Karpathos. An island in the S Aegean. According to Diodorus (5.54.4) it was a Minoan domain, later colonized by the Argives. We know the names of three cities from the Classical age: Karpathos, Arkaseia, and Brikous; and the locality of the Eteokarpathioi. The cities paid tribute to the Delio-Attic League, and at the end of the 5th c. B.C. came under Rhodian domination. Potidaion, the port of Karpathos, is identified with modern Pighadia on the SE coast, where tombs have been found containing Minoan (MM IIIB and LM IA) and Mycenaean (LH IIIA-B) ceramics. The site of Karpathos is uncertain; at Arkaseia, on the SW coast, the Cyclopean walls of the acropolis are visible, and at Brykous, on the NW coast, sections of the enclosing walls of the 4th-3d c. B.C.
M. G. Picozzi, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Carpathus (Karpathos; Carpathum, Plin.; in Hom. Il. ii. 676, Krapathos:
Eth. Karpathios: Skarpanto), an island in the sea between Crete and Rhodes, which
was named after it the Carpathian sea. (Karpathion pelagos, Strab. x. p. 488 Carpathium
mare, Hor. Carm. i. 35. 8.) Carpathus is described by the ancient authorities
as 100 stadia in length (Scylax, p. 56), and 200 stadia in circuit (Strab. p.
489); but according to Bondelmonte, the old Italian traveller, it is 70 Italian
miles in circumference. The island consists for the most part of lofty and bare
mountains, full of ravines and hollows; and the coast is generally steep and inaccessible.
The principal mountain, which is in the centre of the island, and is called Lastos,
appears to be 4000 feet in height.
Carpathus is said to have been subject to Minos and to have been afterwards colonized by Argive Dorians. (Diod. v. 54.) It always remained a Doric country. At the time of the Trojan war it is mentioned along with Nisyrus, Casus and Cos (Hom. Il. ii. 676); but at a later period it was under the rule of the Rhodians. It would seem never to have possessed complete independence, as no autonomous coins of Carpathus have been discovered; while Rhodian coins are commonly found in the island.
Carpathus appears to have been well peopled in antiquity. According to Scylax, it contained three towns; according to Strabo, four. The only name which Strabo gives is Nisyrus (Nisuros). Ptolemy (v. 2. § 33) mentions another town, called Poseidium (Poseidion). The name of a third, Arcesine (Arkesine), is only preserved in an inscription containing the tribute of the Athenian allies. The site of Arcesine has been determined by Ross. It is now called Arkassa, and is situated upon a promontory in the middle of the west coast of the southern part of the island. Poseidium was situated upon a corresponding cape upon the eastern side of the island, and is now called Pigadin or Posin.
There are ruins of an ancient town upon a rock, Sokastron, off the western coast, and of another town upon the island Saria, which is ten miles in circuit, and is separated by a narrow strait from the northern extremity of Carpathus. The ruins in Saria, which are called Palatia, may possibly be those of Nisyrus. (Comp. the names Saria, Nismria.
Ptolemy mentions two promontories, one called Thoanteium (Thoanteion), probably the southern extremity of the island, the modern Akroteri, and the other Ephialtium (Ephialtion), which Ross conjectures to be a promontory S. of Poseidium, of which the modern name Aphiartis is perhaps a corruption. The accompanying map of Carpathus is taken from Ross, who is the only modern traveller that has given an account of the island. (Comp. Herod. iii. 45; Dionys. Per. 500; Plin. iv. 12. s. 23, v. 31. s. 36; Pomp. Mel. ii. 7; Steph. B. s. v.; Ross, Reisen auf den Griech. Inseln, vol. iii. p. 50.)
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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