History and Legend

According to one tradition, Anaphi was first settled at the same time as Thera by Phoenicians in the company of Membliaros, companion of Cadmus, and was named ‘Bliaros’. According to Apollonius of Rhodes , its name (cognate with the Greek word, ἀναφαίνειν, ‘to make appar ent’) derives from the moment when Apollo revealed the island to Jason and his fellow Argonauts in a flash of lightning during a storm which threatened their lives, thereby offering them safe haven (Apollonius rhodius, Argonautica, IV, 1694–1730). others suggest the name is a crasis of two ἄνευ and ὄφις, implying that the island was ‘without snakes’; their absence is commented on by Theodore Bent. other antique sources refer to the quantity of partridge on the island. Like Ancient Thera, Anaphe was a Dorian colony of the 9th or 8th century bc. In the 5th century bc it was assessed to pay a tribute of 1,000 drachmae into the Athenian League. The island seems to have reached a peak of prosperity, with many new impressive buildings in the 4th century bc; in the same period, it also began minting its own coins, bearing the head of Apollo on the obverse, and a krater with a bee on the reverse. This prosperity was perhaps not unrelated to the proximity and increased influence of Ancient Thera.
   The island, later known as ‘nanfio’, was given by Marco Sanudo to his comrade in arms, Leonardo Foscolo, in 1207 at the time of the establishment of the Duchy of Naxos . In 1269, a local privateer, Giovanni della Cava, commanding a detachment of the Byzantine fleet, captured and held it until 1307, when it once again returned to Venetian control, this time under Gianuli Gozzadini, who subsequently controlled it as a fief fornicolo I Sanudo in Naxos . In 1480 the island passed as a marriage dowry to Domenico Pisani, whose family held the island until it was sacked by Khaireddin Barbarossa in the winter of 1537/8. From 1540 Anaphi was formalised as an ottoman possession, which it remained until the Greek War of Independence, apart from a brief interval between 1770–74, when it was taken by Count Alexei Orloff during the First russo-Turkish War. During the russian occupation, many of the is land’s antiquities were removed to St Petersburg. In 1821, Anaphi contributed two boats and crews to the cause of Greek Independence, and in 1832, the island was assumed into the Greek State. Such a large number of islanders emigrated during the 19th century to Athens that the picturesque quarter of Plaka below the east face of the Acropolis, around the church of Aghios Giorgios ‘tou Vrachou’, is to this day called Anaphiotika. The area still possesses the feel of an island chora. Many of the emigres were craftsmen who worked on the building of the royal Palace. During the military dictatorships of the last century Anaphi was used as a detention centre for political exiles.

Anaphi or Anafi Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.

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