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for destination: "LEMNOS (LIMNOS)
Lemnos over the centuries
The pre-historical period
The first people who definitely lived in Lemnos were of the Middle
neolithic period during the 5th millenium BC. They most probably came from Asia
Minor and it seems that they colonized all the island because at many points were
found neolithic period communities, like in Axia, Ifestia,
Komi and others.
They were able to develop a remarkable civilization with duration
and continuation at Poliochni
where over 1500 years the community that started as a small neolithic period village,
ended-up as a prosperous city of the copper-governed period where it dominated
not only on the island but also other sea areas around it. Poliochni was suddenly
destroyed around 1300 BC probably by an earthquake.
After the destruction of Poliochni the capital and center of the island
became Mirina whose name
originated from the queen of the island Mirina the wife of king Thoas.
The era of Trojan war
During the era of the Trojan war (12th or 13th century BC) on Lemnos
governed the Minies with king Evino and capital city was Mirina. Homer specifically
mentions that the people of Lemnos had business dealing with the Achaians , and
also offered hospitality to the wounded Filoktiti.
During the 11th century BC the island was governed by the Pelasgians
and the Minies that abandoned the island went to live in Trifilia
close to Pylos.
The classical years
During the Persian wars went to war against Darius but around 512
BC they submitted to the persian general Otani. The first persian occupation lasted
until 510 BC when the island came under the government of Athens. The second persian
occupation during 493-479 BC ended up with the naval war of Mikali.
The people of the island mixed with the Athenian governors and around
the 4th century BC the island has a parliament, assembly and political activities
similar to those of the Athenians.
During this era Lemnos was called Dipolis (Double-City) which originated
from the existence of the two major cities Mirina and Ifestia.
The Roman era
Lemnos was conquered by the Romans in the 166 BC and the island met
a period of calm and peace and an upraise and maximum potential with the appearance
of the family of sophists, the Filostrati family.
There aren't many detailed information about the island during the
Byzantine period. In 325 the bishop of Lemnos Stratigios took place in the first
Universal Congress. The next bishop of Lemnos named Silouanos appeared in 680
at the sixth Universal Congress.
During the era of Constantine the Great, the island belonged to the
subject of eastern Illirium. From the 7th until 11th century the Byzantine used
the island to repair their ships and also as a naval base.
During the middle Byzantine years the island belonged to the subject
of Greece and later came under the subject of the Aegean. During 11th century
it went under the control of Thessaloniki.
The conquest of the Byzantine was interrupted many times by the Arabs,
the Venetian and the Genouates. The Turks never conquered the island. Whenever
they attempted they faced the heroic resistance of the island's people. Their
greatest victory was in the battle of Kotsinas in 1475 when Maroula of Lemnos
To the Turks the island was handed over by the Venetian in 1456 initially
and later definitely in 1479.
The first appearance of the Turks on the island is mentioned around
1442 when they sieged it for 27 days. Among the sieged people were Constantine
Paleologos and his second wife Caterina Gatelouzou who died from the hardship
and a difficult pregnancy.
During the years that followed the island declined until the year
1700 when it passed into a period of calmness and reconstruction. Already the
capital city of the island is Castro (castle) today's Mirina. In 1770 after a
revolution under the leadership of the Russian general Orlof the island id destroyed
again by the Turks and begins a period of persecutions, disasters and rooting
In 1821, Lemnos because of its position close to the Dardanelles didn't
join in with the revolution despite that many Lemnians joined and gave battle
inland and at sea.
In 1854 during the period of the Krimaican war an attempt for freedom
was made but it was impeded violently by the English navy.
Lemnos was liberated on October 8th 1912 by the Greek navy just three
days after the initiation of the 1st Balkan war. Admiral Koundouriotis conquered
the island and developed a naval base which controlled the exit of the Dardanelles.
During the 1st World War and after 1925 during the expedition of Kallipolis,
Lemnos became an English military base and the bay of Moudros was used as a naval
base by the English.
In 1922, 4500 immigrants from Turkey entered Lemnos to whom land was
distributed from the Turkish estates and the inheritance of the monasteries.
During the 2nd World War the Germans occupied Lemnos on April 25th
1941 and remained on the island until October 16th 1944.
After the 2nd World War Lemnos became an exile island for many years.
During this period many people migrated to Australia, Canada, USA, South Africa
etc and the population started to decline. From the 24.018 people of the 1951
census only 15.721 registered in 1981.
This text is cited May 2003 from the Limnos Medical Association URL below.
- Limnos Medical Association WebPage
Catastrophes of the place
By the Athenians under Miltiades
Miltiades (1) son of Cimon took possession of Lemnos in this way:
When the Pelasgians (2) were driven out of Attica by the Athenians, whether justly
or unjustly I cannot say, beyond what is told; namely, that Hecataeus the son
of Hegesandrus declares in his history that the act was unjust; for when the Athenians
saw the land under Hymettus, formerly theirs, which they had given to the Pelasgians
as a dwelling place in reward for the wall that had once been built around the
acropolis when the Athenians saw how well this place was tilled which previously
had been bad and worthless, they were envious and coveted the land, and so drove
the Pelasgians out on this and no other pretext. The Pelasgians departed and took
possession of Lemnos, besides other places. This is the Athenian story; the other
is told by Hecataeus.
These Pelasgians dwelt at that time in Lemnos and desired vengeance
on the Athenians. Since they well knew the time of the Athenian festivals, they
acquired fifty-oared ships and set an ambush for the Athenian women celebrating
the festival of Artemis at Brauron. They seized many of the women, then sailed
away with them and brought them to Lemnos to be their concubines . These women
bore more and more children, and they taught their sons the speech of Attica and
Athenian manners. These boys would not mix with the sons of the Pelasgian women;
if one of them was beaten by one of the others, they would all run to his aid
and help each other; these boys even claimed to rule the others, and were much
stronger. When the Pelasgians perceived this, they took counsel together; it troubled
them much in their deliberations to think what the boys would do when they grew
to manhood, if they were resolved to help each other against the sons of the lawful
wives and attempted to rule them already. Thereupon the Pelasgians resolved to
kill the sons of the Attic women; they did this, and then killed the boys' mothers
also. From this deed and the earlier one which was done by the women when they
killed their own husbands who were Thoas' companions, a "Lemnian crime"
has been a proverb in Hellas for any deed of cruelty.
But when the Pelasgians had murdered their own sons and women, their
land brought forth no fruit, nor did their wives and their flocks and herds bear
offspring as before. Crushed by hunger and childlessness, they sent to Delphi
to ask for some release from their present ills. The Pythian priestess ordered
them to pay the Athenians whatever penalty the Athenians themselves judged. The
Pelasgians went to Athens and offered to pay the penalty for all their wrongdoing.
The Athenians set in their town-hall a couch adorned as finely as possible, and
placed beside it a table covered with all manner of good things, then ordered
the Pelasgians to deliver their land to them in the same condition. The Pelasgians
answered, "We will deliver it when a ship with a north wind accomplishes
the voyage from your country to ours in one day"; they supposed that this
was impossible, since Attica is far to the south of Lemnos. (3)
At the time that was all. But a great many years later (4), when the
Chersonese on the Hellespont was made subject to Athens, Miltiades son of Cimon
accomplished the voyage from Elaeus on the Chersonese to Lemnos with the Etesian
winds (5) then constantly blowing; he proclaimed that the Pelasgians must leave
their island, reminding them of the oracle which the Pelasgians thought would
never be fulfilled. The Hephaestians obeyed, but the Myrinaeans would not agree
that the Chersonese was Attica and were besieged, until they too submitted. Thus
did Miltiades and the Athenians take possession of Lemnos.
(1) Meyer suggest...that the conquest of Lemnos... was not the work of the great
Miltiades, but of his namesake and predecessor, the son of Cypselus, oekist of
the Chersonese. If so, he acted as the agent of Pisistratus in seizing Lemnos
and expelling the Pelasgi. This would fit in with the prediction, which regards
the conqueror of Lemnos as representing Athens. Meyer urges that there was no
time for the conquest and Hellenizing of the island during the troubled period
of the Ionic revolt, so that he would in any case date the settlement of Attic
cleruchs there, even if ascribed to Miltiades II, to the period of Pisistratid
rule, before the Persian conquest of the islands. But Herod. distinctly says that
up to that time the Pelasgi still dwelt there. It seems therefore better to accept
the solution of Busolt that the Pelasgi, already weakened by the Persian conquest,
were expelled by Miltiades after 500, who settled the island as tyrant of the
Chersonese, and that the Attic cleruchy in Lemnos (Thuc. vii. 57; C. I. A. i.
443, 444) is to be connected with the reduction of the tribute circ. 447 B. C.
Previously, as in the Chersonese, there had been settlers from Attica, not a formal
(2) The Pelasgians were driven into Attica by the Boeotian immigration, about
sixty years after the Trojan war according to legend. On the Pelasgi cf. App.
XV. 5. E. Meyer holds that there was no old Attic tradition about the Pelasgi,
the story given here being a mere reply to Hecataeus.
(3) The legend invented to justify Athenian dominion over Lemnos treats these
Attic boys as its natural lords and masters.
(4) Five hundred years before the Ionian revolt.
(5) The Etesian winds: North-east winds, blowing in July, August, and September.
This extract is from: Herodotus. The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley, 1920), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited Dec 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
- Municipality of Moudros WebPage
Participation in the fights of the Greeks
Naval battle at Artemisium
In that battle Antidorus of Lemnos, the only one of the Greeks siding with the Persian, deserted to the Greeks, and for that the Athenians gave him land in Salamis (Hdt. 8.11.1)
With this ship that deserted at Salamis and the Lemnian which deserted earlier at Artemisium, the Hellenic fleet reached its full number of three hundred and eighty ships, for it had fallen short of the number by two ships(Hdt. 8.82.1)
- Perseus: Herodotus, The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley)
- Perseus: Herodotus, The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley)
The Battle of Lemnos, 19 June 1807.
At Dawn on 19 June 1807, off Lemnos, ten Russian ships attacked a
Turkish fleet of 14 ships. During the battle the Raphael became dismasted and
drifted towards the Turkish line. The Tverdoi came up in support but was soon
also unmanageable. Superior Russian gunnery gradually won the day, however, and
the Turks began to withdraw losing their flag ship, the Sedd-ul-Bakir, to the
Russians. The battle had lasted some hours when a calm set in, and the fleets
drifted apart. All night the Russians tried to close with the enemy but by next
morning the Turks fell off towards Thasos. In the insuing chase the Russians managed
to overtake and destroy a ship of the line and 2 frigates and the Turks abandoned
and burned another ship of the line and frigate. Turkish losses were 3 ships of
the line (Sedd-ul-Bakir captured and 2 more burned), and 3 frigates. The Turks
lost over 500 men on one ship alone while the Russians had 135 killed and 409
wounded. Lemnos was the major Russian naval engagement and victory for the Napoleonic