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History (1)

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  The only source we have got is that Arnea of the ancient times is mentioned by Thucydides. He mentions that the general Vrassidas departed from the town "Arne" leading his troops from Akanthos to Amfipolis. Based on mythology, "Ami" was the name of the daughter of Aeolus and mother of Boetos, According to what Pafsanias says (IX, 40, 5), two towns took their name from her; one in Thessaly and the other in Boeotia, In autumn 424 BC Vrassidas, the general of Sparta, was activated in the area of today's Chalkidiki, trying to go into partnership with the towns of the peninsula. Before the grape-harvest time Akanthos was besieged. By using fine words and under the threat of damaging the grapes Vrassidas managed to convince the people of Akanthos to give up their partnership with the Athenians and go with the Spartans. A few days later, Stagiros, which was situated not far from today's Olimbiada, also went into partnership with them. In relation to that, Thucydides's narration continues with detailed descriptions of other war-like events, which took place in the area of Boeotia. We do not know what Vrassidas has done in the meantime but Thucydides refers to him again by saying:

"Departing from Arni of Chalkidiki, Vrassidas walked with his troops against this town (meaning Amfipolis). In the afternoon, when they reached Aviona and Vormisko (a place not far from Stavros), where the lake Volvi flows into the sea, they had dinner and immediately continued with their route during the night. Because the weather was bad and it was sleeting, they were in a hurry. Vrassidas wanted not all the people of Amfipolis but those who had come in agreement with him to understand that he was coming".
This is the only historical reference to the town of Arnea.
   We know neither the nominative of its name nor where it was actually situated. Therefore, the only way to find out some things about it is to follow a reasoned approach: As far as its location is concerned, according to the route Vrassidas had followed, the remains of ancient walls and tombs with tiled roofs and also a number of potsherds which were found on the north side of the hill of the Prophet Elias, we can assume that the ancient town of "Arne" was situated near this hill. However, according to another interpretation, the town Augea was located around the hill. It must have been built at that place where today's Arnea is situated and the hill of the Prophet Elias was its acropolis.
   Concerning the date the town of Arne was built, there is not any specific information. The fact that Herodotus does not mention the town in his description of the route Xerxes has followed, which was the same with that of Vrassidas, but in the opposite direction (he was heading for Akanthos), makes us believe that at that time the town may not have existed. However, it is probable that the town of Arne was a colony of Andros because in Andros there was a town named Ami.
   Moreover, we do not know the time and the reason why the town of Ame was destroyed. Perhaps it was one of the 32 towns of the Olynthian Federation, which was seized and destroyed by the king of Macedonia, Philip II. This belief is supported by the fact that silver coins of Arne, which was member of the Olynthian Federation, were found. After the destruction of the town of Ame the area does not seem to be dwelled again.
   According to unconfined information, later on there were settlements in this area whose names are preserved in many regions around Arnea: Mertika, Prophet Elias, Bara, Venetia, St. Christoforos, St. Modestos, St. Mynas, Kastelli, Gobelos - St. Kosmas, Kastania - Palioherona.
   The old Christian life of this area was revealed with the archeological excavation, which took place in Kastania of Chalkidiki in 1977. In 1246 this area was under the authority of Akra or lerissos. In the end of the 15 th century a large settlement is created in this place with the name Liarigovi or Liarigova (Origin - Explanation of the name Liarigovi - a: (1) "Greek-Slavic origin". It consists of the words "liera-govni = dunghill" because in the old days the plain was a pastureland where the animals of M. Konstamonitou were grazing. (2) It comes from the Turkish word "Giarigovi" which means a plain cleft by a torrent.).
   There are many interpretations for the origin of this name. The most reasonable interpretation is that the workers who came from the surrounding regions of Greece and Bulgaria and settled in the dependency of the monastery of Konstamonitou established it. It is first mentioned in the false golden bull of loannis V Paleologos. It is a problematic document, concerning its date, and its composition must have been based on an original golden bull of loannis V, which was published on 15 June 1363. All the monastery dependencies are written down in this golden bull and among them it is mentioned the dependency, which is situated in Raligovi in honour of St. Stefanos. The writer of this text notices that the name "Raligovi" is an alternation of "Liarigovi" by inverting the letters. In 1569 the books with the monastery property does not include the dependency of Liarigovi. Therefore, we must consider that the document was forged after that year. The first determined date that the dependency is mentioned is 1750 in an edict, which includes extracts of a former document without a date.
   The following extract is a list of the dependencies of Konstamonitou, among which these things are also included:

"In the municipality of the Siderokafsians"
  a house within the borders of the village Isvoros
  a pasture opposite the place of Larigovi
  a house within the borders of the village lerissos

   It is important that the pasture is characterized to be "opposite the place of Larigovi" and not "opposite the village Larigovi". Because the terminology of this document is so precise and because the word 'place' is used, it seems that it does not refer to a region, which is inhabited. Therefore that document was composed before the establishment of Liarigovi and probably after 1569 that the property of the monastery was taken down. In 1762 we have the oldest but conclusive evidence for the existence of Liarigovi. In this year an edict was issued which contains the first list of "the villages of the mine, Mademohoria", in which Liarigovi is also mentioned. Therefore, one can say that the village seems to have been built somewhere in between 1569 and much earlier than 1762.
   The reason for its establishment is considered to be the rallying of people whose centre was the dependency of the Monastery Konstamonitou. This is something very ordinary that happens in Chalkidiki. We have similar examples and much older than this with the establishment of the villages Agios Nikolaos, Nikiti, Polygyros etc. On these occasions sharecroppers were invited (or came on their own) to settle down in the region of the monastery dependency or the surrounding area or to cultivate the land which the monastery owned. As time went by, they were legally and emotionally attached to the place and whenever the monastery had an administrative crisis, they appeared to be in charge of it.
   There are many periods of decline in the history of the Monastery Konstamonitou. The most characteristic of all are the periods between the 17th century, when there were only 6 monks, and the year of 1717, when a large part of it was set on fire. Therefore, the people had opportunities to release the place from the monastery's authority. In 1793 the French Consul in Thessaloniki passed from Liarigovi. He gave us a description of a very dynamic settlement. The English Colonel Leake, who stopped in Siderokafsia in 1806 (today's Stagira) had the same idea. A sign of the prosperity of Liarigovi at that time is the temple of St. Stefanos, which was built in 1814.
   We are not sure about the income of the people in the beginning of the 19th century. We know that they participated in the "Audience of Mademio" but it was a period that the exploitation of the mines of the area was not profitable. The production and trade of carpets that Cuisinery mentions cannot justify the prosperity of the place. Thus, we can say that the people of Liarigovi always had the way to make ends meet. During of the period before the Revolution, Liarigovi is one of the 12 communities of Mademohoria whose inhabitants were working in the mines of Olimbiada-Stratoni and then exploited them by themselves.
   The traveller Pierre Belon gives us a lot of information about the people of Mademohoria, who were dealing with Turks at that time (1550). In 1775 the Turks trusted the exploitation of the mines to Mademohoria - something which they were constantly asking for - but they were obliged to give part of the output of the mines. After that decision, the people of Mademohoria formed a guild in order to fulfil their obligation in a better way. At that time Arnea was the biggest village of Mademohoria. Despite the failure of the enterprise, nobody made an appeal to Instabul for the reduction of their obligations. The reason for that is that although they failed, they became self-governing.
   The French Consul Cousinery gives us a lot of information about the conditions under which the people of this area and especially of Arnea lived at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. He mentions particularly for Arnea that it was the capital of the Federation, a big village with 400 houses. Up to 1805, the villages of the federation were directly dependent on Instabul. From 1805 to 1819 they depended on the bey of Seres and from 1819 to 1821 - when the Revolution also started in Chalkidiki - they were again dependent on Instabul.
   Arnea was then one of the 42 villages that were burnt down by Bayram Pasha. The people of Arnea as well as the rest people of Mademohoria, when they leamt that the Turkish troops were coming from Thessaloniki to destroy everything, left and went to Agion Oros, Amoliani and the side of Pageos, where the people did not rebel. After the suppression of the Revolution, whoever returned did not manage to revive the mining federation. The villages were now under the authority of the Pasha and the Turkish judge of Thessaloniki, who had the power of life and death over their people. The people of Liarigovi who returned to their country after the destruction started building their village again. In 1854, when the Revolution of Tsami took place in Chalkidiki, the Turks did not cause any further damage to Arnea and the rest of Mademohoria.
   During the three years of the Macedonian Struggle, Arnea and its area did not experience the Slavic propaganda. But that didn't mean that they did not participate in their way. They established a commission for the defence of the country with the guidance of the Consulate of Thessaloniki.
   On 2nd November 1912 Arnea was set free from the Turks. Until 1928 the official name of the village was Liarigova. The committee for renaming the villages, baring in mind the two interpretations, i.e. that the ancient towns, Arni and Augea may have been built not far from it, renamed the small village Arnea, connecting the first syllable Arn of the word Arni and the inflection-ea of the word Augea.
   Before the Revolution that took place in 1821 and after that the people were mainly occupied with agriculture, cattle-breeding, bee-keeping, weaving carpets with local wool and the trade of wood and animals apart from working in the mines. In 1932 Arnea was the biggest village in the north Chalkidiki as it had 3000 inhabitants. At that time the people are mainly beekeepers, carpenters, merchants and shoemakers. Nowadays, after the census that took place in 1991, 2235 inhabitants are registered in the municipality of Arnea and there are 3000 people who live there.

Dimitrios Kyrou, loakeim Papagelou, ed.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from the Municipality of Arnea URL below.


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