Antikythera - history

Antikythera was a vital stepping stone on the route from Bronze Age Crete to Kythera and the mainland beyond, but little evidence of Minoan settlement has come to light so far. The island appears seldom in ancient sources, though Plutarch in his Parallel Lives (Cleomenes, 31.1) states that Cleomenes III, king of Sparta, after his defeat by Antigonus III of Macedonia at the Battle of Sellasia in 222 bc stopped on Aegila on his way into exile in Egypt. At that time the island’s Hellenistic city must have had a population of perhaps as many as 750–1,000 inhabitants. The island was probably under the authority of Phalarsana on the west coast of Crete. For much of its history, however, Antikythera appears to have been a base for pirates: Rhodian war ships were engaged against them at the end of the 3rd cen tury bc and may have razed the city in that campaign. Later, Roman forces under Pompey in the 1st century bc finally succeeded in eradicating piracy. It was at, or just before, the time of these Roman campaigns that the ship with a cargo of stone and bronze sculptures, amphorae and other objects, foundered and sunk off the northeast coast of the island. Known as the ‘Antikythera Shipwreck’, its discovery in 1900 and its celebrated finds mark the beginnings of the fruitful science of submarine archaeology.

Antikythera Island, Greece


Antikythera Island, Greece.

Access is only by ferry and from the same ports which serve the island of Kythera (see above), i.e. from Neapolis (one weekly (Tuesday) sail–3.5 hrs: T. 27340 22660/& 24004);
Gytheion (four sailings per week—5.5 hrs: T. 27330 22207);
Kalamata (one sailing per week (Sat)–7.5 hrs);
and from Kisamos in eastern Crete (five sailings per week–2 hrs: T. 28210 28217 & 24147).
One of these last sailings also goes on to make the weekly connection to Piraeus. In winter months services are reduced, and information should be obtained at the time of travelling from the local offices on Kythera or on Crete.
Antikythera Travel Guide


Antikythera Island, Greece.

Antikythera has no taverna as yet; but Mr Patakakis, on request, will provide food on a table in front of his shop. His careful and flavourful salad is made with locally grown vegetables—something increasingly rare in Greece. He also has exceptionally good -wine—strong, pinkish amber in colour, and slightly salty from the exposure of the grapes to the sea air. Mr Patakakis is a mild-mannered and helpful person; he is the best contact for most practical needs during a stay on the island.
Antikythera Travel Guide


Antikythera Island, Greece.

There are only a small number of rooms for rent, all in the village of Potamos (the port). These are best arranged by going to the island’s (unmarked) shop-cum-post office (T. 27360 38143) just above and to the right of where the boat arrives. By shouting the message abroad, the shop-keeper, Myron Patakakis, will raise the mayor, who—in time—provides a simple room for lodging.
Antikythera Travel Guide

practical info

Antikythera Island, Greece.

801 00 Antikýthera: area; perimeter 32km; resident population 39; max. altitude 378 m. Port Authority: 27360 33767. Information: www.antikythira. gr (website currently under construction). Travel in formation: Porfyra Travel, Kythera, T. 27360 31888.
Antikythera Travel Guide

Book your Trip to Greece