History

The inlet of Ormos and its fertile hinterland were settled in the 3rd millennium bc: the sophistication of the settlement and the quality of the finds at Skarkos have recently brought Ios to the forefront of prehistoric archaeology. Smaller settlements of the same period have been identified at other coastal sites: at Manganari, Plakes, Aghia Theodoti, Plakotos, and on the islet of Psathonisi. Ios had Phoenician and Mycenaean contacts from before the 12th century bc, and Ionians settled in the 10th century; but the island has so far yielded virtually no remains of significance from the Geometric period.

According to a strong tradition, Homer, whose mother, Clymene, may have hailed from Ios , was shipwrecked, died and buried on the island. According to Pausanias visitors in Antiquity were shown his grave, and its presence on the island is referred to by both Pliny and Strabo—although none of these writers had been to Ios and seen it. By the 6th century bc, Ios was a small city-state. Like its Ionian-settled neighbours to the north, it was early on a member of the Athenian league; was under Macedonian rule from 338 bc; and after 220 bc was allied with Rhodes . Remnants of Ro man infrastructure suggest that Ios was not merely a place of exile under Roman rule, but also an active trading centre.

With the demise of Roman power, the sheltered and hidden inlet of Ormos became a base for piracy, and the population moved into the fortified sites of the interior. Ios was one of the original islands constituting the Duchy of Naxos of Marco Sanudo in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade. It was briefly recaptured for Byzantium by the renegade admiral, Licario, in 1278/9, but was again under Venetian control by 1296 in the form of the Schiavi family who held the island as a fief of the Duchy of Naxos , until by marriage it passed first to the Crispo family at the end of the 14th century, and then to the Pisani family, who held onto it until Khaireddin Barbarossa captured Ios for the Ottoman Sultan in 1537. In the first Russo-Turkish War of 1770–74, Ios was occupied by Russian forces along with the other Cyclades. Ios contributed 24 ships and crews to the cause of the Greek War of Independence in 1821 and was united with the liberated Greek State in 1829. The is land was much visited by the poet, Odysseas Elytis, and was latterly home to the painter, Yiannis Gaitis (1923–84), in whose memory a small museum of modern art is currently being created between Chora and Milopotas.

 

Ios Island is part of the Cyclades Island group
History of Ios.

 


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