Geography > Cyclades



The Cyclades (Greek: Κυκλάδες Kykládes) are Greek islands located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea. The archipelago contains some 2,200 islands, islets and rocks; just 33 islands are inhabited. For the ancients, they formed a circle (κύκλος / kyklos in Greek) around the sacred island of Delos, hence the name of the archipelago. The best-known are, from north to south and from east to west: Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Naxos, Amorgos, Syros, Paros and Antiparos, Ios, Santorini, Anafi, Kea, Kythnos, Serifos, Sifnos, Folegandros and Sikinos, Milos and Kimolos; to these can be added the little Cyclades: Irakleia, Schoinoussa, Koufonisi, Keros and Donoussa, as well as Makronisos between Kea and Attica, Gyaros, which lies before Andros, and Polyaigos to the east of Kimolos and Thirassia, before Santorini. At times they were also called by the generic name of Archipelago.The islands are located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia Minor and the Near East as well as between Europe and Africa. In antiquity, when navigation consisted only of cabotage and sailors sought never to lose sight of land, they played an essential role as a stopover. Into the 20th century, this situation made their fortune (trade was one of their chief activities) and their misfortune (control of the Cyclades allowed for control of the commercial and strategic routes in the Aegean).Numerous authors considered, or still consider them as a sole entity, a unit. The insular group is indeed rather homogeneous from a geomorphological point of view; moreover, the islands are visible from each other's shores while being distinctly separate from the continents that surround them.[1] The dryness of the climate and of the soil also suggests unity.[2] Although these physical facts are undeniable, other components of this unity are more subjective. Thus, one can read certain authors who say that the islands’ population is, of all the regions of Greece, the only original one, and has not been subjected to external admixtures.[3][4] However, the Cyclades have very often known different destinies.Their natural resources and their potential role as trade-route stopovers has allowed them to be peopled since the Neolithic. Thanks to these assets, they experienced a brilliant cultural flowering in the 3rd millennium BC: the Cycladic civilisation. The proto-historical powers, the Minoans and then the Mycenaeans, made their influence known there. The Cyclades had a new zenith in the Archaic period (8th – 6th century BC). The Persians tried to take them during their attempts to conquer Greece. Then they entered into Athens' orbit with the Delian Leagues. The Hellenistic kingdoms disputed their status while Delos became a great commercial power.Commercial activities were pursued during the Roman and Byzantine Empires, yet they were sufficiently prosperous as to attract pirates' attention. The participants of the Fourth Crusade divided the Byzantine Empire among themselves and the Cyclades entered the Venetian orbit. Western feudal lords created a certain number of fiefs, of which the Duchy of Naxos was the most important. The Duchy was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, which allowed the islands a certain administrative and fiscal autonomy. Economic prosperity continued despite the pirates. The archipelago had an ambiguous attitude towards the war of independence. Having become Greek in the 1830s, the Cyclades have shared the history of Greece since that time. At first they went through a period of commercial prosperity, still due to their geographic position, before the trade routes and modes of transport changed. After suffering a rural exodus, renewal began with the influx of tourists. However, tourism is not the Cyclades' only resource today.Antiparos, dry rock?Historic map of the Cyclades for the Travels of Anacharsis the YoungerContents [hide]1Prehistory1.1Neolithic era1.2Cycladic civilisation1.3Minoans and Mycenaeans1.3.1Literary sources1.3.2Cretan influence1.3.3Late Cycladic: Mycenaean domination2Geometric, Archaic and Classical Eras2.1Ionian arrival2.2A new apogee2.3Classical Era2.3.1Median Wars2.3.2Delian Leagues2.4Hellenistic Era2.4.1An archipelago disputed among the Hellenistic kingdoms2.4.2Hellenistic society2.4.3The commercial power of Delos3Roman and Byzantine Empires3.1The Cyclades in Rome’s orbit3.2Byzantine period3.2.1Administrative organisation3.2.2Conflicts and migrations among the islands4Duchy of Naxos5Ottoman period5.1Conquest and administration of the islands5.2Population and economy5.3The Cyclades: a battleground between Orthodox and Catholics5.4Frankish piracy5.5Decline of the Ottoman Empire6The Cyclades in 19th- and 20th-century Greece6.1The Cyclades during the war of independence6.2Economy and society6.2.1Fluctuating prosperity in the 19th century6.2.2Population movements6.2.320th-century economic transformations (besides tourism)6.3World War II: famine and guerrilla war6.3.1A place of exile once again6.3.219th- and 20th-century tourist development7Image gallery8See also9Notes10References10.1Bibliography10.1.1Older sources10.1.2Modern works and articles10.1.2.1General works10.1.2.2Prehistory10.1.2.3Antiquity10.1.2.4Byzantium and the Duchy of Naxos10.1.2.5Ottoman Empire and modern Greece11External linksPrehistory[edit]Neolithic era[edit]A block of obsidian.The most ancient traces of activity (but not necessarily habitation) in the Cyclades were not discovered on the islands themselves, but on the continent, at Argolis, in Franchthi Cave. Research there uncovered, in a layer dating to the 11th millennium BC, obsidian originating from Milos.[5] The volcanic island was thus exploited and inhabited, not necessarily in permanent fashion, and its inhabitants were capable of navigating and trading across a distance of at least 150 km.A permanent settlement on the islands could only be established by a sedentary population that had at its disposal methods of agriculture and animal husbandry that could exploit the few fertile plains. Hunter-gatherers would have had much greater difficulties.[5] At the Maroula site on Kythnos a bone fragment has been uncovered and dated, using Carbon-14, to 7,500-6,500 BC.[6] The oldest inhabited places are the islet of Saliango between Paros and Antiparos,[5][7] Kephala on Kea, and perhaps the oldest strata are those at Grotta on Naxos.[5] They date back to the 5th millennium BC.On Saliango (at that time connected to its two neighbours, Paros and Antiparos), houses of stone without mortar have been found, as well as Cycladic statuettes. Estimates based on excavations in the cemetery of Kephala put the number of inhabitants at between forty-five and eighty.[5] Studies of skulls have revealed bone deformations, especially in the vertebrae. They have been attributed to arthritic conditions, which afflict sedentary societies. Osteoporosis, another sign of a sedentary lifestyle, is present, but more rarely than on the continent in the same period. Life expectancy has been estimated at twenty years, with maximum ages reaching twenty-eight to thirty. Women tended to live less than men.[8]Reconstruction of a cist tomb.A sexual division of labour seems to have existed. Women took care of children, harvesting, “light” agricultural duties, “small” livestock, spinning (spindle whorls have been found in women’s tombs), basketry and pottery.[8] Men busied themselves with “masculine” chores: more serious agricultural work, hunting, fishing, and work involving stone, bone, wood and metal.[8] This sexual division of labour led to a first social differentiation: the richest tombs of those found in cists are those belonging to men.[8] Pottery was made without a lathe, judging by the hand-modelled clay balls; pictures were applied to the pottery using brushes, while incisions were made with the fingernails. The vases were then baked in a pit or a grinding wheel—kilns were not used and only low temperatures of 700˚-800˚C were reached.[9] Small-sized metal objects have been found on Naxos. The operation of silver mines on Siphnos may also date to this period.[5]Cycladic civilisation[edit]Main article: Cycladic civilizationHead of a female figure, Keros-Syros culture, Early Cycladic II (2700–2300 BC), Louvre.At the end of the 19th century, the Greek archaeologist Christos Tsountas, having assembled various discoveries from numerous islands, suggested that the Cyclades were part of a cultural unit during the 3rd millennium BC: the Cycladic civilisation,[7] dating back to the Bronze Age. It is famous for its marble idols, found as far as Portugal and the mouth of the Danube,[7] which proves its dynamism.It is slightly older than the Minoan civilisation of Crete. The beginnings of the Minoan civilisation were influenced by the Cycladic civilisation: Cycladic statuettes were imported into Crete and local artisans imitated Cycladic techniques; archaeological evidence supporting this notion has been found at Aghia Photia, Knossos and Archanes.[10] At the same time, excavations in the cemetery of Aghios Kosmas in Attica have uncovered objects proving a strong Cycladic influence, due either to a high percentage of the population being Cycladic or to an actual colony originating in the islands.[11]Three great periods have traditionally been designated (equivalent to those that divide the Helladic on the continent and the Minoan in Crete):[12]Early Cycladic I (EC I; 3200-2800 BC), also called the Grotta-Pelos cultureEarly Cycladic II (EC II; 2800-2300 BC), also called the Keros-Syros culture and often considered the apogee of Cycladic civilisationEarly Cycladic III (EC III; 2300-2000 BC), also called the Phylakopi cultureThe study of skeletons found in tombs, always in cists, shows an evolution from the Neolithic. Osteoporosis was less prevalent although arthritic diseases continued to be present. Thus, diet had improved. Life expectancy progressed: men lived up to forty or forty-five years, but women only thirty.[13] The sexual division of labour remained the same as that identified for the Early Neolithic: women busied themselves with small domestic and agricultural tasks, while men took care of larger duties and crafts.[13] Agriculture, as elsewhere in the Mediterranean basin, was based on grain (mainly barley, which needs less water than wheat), grapevines and olive trees. Animal husbandry was already primarily concerned with goats and sheep, as well as a few hogs, but very few bovines, the raising of which is still poorly developed on the islands. Fishing completed the diet base, due for example to the regular migration of tuna.[14] At the time, wood was more abundant than today, allowing for the construction of house frames and boats.[14]The inhabitants of these islands, who lived mainly near the shore, were remarkable sailors and merchants, thanks to their islands’ geographic position. It seems that at the time, the Cyclades exported more merchandise than they imported,[15] a rather unusual circumstance during their history. The ceramics found at various Cycladic sites (Phylakopi on Milos, Aghia Irini on Kea and Akrotiri on Santorini) prove the existence of commercial routes going from continental Greece to Crete while mainly passing by the Western Cyclades, up until the Late Cycladic. Excavations at these three sites have uncovered vases produced on the continent or on Crete and imported onto the islands.[16]It is known that there were specialised artisans: founders, blacksmiths, potters and sculptors, but it is impossible to say if they made a living off their work.[13] Obsidian from Milos remained the dominant material for the production of tools, even after the development of metallurgy, for it was less expensive. Tools have been found that were made of a primitive bronze, an alloy of copper and arsenic. The copper came from Kythnos and already contained a high volume of arsenic. Tin, the provenance of which has not been determined, was only later introduced into the islands, after the end of the Cycladic civilisation. The oldest bronze containing tin was found at Kastri on Tinos (dating to the time of the Phylakopi Culture) and their composition proves they came from Troad, either as raw materials or as finished products.[17] Therefore, commercial exchanges between the Troad and the Cyclades existed.These tools were used to work marble, above all coming from Naxos and Paros, either for the celebrated Cycladic idols, or for marble vases. It appears that marble was not then, like today, extracted from mines, but was quarried in great quantities.[17] The emery of Naxos also furnished material for polishing. Finally, the pumice stone of Santorini allowed for a perfect finish.[17]The pigments that can be found on statuettes, as well as in tombs, also originated on the islands, as well as the azurite for blue and the iron ore for red.[17]Eventually, the inhabitants left the seashore and moved toward the islands’ summits within fortified enclosures rounded out by round towers at the corners. It was at this time that piracy might first have made an appearance in the archipelago.[12]Minoans and Mycenaeans[edit]This procession of ships on a fresco from Akrotiri (Santorini) also shows a Cycladic settlement of the 2nd millennium BC.The Cretans occupied the Cyclades during the 2nd millennium BC, then the Mycenaeans from 1450 BC and the Dorians from 1100 BC. The islands, due to their relatively small size, could not fight against these highly centralised powers.[11]Literary sources[edit]Thucydides writes that Minos expelled the archipelago’s first inhabitants, the Carians,[18] whose tombs were numerous on Delos.[19] Herodotus[20] specifies that the Carians, who bore a relation to the Leleges, arrived from the continent. They were completely independent (“they paid no tribute”), but supplied sailors for Minos’ ships.According to Herodotus, the Carians were the best warriors of their time and taught the Greeks to place plumes on their helmets, to represent insignia on their shields and to use straps to hold these.Later, the Dorians would expel the Carians from the Cyclades; the former were followed by the Ionians, who turned the island of Delos into a great religious centre.[21]Cretan influence[edit]Minoan fresco at Phylakopi on Milos.Fifteen settlements from the Middle Cycladic (c. 2000-1600 BC) are known. The three best studied are Aghia Irini (IV and V) on Kea, Paroikia on Paros and Phylakopi (II) on Milos. The absence of a real break (despite a stratum of ruins) between Phylakopi I and Phylakopi II suggests that the transition between the two was not a brutal one.[22] The principal proof of an evolution from one stage to the next is the disappearance of Cycladic idols from the tombs,[22] which by contrast changed very little, having remained in cists since the Neolithic.[23]The Cyclades also underwent a cultural differentiation. One group in the north around Kea and Syros tended to approach the Northeast Aegean from a cultural point of view, while the Southern Cyclades seem to have been closer to the Cretan civilisation.[22] Ancient tradition speaks of a Minoan maritime empire, a sweeping image that demands some nuance, but it is nevertheless undeniable that Crete ended up having influence over the entire Aegean. This began to be felt more strongly beginning with the Late Cycladic, or the Late Minoan (from 1700/1600 BC), especially with regard to influence by Knossos and Cydonia.[24][25] During the Late Minoan, important contacts are attested at Kea, Milos and Santorini; Minoan pottery and architectural elements (polythyra, skylights, frescoes) as well as signs of Linear A have been found.[24] The shards found on the other Cyclades appear to have arrived there indirectly from these three islands.[24] It is difficult to determine the nature of the Minoan presence on the Cyclades: settler colonies, protectorate or trading post.[24] For a time it was proposed that the great buildings at Akrotiri on Santorini (the West House) or at Phylakopi might be the palaces of foreign governors, but no formal proof exists that could back up this hypothesis. Likewise, too few archaeological proofs exist of an exclusively Cretan district, as would be typical for a settler colony. It seems that Crete defended her interests in the region through agents who could play a more or less important political role. In this way the Minoan civilisation protected its commercial routes.[24] This would also explain why the Cretan influence was stronger on the three islands of Kea, Milos and Santorini. The Cyclades were a very active trading zone. The western axis of these three was of paramount importance. Kea was the first stop off the continent, being closest, near the mines of Laurium; Milos redistributed to the rest of the archipelago and remained the principal source of obsidian; and Santorini played for Crete the same role Kea did for Attica.[26]The great majority of bronze continued to be made with arsenic; tin progressed very slowly in the Cyclades, beginning in the northeast of the archipelago.[27]Map of Akrotiri.Settlements were small villages of sailors and farmers,[12] often tightly fortified.[23] The houses, rectangular, of one to three rooms, were attached, of modest size and build, sometimes with an upper floor, more or less regularly organised into blocks separated by paved lanes.[23] There were no palaces such as were found in Crete or on the mainland.[12] “Royal tombs” have also not been found on the islands. Although they more or less kept their political and commercial independence, it seems that from a religious perspective, the Cretan influence was very strong. Objects of worship (zoomorphic rhyta, libation tables, etc.), religious aids such as polished baths, and themes found on frescoes are similar at Santorini or Phylakopi and in the Cretan palaces.[28]The explosion at Santorini (between the Late Minoan IA and the Late Minoan IB) buried and preserved an example of a habitat: Akrotiri.Excavations since 1967 have uncovered a built-up area covering one hectare, not counting the defensive wall.[29] The layout ran in a straight line, with a more or less orthogonal network of paved streets fitted with drains. The buildings had two to three floors and lacked skylights and courtyards; openings onto the street provided air and light. The ground floor contained the staircase and rooms serving as stores or workshops; the rooms on the next floor, slightly larger, had a central pillar and were decorated with frescoes. The houses had terraced roofs placed on beams that had not been squared, covered up with a vegetable layer (seaweed or leaves) and then several layers of clay soil,[29] a practice that continues in traditional societies to this day.From the beginning of excavations in 1967, the Greek archaeologist Spiridon Marinatos noted that the city had undergone a first destruction, due to an earthquake, before the eruption, as some of the buried objects were ruins, whereas a volcano alone may have left them intact.[30] At almost the same time, the site of Aghia Irini on Kea was also destroyed by an earthquake.[24] One thing is certain: after the eruption, Minoan imports stopped coming into Aghia Irini (VIII), to be replaced by Mycenaean imports.[24]Late Cycladic: Mycenaean domination[edit]Mycenaean vase decorated with a squid.Between the middle of the 15th century BC and the middle of the 11th century BC, relations between the Cyclades and the continent went through three phases.[31] Right around 1250 BC (Late Helladic III A-B1 or beginning of Late Cycladic III), Mycenaean influence was felt only on Delos,[32] at Aghia Irini (on Kea), at Phylakopi (on Milos) and perhaps at Grotta (on Naxos). Certain buildings call to mind the continental palaces, without definite proof, but typically Mycenaean elements have been found in religious sanctuaries.[31] During the time of troubles accompanied by destruction that the continental kingdoms experienced (Late Helladic III B), relations cooled, going so far as to stop (as indicated by the disappearance of Mycenaean objects from the corresponding strata on the islands). Moreover, some island sites built fortifications or improved their defenses (such as Phylakopi, but also Aghios Andreas on Siphnos and Koukounaries on Paros).[31] Relations were resumed during Late Helladic III C. To the importation of objects (jars with handles decorated with squids) was also added the movement of peoples with migrations coming from the continent.[31] A beehive tomb, characteristic of continental Mycenaean tombs, has been found on Mykonos.[32] The Cyclades were continuously occupied until the Mycenaean civilisation began to decline.Geometric, Archaic and Classical Eras[edit]Ionian arrival[edit]The Ionians came from the continent around the 10th century BC, setting up the great religious sanctuary of Delos around three centuries later. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo (the first part of which may date to the 7th century BC) alludes to Ionian panegyrics (which included athletic competitions, songs and dances).[33] Archaeological excavations have shown that a religious centre was built on the ruins of a settlement dating to the Middle Cycladic.[33]It was between the 12th and the 8th centuries BC that the first Cycladic cities were built, including four on Kea (Ioulis, Korissia, Piessa and Karthaia) and Zagora on Andros, the houses of which were surrounded by a wall dated by archaeologists to 850 BC.[34] Ceramics indicate the diversity of local production,[35] and thus the differences between the islands. Hence, it seems that Naxos, the islet of Donoussa and above all Andros had links with Euboea, while Milos and Santorini were in the Doric sphere of influence.[36]The Lion of Naxos on Delos.Zagora, one of the most important urban settlements of the era which it has been possible to study, reveals that the type of traditional buildings found there evolved little between the 9th century BC and the 19th century. The houses had flat roofs made of schist slabs covered up with clay and truncated corners designed to allow beasts of burden to pass by more easily.[37]A new apogee[edit]From the 8th century BC, the Cyclades experienced an apogee linked in great part to their natural riches (obsidian from Milos and Sifnos, silver from Syros, pumice stone from Santorini and marble, chiefly from Paros).[35] This prosperity can also be seen from the relatively weak participation of the islands in the movement of Greek colonisation, other than Santorini’s establishment of Cyrene.[38] Cycladic cities celebrated their prosperity through great sanctuaries: the treasury of Sifnos, the Naxian column at Delphi or the terrace of lions offered by Naxos to Delos.Classical Era[edit]The wealth of the Cycladic cities thus attracted the interest of their neighbours. Shortly after the treasury of Sifnos at Delphi was built, forces from Samos pillaged the island in 524 BC.[39] At the end of the 6th century BC, Lygdamis, tyrant of Naxos, ruled some of the other islands for a time.[39]The Persians tried to take the Cyclades near the end of the 5th century BC. Aristagoras, nephew of Histiaeus, tyrant of Miletus, launched an expedition with Artaphernes, satrap of Lydia, against Naxos. He hoped to control the entire archipelago after taking this island. On the way there, Aristagoras quarreled with the admiral Megabetes, who betrayed the force by informing Naxos of the fleet’s approach. The Persians temporarily renounced their ambitions in the Cyclades due to the Ionian revolt.[40]Median Wars[edit]When Darius launched his expedition against Greece, he ordered Datis and Artaphernes to take the Cyclades.[40] They sacked Naxos,[39] Delos was spared for religious reasons while Sifnos, Serifos and Milos preferred to submit and give up hostages.[40] Thus the islands passed under Persian control. After Marathon, Miltiades set out to reconquer the archipelago, but he failed before Paros.[40] The islanders provided the Persian fleet with sixty-seven ships,[41] but on the eve of the Battle of Salamis, six or seven Cycladic ships (from Naxos, Kea, Kythnos, Serifos, Sifnos and Milos) would pass from the Greek side.[40] Thus the islands won the right to appear on the tripod consecrated at Delphi.Themistocles, pursuing the Persian fleet across the archipelago, also sought to punish the islands most compromised with regard to the Persians, a prelude to Athenian domination.[40]In 479 BC, certain Cycladic cities (on Kea, Milos, Tinos, Naxos and Kythnos) were present beside other Greeks at the Battle of Plataea, as attested by the pedestal of the statue consecrated to Zeus the Olympian, described by Pausanias.[42]Delian Leagues[edit]When the Median danger had been beaten back from the territory of continental Greece and combat was taking place in the islands and in Ionia (Asia Minor), the Cyclades entered into an alliance that would avenge Greece and pay back the damages caused by the Persians’ pillages of their possessions. This alliance was organised by Athens and is commonly called the first Delian League. From 478-477 BC, the cities in coalition provided either ships (for example Naxos) or especially a tribute of silver. The amount of treasure owed was fixed at four hundred talents, which were deposited in the sanctuary of Apollo on the sacred island of Delos.[43]Rather quickly, Athens began to behave in an authoritarian manner toward its allies, before bringing them under its total domination. Naxos revolted in 469 BC[44] and became the first allied city to be transformed into a subject state by Athens, following a siege.[45] The treasury was transferred from Delos to the Acropolis of Athens around 454 BC.[44] Thus the Cyclades entered the “district” of the islands (along with Imbros, Lesbos and Skyros) and no longer contributed to the League except through installments of silver, the amount of which was set by the Athenian Assembly. The tribute was not too burdensome, except after a revolt, when it was increased as punishment. Apparently, Athenian domination sometimes took the form of cleruchies (for example on Naxos and Andros).[44]At the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, all the Cyclades except Milos[46] and Santorini were subjects of Athens.[47] Thus, Thucydides writes that soldiers from Kea, Andros and Tinos participated in the Sicilian Expedition and that these islands were “tributary subjects”.[48]The Cyclades paid a tribute until 404 BC. After that, they experienced a relative period of autonomy before entering the second Delian League and passing under Athenian control once again.According to Quintus Curtius Rufus, after (or at the same time as) the Battle of Issus, a Persian counter-attack led by Pharnabazus led to an occupation of Andros and Sifnos.[49]Hellenistic Era[edit]The Venus de Milo, one of the most famous Hellenistic sculptures, a sign of the Cyclades' dynamism during this period.An archipelago disputed among the Hellenistic kingdoms[edit]According to Demosthenes[50] and Diodorus of Siculus,[51] the Thessalian tyrant Alexander of Pherae led pirate expeditions in the Cyclades around 362-360 BC. His ships appear to have taken over several ships from the islands, among them Tinos, and brought back a large number of slaves. The Cyclades revolted during the Third Sacred War (357-355 BC), which saw the intervention of Philip II of Macedon against Phocis, allied with Pherae. Thus they began to pass into the orbit of Macedonia.In their struggle for influence, the leaders of the Hellenistic kingdoms often proclaimed their desire to maintain the “liberty” of the Greek cities, in reality controlled by them and often occupied by garrisons.Thus in 314 BC, Antigonus I Monophthalmus created the Nesiotic League around Tinos and its renowned sanctuary of Poseidon and Amphitrite, less affected by politics than the Apollo’s sanctuary on Delos.[52] Around 308 BC, the Egyptian fleet of Ptolemy I Soter sailed around the archipelago during an expedition in the Peloponnese and “liberated” Andros.[53] The Nesiotic League would slowly be raised to the level of a federal state in the service of the Antigonids, and Demetrius I relied on it during his naval campaigns.[54]The islands then passed under Ptolemaic domination. During the Chremonidean War, mercenary garrisons had been set up on certain islands, among them Santorini, Andros and Kea.[55] But, defeated at the Battle of Andros sometime between 258 and 245 BC,[56] the Ptolemies ceded them to Macedon, then ruled by Antigonus II Gonatas. However, because of the revolt of Alexander, son of Craterus, the Macedonians were not able to exercise complete control over the archipelago, which entered a period of instability. Antigonus III Doson put the islands under control once again when he attacked Caria or when he destroyed the Spartan forces at Sellasia in 222 BC. Demetrius of Pharos then ravaged the archipelago[57] and was driven away from it by the Rhodians.[52]Philip V of Macedon, after the Second Punic War, turned his attention to the Cyclades, which he ordered the Aetolian pirate Dicearchus to ravage[58] before taking control and installing garrisons on Andros, Paros and Kythnos.[59]After the Battle of Cynoscephalae, the islands passed to Rhodes[59] and then to the Romans. Rhodes would give new momentum to the Nesiotic League.[52]Hellenistic society[edit]In his work on Tinos, Roland Étienne evokes a society dominated by an agrarian and patriarchal “aristocracy” marked by strong endogamy. These few families had many children and derived part of their resources from a financial exploitation of the land (sales, rents, etc.), characterised by Étienne as “rural racketeering”.[52] This “real estate market” was dynamic due to the number of heirs and the division of inheritances at the time they were handed down. Only the purchase and sale of land could build up coherent holdings. Part of these financial resources could also be invested in commercial activities.[52]This endogamy might take place at the level of social class, but also at that of the entire body of citizens. It is known that the inhabitants of Delos, although living in a city with numerous foreigners—who sometimes outnumbered citizens—practiced a very strong form of civic endogamy throughout the Hellenistic period.[60] Although it is not possible to say whether this phenomenon occurred systematically in all the Cyclades, Delos remains a good indicator of how society may have functioned on the other islands. In fact, populations circulated more widely in the Hellenistic period than in previous eras: of 128 soldiers quartered in the garrison at Santorini by the Ptolemies, the great majority came from Asia Minor;[61] at the end of the 1st century BC, Milos had a large Jewish population.[62] Whether the status of citizen should be maintained was debated.[60]The Hellenistic era left an imposing legacy for certain of the Cyclades: towers in large numbers—on Amorgos;[63] on Sifnos, where 66 were counted in 1991;[64] and on Kea, where 27 were identified in 1956.[65] Not all could have been observation towers,[65] as is often conjectured.[63] Then great number of them on Sifnos was associated with the island’s mineral riches, but this quality did not exist on Kea[65] or Amorgos, which instead had other resources, such as agricultural products. Thus the towers appear to have reflected the islands’ prosperity during the Hellenistic era.[65]The commercial power of Delos[edit]The "house of Cleopatra" on Delos.When Athens controlled it, Delos was solely a religious sanctuary. A local commerce existed and already, the “bank of Apollo” approved loans, principally to Cycladic cities.[66] In 314 BC, the island obtained its independence, although its institutions were a facsimile of the Athenian ones. Its membership in the Nesiotic League placed it in the orbit of the Ptolemies until 245 BC.[66] Banking and commercial activity (in wheat storehouses and slaves) developed rapidly. In 167 BC, Delos became a free port (customs were no longer charged) and passed under Athenian control again.[67] The island then experienced a true commercial explosion,[66] especially after 146 BC, when the Romans, Delos’ protectors, destroyed one of its great commercial rivals, Corinth.[68] Foreign merchants from throughout the Mediterranean set up business there, as indicated by the terrace of foreign gods. Additionally, a synagogue is attested on Delos as of the middle of the 2nd century BC.[69] It is estimated that in the 2nd century BC, Delos had a population of about 25,000.[70]The notorious “agora of the Italians” was an immense slave market. The wars between Hellenistic kingdoms were the main source of slaves, as well as pirates (who assumed the status of merchants when entering the port of Delos). When Strabo (XIV, 5, 2) refers to ten thousand slaves being sold each day, it is necessary to add nuance to this claim, as the number could be the author’s way of saying “many”. Moreover, a number of these “slaves” were sometimes prisoners of war (or people kidnapped by pirates) whose ransom was immediately paid upon disembarking.[71]This prosperity provoked jealousy and new forms of “economic exchanges”: in 298 BC, Delos transferred at least 5,000 drachmae to Rhodes for its “protection against pirates”; in the middle of the 2nd century BC, Aetolian pirates launched an appeal for bids to the Aegean world to negotiate the fee to be paid in exchange for protection against their exactions.[72]Roman and Byzantine Empires[edit]The Cyclades in Rome’s orbit[edit]The reasons for Rome’s intervention in Greece from the 3rd century BC are many: a call for help from the cities of Illyria; the fight against Philip V of Macedon, whose naval policy troubled Rome and who had been an ally of Hannibal’s; or assistance to Macedon’s adversaries in the region (Pergamon, Rhodes and the Achaean League). After his victory at Battle of Cynoscephalae, Flaminius proclaimed the “liberation” of Greece. Neither were commercial interests absent as a factor in Rome’s involvement. Delos became a free port under the Roman Republic’s protection in 167 BC. Thus Italian merchants grew wealthier, more or less at the expense of Rhodes and Corinth (finally destroyed the same year as Carthage).[73] The political system of the Greek city, on the continent and on the islands, was maintained, indeed developed, during the first centuries of the Empire.[74]According to certain historians, the Cyclades were included in the Roman province of Asia around 133-129 BC;[52][75] others place them in the province of Achaea;[76] at least, they were not divided between these two provinces.[77] Definitive proof does not place the Cyclades in the province of Asia until the time of Vespasian and Domitian.In 88 BC, Mithridates, after expelling the Romans from Asia, took an interest in the Aegean. His general Archelaus took Delos and most of the Cyclades, which he entrusted to Athens, which had declared itself in favour of Mithridates. Delos managed to return to the Roman fold. As a punishment, the island was devastated by Mithridates’ troops. Twenty years later, it was destroyed once again, raided by pirates taking advantage of regional instability.[78] The Cyclades then experienced a difficult period. The defeat of Mithridates by Sulla, Lucullus and then Pompey returned the archipelago to Rome. In 67 BC, Pompey caused piracy, which had arisen during various conflicts, to disappear from the region. He divided the Mediterranean into different sectors led by lieutenants. Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus was put in charge of the Cyclades.[79] Thus, Pompey brought back the possibility of a prosperous trade for the archipelago.[80] However, it appears that a high cost of living, social inequalities and the concentration of wealth (and power) were the rule for the Cyclades during the Roman era, with their stream of abuse and discontentment.[52]Augustus, having decided that those whom he exiled could only reside on islands more than 400 stadia (50 km) from the continent,[81] the Cyclades became places of exile, chiefly Gyaros, Amorgos and Serifos.[82]Vespasian organised the Cycladic archipelago into a Roman province.[80] Under Diocletian, there existed a “province of the islands” that included the Cyclades.[83]Christianisation seems to have occurred very early in the Cyclades. The catacombs at Trypiti on Milos, unique in the Aegean and in Greece, of very simple workmanship, as well as the very close baptismal fonts, confirms that a Christian community existed on the island at least from the 3rd or 4th century.[84]From the 4th century, the Cyclades again experienced the ravages of war. In 376, the Goths pillaged the archipelago.[80]Byzantine period[edit]Administrative organisation[edit]When the Roman Empire was divided, control over the Cyclades passed to the Byzantine Empire, which retained them until the 13th century.At first, administrative organisation was based on small provinces. During the rule of Justinian I, the Cyclades, Cyprus and Caria, together with Moesia Secunda (present-day northern Bulgaria) and Scythia Minor (Dobruja), were brought together under the authority of the quaestura exercitus set up at Odessus (now Varna). Little by little, themes were put into place, starting with the reign of Heraclius at the beginning of the 7th century. In the 10th century the theme of the Aegean Sea was established; it included the Cyclades, the Sporades, Chios, Lesbos and Lemnos. In fact, the Aegean theme rather than an army supplied sailors to the imperial navy. It seems that later on, central government control over the little isolated entities that were the islands slowly diminished: defence and tax collection became increasingly difficult. At the beginning of the 12th century, they had become impossible; Constantinople had thus given up on maintaining them.[85]Conflicts and migrations among the islands[edit]In 727, the islands revolted against the iconoclastic Emperor Leo the Isaurian. Cosmas, placed at the head of the rebellion, was proclaimed emperor, but perished during the siege of Constantinople. Leo brutally re-established his authority over the Cyclades by sending a fleet that used Greek fire.[86]In 769, the islands were devastated by the Slavs.At the beginning of the 9th century, the Saracens, who controlled Crete from 829,[87] threatened the Cyclades and sent raids there for more than a century. Naxos had to pay them a tribute.[88] The islands were therefore partly depopulated: the Life of Saint Theoktistos of Lesbos says that Paros was deserted in the 9th century and that one only encountered hunters there.[83] The Saracen pirates of Crete, having taken it during a raid on Lesbos in 837, would stop at Paros on the return journey and there attempt to pillage the church of Panaghia Ekatontopiliani; Nicetas, in the service of Leo VI the Wise, recorded the damages.[87] In 904, Andros, Naxos and others of the Cyclades were pillaged by an Arab fleet returning from Thessaloniki, which it had just sacked.[87]It was during this period of the Byzantine Empire that the villages left the edge of the sea to higher ground in the mountains: Lefkes rather than Paroikia on Paros or the plateau of Traghea on Naxos.[89] This movement, due to a danger at the base, also had positive effects. On the largest islands, the interior plains were fertile and suitable for new development. Thus it was during the 11th century, when Paleopoli was abandoned in favour of the plain of Messaria on Andros, that the breeding of silkworms, which ensured the island’s wealth until the 19th century, was introduced.[90]Duchy of Naxos[edit]Main article: Duchy of NaxosSee also: FrangokratiaThe Duchy of Naxos.In 1204, the Fourth Crusade took Constantinople, and the conquerors divided the Byzantine Empire amongst themselves. Nominal sovereignty over the Cyclades fell to the Venetians, who announced that they would leave the islands’ administration to whoever was capable of managing it on their behalf. In effect, the Most Serene Republic was unable to handle the expense of a new expedition.[91] This piece of news stirred excitement. Numerous adventurers armed fleets at their own expense, among them a wealthy Venetian residing in Constantinople, Marco Sanudo, nephew of the Doge Enrico Dandolo. Without any difficulty, he took Naxos in 1205 and by 1207, he controlled the Cyclades, together with his comrades and relatives.[91] His cousin Marino Dandolo became lord of Andros; other relatives, the brothers Andrea and Geremia Ghisi (or Ghizzi) became masters of Tinos and Mykonos, and had fiefs on Kea and Serifos; the Pisani family took Kea; Santorini went to Jaccopo Barozzi; Leonardo Foscolo received Anafi;[91][92] Pietro Guistianini and Domenico Michieli shared Serifos and held fiefs on Kea; the Quirini family governed Amorgos.[92][93] Marco Sanudo founded the Duchy of Naxos with the main islands such as Naxos, Paros, Antiparos, Milos, Sifnos, Kythnos and Syros.[91] The Dukes of Naxos became vassals of the Latin Emperor of Constantinople in 1210, and imposed the Western feudal system on the islands they ruled. In the Cyclades, Sanudo was the suzerain and the others his vassals. Thus, Venice no longer profited directly from this conquest, even if the duchy nominally depended on her and it had been stipulated that it could not be transmitted but to a Venetian. However, the Republic had found advantages there: the archipelago had been rid of pirates, and also of the Genoese, and the trade route to Constantinople made safer.[91] Population centres began to descend back toward the coasts and once there, were fortified by their Latin lords; examples include Paroikia on Paros, and the ports on Naxos and Antiparos.A tower called “Venetian” during the Naxiot campaign.The customary law of the Principality of Achaea, the Assizes of Romania, quickly became the base of legislation for the islands.[94] In effect, from 1248, the Duke of Naxos became the vassal of William II of Villehardouin and thus from 1278 of Charles I of Naples.[88] The feudal system was applied even for the smallest properties, which had the effect of creating an important local elite. The “Frankish" nobles reproduced the seigneurial lifestyle they had left behind; they built “châteaux” where they maintained courts. The links of marriage were added to those of vassalage. The fiefs circulated and were fragmented over the course of successive dowries and inheritances. Thus, in 1350, fifteen seigneurs, of whom eleven were of the Michieli family, held Kea (120 km2 in area and, at the time, numbering several dozen families).[92]However, this "Frankish" feudal system (the Greek term since the Crusades for everything that came from the West) was superimposed on the Byzantine administrative system, preserved by the new seigneurs; taxes and feudal corvées were applied based on Byzantine administrative divisions and the farming of fiefs continued according to Byzantine techniques.[94] Byzantine property and marriage law also remained in effect for the local population of Greek origin.[88] The same situation existed in the religious sphere: although the Catholic hierarchy was dominant, the Orthodox hierarchy endured and sometimes, when the Catholic priest was unavailable, mass would be celebrated by his Orthodox counterpart.[94] The two cultures mixed tightly. One can see this in the motifs on the embroidery popular on the Cyclades; Italian and Venetian influences are markedly present there.[95]In the 1260s and 1270s, admirals Alexios Doukas Philanthropenos and Licario launched an attempt to reconquer the Aegean on behalf of Michael VIII Palaiologos, the Byzantine Emperor. This failed to take Paros and Naxos,[83][88] but certain islands were conquered and kept by the Byzantines between 1263 and 1278.[96][97] In 1292, Roger of Lauria devastated Andros, Tinos, Mykonos and Kythnos,[96] perhaps as a consequence of the war then raging between Venice and Genoa.[97] At the beginning of the 14th century, the Catalans made their appearance in the islands, shortly before the Turks.[97] In effect, the decline of the Seljuks left the field open in Asia Minor to a certain number of Turkmen principalities, those of which were closest to the sea began launching raids on the archipelago from 1330 in which the islands were regularly pillaged and their inhabitants taken into slavery.[97] Thus the Cyclades experienced a demographic decline. Even when the Ottomans began to impose themselves and unify Anatolia, the expeditions continued until the middle of the 15th century, in part because of the conflict between the Venetians and the Ottomans.[97]The Duchy of Naxos temporarily passed under Venetian protection in 1499-1500 and 1511-1517.[88] Around 1520, the ancient fiefs of the Ghisi (Tinos and Mykonos) passed under the direct control of the Republic of Venice.[97]d35400


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