Greek Travel Pages

Location information

Listed 12 sub titles with search on: History for destination: "LESVOS Island NORTH AEGEAN".

History (12)

Official pages

Commercial WebPages

The place was conquered by:


From about 546 to 479 B.C. Lesbos was ruled by the Persians

Participation in the fights of the Greeks

Naval Battle of Lade, 494 BC

In 499 B.C. Lesbos joined the Ionian revolt against the Persians, and in 494 took part in the battle of Lade with 70 triremes.

Naval battles

Battle of Arginusae, 406 BC.

Arginusae (Arginousai). Three small islands off the coast of Aeolis, opposite Mytilene in Lesbos, celebrated for the naval victory of the Athenians over the Lacedaemonians under Callicratidas, B.C. 406.


Member of the Attic Maritime League

Colonizations by the inhabitants

Troy possibly colonized by Lesbians

  No trace of the ancient city (Ilium at Troad) survives; and naturally so, for while the cities all round it were sacked, but not completely destroyed, yet that city was so utterly demolished that all the stones were taken from it to rebuild the others. At any rate, Archaeanax of Mitylene is said to have built a wall round Sigeium with stones taken from there. Sigeium was seized by Athenians under Phrynon the Olympian victor, although the Lesbians laid claim to almost the whole of the Troad. Most of the settlements in the Troad belong, in fact, to the Lesbians, and some endure to this day, while others have disappeared. Pittacus of Mitylene, one of the Seven Wise Men, as they are called, sailed against Phrynon the general and for a time carried on the war, but with poor management and ill consequences. It was at this time that the poet Alcaeus says that he himself, being sorely pressed in a certain battle, threw away his arms. He addresses his account of it to a certain herald, whom he had bidden to report to the people at home that "Alcaeus is safe, but his arms have been hung up as an offering to Ares by the Attic army in the temple of Athena Glaucopis." But later, on being challenged to single combat by Phrynon, he took up his fishing-tackle, ran to meet him, entangled him in his fishing net, and stabbed and slew him with trident and dagger. But since the war still went on, Periander was chosen by both sides as arbiter and ended it.

This extract is from: The Geography of Strabo (ed. H. L. Jones, 1924), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited Jan 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.

Following the end of the Late Bronze Age there was a 400 year hiatus at the site (Troy) until it was resettled at ca. 700 B.C. by Greek colonists, possibly from Lesbos or Tenedos.

Sestus & Madytus, Lesbians colonies

Sestus, a colony of the Lesbians, as is also Madytus, as the Geographer says, is a Chersonesian city thirty stadia distant from Abydus, from harbor to harbor (Strabo Fr.55b)

Antandrus & Lamponium, Lesbian colonies

The inhabitants founded the cities:

Aenos, a Lesbian colony

Historical outline

Intellectual production

  Throughout its long history, Lesvos has to show for a plethora of intellectuals. The most famous among the ones who lived and worked on the island are: Terpandros (700 B.C.), poet and musician the father of ancient lyrical poetry, Pittakos (648 B.C.) politician and one of the seven wise men of Ancient Greece, Arion (625 B.C.), a charismatic lyrical poet and mucisian, Alcaeus (600 B.C.), one of the best known lyrical poets of ancient Greece, and finally Sappho (620 B.C.), the most famous ancient Greek poetesses whose poems, distinguished for their stylistic elegance, passion and depth of feeling, won her the name the "tenth Muse". Other significant personalities are Theophrastus (372 B.C.) philosopher and botanist - known as the father of botany - and Theophanes (100 B.C.), a significant historian who accompanied Pompey in his Asia Minor expeditions.
  During the Roman and Byzantine periods the island’s intellectual life is relatively stagnant. During the years of the Turkish occupation, the cultural life declines but during the 15th century the Monastery of Lemonas becomes the center of the island’s intellectual revival.
  In the 18th century significant personalities appear: Ignatius of Hungary - Wallachia and Benjamin the Lesvian, who is numbered among a group of 18th and 19th century scholars known as the "teachers of the race".
  In the 19th century, the brothers Dimitrios and Gregorios Vernardakis, Georgios Aristedis and Christoforos Leilios support Greek education and the intellectual life of the island.
  Later, during the 20th century, Argyris Eftaliotis blows new breath into Greek Literature, while the great novelists Stratis Myrivilis and Elias Venezis send pacifistic and humanistic messages to an international reading public. F.Kontoglou, K.Makistos, S.Paraskevaedis, P.Samaras, A.Panselinos, M.Kountouras, V.Archontides and the poet and Nobel laureate Odysseas Elytis, whose poetry along with that of Sappho made the beauty of the island’s nature famous, contributed to a flourishing of the letters that came to be known as the "Lesvian Spring".
  Certainly, intellectual production could not be limited to literature and poetry. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th F.Kontoglou, Iakovides, Protopatsis, O.Kanellis, the famous folk painter Theophilos Chatzimichael and the art critic and inspired editor of art-books Stratis Eleftheriadis - Teriad each makes his own contribution to art.
  To this day - at the dawn of the 21st century - cultural life on the island is rich and many creative people as well as cultural societies still contribute to the ongoing intellectual Spring of Lesvos.

This text is cited May 2003 from the Prefecture of Lesvos URL below, which contains images.

You are able to search for more information in greater and/or surrounding areas by choosing one of the titles below and clicking on "more".

Ferry Departures

Copyright 1999-2019 International Publications Ltd.