PSATHOURA



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Psathoura - general

Psathoura

Psathoura—which lies 15km due north of Gioura is as flat as Gioura is mountainous. It has shores of white sand which contrast with its dark native rocks of volcanic andesite. Its shallow dunes are a natural home for the beautiful and rare sea daffodil, Pancratium maritimum. In the water off the sandy eastern shore of the island stones dis posed in the form of foundations have been interpreted as the remains of a city which has become submerged beneath the sea. Based upon this evidence, an interesting and plausible theory has been put forward suggesting that Psathoura is in fact the submerged island of Chryse where according to Sophocles, Philoctetes the archer was bitten by a snake and abandoned by his comrades, and which Pausanias says was engulfed by the waves (Descrip. VIII.33.4) and disappeared under the sea. The hypothesis sits well with other unsolved problems of ancient topography and taxonomy. But it is difficult to square with Pausanias’s phrase that Chryse was ‘no long sail from Lemnos’: the islands are separated by almost 100km of open sea. Other theories suggest that Psathoura was the ancient ‘Halonnesos’, whose ownership was a bone of contention between Philip of Macedon and the Athenians: the issue is the subject of one of Demosthenes’s surviving orations of 342 bc. Psathoura marks the northernmost extremity of the Sporades, and the end of an island chain which, via Euboea, facilitates navigation all the way back into the heart of the Cyclades. Its northern tip is marked by a handsome lighthouse constructed of local stone in 1895: at just over 26m, it is the highest in the Aegean.


Psathoura Island is part of the Lesser Sporades Island Group, Greece.