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for destination: "THASSOS
MAKEDONIA EAST & THRACE".
Information about the place (11)
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
An island with a town of the same name, in the N Aegean Sea about
8 km off the Thracian coast. The island is roughly circular in shape and about
25 km in diameter. It is well wooded and well watered and rises to a height of
1203 m in Mt. Hypsarion. It was rich in minerals, and its gold mines were very
productive in the 6th and 5th c. B.C. They were seen and described by Herodotos.
The island also produced an excellent white marble with large crystals which was
widely exported, and its wine was famous all over the ancient world. The climate
of Thasos in the late 5th c. B.C. is described by the physician Hippokrates (Epidemics
1.1,4,13). The city-state of Thasos also held territory on the mainland opposite,
both along the coast and inland. The most important spot was Skaptesyle on Mt.
Pangaion, with its rich gold mines. Some of these were owned by the historian
Thucydides, who lived here and wrote his history during his exile from Athens.
Before the arrival of the Greeks, the island had been called Odonis
and was occupied by the Sintes, a Thracian tribe. Nothing had been known archaeologically
about prehistoric Thasos until two sites were discovered in the S part of the
island, a cave on the W coast near Maries with Neolithic and Early Bronze Age
sherds, and an inland site at Kastri with a settlement that has Neolithic and
perhaps later sherds and an extensive cemetery of the Late Bronze and Early Iron
Ages. At the dawn of history the Phoenicians were exploiting the mines under their
leader Thasos, who gave his name to the island.
The history of Thasos really begins ca. 680 B.C. with the coming of
Ionian Greek settlers from the island of Paros under the leadership of Telesikles,
the father of the poet Archilochos. The poet himself was active there ca. 650
B.C. and his poems give us tantalizing glimpses of the place and the times. The
funeral monument of Glaukos, son of Leptines, a companion of Archilochos, has
been found in the Agora, identified by a contemporary inscription. Pottery of
the 7th c. B.C. in Cycladic orientalizing style has been found in votive deposits,
and house remains of the same period have been discovered. The 6th and early 5th
c. B.C. were the time of Thasos' greatest prosperity. The mines, both on the island
and on the mainland, were producing 200 talents a year on the average, and 300
m good years, and the city had built a circuit wall over 4 km long which had gates
decorated with large sculptured reliefs. In 491 B.C., however, the Thasians yielded
to Persian demands, demolished their walls, and surrendered their fleet. Again
in 480 they offered no resistance to Xerxes. In 477 B.C. they joined the Delian
League and contributed a force of 30 ships. In 465 they wanted to withdraw, but
Athens resisted and laid siege to the town, which capitulated in the third year,
leaving Thasos a dependency of Athens. In 411 B.C. they again tried to break away,
calling in Spartan help, but the pro-Athenian party resisted and ten years of
civil strife followed. In 377 B.C. Thasos joined the second Athenian Confederacy.
In Macedonian and Roman times Thasos was politically subsidiary to the great powers,
but her commercial prosperity was considerable. Polygnotos, the 5th c. painter,
was a native of Thasos.
The town of Thasos lay on the N coast of the island, looking across
the strait to the mainland. It had two harbors, one enclosed within the fortifications,
the other next to it, unfortified but protected by a breakwater. The Agora lay
near the closed harbor. It was a quadrangular area, ca. 100 m on a side, with
colonnades on three of its sides and administrative and religious buildings on
the fourth. Sanctuaries, altars, and monuments occupied some of the open spaces.
Elsewhere in the lower town sanctuaries of Poseidon, Dionysos, Artemis, and Herakles
have been found. Herakles was the principal god of the Thasians, and his image
appears on their coins and the stamps on their wine jars. His worship had been
introduced by the Phoenicians before the coming of the Greeks. On the acropolis,
which rose steeply behind the town to a height of 150 m, were sanctuaries of Pythian
Apollo, Athena Poliouchos, and Pan. A theater lay on the slopes.
Thasos was visited, described, and excavated by a number of persons
in the 19th c., and antiquities were removed to museums abroad, particularly to
Constantinople and Paris. The museum on the site contains more recent finds of
sculpture, inscriptions, and pottery.
E. Vanderpool, 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 185 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
(Thasos) or Thasus. Now Thaso or Tasso. An island in the north
of the Aegaean Sea, off the coast of Thrace, and opposite the mouth of the river
Nestus. It was at a very early period taken possession of by the Phoenicians,
on account of its valuable gold-mines. According to tradition the Phoenicians
were led by Thasus, son of Poseidon or Agenor, who came from the East in search
of Europa, and from whom the island derived its name. Thasos was afterwards colonized
by the Parians, B.C. 708, and among the colonists was the poet Archilochus. The
Thracians once possessed a considerable territory on the coast of Thrace, and
were one of the richest and most powerful peoples in the north of the Aegaean.
They were subdued by the Persians under Mardonius, and subsequently became part
of the Athenian maritime empire. They revolted, however, from Athens in B.C. 465,
and, after sustaining a siege of three years, were subdued by Cimon in 463. They
again revolted from Athens in 411, and called in the Spartans; but the island
was again restored to the Athenians by Thrasybulus in 407. Some remains of the
ancient town still exist, among them the Agora and a triumphal arch.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
Perseus Project index
Total results on 10/4/2001: 458 Thasos, 41 Thasians, 51 Thasian, 11 Thasus
The Catholic Encyclopedia
A titular see in Macedonia,
suffragan of Thessalonica.
The island of Thasos was anciently known under many names, such as Aeria Aethra,
and, on account of its gold mines, Chrysos. Its first known inhabitants were the
Phoenicians, whom the Greeks supplanted. The latter extended the prosperity of
the island, which had a powerful navy and founded many colonies - Parium,
Datos, and others.
After having repulsed, in 494 B.C., and attack by Histiaeus of Miletus,
Thasos surrendered in 492 B.C. to Xerxes, who took its navy and exhausted the
island with the taxes he levied. After the defeat of the Persians, Thasos joined
the confederation of Delos,
but, having quarrelled with Athens,
was defeated by sea and by land and, completely ruined by its rival, became its
tributary in 465 B.C. Polygnotus, the celebrated painter, a native of Thasos,
then followed the Athenians. The island passed from the domination of Athens
to that of Sparta, then again
to that of Athens, and at
last became a Macedonian possession. The Romans gave it back its independence
in 197 B.C., until it was annexed to the Roman Empire and included in the Province
of the Islands.
At least as early as the tenth century, Thasos was a suffragan of
Mitylene; under Manuel Palaeologus
(1391-1425) it was raised to the rank of an autocephalous archbishopric. The relics
of the holy martyrs Mark, Sotericus, and Valentina, venerated on 24 October, were
brought thither. The Venetians took Thasos in 1204, and it was given to the Dandolo
family; the Greeks afterwards recaptured it, and it was then occupied by the princes
Gateluzi of Lesbos, and finally
conquered by Mohammed II, in 1462. In 1841 the Sultan Mahmoud II granted its revenues
to Mehemet Ali, Khedive of Egypt,
who introduced a garrison of Egyptians into the island; but the Turks reoccupied
it in 1908, and Egypt now
(1911) receives only the revenues, according to the terms of the treaty of 1841.
It is fertile and well timbered, and has an area of 100 square miles.
S. Vailhe, ed.
Transcribed by: Thomas M. Barrett
This extract is cited June 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)
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