Euboea or Evia[1] (Greek: Εύβοια, Evvoia, pronounced [ˈevia]; Ancient Greek: Εὔβοια, Eúboia, [eúboja]) is the second-largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow (only 40 metres (130 ft) at its narrowest point)[2] Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow island; it is about 180 kilometres (110 mi) long, and varies in breadth from 50 kilometres (31 mi) to 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). Its geographic orientation is from northwest to southeast, and it is traversed throughout its length by a mountain range, which forms part of the chain that bounds Thessaly on the east, and is continued south of Euboea in the lofty islands of Andros, Tinos and Mykonos.

It forms most of the regional unit of Euboea, which also includes Skyros and a small area of the Greek mainland.

Native name:
View of Aidipsos
GR Evia
Coordinates38°30′N 24°00′E / 38.500°N 24.000°E
ArchipelagoAegean Islands
Area3,684 km2 (1,422 sq mi)
Highest elevation1,743 m (5,719 ft)
Highest pointDirfi
RegionCentral Greece
Regional unitEuboea
Capital cityChalcis
Population191,206 (2011)
Pop. density54 /km2 (140 /sq mi)
Additional information
Postal code34x xx
Area code(s)22x0
Vehicle registrationXA


Like most of the Greek islands, Euboea was originally known under other names in Antiquity, such as Macris (Μάκρις) and Doliche (Δολίχη) from its elongated shape, or Ellopia, Aonia and Abantis from the tribes inhabiting it. Its ancient and current name, Εὔβοια, derives from the words εὖ "good", and βοῦς "ox", meaning "(the land of) the well(-fed) oxen".

In the Middle Ages, the island was often referred to by Byzantine authors by the name of its capital, Chalcis (Χαλκίς) or Euripos (Εὔριπος, the name of the strait that separates the island from the Greek mainland), although the ancient name Euboea remained in use by classicizing authors until the 15th century.

The phrase στὸν Εὔριπον 'to Evripos', rebracketed as στὸ Νεὔριπον 'to Nevripos', became Negroponte ("Black Bridge") in Italian by folk etymology, the ponte 'bridge' being interpreted as the bridge of Chalcis. This name was most relevant when the island was under Venetian rule.[3] That name entered common use in the West in the 13th century,[4] with other variants being Egripons, Negripo, and Negropont.[3]

Under Ottoman rule, the island and its capital were known as Eğriboz or Ağriboz, again after the Euripos strait.


Euboea topo
Topography of Euboea and parts of the Greek mainland.
Landscape Eretria Euboea Greece
Landscape near Eretria

Euboea was believed to have originally formed part of the mainland, and to have been separated from it by an earthquake. This is fairly probable, because it lies in the neighbourhood of a fault line, and both Thucydides and Strabo write that the northern part of the island had been shaken at different periods. In the neighbourhood of Chalcis, both to the north and the south, the bays are so confined as to make plausible the story of Agamemnon's fleet having been detained there by contrary winds. At Chalcis itself, where the strait is narrowest at only 40 m, it is called the Euripus Strait. The extraordinary changes of tide that take place in this passage have been a subject of note since classical times. At one moment the current runs like a river in one direction, and shortly afterwards with equal velocity in the other. A bridge was first constructed here in the twenty-first year of the Peloponnesian War (410 BC).

Geography and nature divide the island itself into three distinct parts: the fertile and forested north, the mountainous centre, with agriculture limited to the coastal valleys, and the barren south.[4]

The main mountains include Dirfi (1,743 m, 5,719 ft), Pyxaria (1,341 m, 4,400 ft) in the northeast and Ochi (1,394 m, 4,573 ft). The neighboring gulfs are the Pagasetic Gulf in the north, Malian Gulf, North Euboean Gulf in the west, the Euboic Sea and the Petalion Gulf. At the 2001 census the island had a population of 198,130, and a total land area of 3,684 square kilometres (1,422 sq mi).



Exhibits in the archaeological museum of Chalcis.
Euboea drachma
Silver drachma of the Euboean League. Obverse: Head of the nymph Euboea. Reverse: Bull's head, kantharos to right EY[ΒΟΙΕΩΝ] "of the Euboeans".

The history of the island of Euboea is largely that of its two principal cities, Chalcis and Eretria, both mentioned in the Catalogue of Ships. Both cities were settled by Ionian Greeks from Attica, and would eventually settle numerous colonies in Magna Graecia and Sicily, such as Cumae and Rhegium, and on the coast of Macedonia. This opened new trade routes to the Greeks, and extended the reach of Western Civilization.[5] The commercial influence of these city-states is evident in the fact that the Euboic scale of weights and measures was used among the Ionic cities generally, and in Athens until the end of the 7th century BC, during the time of Solon. The classicist Barry B. Powell has proposed that Euboea may have been where the Greek alphabet was first employed, c. 775-750 BC, and that Homer may have spent part of his life on the island.[6]

Euboia Histiaia 2 BMC61 1.xcf
Silver tetrobol from Euboia, Histaia. Wreathed head of the Nymph Histiaia right; [ΙΣΤΙ] - ΑΕΙΩΝ, Nymph Histiaia seated right on stern of galley, ornamented with wing, holding naval standard; AP monogram and labrys in exergue; BMC 61; BCD 391

Chalcis and Eretria were rival cities, and appear to have been equally powerful for a while. One of the earliest major military conflicts in Greek history took place between them, known as the Lelantine War, in which many other Greek city-states also took part.[7] Following the infamous battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium, Persian forces captured and sacked Athens,[8] and also took Euboea, Boeotia, and Attica,[9] allowing them to overrun almost all of Greece. In 490 BC, Eretria was utterly ruined and its inhabitants were transported to Persia. Though it was restored nearby its original site after the Battle of Marathon, the city never regained its former eminence.

Both cities gradually lost influence to Athens, which saw Euboea as a strategic territory. Euboea was an important source of grain and cattle, and controlling the island meant Athens could prevent invasion and better protect its trade routes from piracy.

Athens invaded Chalcis in 506 BC and settled 4,000 Attic Greeks on their lands. After this conflict, the whole of the island was gradually reduced to an Athenian dependency.[10] Another struggle between Euboea and Athens broke out in 446. Led by Pericles, the Athenians subdued the revolt, and captured Histiaea in the north of the island for their own settlement.

By 410 BC, the island succeeded in regaining its independence. Euboea participated in Greek affairs until falling under the control of Philip II of Macedon after the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, and eventually being incorporated into the Roman Republic in the second century BC. Aristotle died on the island in 322 BC soon after fleeing Athens for his mother's family estate in Chalcis. From the early Hellenistic period to well into the Roman Imperial period, the island was organized into the Euboean League.

Based on the records of the 2nd century AD geographer Pausanias, it is suspected that the Titan god Crius is an indigenous deity.[11]

Middle Ages

Άγιος Δημήτριος Αυλωνάρι 8229
St Demetrius in Avlonari (10th)
Greece in 1210
Negroponte and the other Greek and Latin states of southern Greece, ca. 1210.
Medieval church of Agia Paraskevi, Chalcis.
Castel tower Karystos, Euboea, Greece
Kokkinokastro (Castelrosso) of Karystos
Bourtzi castle Karystos Euboea Greece
Bourtzi castle, Karystos

Unlike much of Byzantine Greece, Euboea was spared the bulk of the barbarian raids during Late Antiquity and the early medieval period, due to its relatively isolated location. The Vandals raided its shores in 466 and in 475, but the island seems to have been left alone by the Avars and Slavs, and it was not until a failed Arab attack on Chalcis in the 870s that the island again came under threat.[4] As a result, the island preserved a relative prosperity throughout the early medieval period, as attested by finds of mosaics, churches and sculpture throughout the 7th century, "even from remote areas of the island". In the 6th century, the Synecdemus listed four cities on the island, Aidipsos, Chalcis, Porthmos (modern Aliveri) and Karystos, and a number of other sites are known as bishoprics in the subsequent centuries (Oreoi and Avlon), although their urban character is unclear.[4] In the 8th century, Euboea formed a distinct fiscal district (dioikesis), and then formed part of the theme of Hellas.[4]

In 1157 all the coastal towns of Euboea were destroyed by a Sicilian force,[12] while Chalcis was burned down by the Venetians in 1171.[4]

Euboea came into prominence following the Fourth Crusade. In the partition of the Byzantine Empire by the crusaders after 1204, the island was occupied by a number of Lombard families, who divided it into three baronies, the Triarchy of Negroponte; each barony was split in 1216, giving six sestiere. The island's rulers came early on under the influence of the Venetian Republic, which secured control of the island's commerce in the War of the Euboeote Succession (1256–1258) and gradually expanded its control, until they acquired full sovereignty by 1390.

On 12 July 1470, during the Ottoman–Venetian War of 1463–1479 and after a protracted and bloody siege, the well-fortified city of Negroponte (Chalcis) was wrested from Venice by Mehmed II and the whole island fell into the hands of the Ottoman Empire. Although the name Negroponte remained current in European languages until the 19th century, the Turks themselves called the city and the island Eğriboz or Ağriboz after the Euripos Strait. Under Ottoman rule, Ağriboz was the seat of a sanjak encompassing much of Continental Greece as well.

At the conclusion of the Greek War of Independence in 1830, the island constituted a part of the newly established independent Greek kingdom.

Modern period

Bridge of Chalcis, Euboea (3)
The Chalcis' Bridge connecting the island with the mainland of Greece.

Euboea is linked to the mainland by two bridges, one that runs through Chalcis and is also accessible from Thebes, and another which bypasses Chalcis and is accessed from Athens. All of Euboea's modern bridges are suspended.

In the 1980s, the Dystos lake was filled with grass which was set on fire by farmers to make more farmland. This act caused devastation of much of the plants and the environment in that area. A part of the lake later regenerated. Also the municipalities of Anthidona and Avlida in the mid to late 20th century, which once were part of Boeotia, reverted to Chalcis. Since then, the postal codes corresponded with the rest of Euboea, including Skyros.


The population of the island according to the census of 2001 was 198,130, making it the second most populous island of Greece. As a whole the Euboeans share a cultural identity similar to that of the people in the rest of Central Greece and they speak a southern variety of Greek. In the southern part of the island there are Arvanite communities, with the area south of Aliveri being the northernmost limit of their presence in Euboea. Sarakatsani and Vlachs could be found mainly in the mountainous areas in central and northern Euboea respectively, but nowadays they have abandoned the nomadic way of life and live permanently in the towns and villages across the island.


The mining areas include magnesite in Mantoudi and Limni, lignite in Aliveri and iron and nickel from Dirfys. Marble is mined 3 km (2 mi) north of Eretria which include Marmor Chalcidicum and asbestos in the northeastern part of Carystus in the Okhi mountain. The trees include chestnuts.


Local administration

The island belongs to Euboea Prefecture which also includes two municipalities on the mainland, Anthidona and Avlida, as well as the island municipality of Skyros. At the 2001 census the prefecture had a population of 215,136 inhabitants, whereas the island itself had a population of 198,130. The prefecture's land area is 4,167.449 km2 (65 sq mi), whereas the total land area of the municipalities actually on the island is 3,684.848 km2 (264 sq mi), which includes that of numerous small offshore islets (Petalioi) near Euboea's southeastern tip.

Notable people

Sporting teams


Eretria Upper Gymnasium

The upper gymnasion of ancient Eretria

Negroponte by Giacomo Franco

Depiction of Negroponte (Chalcis) by Giacomo Franco (1597)


Church in Aliveri

Avlonari tower Euboea Greece

Venetian tower in Avlonari

Kastro Trachili Euboea Greece

Venetian tower of Trachili

Ebbe in Chalkida

Beach of Chalcis

Dragon house oche

The Dragon house on Mount Ochi

Dirfi river

A tiny river flowing by the Dirfi mountain

See also


  1. ^ Euboea /juːˈbiːə/ is a transliteration from the Ancient Greek: Εύβοια, Euboia [eúboja], while Evia and Evvia reflect the Modern Greek pronunciation [ˈevia].
  2. ^ "Euripus | strait, Greece". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  3. ^ a b Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, J.B. Bury, ed., Methuen, 1898 p. 6:390, footnote 69
  4. ^ a b c d e f Gregory, Timothy E.; Ševčenko, Nancy Patterson (1991). "Euboea". In Kazhdan, Alexander (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 736–737. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
  5. ^ Lane Fox, Robin. Travelling Heroes (London: Penguin, 2008) passim
  6. ^ Powell, Barry B. "Did Homer Sing at Lefkandi?". Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  7. ^ Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War. I 15.
  8. ^ John David Lewis. Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History Princeton University Press, 25 jan. 2010 ISBN 1400834309 p 34
  9. ^ Lazenby, John Francis (23 December 1993). "The Defence of Greece, 490-479 B.C." Aris & Phillips. Retrieved 23 December 2017 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "Forum Ancient Coins". Forum Ancient Coins. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  11. ^ "CRIUS (Krios) - Greek Titan God of the Constellations". Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  12. ^ Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Decline and Fall (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996) p. 116

External links

Coordinates: 38°30′N 24°00′E / 38.500°N 24.000°E

Apollon Eretria F.C.

Apollon Eretria Football Club is a Greek football club, based in Eretria, Euboea, Greece.


Chalcis (; Ancient Greek & Katharevousa: Χαλκίς, Chalkís) or Chalkida (Modern Greek: Χαλκίδα, [xalˈciða]) is the chief town of the island of Euboea in Greece, situated on the Euripus Strait at its narrowest point. The name is preserved from antiquity and is derived from the Greek χαλκός (copper, bronze), though there is no trace of any mines in the area. In the late Middle Ages, it was known as Negropont(e), an Italian name that has also been applied to the entire island of Euboea.


Dirfi (Greek: Δίρφη, older form Δίρφυς - Dirfys) is a mountain in the central part of the island of Euboea, Greece. At 1,743 m elevation, it is the highest mountain of Euboea. The Dirfi gave its name to the municipal unit Dirfys. Its summit is 4 km west of Stropones, 5 km north of Steni Dirfyos and 28 km northeast of the city of Chalcis. There are forests on the lower slopes while most of the mountain is covered with grassland.


In Greek mythology, Elephenor (Greek: Ἐλεφήνωρ, -ορος Elephḗnōr, -oros) was the king of the Abantes of Euboea.


Eretria (; Greek: Ερέτρια, Eretria, literally "city of the rowers"' Ancient Greek: Ἐρέτρια) is a town in Euboea, Greece, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow South Euboean Gulf. It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC, mentioned by many famous writers and actively involved in significant historical events.

Excavations of the ancient city began in the 1890s and have been conducted since 1964 by the Greek Archaeological Service (11th Ephorate of Antiquities) and the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece.


Erinia, also Rineia (Greek: Ερηνιά or Ρήνεια) is a Greek island in the Sporades located west of Skyros.

Euboea (regional unit)

Euboea (Greek: Περιφερειακή ενότητα Εύβοιας) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Central Greece. It consists of the islands of Euboea and Skyros, as well as a 395 km² area on the Greek mainland. Its land area is 4,167.449 km², whereas the total land area of the municipalities actually on the island Euboea is 3,684.848 km², which includes that of numerous small offshore islets (Petalies Islands) near Euboea's southern tip.

Greek National Road 44

Greek National Road 44 (Greek: Εθνική Οδός 44, abbreviated as EO44) is a single carriageway road in central Greece. It connects Thebes with Karystos on southern Euboea, via Chalcis and Eretria. The total length of the GR-44 is nearly 160 km. The highway lies in the regional units of Boeotia and Euboea.

Iraklis Psachna F.C.

Iraklis Psachna Football Club is a Greek football club, based in Psachna, Euboea.


Istiaia-Aidipsos (Greek: Ιστιαία-Αιδηψός) is a municipality in the Euboea regional unit, Central Greece, Greece. The seat of the municipality is the town Istiaia. The municipality has an area of 509.204 km2.


Karystia was one of the provinces of the Euboea Prefecture, Greece. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipalities Karystos, Kymi-Aliveri, and Skyros. It was abolished in 2006.

Kymi, Greece

Kymi (Greek: Κύμη, Kýmē) is a coastal town and a former municipality (7,112 inhabitants in 2011) in the island of Euboea, Greece, named after an ancient Greek place of the same name. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kymi-Aliveri, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 167.616 km2. The ancient Euboean Kyme is mentioned as a harbor town related to the more prominent poleis of Chalkis and Eretria in antiquity. Together with these, it is sometimes named as the founding metropolis of the homonymous Kymē (Cumae) in Italy, an important early Euboean colony, which was probably named after it.

There are few or no archaeological traces of ancient Euboean Kyme, and its exact location is not known. A Bronze Age settlement has been excavated in nearby Mourteri. Some modern authors believe that Kyme never existed as an independent polis in historical times but that it was a mere village dependent on either Chalkis or Eretria.

List of ancient Greek theatres

This is a list of ancient Greek theatres by location.

List of islands of Greece

Greece has a large number of islands, with estimates ranging from somewhere around 1,200 to 6,000, depending on the minimum size to take into account. The number of inhabited islands is variously cited as between 166 and 227.The largest Greek island by area is Crete, located at the southern edge of the Aegean Sea. The second largest island is Euboea, which is separated from the mainland by the 60m-wide Euripus Strait, and is administered as part of the Central Greece region. After the third and fourth largest Greek Islands, Lesbos and Rhodes, the rest of the islands are two-thirds of the area of Rhodes, or smaller.

The Greek islands are traditionally grouped into the following clusters: the Argo-Saronic Islands in the Saronic gulf near Athens; the Cyclades, a large but dense collection occupying the central part of the Aegean Sea; the North Aegean islands, a loose grouping off the west coast of Turkey; the Dodecanese, another loose collection in the southeast between Crete and Turkey; the Sporades, a small tight group off the coast of Euboea; and the Ionian Islands, chiefly located to the west of the mainland in the Ionian Sea. Crete with its surrounding islets and Euboea are traditionally excluded from this grouping.

Nikolaos Kriezotis

Nikolaos Kriezotis (Greek: Νικόλαος Κριεζώτης; 1785–1853) was a Greek soldier who served as a leader during the Greek War of Independence in Euboea.


Sarakino (Greek: Σαρακηνό) is a Greek island in the Sporades south of Skyros. As of 2011, it had no resident population.


Skyros (Greek: Σκύρος) is an island in Greece, the southernmost of the Sporades, an archipelago in the Aegean Sea. Around the 2nd millennium BC and slightly later, the island was known as The Island of the Magnetes where the Magnetes used to live and later Pelasgia and Dolopia and later Skyros. At 209 square kilometres (81 sq mi) it is the largest island of the Sporades, and has a population of about 3,000 (in 2011). It is part of the regional unit of Euvoia.

The Hellenic Air Force has a major base in Skyros, because of the island's strategic location in the middle of the Aegean.


Valaxa (Greek: Βάλαξα) is a Greek island in the Sporades. It is located southwest of the island Skyros, and is administratively a part of Skyros.

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