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HISTORY OF THASSOS

Historical Overview 

Phoenicians settled on Thassos as early as 1500 BC although historians dispute the date of their arrival. There more opinions regarding the first settlers on the island. In any event, they were driven off by the Thracians and then the Pariahs and by 400 BC Thassos was a wealthy and important island dubbed by historians 'the Athens of the north' and the most densely populated island in the Aegean. They achieved a high degree of civilization in the Archaic period. 

In the Persian wars, Thassos submitted tamely to invasion despite some impressive walled defenses. Following defeat against Athens, the Persians left and the island became a member of the Delis League. But heavy taxes by League leader Athens and a dispute over mainland mines led to the eventual reduction of the island. About 360 BC the island was seized by Philip II and it remained Macedonian until the Romans arrived in 196 BC. During this period it developed a flourishing export of wine, and Thasians merchants carried on the trade between Thrace and Southern Greece. Under the Empire Thasian marble and oil enjoyed an international reputation.  

 

 Dioskouri in Limenas

 

Not much is known about the medieval period other than there were successive waves of domination and that the capital was moved to the interior to avoid pirate raids. Before passing under Turkish domination in 1455, the island was a fief of the Genoese Gattilusi. It fell under Turkish domination in 1455 and between them Turks and pirates virtually destroyed the island. In 1813 it was ceded to the founder of modern Egypt, Mechmet Ali. In October 1912 it was occupied by the Greek army and the union with Greece ratified by the Treaty of Bucharest in 1914. In 1916 it was occupied by the Allies, and in 1941 by Bulgaria. Politically the island now is a part of the Macedonian Perfecture of Kavala, and the whole island is just one municipality.

 
Thassian Coins: Tetradrachmo, source

LINKS

HISTORY AND CULTURE:

The Prefecture of Kavala web-site

http://www.pref-kavala.gr/english/thassos/html

The Archaeological Museum of Thassos pages

from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture

http://www.culture.gr/2/21/211/21118m/e211rm02.html

The Tourist guide of Greece

Theagenes of Thassos

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Olympics/theag.html

 

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