Brief History of the Island

Thassos had been inhabited since the Late Paleolithic Era when it was still united with the land across. It became an island circa 10000 B.C.

During the Neolithic Age in Thassos many settlements across the whole island (Limenaria, Castri in Theologos, ancient citadel in Limenas Thassos, Marion cave, cave Drakotrypa in Panagia) appeared.

New settlements occured both during the Bronze Age 3000 BC (Skala Sotiras, St. Anthony in Potos, St. John Luke, Larnaki in Theologos) and during the Iron Age which dates back to1100 BC. Herodotus visited the island and witnessed the presence of the Phoenicians who were exploiting the gold mines of Kinira.

Prior to the first Greek settlers from Paros, the island was inhabited by Thracians. In the 7th BC the oracle of Delphi guided the settlers from Paros led by Telesiklis to Thassos, commanding them to build a city that would “be seen from everywhere”. The new city soon gained wealth and power. Many colonies were established throughout Macedonia, Thrace, Neapolis (today Kavala) and Krinides (Philippoi).

As early as the 6th century the island was already producing extraordinary architecture, sculpture, painted ceramic and micro ceramic masterpieces, at the same time minting of currency appeared for the first time in the region.

In the 5th century, after the Persian wars, the residents of Thassos joined the Delian League under the leadership of Athens. The painter from Thassos Polygnotus was characterizedby Aristotle as “good ethnographer”, while more recent art historians considered him the father of modern painting. In the same century the comic poet and actor Igimon or Hegemon invented the parody as a distinct literature genre.

The great number of exhibits in the Archaeological Museum of Thassos, inscriptions, coins, sculpture masterpieces and ceramics narrate along with literature sources the long history of the island.

The archaeological sites of the city-state with the surviving walls, the citadel, the market, the theater, the Odeon, the sacred place and the two ports indicate the existence of a well-governed, strong political, economic and military state. “Thassios wine” («Θάσιος οίνος» ) was famous all over the known world. This issupported by the countless inscriptions found on amphorae mouths. The most ancient law (of 480-470 BC) that regulates trade and quality of the wine is exposed in engraved inscription in the archaeological museum of the island, demonstrating the high level of organization of the “city-state.” In 338 BC Philip II conquered the island. Thassos participated in the Conference of Corinth whichproclaimed Philip as the leader of the Greeks in the campaign against the Persians.

The island also participated with a fleet and troops in the campaign of Alexander the Great and after his death (323 BC) became subject to Lysimachos in 287 BC. Since 148 BC Thasos belonged tothe Roman Empire, but in 21 BC Emperor Octavius granted the island’s autonomy and the right to mint its own currency.

In 323 AD Constantine the Great founded the Eastern Roman Empire and in 330 AD Constantinople became Its capital. The island remained part of the empire and was an episcopal area until 1225.

From the 7th century the raids on the island were intensified, until 961 AD, when Nikiforos Fokas crashed the Saracens. 1204 began the Frankish reign with the Frankish conquest of Constantinople. The Venetians occupied the island.

In 1261 Michael VIII Palaeologus reoccupiedConstantinople and Thassos was passed to the Byzantines. In the period that follows, the fate of the island was passed from the hands of the Byzantines to the hands of the Venetians, and finally to the hands of the Genoas Gatiluzi.

In 1455 the island was occupied by the Ottomans. Consequently Thassosobtained interior government which was exercised by local elders, and applied the legal code „Hexabiblos”(law book)by Armenopoulos.

In 1813 Thassos was granted by the Sultan to Mehmet Ali , the vizier of Egypt, as a reward for the services offered in the recapturing of Mecca which was held by the Arab tribe of Vachaviton since 1811.

In 1821 Thasian rebellion took placeunder the leadership of the notable Hatzigeorgi from the village of Theologos.

In 1902 the island was returned to the possession of the Sultan until 18th October 1912 when the Greek fleet liberated the island from the Turkish yoke.

Since then , Thasians were present in all the races of the Nation.