MILOS



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Milos - history


History

Obsidian from Milos begins to appear at sites on the mainland of Greece (the Franchthi cave) from as early as 9000 bc, suggesting the earliest beginnings of a seaborne ‘trade’ from the island. The excavation of cemetery sites on Milos shows that in the Early Bronze Age the island was widely and quite densely populated. From 2200 bc, habitation concentrates at Phylakopi­ on the north coast which became an important, latterly fortified, trading centre with important Minoan, and later Mycenaean connections. The site was abandoned by the beginning of the 11th century bc.
   Both Herodotus and Thucydides say that the settlers in early historic times were Dorians from Laconia, who arrived between 1000 and 900 bc. The city they founded was at Trypiti­, above Klima, where the cemeteries of the 9th and 8th centuries bc indicate already considerable wealth. Again according to Herodotus (Hist. VIII. 48), the people of the island, together with those of Siphnos and Seriphos, were the only ones not to make symbolic offerings of earth and water to the heralds of the Persian Emperor, Darius. In 480 bc Melos contributed two penteconters to the Greek fleet at Salamis. Like Thera, another Lacedaemonian colony, the island stayed out of the Delian League, but was given a hypothetical assessment of 15 talents in the tribute lists of 425 bc. The island remained independent and neutral until the Peloponnesian War, when, provoked by Athens, it leaned towards Sparta with whom it had obvious cultural and historical links. After a failed attempt to take the island in 426 bc, Athens determined to coerce it into submission, sending an embassy in 416 bc whose proposals and threats are vividly recorded by Thucydides in the ‘Melian dialogue’ (V, 84–116). The Melians declined to submit, were besieged by Athens shortly afterwards and forced to surrender: the men were executed, the women and children enslaved, and the island was colonised by 500 Athenian cleruchs. In 405 bc the Spartans under Lysander expelled the cleruchs and resettled the island with what remained of its former inhabitants. After the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 bc the island was under Macedonian rule; subsequently under Roman dominion, it regained stability and considerable prosperity from trading its minerals. Milos flourished in the Early Christian period, be represented at the Council of Nicaea in 325 by its own bishop. The city was eventually destroyed by a succession of earthquakes in the 6th and 7th centuries, after which the island may have been briefly abandoned.
   In 1207 Milos was taken into the Duchy of Naxos (later ‘of the Archipelago’) by Marco Sanudo, for whom it had considerable commercial and strategic importance. A pro Byzantium revolt against Latin rule in 1261 was quickly put down by Marco Sanudo II, who had the ring-leader—a turbulent monk from the island—thrown from a cliff into the sea. In 1316 the island was raided by a Catalan fleet under Alfonso Fadrique, who was establishing a foothold in Attica in this period. Otherwise, the island remained under direct or indirect Venetian control throughout the next centuries, until it came under Turkish rule in 1566. There followed a brief and curious period of independence from 1675 to 1678 when a local corsair or sea-captain, Ioannis (or Giorgios) Kapsis, was acclaimed as ‘King of Milos’—an act of defiance which earned him capture and execution in Istanbul.  
   A native of Milos, Joseph Georgirenes, who had be come Archbishop of Samos , migrated with some fellow islanders to London in 1676, joined the Greek community in Soho—today’s ‘Greek Street’—and was instrumental in building the first Greek church in London in Crown Street, for which he obtained the particular patronage of James, Duke of York (later James II). In 1767 the islanders abandoned their capital of Zephyri­a either because of a malaria outbreak, or because an increase in volcanic activity had caused the escape of noxious gases in the area; they resettled at today’s Plaka and Trypiti­. During the Russo Turkish War, the island was taken by the Russian forces of Count Orloff between 1771 and 1774. After making an important contribution in the War of Greek Independence in 1821, Milos joined the Greek State in 1830. In World War I, the bay of Milos was the Aegean base of the Allied Naval Command; during World War II the island was occupied by German forces from April 1941.
   In 1862 the sulphur mines at Palaiorema opened, fol lowed in 1890 by the Manganese mines at Cape Vani; in 1899 industrial exploitation of kaolin deposits began; in 1934 quarries of baryte opened, in 1952 of bentonite, in 1957 of perlite and in 1984 of pozzolana. Only the first two have since ceased production.

(Note on spelling. In the text the older form, ‘Melos’, has been used as the name of the island’s city-state, and ‘Milos’ to refer to the island in later history.)

 


Milos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.
HIstory of Milos.

 

access

Milos Island, Greece.

By air: Olympic Air operates two 40-minute flights from Athens to Milos daily. The airport is 4.5km from Adámas.
By boat: Ventouris Lines run a daily car-ferry service from Piraeus (dep. 7.05 am, arr. c. 3 pm), which calls at the other Western Cycladic Islands both on the outward and return journey, guaranteeing daily connections with them. This is supplemented by at least one high-speed connection (4 hrs 30 mins) every day in the summer only.
There are three weekly connections between Milos and Santorini. The F/B Panaghia Phaneromeni makes 5–6 crossings daily from Pollónia (in northeast Milos) to Kimolos; it accommodates vehicles, and the journey takes 25 mins.

Milos Travel Guide

beaches

Milos Island, Greece.

 

Milos Travel Guide

eating

Milos Island, Greece.

To Petrino in Zephyría is one of the most trustworthy places on Milos for simple, fresh Greek cooking, and it remains out of the tourist loop.
The Mezedopoleion Phocas in Pláka, and Zygos in Adámas, prepare their dishes well and freshly, and offer local wine in the spring.
For good fish, Pelagos, the easternmost taverna on the beach at Palaiochori, is to be recommended: it remains open all year.
The speciality of the tavernas at Palaiochori is a succulent lamb dish, slow cooked in terracotta vessels on the geothermically heated sand of the beach outside.

Milos Travel Guide

further reading

Milos Island, Greece.

An Island Polity: the Archaeology of Exploitation in Melos, edited by Colin Renfrew and Malcolm Wagstaff, CUP, 1982.
Disarmed—The Story of the Venus de Milo, by Gregory Curtis, Vintage Press, 2004.
Milos—Geologic History, by Ian Plimer, KOAN Publishing House, Athens, 2000.
James Theodore Bent, The Cyclades (1885), reissued 2002 by Archaeopress, Oxford in the ‘3rd Guides’ series.
Thucydides’s Peloponnesian War, V, 84–116 is poignantly relevant to Milos.

Milos Travel Guide

lodging

Milos Island, Greece.

The island offers mainly simple accommodations.
In Adámas, Giannis Apartments are spacious and pleasant and in a quiet neighbourhood (T. 22870 22204, fax 22144, www. giannisapartments.gr).
Attractively situated above the harbour of Klima, and close to the archaeological areas, is the Hotel Panorama (T. 22870 21623, fax 22112); while higher up in the alleyways of Pláka are two charming alternatives with good views: Archondoula Studios (T. 22870 23820) and Betty’s Studios (T. 22870 21538).
Across the island, be hind the beach at Palaiochóri, are the pleasantly appointed Artemis Bungalows (T./fax. 22870 31221).
At Pollónia, the Kostantakis Farm and Studios offers comfortable and attractive studios, as well as wine and produce grown on its own farm, (T. 22870 41357, fax 41500, www.kostantakis.gr)
The most unusual solution of all, is in a converted windmill on the ridge at Trypití: there are three units at the Marketos Windmill and its out buildings, all with clear views (T. 22870 22147, fax 22384).

Milos Travel Guide

museums

Milos Island, Greece.

Ecclesiastical Museum
Milos Archaeological Museum
Mining Museum of Milos

Milos Travel Guide

practical info

Milos Island, Greece.

848 00 Milos: area 158sq km; perimeter 139km; resi dent population 4,736; max. altitude 748 m. Port Authority: T. 22870 23360. Travel information: Milos Travel, T. 22870 22000, fax. 22688, www.milostravel. gr, (Pollónia) Blue Waters Travel (Patrick and Sheila Warwick), tel. 22870 41234. General information: www.milos-island.gr

Milos Travel Guide

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