Thasos or Thassos (Greek: Θάσος, Thásos) is a Greek island, geographically part of the North Aegean Sea, but administratively part of the Kavala regional unit. It is the northernmost major Greek island, and 12th largest by area. Thasos is also the name of the largest town of the island (officially known as Limenas Thasou, "Port of Thasos"), situated at the northern side, opposite the mainland and about 10 kilometres (6 miles) from Keramoti. Thassos island is known from ancient times for its termae making it a climatic and balneoclimateric resort area.
Περιφερειακή Ενότητα / Δήμος
Limenas (port) of Thasos, capital of the island
Thasos within East Macedonia and Thrace
|Region||East Macedonia and Thrace|
|• Total||380.097 km2 (146.756 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,205 m (3,953 ft)|
|• Density||36/km2 (94/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
Lying close to the coast of Eastern Macedonia, Thasos was inhabited from the Palaeolithic period onwards, but the earliest settlement to have been explored in detail is that at Limenaria, where remains from the Middle and Late Neolithic relate closely to those found at the mainland's Drama plain. In contrast, Early Bronze Age remains on the island align it with the Aegean culture of the Cyclades and Sporades, to the south; at Skala Sotiros for example, a small settlement was encircled by a strongly built defensive wall. Even earlier activity is demonstrated by the presence of large pieces of 'megalithic' anthropomorphic stelai built into these walls, which, so far, have no parallels in the Aegean area.
There is then a gap in the archaeological record until the end of the Bronze Age c 1100 BC, when the first burials took place at the large cemetery of Kastri in the interior of the island. Here built tombs covered with small mound of earth were typical until the end of the Iron Age. In the earliest tombs were a small number of locally imitated Mycenaean pottery vessels, but the majority of the hand-made pottery with incised decoration reflects connections eastwards with Thrace and beyond.
The island was colonised at an early date by Phoenicians, attracted probably by its gold mines; they founded a temple to the god Melqart, whom the Greeks identified as "Tyrian Heracles", and whose cult was merged with Heracles in the course of the island's Hellenization. The temple still existed in the time of Herodotus. An eponymous Thasos or Thasus, son of Phoenix (or of Agenor, as Pausanias reported) was said to have been the leader of the Phoenicians, and to have given his name to the island.
Around 650 BC, or a little earlier, Greeks from Paros founded a colony on Thasos. A generation or so later, the poet Archilochus, a descendant of these colonists, wrote of casting away his shield during a minor war against an indigenous Thracian tribe, the Saians. Thasian power, and sources of its wealth, extended to the mainland, where the Thasians owned gold mines even more valuable than those of the island; their combined annual revenues amounted to between 200 and 300 talents. Herodotus says that the best mines on the island were those opened by the Phoenicians on the east side of the island, facing Samothrace. Archilochus described Thasos as "an ass's backbone crowned with wild wood." The island's capital, Thasos, had two harbours. Besides its gold mines, the wine, nuts and marble of Thasos were well known in antiquity. Thasian wine was quite famous. Thasian coins had the head of the wine god Dionysos on one side and bunches of grape of the other.
Thasos was important during the Ionian Revolt against Persia. After the capture of Miletus (494 BC) Histiaeus, the Ionian leader, laid siege. The attack failed, but, warned by the danger, the Thasians employed their revenues to build war ships and strengthen their fortifications. This excited the suspicions of the Persians, and Darius compelled them to surrender their ships and pull down their walls. After the defeat of Xerxes the Thasians joined the Delian League; but afterwards, on account of a difference about the mines and marts on the mainland, they revolted.
The Athenians defeated them by sea, and, after a siege that lasted more than two years, took the capital, Thasos, probably in 463 BC, and compelled the Thasians to destroy their walls, surrender their ships, pay an indemnity and an annual contribution (in 449 BC this was 21 talents, from 445 BC about 30 talents), and resign their possessions on the mainland. In 411 BC, at the time of the oligarchical revolution at Athens, Thasos again revolted from Athens and received a Lacedaemonian governor; but in 407 BC the partisans of Lacedaemon were expelled, and the Athenians under Thrasybulus were admitted.
After the Battle of Aegospotami (405 BC), Thasos again fell into the hands of the Lacedaemonians under Lysander who formed a decarchy there; but the Athenians must have recovered it, for it formed one of the subjects of dispute between them and Philip II of Macedonia. In the embroilment between Philip V of Macedonia and the Romans, Thasos submitted to Philip, but received its freedom at the hands of the Romans after the Battle of Cynoscephalae (197 BC), and it was still a "free" state in the time of Pliny.
Thasos was part of the Eastern Roman Empire, now known as the Byzantine Empire, from 395 on. According to the 6th century Synecdemus, it belonged to the province of Macedonia Prima, although the 10th century De thematibus claims that it was part of Thracia. The island was a major source of marble until the disruption of the Slavic invasions in the late 6th/7th centuries, and several churches from Late Antiquity have been found on it. The island remained in Byzantine hands for most of the Middle Ages. It functioned as a naval base in the 13th century, under its own doux, and came briefly under the rule of the Genoese Tedisio Zaccaria in 1307–13. Returning to Byzantine control, its bishopric was raised to an archdiocese by Manuel II Palaiologos. Thasos was captured by the Genoese Gattilusi family ca. 1434, who surrendered it to the Ottoman Empire in 1455. Following the Ottoman conquest of the Despotate of the Morea in 1460, the former Despot Demetrios Palaiologos received lands on the island.
It is related that the Byzantine Greek Saint Joannicius the Great (752–846) in one of his miracles freed the island of Thasos from a multitude of snakes.
Thasos was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1456. Under the Ottoman rule, the island was known as Ottoman Turkish: طاشوز Taşöz. Between 1770 and 1774, the island was briefly occupied by a Russian fleet. By this time the population of Thassos had gravitated to the inland villages as a protective measure. Nearly 50 years later, a revolt against Ottoman rule arose in 1821, at the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, led by Hatzigiorgis Metaxas, but it failed. The island had been given in 1813 by the Sultan Mahmud II to Muhammad Ali of Egypt as a personal fiefdom, as a reward for his intervention against the Wahhabites. Egyptian rule was relatively benign (by some accounts Muhammad Ali had either been born or spent his infancy on Thasos) and the island became prosperous, until 1908, when the New Turk regime asserted Turkish control. The island was a kaza (sub-province), lastly of the Sanjak of Drama in the Salonica Vilayet, until the Balkan Wars. On 20 October 1912 during the First Balkan War, a Greek naval detachment freed Thasos from the Ottomans and it became part of Greece. From the day it was reunited with Greece, it has remained so ever since.
On the 23 November 1902 issue of the New York Times (p. 5), it was reported that on the island of Thassos, archaeologist Theodore Bent discovered the tomb of Cassius, the one who slew himself after the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C. Cassius was buried by Brutus at Thassos, where the army of the patriots of the Republic had established its base of supplies.
The writer Vassilis Vassilikos, famous for his novel "Z", which was later adapted into an Academy Award-winning film was born in Thasos in 1934. He later became Director General of Greek Public Television, and Greece's ambassador to UNESCO.
During the Axis occupation (April 1941 – October 1944) Thasos, along with the region of East Macedonia and Thrace, was assigned by the Nazis to their Bulgarian allies. The Bulgarian government renamed the island "Tasos" and closed its schools. Thasos' mountainous terrain facilitated resistance activity against the occupation forces, mainly led by the left-wing National Liberation Front (EAM). After the end of the war and the withdrawal of Axis troops in 1944, the island was caught up in the Greek Civil War. The leader of the communist naval forces in the civil war, Sarantis Spintzos, was a native of Thasos. Skirmishes and communist guerilla attacks continued on Thasos until 1950, almost a year after the main hostilities were over on the mainland.
In the post-war decades, another native of Thasos, Costas Tsimas, was to attain national recognition; a friend of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, he was appointed Director of the National Intelligence Service, the first civilian to hold that post.
Thasos, the capital, is now informally known as Limenas, or "the port". It is served by a ferry route to and from Keramoti a port close to Kavala International Airport, and has the shortest possible crossing to the island. Scala Prinos 20 km south of Thassos town is served by a ferry route to and from Kavala.
Thasos is a separate regional unit of the East Macedonia and Thrace region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit Thasos was created out of part of the former Kavala Prefecture. The municipality, unchanged at the Kallikratis reform, includes a few uninhabited islets besides the main island Thasos and has an area of 380.097 km2. The province of Thasos (Greek: Επαρχία Θάσου) was one of the provinces of the Kavala Prefecture. It had the same territory as the present municipality. It was abolished in 2006.
Thasos island is located in the northern Aegean sea approximately 7 km (4 mi) from the northern mainland and 20 kilometres (12 miles) south-east of Kavala, and is of generally rounded shape, without deep bays or significant peninsulas. The terrain is mountainous but not particularly rugged, rising gradually from coast to centre. The highest peak is Ypsario (Ipsario), at 1,205 metres (3,953 feet), somewhat east of centre. Pine forest covers much of the island's eastern slopes.
Historically, the island's population was chiefly engaged in agriculture and stockbreeding, and established villages inland, some of them connected via stairways (known as skalas) to harbors at the shore. The local population gradually migrated towards these shoreline settlements as tourism began to develop as an important source of income. Thus, there are several "paired villages" such as Maries–Skala Maries, with the former inland and the latter on the coast.
The island is formed mainly by gneisses, schists and marbles of the Rhodope Massif. Marble sequences corresponding to the Falacron Marbles intercalated by schists and gneisses, are up to 500m thick and are separated from the underlying gneisses by a transition zone about 300 m thick termed the T-zone consisting of alternances of dolomitic and calcitic marbles intercalated by schists and gneisses.
The rocks have undergone several periods of regional metamorphism, to at least upper amphibolite facies, and there was a subsequent phase of retrograde metamorphism. At least three periods of regional deformation have been identified, the most important being large scale isoclinal folding with axes aligned north-west. The T-zone is deformed and is interpreted by some authors as a regional thrust of pre-major folding age. There are two major high angle fault systems aligned north-west and north-east respectively. A large low-angle thrust cuts the gneiss, schist and marble sequence at the south-west corner of the island, probably indicating an overthrusting of the Serbomacedonian Massif onto the Rodope Massif.
The Late Miocene oil-producing Nestos-Prinos basin is located between Thassos island and the mainland. The floor of the basin is around 1,500 m deep off the Thassos coast (South Kavala ridge; Proedrou, 1988) and up to 4.000–5.000 m in the axial sector between Thassos and the mainland. The basin is filled with Late Miocene-Pliocene sediments, including ubiquitously repeated evaporite layers of rock salt and anhydrite-dolomite that alternate with sandstones, conglomerates, black shales, and uraniferous coal measures (Proedrou, 1979, 1988; Taupitz, 1985). Stratigraphically equivalent rocks on the mainland are clastic sediments with coal beds, marine to brackish fluvial units and travertines.
The earliest mining on the island has been dated to around 13,000 BC, when paleolithic miners dug a shaft at the site of the modern-era Tzines iron mine for the extraction of limonitic ochre. Mining for base and precious metals started around the 7th century BC with the Phoenicians, followed in the 4th century by the Greeks, then the Romans. These later mines were both open-cast and underground, mostly to exploit the island's numerous karst hosted calamine deposits for their lead and silver. Gold, copper and iron were also found; the Byzantines quarried marble on the island.
In the early 20th century, mining companies exploited the island's Zinc-lead rich calamine ores, with a yield of around 2 million tonnes, and a processing plant at Limenaria produced zinc oxide. Iron ore was mined on a significant scale from 1954 to 1964, with a yield of around 3 million tonnes. Since 1964, surveys have established the existence of a deep-level zinc-lead deposit, but the only mining activity on the island has been marble quarrying.
By far the most important economic activity is tourism. The main agricultural products on the island are honey, almonds, walnuts, olives (famously Throuba olives), and olive oil, as well as wine, sheep, goat herding, and fishing. Other industries are lumber and mining which includes lead, zinc, and marble, especially in the Panagia area where one of the mountains near the Thracian Sea has a large marble quarry. The marble quarries in the south (in the area of Aliki), now abandoned, were mined during ancient times.
Towns and villages with over 100 inhabitants (2011 census) are:
For the hummingbird, see Archilochus (genus).
Archilochus (; Greek: Ἀρχίλοχος Arkhilokhos; c. 680 – c. 645 BC) was a Greek lyric poet from the island of Paros in the Archaic period. He is celebrated for his versatile and innovative use of poetic meters, and is the earliest known Greek author to compose almost entirely on the theme of his own emotions and experiences.Alexandrian scholars included him in their canonic list of iambic poets, along with Semonides and Hipponax, yet ancient commentators also numbered him with Tyrtaeus and Callinus as the possible inventor of the elegy. Modern critics often characterize him simply as a lyric poet. Although his work now only survives in fragments, he was revered by the ancient Greeks as one of their most brilliant authors, able to be mentioned in the same breath as Homer and Hesiod, yet he was also censured by them as the archetypal poet of blame—his invectives were even said to have driven his former fiancée and her father to suicide. He presented himself as a man of few illusions either in war or in love, such as in the following elegy, where discretion is seen to be the better part of valour:
Archilochus was much imitated even up to Roman times and three other distinguished poets later claimed to have thrown away their shields—Alcaeus, Anacreon and Horace.Battle of Thasos
The Battle of Thasos was fought on October 829 between the fleets of the Byzantine Empire and the newly founded Emirate of Crete. The Cretan Arabs scored a major victory: Theophanes Continuatus records that almost the entire imperial fleet was lost. This success opened up the Aegean to the Saracens' raids. The Cyclades and other islands were pillaged, and Mount Athos was so devastated that it was deserted for a long time.Delian League
The Delian League, founded in 478 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, with the number of members numbering between 150 and 330 under the leadership of Athens, whose purpose was to continue fighting the Persian Empire after the Greek victory in the Battle of Plataea at the end of the Second Persian invasion of Greece. The League's modern name derives from its official meeting place, the island of Delos, where congresses were held in the temple and where the treasury stood until, in a symbolic gesture, Pericles moved it to Athens in 454 BC.Shortly after its inception, Athens began to use the League's navy for its own purposes – which led to its naming by historians as the Athenian Empire. This behavior frequently led to conflict between Athens and the less powerful members of the League. By 431 BC, Athens's heavy-handed control of the Delian League prompted the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War; the League was dissolved upon the war's conclusion in 404 BC under the direction of Lysander, the Spartan commander.Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (Greek: Ανατολική Μακεδονία και Θράκη, Anatolikí Makedonía kai Thráki) is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It consists of the northeastern parts of the country, comprising the eastern part of the region of Greek Macedonia along with the region of Western Thrace, and the islands of Thasos and Samothrace.Kavala (regional unit)
Kavala (Greek: Περιφερειακή Ενότητα Καβάλας, Perifereiakí Enótita Kaválas) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of East Macedonia and Thrace. Its capital is the city of Kavala. Kavala regional unit is the easternmost within the geographical region of Macedonia.List of ancient Greek tyrants
This is a list of tyrants from Ancient Greece.Metropolis of Philippi, Neapolis and Thasos
The Metropolis of Philippi, Neapolis and Thasos (Greek: Ιερά Μητρόπολις Φιλίππων, Νεαπόλεως και Θάσου) is a Greek Orthodox metropolitan see in eastern Macedonia, Greece. It was founded in the ancient city of Philippi, where it was based until the destruction of the host city in the 14th or 15th century. Today it is based in the city of Kavala. Although being subject to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, it is administered by the Church of Greece.North Aegean
The North Aegean (Greek: Περιφέρεια Βορείου Αιγαίου) is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It comprises the islands of the north-eastern Aegean Sea, called the North Aegean islands, except for Thasos and Samothrace, which belong to the Greek region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, and Imbros and Tenedos, which belong to Turkey.Panagia, Thasos
Panagia (Greek: Παναγία) is a village on the island of Thasos in northern Greece. The village is located in the northwest of the island, east of the massif of Mount Ipsarion (1,204 m (3,950 ft)) at an elevation of 300 m (980 ft). The village is a popular tourist spot due to its proximity to Potamia and the coastal resort of Skala Potamia and Skala Panagia, referred to in English as Golden Beach. Tourist sights include traditional Greek village buildings and water fountains from the freshwater stream with its source at Mount Ipsarion which run through the village.Polygnotos (vase painter)
Polygnotos (active approx. 450 - 420 BCE), a Greek vase-painter in Athens, is considered one of the most important vase painters of the red figure style of the high-classical period. He received his training in the workshop of the Niobid Painter and specialized in monumental vases, as in the manner of Polygnotos of Thasos, after whom he probably designated himself. He was the leading vase painter of the Group of Polygnotos which carries his name.He painted particularly large containers such as stamnoi, kraters, hydria and shoulder amphorae, as well as Nolan amphorae and pelike.Beside this famous vase painter two further vase painters have the name Polygnotos. They have become known in the scholarly literature as the Lewis Painter and the Nausikaa Painter.Polygnotus
Polygnotus (Greek: Πολύγνωτος Polygnotos) was an ancient Greek painter from the middle of the 5th century BC.Potamia, Thasos
Potamia (Greek: Ποταμιά) is a village on the island of Thasos, Greece. It is built in the valley at the foot of Mount Ipsario, and surrounded to the south and east by pine and sweet chestnut forests. Its coastal annexe is the holiday resort of Skala Potamias. Potamia was the birthplace of the Greek-born American sculptor Polygnotos Vagis, and a museum dedicated to his work exists in the village. Etymologically, the name of the village is derived from the streams that run through it.Prinos oil field
The Prinos oil field is an oil field located in the northern Aegean Sea, between the island of Thasos and city of Kavala on the mainland. It was discovered in 1971 and developed by Energean Oil & Gas. It began production in 1975. The total proven reserves of the Prinos oil field are around 90 million barrels (12×106tonnes), and production is centered on 1,900 barrels per day (300 m3/d). It is named after the village of Prinos on Thasos, the nearest inhabited place.Stesimbrotos of Thasos
Stesimbrotos of Thasos (Ancient Greek: Στησίμβροτος; c. 470 BC – c. 420 BC), doubtless raised at Thasos, was a sophist, a rhapsode and logographer, a writer on history, and an opponent of Pericles and reputed author of a political pamphlet On Themistocles, Thucydides, and Pericles. Plutarch used writings by Stesimbrotos in his Life of Pericles, asserting that the coolness between Pericles and his son Xanthippos was due to Pericles seducing his daughter-in-law. Walter Burkert has suggested Stesimbrotos as the author of the Derveni papyrus (Burkert 1987:44, 58 n.6).Thasian rebellion
The Thasian rebellion was an incident in 465 BC, in which Thasos rebelled against Athenian control, seeking to renounce its membership in the Delian League. The rebellion was prompted by a conflict between Athens and Thasos over control of silver deposits on the Thracian mainland, which Thasos had traditionally mined.
The rebellion was eventually crushed, after a long and difficult siege, but not before Sparta had secretly promised to invade Attica in support of the Thasians. The Spartans were prevented from making good on this promise only by an earthquake in Laconia, which triggered a helot rebellion.
Thucydides cited the Thasian episode as one of the incidents during the pentecontaetia which marked the transformation of the Delian League into an Athenian empire. Modern scholars have also approached it as a telling indicator of the internal politics of Sparta, revealing the presence of a strong war party there during a time of peace and harmony between Athens and Sparta and foreshadowing the breakdown of relations which would result in the outbreak of the First Peloponnesian War by the end of the decade.Thasos (town)
Thasos (Greek: Θάσος, Thásos) is a town on the island of Thasos in northern Greece. It is the capital and main town of the island. The town is also called Limenas Thasou or for short just Limenas (Greek: Λιμένας Θάσου, Liménas Thásou, "Harbour of Thasos") to distinguish the town from the island on which it is situated. The town is located on the northeast corner of the island, approximately 17 nautical miles (31 km) south of Kavala.Theagenes of Thasos
Theagenes of Thasos (Greek: Θεαγένης ὁ Θάσιος) was an ancient Greek Olympian, typically spelled Theogenes before the first century AD.Theologos, Thasos
Theologos (Greek: Θεολόγος) is a village in the central part of the Greek island of Thasos. According to the 2011 census, it has 636 residents. It was the marketplace and administrative centre of the island during the Ottoman rule, from 1455 to 1902.Thracian Sea
The Thracian Sea (Greek: Θρακικό Πέλαγος, Thrakiko Pelagos; Turkish: Trakya Denizi) is a sea that is part of the Aegean Sea and forms the northernmost point of the sea. Regions surrounding the sea are Macedonia and Thrace as well as northwestern Turkey. The entire stretch of the sea lies north of the 40th parallel. The length from east to west is from 23°E to about 25.8°E or from the Strymonian Gulf east to the northernmost part of the Gallipoli peninsula and the width from north to south is about 40.25°N to 41°N or from the Dardanelles north to the boundary between the Xanthi and the Rhodope regional units. Islands includes Thasos and Samothrace in Greece and Gökçeada (Imvros in Greek) and Bozcaada (Tenedos in Greek) in Turkey. The bays and gulfs includes the Ierissian Gulf to the southwest, the Strymonian Gulf where the Strymon River empties, the Kavala Gulf and the Saros Gulf in Turkey. Rivers emptying into this portion of the gulf include the Nestos and the Evros/Meriç. The famous thermal springs are Loutra Eleftheron in Kavala.
|Regional unit of Drama|
|Regional unit of Evros|
|Regional unit of Kavala|
|Regional unit of Rhodope|
|Regional unit of Thasos|
|Regional unit of Xanthi|
Subdivisions of the municipality of Thasos
|Municipal unit of Thasos|
|Eastern Macedonia and Thrace|
Note: not all prefectures were subdivided into provinces.