British classicist Percy Gardner (lived 1846 – 1937) argued in a paper published in 1898 titled “A Themistoclean Myth” that the story of Themistokles’s bizarre suicide may have originated from an ignorant attempt to interpret a statue in Athens which portrayed him standing in a heroic pose, holding a cup up as an offering to the gods. Gardner argued that people may have mistaken the statue for a portrayal of Themistokles’s suicide and that this may have been the source for the legend that he had killed himself by drinking bull’s blood.

ABOVE: Photograph from Wikimedia Commons of a Roman marble copy of a Greek portrait bust of Themistokles originally carved around 470 BC. The bust is believed to be a realistic portrait, which makes it highly unusual for busts of this period.

Aischylos of Athens

The Athenian tragic playwright Aischylos (lived c. 525 – c. 455 BC) is one of only three ancient Greek tragedians for whom any works have survived complete under his own name. Aischylos probably originally wrote somewhere between seventy and ninety plays, but only six plays that were definitely written by him have survived to the present day complete: The Persians, The Seven against Thebes, The Suppliants, Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides. (A seventh complete surviving play, Prometheus Bound, is traditionally attributed to Aischylos, but is of disputed authorship.)

The story of how Aischylos supposedly died is first told by the early first-century AD Roman writer Valerius Maximus in his Memorable Deeds and Sayings book 9, chapter 12. According to Valerius Maximus, Aischylos was killed while he was in Sicily. He had gone outside the city where he was staying and was sitting in an open, sunny area in the middle of a field.

Then, an eagle flying overhead carrying a tortoise shell spotted him and mistook his bald head for a rock. The eagle dropped the tortoise shell on Aischylos’s head, hoping to crack the shell open so it could eat the tortoise inside. Instead, the shell smashed Aischylos’s head open and killed him.

The later Roman writer Pliny the Elder (lived c. 23 – 79 AD) refines this story when he retells it in his Natural History 10.7. Pliny adds that Aischylos had been in the field because he had been warned by an oracle that he would be killed by a falling object and so he was deliberately trying to stay in open spaces where he presumed nothing would be able to fall on him.

According to the classical scholar J. C. McKeown, the story of Aischylos’s bizarre death may have been inspired by a surviving passage from his lost tragedy The Necromancers, in which the seer Teiresias predicts the death of Odysseus, declaring:

“A heron flying overhead will strike you with dung emptied from its belly. Your aged scalp from which the hair has fallen out will be made to fester by a spine from its food gathered in the sea.”

It’s not hard to see how a story from one of Aischylos’s tragedies about Odysseus getting killed by a poisonous spine in a piece of dung dropped on his head by heron could transform into a story about Aischylos himself getting killed by a tortoise shell dropped on his head by an eagle.

ABOVE: Photograph from Wikimedia Commons of a Roman marble bust of Aischylos dating to around 30 BC, a copy of an earlier Greek bronze original dating to between 340 and 320 BC

Empedokles of Akragas

Empedokles of Akragas (lived c. 494 – c. 434 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek Pluralist philosopher and poet from the city of Akragas in Sicily. He was a very mystical thinker and was heavily influenced by the philosophy of the Pythagoreans (whom I talk about in this previous post from March 2018).

Empedokles is perhaps most famous for having developed the idea that all things are composed of four basic elements: fire, water, earth, and air. Today, these are known as the “four classical elements” and, although we now know that Empedokles’s idea is not literally true, it has had far-reaching influence on our culture. More of Empedokles’s writings have survived than those of any other pre-Socratic Greek philosopher.

No one knows how Empedokles really died, for the same reason no one knows how Herakleitos really died. Quite simply, almost everything we know about him comes from his own writings, but, obviously, he was not around to write about his own death. In later times, however, a fabulous legend grew from a passage in one of his surviving poems, in which Empedokles declares, “I am a divine god to you, no longer mortal.”

What Empedokles actually meant by this statement is debatable. It is entirely arguable, based on the wording and context of the statement, that he was merely mocking the doting manner in which people revered him by satirically commenting that they thought him to be a god. Nonetheless, later writers interpreted this passage to mean that Empedokles had really publicly declared himself an immortal god.

A legend first alluded to by the Roman poet Horace (lived 65 – 8 BC) in his poem Ars Poetica, written in around 19 BC, and retold in full by Diogenes Laërtios in Book VIII of his Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers holds that, when Empedokles was starting to grow old, he began to fear the prospect that he would die a normal death just like any other human being and that, then, people would realize he was not an immortal god.

Empedokles therefore supposedly came up with an absolutely brilliant, totally failproof plan: he decided he would leap into Mount Etna, an active volcano. Then no one would ever be able to find his body and they would all think that he had been taken up into heaven to be with the other gods! So, one night, he followed through with it and leapt into Mount Etna.

Empedokles, however, was in the peculiar habit of wearing bronze-soled sandals. Supposedly, shortly after the people discovered that he had gone missing, they searched for him and discovered one of his signature bronze-soled sandals on the side of Mount Etna. From the sandal, they were able to figure out what Empedokles had really done. They therefore proved to the whole world that he was indeed mortal, thus making his whole suicide entirely pointless.

ABOVE: The Death of Empedocles, painted between 1665 and 1670 by the Italian Baroque painter Salvator Rosa, showing Empedokles jumping into Mount Etna

Euripides of Athens

Aischylos was not the only great tragedian who was said to have suffered a terrible death. The later tragedian Euripides (lived c. 480 – c. 406 BC), who is best known today for his plays Medeia, Alkestis, Hippolytos, The Trojan Women, and The Bacchae, was also said to have died horribly.

Euripides is said to have left Athens near the end of his life and retired to the court of King Philippos II of Makedonia in the Makedonian royal capital of Pella. According to the Roman author Aulus Gellius (lived c. 125 – c. 180 AD) in Book 15, chapter 20 of his Attic Nights, Euripides was walking home late at night after having had dinner with King Philippos II, when he was attacked and torn to pieces by a pack of hunting dogs set upon him by a jealous rival.

Aulus Gellius doesn’t give any details of what supposedly happened, but the Souda, a Byzantine encyclopedia compiled in the tenth century AD, elaborates on the story considerably. According to the Souda, the rivals who arranged for the dogs to be released were Arrhibaios of Macedonia and Krateuas of Thessalia, and the one who actually released the dogs was a slave of King Philippos II named Lysimachos who had been bribed with ten minae.

The story of Euripides’s tragic death seems to have been inspired by his own tragedies. The character Pentheus in Euripides’s surviving play The Bacchae is famously torn apart by Mainads near the end of the play. The mythological figure of Orpheus (who was also said to have been torn apart by Mainads) and Aktaion (who was said to have been torn apart by the hounds of Artemis) are also known to have made prominent appearances in Euripides’s works.

ABOVE: Photograph from Wikimedia Commons of a Roman marble bust of Euripides, based on a Greek bronze original dating to around 330 BC or thereabouts

Agathokles of Syracuse

Agathokles of Syracuse (lived 361 – 289 BC) was your archetypal tyrant. Many words could be used to describe him: cunning, deceitful, conniving, brutal, merciless, and even downright bloodthirsty. This was a man who could get away with anything and who would stop at no lengths to attain greater power. He was so archetypal that none other than Niccolò Machiavelli himself cited him in his political treatise The Prince as the model of the criminal tyrant, calling him “treacherous, pitiless, irreligious.”

This is perhaps why it is so strange that it allegedly took so little to bring Agathokles and his reign as tyrant crumbling down. Agathokles, you see, is recorded to have been killed by a poisoned toothpick at the instigation of his own grandson Archagathos. Imagine that: a brutal tyrant brought down by something as small as a wooden toothpick.

Unfortunately, we do not know if this story is accurate and there are other reports that Agathokles simply died of natural causes.

ABOVE: Portrait of Agathokles of Syracuse from the obverse of one of his own coins

Chrysippos of Soloi

Chrysippos of Soloi (lived c. 279 – c. 206 BC) was a major philosopher who belonged to the Hellenistic Greek philosophical school of Stoicism, which I discuss in depth in this article from January 2020. Members of this school believed that emotions cloud our judgment and lead us to make rash or impulsive decisions that we later regret. The Stoics therefore taught that people should seek to make all decisions from within a state of apatheia (ἀπάθεια apátheia literally “without passion”), or objective, emotionless rationality. This is why our word stoic in English is used to refer to someone who does not show emotion.

As far as we can tell, the historical Chrysippos seems to have lived his life well according to Stoic teachings, but a story told centuries after his death about how he died portrays his death in a both bizarre and humiliating light. According to Diogenes Laërtios in Book VII of his book The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, when Chrysippos was an old man, he saw a donkey eating figs and thought it was so hilarious that he just could not stop laughing.

Supposedly, for further amusement, Chrysippos ordered one of his slaves to give the donkey some fine wine to wash the figs down with. Chrysippos watched as the donkey tried to drink the wine that had been brought for it and he just kept laughing and laughing uncontrollably. Finally, he laughed so much that he literally died of laughter.

Interestingly, this story, which is almost certainly apocryphal, was not originally told about Chrysippos at all, but rather—in its earliest attested form—about the Athenian comic playwright Philemon (lived c. 362 – c. 262 BC). It certainly makes far more sense for a comic playwright to have died laughing than a Stoic philosopher, so we must wonder how the story came to be told about Chrysippos.

The most likely explanation is that the legendary death by laughter was probably first attributed to Chrysippos by someone hostile to Stoic philosophy. By attributing a death so humiliating and so utterly contrary to the doctrines of Stoicism to one of the school’s greatest thinkers, whoever did this probably meant to show that Stoics were hypocrites and that their philosophy of emotionless rationality could not be realistically followed.

Chrysippos is far from the only ancient historical figure whose reputation has been sullied by a recycled canard as I discuss in this article from August 2020, the accusation of drinking expensive pearls dissolved in vinegar is first attested in Horace’s Satires 2.3.239–42, in which the person who dissolves and drinks the expensive pearls is the unnamed son of the famous orator Aesopus. The accusation was later, however, applied to both Queen Cleopatra VII Philopator of Egypt and the Roman emperor Caligula.

ABOVE: Photograph from Wikimedia Commons of a Roman marble bust of Chrysippos, based on a Greek original dating to the late third or early second century BC

Areios of Baukalis

The most ignominious death I can possibly think of that a famous or notorious person is said to have suffered is the legendary death supposedly suffered by the early Christian bishop Areios of Baukalis (lived c. 250 or c. 256–336 AD). Areios was the foremost proponent of the so-called “Arian heresy,” which held that Jesus was not of one substance with God the Father, but rather the first creation of the Father and therefore a lesser, created being. Areios was a massively controversial figure back in the day and his theological opponents hated him with intense passion.

No one knows how Areios really died, but Areios’s opponents invented an elaborate story about his allegedly humiliating death to suit their intense hatred of him. According to the Greek historian Sokrates Scholastikos (lived c. 380–after c. 439 AD), a devout Trinitarian Christian writer who is perhaps best known today for his famous account of the death of Hypatia of Alexandria, one day, as Areios was passing a statue of the Roman emperor Constantine I in the forum of Constantinople, he was suddenly stricken by a terrible and urgent need to defecate.

Areios desperately made his way to the public toilets at the side of the forum. He was in immense and terrible pain. When he arrived and he finally sat down, he was on the verge of fainting. He supposedly pooped so hard his whole rectum fell out, bringing on a massive outpouring of blood. Then his small intestine, spleen, and liver all came gushing out and he died a horrible, painful death sitting on the toilet.

Sokrates Scholastikos describes this event as miraculous and states that, even in his own time, over a hundred years after Areios’s death, people still pointed out the very toilet where Areios had allegedly died. Sokrates Scholastikos probably did not make this story up himself, but rather heard it from other Trinitarian Christians in Constantinople. It has all the flavor of a local legend that was probably originally transmitted orally.

ABOVE: Fictional engraving from 1493 depicting Areios as the artist imagined him. (No one knows what the historical Areios really looked like.)

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The Greek historian Herodotus (c. 480-425 BC) produced one of the most famous books of ancient Greece, the History. Its focus is the series of wars between Persia and the Greeks that lasted from approximately 490 to 479 BC. Herodotus devoted a great deal of attention to the background of the wars and in the process gave a fairly sweeping view of the eastern Mediterranean world during the sixth and fifth centuries BC.

Brick inscription reads: “Cyrus, king of the world, king of Anshan, son of Cambyses, king of Anshan. The great gods delivered all the lands into my hands, and I made this land to dwell in peace.”

The Greek word historiai (literally “investigations”) aptly describes how Herodotus went about collecting and recording information about the customs and histories of the peoples he encountered. He is regarded as the father of Western history writing because he tried to confine himself to human events and to avoid myths.

At times, however, claims from Herodotus are of questionable value. It is incorrect to assert, as some have, that Herodotus simply invented his stories. He did, however, include rumor, legend and gossip in his histories and sometimes may have misunderstood his sources.

Herodotus’ account of the fall of Babylon (History, 1.189-191) in 539 BC relates to the prophetic account of Jeremiah 50-51, as well as to Daniel’s indication that Babylon fell overnight during a festival (Daniel 5:30-31). Herodotus began with a fantastic tale of how Cyrus’ horse drowned in the Gyndes River and how he. to punish the river by making it weak and shallow, compelled his army to spend a summer diverting it into 360 channels. Arriving at Babylon, Cyrus faced the prospect of a prolonged siege. Babylon was large enough to store food for many years, so any attempts to starve the city into submission would have been futile.

But, Herodotus noted, the city had one peculiar characteristic: The Euphrates River ran through the middle of Babylon and divided it into two parts. Cyrus decided that the river channels under the walls provided the only chance of gaining entry, but the volume of water and the strength of the current were too great. Yet the Persian king hatched an ingenious plan: He posted soldiers at the points at which the Euphrates entered and left the city and instructed his men to move through the river when it became fordable. Meanwhile, the noncombatants went upstream and diverted much of the river into an artificial marsh. When the water level had dropped sufficiently, the Persian soldiers made their way in and captured the Babylonian capital.

What are we to make of this account? Most historians believe that Herodotus’ version of events is at least to some degree confused and misleading. In his actual conquest of Babylonia, Cyrus’ forces proceeded down from the north and rapidly overcame resistance. A second front was opened against Babylon by a certain Ugbaru, governor of Gutium. Ugbaru proceeded to capture Babylon for Cyrus with astonishing speed, and Cyrus himself entered the city shortly thereafter.

Several factors may have contributed to the Persian victory. First, Cyrus may have kept the bulk of the Babylonian forces occupied with his army while Ugbaru came in from the rear. Second, the Babylonian regime was unpopular, and the people seem to have welcomed Cyrus as a liberator. Third, Ugbaru appears to have entered Babylon by subterfuge (as is reflected in the version of the story about the diversion of the Euphrates).

It is certain, however, that Babylon fell suddenly. Herodotus is correct in stating that the Euphrates bisected the city, and the Nabonidus Chronicle confirms that it fell without a battle. Thus the account about diverting the Euphrates may be true. Both Daniel 5 and Herodotus stated: “Owing to the sheer size of the city, so say the inhabitants, those in the outlying areas were captured without those in the center knowing about it.”

Daniel 5 recounts the story of Belshazzar’s feast, and can be regarded as an independent witness. Herodotus, in this account as elsewhere, was colorful and not always fully reliable, but he appears to have preserved something of (and perhaps a good deal of) the true story.

Battle of Andros (246 BC)

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

The Battle of Andros was an obscure naval battle during the Third Syrian War. Despite its numerical superiority, the Egyptian fleet, probably commanded by Sophron of Ephesus, lost to a Macedonian fleet led by Antigonus II Gonatas. The Egyptian captain Ptolemy Andromachou, an illegitimate half-brother of the Pharaoh, lost his ship and crew, barely escaping to Ephesus.

The date of the battle is uncertain, but generally the year 246/245 BC is accepted. Ώ] Following the battle, the Egyptian king Ptolemy III Euergetes lost the dominion of the Nesiotic League to Antigonus Gonatas. ΐ]

The History of Andros and its Mythology

The history of Andros and mythology, as is natural, is directly linked to that of the rest of the Aegean and Greek islands. Andros has ancient names like Hydrusa ( with plenty of water ), Epagris , Nonagria ( liquid field ), Lasia ( with lush vegetation ) and Gavros . The most prevalent version of the island’s name dates back to mythology.

Mythology for Andros

Before 3000 BC from the union of Apollo with Rios (daughter of Staphylos, son of Dionysus) was born Anios. Apollo made Anio king of Delos, who had three daughters and two sons, Andros, and Mykonos. His sons reigned on two islands and gave them their names. The mythological origins of the inhabitants of the island interpret the dominant worship of God Dionysus and the presence of the gods-ancestors in their coins.

History of Andros during prehistoric and archaic times

The largest preserved settlement of the Neolithic Age of the Aegean.

The history of Andros during the prehistoric and archaic period mentions the first inhabitants of the island Pelasgians. Then came Kares, later the Phoenicians, the Cretans, and finally the Ionians. At the time of copper, the settlements that have experienced particular acne are Mikrogiali , Plaka and Strofilas, considered the largest preserved settlement of the Neolithic Age of the Aegean! The settlements of Zagora and Ypsilis know great acne in the years 900-700 BC, as evidenced by the traces of the settlement, were revealed in Zagora (near Zaganiari). The predominant version is the one that wants Andros as the first settler of the island.

History of Andros during the Classical era

Exhibits at the Palaeopolis Museum

The history of Andros during the classic era finds the island to have its capital in Paleopolis. The prosperity of this period is evident from the rich coinage and the impressive statue of Hermes of Andros (a copy of Hellenistic years, Archaeological Museum in Chora). In the 7th century BC the Andreeans together with the Halkides founded in Chalkidiki 4 cities – Apoikies, Acantho , Argilo , Sani and the famous Stageira homeland of philosopher Aristotle. One of the best-preserved monuments of the Hellenistic period is Agios Petros Tower, built in a cylindrical shape. Dionysus was the preeminent god of worship of the inhabitants.

History of Andros during the Athenian hegemony and the Peloponnesian War

With the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, Andros fought at the side of the Athenians. After the defeat in Sicily in 412 BC, the island revolted. In the end, after many battles, the outcome was the oligarchy and Andros to fight next to the Spartans.

History of Andros during the Roman era

History of Andros during the Roman period indicates that the inhabitants did not see much difference when the Romans came to Andros. The reason was that they kept the traditions, customs and customs of the island. The only difference was in the language and the constitution. But after many years these differences disappeared because the Romans became one with the Greeks. In Roman times, the cult of Isis prevailed, according to an epigraphic monument that until 1987 was built in the house of Ioannis Loukreζis in Paleopolis, Palaeopolis Museum.

History of Andros during the Byzantine period

The history of Andros during the Byzantine years finds the island to be developed in the field of silversmithing. It was the time of the Empire of the Komnene (12th century). This turned it into an export centre of silk and woven fabrics in the West. During this period Paleopolis declines and its inhabitants deal with agriculture in the inland of the island. By the time of the Byzantine Empire, Christianity spread throughout the island. When Constantinople became the largest commercial and economic centre, Andros languished .

History of Andros during the Venetian domination

With the fall of Constantinople by the Franks, the island fell to the Venetians. In 1207 Marino Dandolo was assigned a relative of the Doge of Venice and remained in their sovereignty until 1566. To protect the island from pirates Marinos Dandolos build towers and castles. So he built the “Kato Kastro” Lower Castle first (Castel a basso) of today’s Chora. The name Riva survived from that time as it was the main quay of Chora. The second medieval fortification is considered larger and stronger, it was the Upper Castle “Pano Kastro” (Castel del alto). Smaller castles and fortifications were scattered on the island. Among them is the Tower of Makrotandalos, the Vryokastro in Varidi and the Kastellaki in Gides. During the Venetian occupation, the settlement of the Arvanites, which settled mainly in the northern part of Andros, belongs to them. A Venetian painting of 1470 reports that Andros is inhabited by 2,000 people.

History of Andros during the Ottoman Empire

In 1566 Andros fell into the hands of the Ottomans. During the period of Ottoman domination, Andros enjoyed privileged treatment, which provided it with a relative economic prosperity. During the same period, shipping has grown rapidly. In the 1770s Andros passed into the hands of the Russians. In 1790 Lambros Katsonis collided with the Turkish fleet in the naval battle of Andros but was defeated losing most of his ships. The economy of the place was still rural. The kozambasides of Upper Castle “Kato Kastro” (Korthi) were wealthy landowners and lords. In Kato Kastro, however, a new class of sailors had begun to develop, the “gemitzides”. In 1813 Andros had 40 boats and 400 sailors.

History of Andros from the Revolution onwards

Theophilos Kairis, one of the pioneers of the Modern Greek Enlightenment.

On May 10, 1821, Theophilos Kairis, one of the pioneers of the Modern Greek Enlightenment. He raised the banner of the Revolution and thus began the newer history, which finds Andros, thanks to its strong shipping. Mainly thanks to the insight of its shipowners who invested in time in steam-powered shipping, at the brink of economic prosperity. It is worth noting that Dimitris Moraitis launched the line of Greece – North America at the beginning of the 20th century, while in 1939 Andros was the second, after Piraeus, in the number of ships registration. Andros was hit by two world wars that caused serious losses in lives and ships, while Chora in 1944 was bombed many times.

Retirement of Barbarossa

After sailing on the seas throughout his life and capturing and enlarging the Ottoman Empire beyond islands and seas, he finally retired to his palace in 1545 in Istanbul, leaving his son, Hassan Pasha, in charge of his positions of Algiers and seas.

Hayreddin Barbarossa, the great Muslim hero, died on 4th July 1546 in his seaside palace peacefully. He was put to rest in the Barbaros Türbesi (the mausoleum of Barbarossa) in Istanbul (Constantinople) on the European side of Bosphorus.

For many years, it became a custom for Turkish ships to pay salute to the most feared and brave sailor’s grave. Barbarossa’s epitaph reads:

“This is the tomb of the conqueror of Algiers and of Tunis, the fervent Islamic soldier of God, the Capudan Khair-ed-Deen Barbarossa, upon whom may the protection of God repose.”

Ancient Greek Swordsmanship

It seems Greek warfare, unlike that of the Italic and Celtic peoples to their west and north, emphasized thrusting spears rather than swords. The hoplite and the phalangite carried their swords solely as a secondary weapon in the event of their spear breaking or a melee becoming extremely congested.

The ancient Greeks used several kinds of sword. The most typical seems to have been the xiphos, a doubled-edged shortsword that bore vague familiarity to a Roman gladius. Alternatively, some carried swords akin to the Celtiberian falcata, glorified meat-cleavers like the makhaera or the kopis.

Did the ancient Greeks ever develop an art of swordsmanship? Why do they seem to have placed little value on swordsmanship on the battlefield?

Antiochos III Megas


The hoplites used short swords. Imagine a fight between Spartans and Argeads, pushing each other with the shield. In that narrow combat it is better to use a short, heavy though, sword to slash and cause great damage. How, would you stab otherwise an opponent that pushes you if you need several meters to swing your sword?

On the other hand though, early Greeks did use swords extensively. Mycenaean swords are huge. While trend in warfare changed, so did the Greek preferences of weapons.


Despite the general beliefs of some, there was in fact training for swordsmanship in the Greek world. Firstly in Sparta, where their was ample time for various forms of training, including fencing, we have the Pyrric Dance. This is a sword dance where the men would basically practice what we would consider, kata.

Secondly, in the remainder of Greece, there existed men that were known as hoplomachoi. These men would take over as private tutors in swordsmanship after the completion of basic training in doratismos (spear fighting). Beyond that, the hoplomachoi could instruct men in all aspects of the military arts and we are fortunate enough to have the names of several of them: Stesileos, the brothers Euthydemos and Dionysodoros of Chios, Phalinos of Stymphalos (who later served as military adviser to the Persian General Tissaphernes at the battle of Cunaxa in 401 BC) and Diomilos of Andros. Xenophon and Plato both spoke of these instructors and Plato himself commented on the need for the specialized training that they offered in the event that the ranks are broken. To further that, Lycurgus, in 335, called for reforms in Athens that required specialized training in each of the military arts/ skills, and the men to accomplish this.

I think it was safe to say that fencing was not overlooked in a hoplite's training.


Despite the general beliefs of some, there was in fact training for swordsmanship in the Greek world. Firstly in Sparta, where their was ample time for various forms of training, including fencing, we have the Pyrric Dance. This is a sword dance where the men would basically practice what we would consider, kata.

Secondly, in the remainder of Greece, there existed men that were known as hoplomachoi. These men would take over as private tutors in swordsmanship after the completion of basic training in doratismos (spear fighting). Beyond that, the hoplomachoi could instruct men in all aspects of the military arts and we are fortunate enough to have the names of several of them: Stesileos, the brothers Euthydemos and Dionysodoros of Chios, Phalinos of Stymphalos (who later served as military adviser to the Persian General Tissaphernes at the battle of Cunaxa in 401 BC) and Diomilos of Andros. Xenophon and Plato both spoke of these instructors and Plato himself commented on the need for the specialized training that they offered in the event that the ranks are broken. To further that, Lycurgus, in 335, called for reforms in Athens that required specialized training in each of the military arts/ skills, and the men to accomplish this.

I think it was safe to say that fencing was not overlooked in a hoplite's training.



It might have been a copying thing. Whichever city adopted the phalanx first, would gave destroyed any other army. Word would get around, until most armies had that technique. They probably just used that because nobody else had a revolutionionary way of fighting, until they were taken over by a better technique.

I have no idea if this is true, but this might have happened. Please excuse me if this is completely wrong, I'm just guessing. Does anyone here know where the phalanx first originated specifically?


It originated in Sumeria (as far as we know) around 4000+ years ago, and worked its way west from there. It was supposed to have been instituted in either Sparta or Argos between the 7th and 8th century.

Based on how long it took the Spartans to subjugate the Messenians, as well as only anachronistic descriptions of the phalanx for the First war, I am leaning towards Argos.


Despite the general beliefs of some, there was in fact training for swordsmanship in the Greek world. Firstly in Sparta, where their was ample time for various forms of training, including fencing, we have the Pyrric Dance. This is a sword dance where the men would basically practice what we would consider, kata.

Secondly, in the remainder of Greece, there existed men that were known as hoplomachoi. These men would take over as private tutors in swordsmanship after the completion of basic training in doratismos (spear fighting). Beyond that, the hoplomachoi could instruct men in all aspects of the military arts and we are fortunate enough to have the names of several of them: Stesileos, the brothers Euthydemos and Dionysodoros of Chios, Phalinos of Stymphalos (who later served as military adviser to the Persian General Tissaphernes at the battle of Cunaxa in 401 BC) and Diomilos of Andros. Xenophon and Plato both spoke of these instructors and Plato himself commented on the need for the specialized training that they offered in the event that the ranks are broken. To further that, Lycurgus, in 335, called for reforms in Athens that required specialized training in each of the military arts/ skills, and the men to accomplish this.

I think it was safe to say that fencing was not overlooked in a hoplite's training.

Nice post, but please do not confuse a sword dance with Martial training. The kata reference is bad too. Even kata in the East as a prefered training method is a modern invention. I would hope that kata would not be considered a sword dance either.

I would add to your fine post by saying that any professional army of that time period(or this time period), that decided to equip their men with swords or any other weapon, would be ignorant to overlook training in the weapon.

We may not know what their Art was, but we do have ample evidence to say that they did have one.

Siege of Andros, c.480 BC - History

By Fred Eugene Ray

The wars fought by Sparta and Athens in the fifth century bc pitted one city-state with ancient Greece’s greatest army against one boasting her most powerful fleet. Yet the Spartan and Athenian soldier followed ways of war that differed in far more than a simple preference for fighting on land rather than sea. In fact, the distinctive approaches that a Spartan hoplite and Athenian soldier took to combat embraced a wide range of tactics, only a few of which were tied to their traditional divide at the shoreline.

Military historians have tended to focus on the severe boyhood training regimen in Sparta (the agoge) and the potent combination of hardy physique and iron-willed martial philosophy it promoted. But the Spartan way of war was not simply a matter of outstanding individual toughness, strength, or even weaponry skills. Superior tactics played key roles as well—discretion was often the better part of valor for Spartans. They were adept at assessing battle odds and, should these not be to their liking, heading home without a fight.

Despite its fierce image, Sparta had a more extensive record of dodging armed confrontations than any other Greek city-state. It was not unusual for Spartan commanders to turn back before crossing a hostile border if the omens were bad. And even on the brink of combat, they might still choose to avoid action. Spartan King Agis II (427-400 bc) once claimed that “Spartans do not ask how many the enemy are, only where they are,” but on at least four occasions he personally refused engagement with the enemy.

Advantages in the Spartan Hoplite Approach to Warfare

Classical Greeks fought in a dense linear formation or phalanx as armored spearmen known as hoplites. These hoplites were protected from their ankles up by greaves, cuirass, shield, and helmet as they stood close alongside each other in ranks that could be many hundreds of men wide. This allowed them to present a broad front that was hard to overlap or

Spartan hoplite (c.500 BC), dressed
with a Corinthian helmet, armour and
greaves, armed with spear, sword and

outflank. But there was a limit to how thin a formation could be without falling into disorder. Thus, most Greeks tried to form a file at least eight men deep to accept battle. Spartans, however, could advance and maneuver effectively in files as slim as four men. Those in the first three ranks struck overhand with their spears at the enemy front, and the fourth rank joined rows two and three in pressing shields into the backs of their fellows in a concerted effort to shove through the opposition, a tactic called othismos. This ability to maneuver when short-handed yielded success several times, most famously against a much larger Arcadian army at Dipaea in 464 bc.

Most Greek armies advanced with men shouting encouragement and issuing distinctive battle cries. They would then rush the last few yards into close action. In contrast, Spartans moved forward slowly in measured steps to the sound of pipes and the rhythmic chanting of battle poetry. This allowed them to keep excellent order all the way into engagement. Moreover, the Spartans saw their opponents’ noisy rush as amateurish, signaling false bravado to suppress fear. Their own deliberate and disciplined pace was meant to set a tone of both overwhelming confidence and deadly menace. So unnerving was this approach that many foes broke and ran before first contact.

Spartan hoplites followed a natural urge when marching into battle to edge closer to the man on their right. They did this to gain better cover from the shield held on his left arm. This tendency caused phalanxes to fade toward the right as they advanced and often resulted in a mutual overlap of formation flanks on opposite ends of the field. The Spartans exploited this by deliberately exaggerating their own rightward movements. They would combine the movement with well-practiced wheeling by elite troops on their far right to curl around a foe’s left flank. Once enveloped, the encircled wing would break and run, causing the enemy phalanx to collapse.

Besides exploiting the common phenomenon of rightward drift, Spartans also used more unique schemes on the battlefield. King Agis once shifted units in his formation during an advance. To attempt this in the very face of the enemy suggests that Spartans considered such risky moves to be well within their capabilities. Athenian general Cleandridas defeated Italian tribesmen in 433 bc by hiding a contingent of hoplites behind his phalanx. This disguised his true strength and, once engaged, let him wheel his men against the enemy flank to trigger a rout.

The most daring Spartan battle maneuver was to break off in the midst of combat and withdraw. All other Greek armies shunned this for fear of inviting disaster. The Spartans, however, could not only pull out of hopeless spots at minimal loss, but could also fake the maneuver and trick foes into breaking formation to give chase. Herodotus cited such false retreats at Thermopylae in 480 bc. The Spartans then wheeled about each time and obliterated the overly eager Persians, who had fallen into premature and disordered pursuits. Plato claimed the Persians also suffered this same Spartan ploy at Plataea one year later.

While Spartans heavily punished those breaking ranks to follow their feigned retreats, they themselves refrained from any sort of pursuit. First, they saw no profit in risking precious lives to chase an already defeated enemy. Furthermore, staying on the battleground allowed them to possess the field at day’s end. This was the universally accepted definition of formal victory in Greek warfare. Finally, by maintaining formation, the Spartans could rapidly reform on a different front, giving them the opportunity of mounting a second attack against any opponents that were still intact.

The Spartans were well aware that success on the battlefield could carry a special danger in the form of friendly fire. Helmets limited vision and the din of battle was deafening, causing hoplites to easily mistake friend for foe in the mixed-up ranks. Thucydides cited just such a tragic incident within the encircling Athenian right wing at Delium in 424 bc. One way the Spartans reduced this hazard was by adopting uniform gear so as to more easily identify each other in the heat of a confused melee. To this purpose, they wore highly visible tunics that were dyed crimson. Their cloaks might have been red as well however, they rarely, if ever, took these cumbersome garments into combat. The Spartans also painted large devices on their shields for identification, the most famous being the Greek letter lambda. Looking like an inverted “V,” this was the first letter in “Lacedaemon,” which was the ancient Greeks’ name for Sparta.

Sneak attacks were not a staple of the Spartan army, but one did yield a victory at Sepeia in 494 bc. There, Sparta’s famously wily King Cleomenes was facing a slightly larger host from Argos. Arranging a temporary truce and camping opposite the Argives, Cleomenes set up a routine that included signaling meals with a horn. When the enemy stood down at the same time for their own food, he had his men charge and put the unprepared Argives to a horrific rout. Another Spartan commander who used a sneak attack to good effect was Brasidas at Amphipolis in 422 bc, where he was under siege from Cleon of Athens. Cleon had lined up for a return to his base after a scouting expedition when the Spartans surprised him by rushing out of the city in two detachments, cutting the Athenian column in half and defeating each segment in detail. Brasidas brought the opening phase of the Peloponnesian War to an end with the victory, although he himself died in battle.

Even the best armies sometimes find retreat unavoidable. The Spartans, having lost 300 picked men and a king in a rearguard action in 480 bc at Thermopylae, came up with a less costly way to withdraw—the marching box. First used successfully under Brasidas in 423 bc, this formation consisted of forming most of the hoplite infantry into a hollow rectangle, placing the lightly armed soldiers and noncombatants inside the formation, and then deploying the remaining hoplites fore and aft to meet any enemy threats. The marching box could retreat and defend itself from all forms of attack. Xenophon of Athens claimed credit for creating the arrangement during the famed “Retreat of the Ten Thousand” after the Battle of Cunaxa in 401 bc. However, it is more likely that Xenophon simply modestly modified existing Spartan protocol.

Athens as a Military Power

Regard for classical Athenians as fighters in general has lagged behind their fame as creators of democracy and masters of aesthetic culture. From antiquity to the present, the Spartans have had far greater martial repute. Yet Athens in its fifth century bc heyday not only fought more than three times as many battles as Sparta, but actually enjoyed a slightly higher overall rate of combat success. In fact, Athenians developed the largest and most sophisticated war machine in all of Greece and applied tactics as creatively as they pursued the fine arts.

Athens followed adoption of democracy in 510 bc with a period of rapid expansion. The Athenians kept pace with rising territorial commitments by greatly increasing the size of their military. Athens’ army went from a late sixth-century bc count of 3,600 armored spearmen to 13,000 citizen regulars on the rolls by 431 bc. Likewise, the Athenian fleet grew from 60 to 300 ships over the same period. Sparta could answer with only about half as many Spartan hoplites of its own and had no navy at all.

Short on cash and having severely limited citizenship, the Spartans relied upon a system of alliances. The Peloponnesian League gave them access to tremendous manpower, but had serious handicaps. Sparta often had to coerce or cajole reluctant allies into action. There was also danger that a balking ally might spark an unwanted and costly conflict. Indeed, Thucydides suggested that Corinth set off the great Peloponnesian War in just such a way. In contrast, Athens had full control over its own larger military, as well as those of other states that were much closer to being subjects than true partners.

Hoplite spearmen confront cavalry forces in this fragment of an Attic scroll, circa 510 BC.

As Athenian soldiers grew in number and strength, the Greek city-state also greatly boosted its number of horsemen. Their cavalry force grew from fewer than 100 riders to some 2,200 during the fifth century bc. This was the only contingent of its kind among southern Greeks and was quite large even by the standards of horse-rich central and northern Greece. Moreover, Athenians held an edge over other cavalry in mounted archers. Originally imported from Scythia, these deadly riders rose to 200-strong. Horses made easy targets for the javelins of opposing skirmishers. By using an alternative screen of swift horse-archers with longer ranging composite bows, Athens transformed its cavalry into one of the most dangerous and versatile in all of Greece.

The cavalry experience inspired Athenians to develop further skills to guard their flanks. These could be either natural or man-made barriers, the latter of which saw use at Marathon in 490 bc. Frontinus described the Athenians building a crude wooden barricade, or abatis, to stretch their front against a hillside and discourage a mounted enemy attack. Likewise, they exploited existing structures outside Syracuse in 414 bc to repel horsemen, and they did so again inside Athens at the Battle of Munychia in 403 bc. All the same, reliance on natural barriers was the more common tack. At Plataea and Mycale (479 bc), Eurymedon (466 bc), and Anapus (415 bc), the Athenians won victories with their flanks resting on seashore, streambed, or uplands.

Use of the bow was even more particular to Athens than expertise at either cavalry warfare or flank barriers. Along with their singular deployment of mounted archers, the Athenians were alone among Greeks in sending out large numbers of bowmen on foot. Their army included 800 foot archers who fought in tandem with 300 specially trained hoplites. The latter arrayed three-deep at the front, kneeling while shafts flew overhead and standing to repel any attempt to get at the bowmen behind them. Such specialized troops played a major role at Plataea, where they turned back Persian cavalry.

In addition, 400 to 500 archers also served aboard the Athenian fleet. Unlike other Greeks, who piled up to 40 hoplites onto each ship for hand-to-hand combat with other vessels, the Athenians used just 14 marines (10 hoplites and four bowmen) and pioneered the art of combat seamanship. This called for maneuvering their ships into position to strike opposing vessels with an armored prow while pelting them with arrows. Whether on land or sea, Athens made better use of the bow than any other city-state.

Athens’ superior fleet came into play for surprise operations. By taking advantage of its great amphibious capacity, Athens launched more unexpected offenses than any other Greek city-state. Seaborne landings had been common as far back as the Persian Wars. But combining them with a strong element of surprise arose in mid-fifth century bc as a tactic of the Athenian commander Tolmides, who sailed around the Peloponnese to descend for unexpected strikes against out-matched opponents. The Athenians refined the scheme over time with the use of troop transports, replacing the upper banks of oarsmen on war galleys with a mix of Athenian soldiers, light infantry, and horsemen. A commander could then land to enormous advantage with a large and diverse armament at a time and place of his choosing. Moreover, in the unlikely event that effective resistance did arise, he could simply put back to sea at very little risk to himself or his men.

When it came to stealthy operations, the Athenians did not always depend on their naval strength. In 458 bc, a year before Tolmides made his first surprise attack from the sea, Myronides of Athens won two battles as a result of unanticipated overland marches. These came at Cimolia, east of Corinth, where he twice bested the latter’s regulars with forces thrown together from reserves, resident aliens, and local allies. This would not be the last time Tolmides won an engagement with an unexpected march. One year later, he led an army north to catch forces of the Boeotian League unprepared. In the wake of the subsequent victory at Oenophyta, Athens was able to dominate all Boeotia except Thebes for the next decade.

Masters of surprise operations, Athenians also excelled at stealth and deception on the tactical level. Their gambits included ambushes, sneak attacks, diversions, and disinformation. As early as Salamis in 480 bc, Themistocles tricked the Persians into a foolish naval offensive by leaking false plans. Such tactics saw their greatest use during the Peloponnesian War, when Demosthenes sprang an ambush that routed a larger phalanx at Olpae in 426 bc and carried out three separate nighttime assaults, winning the first two before suffering a ruinous defeat in the last.

Demosthenes was a daring leader, but more cautious men also used tricky tactics on Athens’ behalf. Although notoriously conservative, Nicias used trickery twice to safely land armies on hostile soil, the first time with a diversionary attack and the second by feeding false information to the enemy. And a team of Athenian generals employed several deceptions at Byzantium in 408 bc. Xenophon and Diodorus detailed how they withdrew at night from a siege, only to sneak back and assault the docks with lightly armed troops. They then took the city by means of a surprise entry by their hoplites through an inland gate. Athenian commanders were not above deceiving their own men.

A Savage hoplite flourishes a shield decorated improbably with the drawing of a dog.

Myronides at Oenophyta fooled the hoplites on his right wing into thinking that their stalled left was already victorious. This inspired them to renewed effort that carried their side of the field and turned Myronides’s phantom success into the real thing.

Perhaps the least known aspect of Athens’ military prowess was its record of successful combat experience. One great truth of war is that victory often comes less from destroying a foe than from breaking his will to fight. This was glaringly apparent on the battlefields of ancient Greece, where comparatively few soldiers fell face-to-face, but many died after one side wavered and tried to run away. Being confident in their leadership, comrades, and personal ability gave hoplites the morale needed to impose their will on an enemy. Over a third of all the significant land engagements waged by Greek hoplites during the fifth century bc were Athenian victories. In fact, Athens’ victory total over this period more than tripled that of any other city-state and exceeded Sparta’s by a factor of better than four. Thus, when Athenians went into action, they fully expected to win—and more often than not they did.

All of the unique aspects of Athenian warfare came together in service of a fresh strategic concept developed by Pericles at the start of the Peloponnesian War to deal with the huge armies that Sparta and its allies could field. Athens hoped to avoid apocalyptic phalanx battle in favor of small actions and inflicting long-term economic pain. Exploiting its signature tactical skills and setting up fortified outposts (epiteichismoi) on enemy soil, Athens nearly brought down Sparta. It was only after the Spartans adopted key elements of the Athenian approach that they finally claimed victory after nearly three decades of war. Still, they could not suppress Athens for long and gave up a hotly contested occupation of the city after a single year. The Athenians soon had a fully restored democracy and went on to rebuild their overseas empire, rising up early in the next century to again challenge Sparta for supremacy.

It was rare for Spartans and Athenians to actually contest the same ground. This happened fewer than a dozen times during the entire fifth century bc. When these meetings took the form of grand, set-piece battles, Sparta always came away with the victory. Smaller engagements were more frequent and resulted in an unbroken string of Athenian successes. These seemingly contradictory trends were direct reflections of the states’ differing tactical approaches.

First Battle of Tanagra

Only three large battles in the fifth century bc saw Spartans and Athenians on opposing sides. The first occurred in 457 bc, when Sparta’s Nicomedes led an army of his countrymen and allies into Boeotia in a powerful demonstration meant to discourage Athenian aggression against Thebes, a Spartan ally. Athens responded in kind, and an engagement

Trained from boyhood for battle, Greek hoplites face off at spear point.

(Tanagra I) took place that involved over 25,000 Spartan hoplites. As the battle unfolded, Spartan spearmen carried the day on their right with the help of traitorous Thessalian horsemen who deserted the Athenians just as the fighting began. Athenian hoplites, standing on their right, were equally successful however, they abandoned the field to go after their beaten foes. As a result, the Athenians ultimately lost to a more disciplined Spartan phalanx that held on to the battleground.

First Battle of Mantinea

It would be nearly two generations before Sparta and Athens would again meet in a grand clash. This came about in 418 bc at Mantinea I, where Argos sought to contest local Spartan dominance with help from the Athenians and other allies. After several false starts, the two sides finally came to blows with over 17,000 hoplites. Spartan King Agis opened the action with a bungled maneuver that allowed Argos’s men to pierce and rout his left wing. However, when the Argives made the mistake of chasing the defeated men, Agis enveloped the Athenian soldiers on the opposite flank. As he did, Argive troops at center and next to Athens’ contingent lost their nerve and ran away at first contact with the Spartans. Their flight left the Athenians with enemy spearmen closing from both sides, compelling them to retreat at heavy cost. The battle ended with the Spartans reforming in place to rout the Argive right wing as it came back from its ill-advised pursuit.

Battle of Halae Marsh

The last large engagement between the two dominant city-states came when the Spartans ousted the democratic regime at Athens after the Peloponnesian War and set up an oligarchy to run the city, supporting it with mercenaries and a few of their own hoplites. In 403 bc, Spartan King Pausanius reacted to growing Athenian opposition by leading a surge of fresh troops into the city. He then inadvertently stumbled into battle on a narrow stretch above Halae Marsh, a small coastal swamp south of the main harbor at Athens. Some 7,500 Spartan hoplites engaged 3,000 Athenian spearmen across the restricted space. Many of the Athenians had only makeshift gear, but with their flanks anchored next to the wetlands and a rising slope, they made a spirited fight of it.

In the end, Pausanius’s deeper files finally pushed their way to victory. As usual, the Spartans did not give chase. This time, their restraint not only limited casualties but also garnered good will that allowed Pausanius to negotiate a peaceful withdrawal. This left his old enemies at Athens free to regroup yet also secured his main goal of ending the physical and fiscal drains that the occupation had been inflicting on Sparta.

Making good use of well-drilled tactics, Sparta’s superb hoplites had intimidated their foes, maneuvered around formation flanks, and held onto conquered ground to whip the Athenians in every grand-scale meeting over the course of better than half a century. However, they were not able to duplicate this feat in lesser engagements, whereas Athens could better employ its own signature martial skills.

Trained from boyhood for battle, Greek hoplites face off at spear point.

Still, even smaller successes could have significant impact, such as the first three that Athens gained over Sparta earlier in the Peloponnesian War. These began in 425 bc on Spaectaria, a narrow island off southwestern Greece, where the Athenians bested a stranded Spartan garrison. They accomplished this with a landing near dawn that put perhaps 1,000 heavy spearmen and over 1,500 light-armed troops ashore against only 420 hoplites. Holding back from hand-to-hand fighting, this huge landing party drove the Spartans to the northern tip of the island under a rain of javelins and arrows and finally forced their surrender.

Within a year, Athenian soldiers were decisive in two more modest victories over Sparta. The first was on Cythera, just off the Spartan mainland. Nicias of Athens launched a sudden assault from the sea against this island’s port to divert attention from a landing with perhaps 2,000 hoplites. Heading inland, he then met a Spartan phalanx half his strength near Cythera’s capital. As had occurred so often, the Spartans advanced to put up a good fight despite being thinly filed. But the Athenians, veterans of many past victories, were not awed. Keeping their poise, they pushed back with files twice as deep until they drove their foes into retreat.

Nicias sent the surviving Spartans home under truce and turned Cythera into a base for amphibious raids all along Sparta’s coast. His foes had little chance to intercept the swift and unannounced attacks, and when they did, they met overwhelming opposition. Thucydides reported that a small Spartan garrison near a couple of coastal villages came to blows in contesting one such landing. Having perhaps no more than 300 hoplites, the defenders met quick defeat against what was very likely three times as many Athenian spearmen. The stinging reverse, added to those on Spaectaria and Cythera, dampened the Spartans’ ardor for war and induced them to offer peace, only to meet rejection from an increasingly confident Athens.

Theban general Epaminondas saves the life of fellow general Pelopidas during the victory over the Spartans at Leuctra in 371 bc.

The Athenians wrested three more small victories from Sparta later in the Peloponnesian War. The first occurred in 411 bc, when the Spartan monarch Agis led a large column toward Athens in hope of exploiting political turmoil there. Some 600 hoplites of Sparta’s Sciritae regiment composed the king’s vanguard and, when this unit got too far out in front, came under attack. The Athenians pounced on the Sciritae with a mixed force of hoplites, light infantry, and cavalry. Unable to fend off an assault on every front, the Spartan spearmen made a fighting retreat, taking heavy losses in the process. By the time help reached the scene, the Athenians had already swept the field and returned home with the bodies of the fallen.

Thoroughly discouraged, Agis called off his offensive and arranged a truce to recover the remains of his lost men. He tried again, this time managing to reach Athens. There, however, he came up against a phalanx that kept close beneath the city wall, where it had excellent support from archers lining the ramparts above. Judging that he would take unacceptable casualties before even coming to grips with the opposing hoplites, the king simply turned about. As he marched off, his rear ranks fell behind and drew an attack from Athenian soldiers and horsemen.

The Spartans’ last setback of the war against Athenian troops came in 407 bc on the Aegean island of Andros. There, a landing force under Alcibiades of Athens surprised and beat a garrison half its size. The Spartans, who stood center and right in a thinly filed array, lost when local allies gave way on the left.

Two Unique City-States, Two Unique Ways of War

Accounts of actual combat between Sparta and Athens at their height make it clear that each had a fair share of success against the other. The Athenians used their expertise at surprise mobilization, amphibious operations, and light-armed warfare (both mounted and afoot) to achieve a greater number of victories. But Sparta’s hoplites plied their own deadly skills to win every large action. Any advantage in tactics that either could claim was fleeting, the temporary product of unique circumstances holding sway on a given battlefield. The century closed after long decades of bloody fighting very much as it had begun, with both Sparta and Athens still fiercely independent and equally powerful in their different approaches to war.

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