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Listed 40 sub titles with search on: Information about the place  for wider area of: "LEMNOS (LIMNOS) Island NORTH AEGEAN" .

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Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


  Lemnos (Lemnos: Eth. Lemnios), one of the larger islands in the Aegaean sea, situated nearly midway between Mount Athos and the Hellespont. According to Pliny (iv. 12. s. 23), it lay 22 miles SW. of Imbros, and 87 miles SE. of Athos; but the latter is nearly double the true distance. Several ancient writers, however, state that Mount Athos cast its shadow upon the island. (Soph. ap. Schol. ad Theocr. vi. 76; Plin. l. c.) Pliny also relates that Lemnos is 112 miles in circuit, which is perhaps not far from the truth, if we reckon all the windings of the coast. Its area is nearly 150 square miles. It is of an irregular quadrilateral shape, being nearly divided into two peninsulas by two deep bays, Port Paradise on the N., and Port St. Antony on the S. The latter is a large and convenient harbour. On the eastern side of the island is a bold rock projecting into the sea, called by Aeschylus Ermaion lepas Lemnou, in his description of the beacon fires between Mount Ida and Mycenae, announcing the capture of Troy. (Aesch. Agam. 283; comp. Soph. Philoct. 1459.) Hills, but of no great height, cover two-thirds of the island ; they are barren and rocky, and there are very few trees, except in some of the narrow valleys. The whole island bears the strongest marks of the effects of volcanic fire, the rocks, in many places, are like the burnt and vitrified scoria of furnaces. Hence we may account for its connection with Hephaestus, who, when hurled from heaven by Zeus, is said to have fallen upon Lemnos. (Hom. Il. i. 594.) The island was therefore sacred to Hephaestus (Nicandr. Ther. 458; Ov. Fast. iii. 82), who was frequently called the Lemnian god. (Ov. Met. iv. 185; Virg. Aen. viii. 454.) From its volcanic appearance it derived its name of Aethaleia (Aithaleia, Polyb. ap. Steph. B., and Etym. M. s. v. Aithale). It was also related that from one of its mountains, called Moosuchlus (Mosuchlos), fire was seen to blaze forth. (Antimach. ap. Schol. ad Nicandr. Ther. 472; Lycophr. 227; Hesych. s. v.) In a village in the island, named Chorous, there is a hot-spring, called Thermia, where a commodious bath has been built, with a lodging-house for strangers,who frequent it for its supposed medicinal qualities. The name of Lemnos is said to have been derived from the name of the Great Goddess, who was called Lemnos by the original inhabitants of the island. (Hecat. ap. Steph. B. s. v.)
  The earliest inhabitants of Lemnos, according to Homer, were the Sinties, a Thracian tribe; a name, however, which probably only signifies robbers (from sinomai). (Hom. Il. i. 594, Od. viii. 294; Strab. vii. p. 331, x. p. 457, xii. p. 549.) When the Argonauts landed at Lemnos, they are said to have found it inhabited only by women, who had murdered all their husbands, and had chosen as their queen Hypsipyle, the daughter of Thoas, the former King of the island. Some of the Argonauts settled here, and became by the Lemnian women the fathers of the Minyae (Minuai), the later inhabitants of the island. The Minyae were driven out of the island by the Tyrrhenian Pelasgians, who had been expelled from Attica. (Herod. iv. 145, vi. 137 ; Apoll. Rhod. i. 608, seq., and Schol.; Apollod. i. 9. § 17, iii. 6. § 4.) It is also related that these Pelasgians, out of revenge, made a descent upon the coast of Attica during the festival of Artemis at Brauron, and carried off some Athenian women, whom they made their concubines; but, as the children of these women despised their half-brothers born of Pelasgian women, the Pelasgians murdered both them and their Athenian mothers. In consequence of this atrocity, and of the former murder of the Lemnian husbands by their wives, Lemnian Deeds (Lemnia erga) became a proverb throughout Greece for all atrocious acts. (Herod. vi. 128; Eustath. ad Il. p. 158. 11, ad Dionys. Per. 347; Zenob. iv. 91.) Lemnos continued to be inhabited by Pelasgians, when it was conquered by Otanes, one of the generals of Darius Hystaspis (Herod. v. 26); but Miltiades delivered it from the Persians, and made it subject to Athens, in whose power it remained for a long time. (Herod. vi. 137; Thuc. iv. 28, vii. 57.) In fact, it was always regarded as an Athenian possession, and accordingly the peace of Antalcidas, which declared the independence of all the Grecian states, nevertheless allowed the Athenians to retain possession of Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros. (Xen. Hell. iv. 8. 15, v. 1. § 31.) At a later period Lemnos passed into the hands of the Macedonians, but it was restored to the Athenians by the Romans. (Polyb. xxx. 18.)
  In the earliest times, Lemnos appears to have contained only one town, which bore the same name as the island (Hom. Il. xiv. 230); but at a later period we find two towns, Myrina and Hephaestias. Myrina (Murina: Eth. Murinaios) stood on the western side of the island, as we may infer from the statement of Pliny, that the shadow of Mt. Athos was visible in the forum of the city at the time of the summer solstice. (Plin. iv. 12. s. 23; Herod. vi. 140; Steph. B. s. v.; Ptol.iii. 13. § 4.) On its site stands the modern Kastro, which is still the chief town in the place. In contains about 2000 inhabitants; and its little port is defended by a pier, and commanded by a ruinous mediaeval fortress on the overhanging rocks. Hephaestias, or Hephaestia (Hephaistias, Hephaistia: Eth. Hephaistieus), was situated in the northern part of the island. (Herod., Plin., Ptol. ll. cc.; Steph. B. s. v.) There are coins of Hephaestia (see below), but none of Myrina, and none bearing the name of the island. (Eckhel, vol. ii. p. 51.)
  According to Pliny (xxxvi. 13. s. 19) Lemnos had a celebrated labyrinth, supported by 150 columns, and with gates so well poised, that a child could open them. Pliny adds, that there were still traces of it in his time. Dr, Hunt, who visited the island in 1801, attempted to find out the ruins of this labyrinth, and was directed to a subterraneous staircase in an uninhabited part of the island, near a bay, called Porniah. He here found extensive ruins of an ancient and strong building that seemed to have had a ditch round it communicating with the sea. The edifices have covered about 10 acres of ground: there are foundations of an amazing number of small buildings within the outer wall, each about seven feet square. The walls towards the sea are strong, and composed of large square blocks of stone. On an elevated spot of ground in one corner of the area, we found a subterraneous staircase, and, after lighting our tapers, we went down into it. The entrance was difficult: it consisted of 51 steps, and about every twelfth one was of marble, the others of common stone. At the bottom is a small chamber with a well in it, by which probably the garrison was supplied: a censer, a lamp, and a few matches, were lying in a corner, for the use of the Greek Christians, who call this well an Agiasma, or Holy Fountain, and the ruins about it Panagia Coccipee. The peasants in the neighbourhood had no knowledge of, any sculpture, or statues, or medals having ever been found there. It does not appear, however, that these ruins have any relation to the labyrinth mentioned by Pliny; and Dr. Hunt thinks that they are probably those of the citadel of Hephaestias.
  The chief production of the island, was a red earth called terra Lemnia or sigillata, which was employed by the ancient physicians as a remedy for wounds and the bites of serpents; and which is still much valued by the Turks and Greeks for its supposed medicinal virtues. It is dug out of a hill, made into small balls, and stamped with a seal containing Arabic characters.
  The ordinary modern name of the island, is Stalimene (eis tan Lemnon), though it is also called by its ancient name.
  There were several small islands near Lemnos, of which the most celebrated was Chruse, where Philoctetes was said to have been abandoned by the Greeks. According to Pausanias, this island was afterwards swallowed up by the sea, and another appeared in its stead, to which the name of Hiera was given. (Eustath ad Hom. Il. ii. p. 330; Appian, Mithr. 77; Paus. viii. 33. § 4.) (Rhode, Res Lemnicae, Vratisl. 1829; Hunt, in Walpole's Travels, p. 54, seq.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


MINYAE (Ancient city) GREECE
  Minya (Minua), a city of Thessaly, said by Stephanus B. (s. v.) to have been formerly called Halmonia (Halmonia), and to have derived its name from Minyas. It is mentioned by Pliny (iv.8. s. 15) under the name of Almon, and in conjunction with Orchomenus Minyeus in Thessaly. (See Muller, Orchomenos und die Minyer, p. 244, 2nd ed.)

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


   (Lemnos). One of the largest islands in the Aegaean Sea, situated nearly midway between Mount Athos and the Hellespont. Its area is about 180 square miles. It was sacred to Hephaestus, who is said to have fallen here when he was hurled down from Olympus. Hence the workshop of the god is sometimes placed in this island. The legend appears to have arisen from the volcanic nature of Lemnos. Its earliest inhabitants, according to Homer, were the Thracian Sinties, a name which probably signifies "robbers," from sinomai. When the Argonauts landed at Lemnos, they found it inhabited only by women who had murdered all their husbands, and had selected Hypsipyle as their queen. By the Lemnian women some of the Argonauts became the fathers of the Minyae, who inhabited the island till they were expelled by the Pelasgians. Lemnos was conquered by one of the generals of Darius; but Miltiades delivered it from the Persians, and made it subject to Athens. Pliny speaks of a remarkable labyrinth in Lemnos, of which, however, no remains are to be found at the present day.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


MINYAE (Ancient city) GREECE
The Minyae founded a colony in Lemnos, called Minyae, whence they proceeded to Elis Triphylia, and to the island of Thera

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Municipality of Moudros


Municipality of Myrina


Municipality of Nea Koutali


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Ancient Hephaestiais

  Ancient Hephaestiais built in the region north of the Pournja gulf. It is dated from the Copper stone era and it appears that it was inhabited continuously until the Byzantine years. The archaeological excavations could reveal among the others the sanctuary of the Great godess, necropolis, baths, a big settlement - very probably palace and hellenistic-roman theatre. Most important discoveries of ceramic art of local production and high artistic quality are exposed in the museum of Myrjna. The very big extent of the archaeological space, which has been excavated only punctually and the marvellous spot charms the visitor.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the Municipality of Moudros URL below.




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  The first excavations in Ifestia were done by the Italian Archaeologist Della Seta from 1926 to 1936. From these excavations the largest and most ancient city of Lemnos -historic years- was discovered. The city's guardian was believed to be the god Ifestos whose name was given to the city. Ifestia was the centre of the ancient Greek religion on the island. Coins that were found in the region of Ifestia had on them a lit torch that proved that ceremonies in honour of the god Ifestos were performed, the so called "Ifestia". Ifestia was an important port, built by the Pelasgi, on a peninsula that was surrounded by sea forming two natural bays.
  The excavations brought to light a sanctuary that was dedicated to the Great Goddess Lemnos, cemeteries, baths, a large building like a palace that most probably was the labyrinth of Lemnos that Plinios mentions, wells and a theatre of the Hellenistic period. Many houses were found, a sanctuary and a large burnt deserted cemetery that belonged to a Greek population that inhabited the island from the 8th until the 6th century BC. The sanctuary is believed to have been destroyed around the end of the 6th century BC. Many weapons, gold objects, clay idols and pottery of regional art were found. On this pottery a geometrical illustration was accomplished by curved figures, Creto-Mycinian tradition that existed on the island until relatively late, creating an art full of vitality and motion. Some pieces of pottery have the same writing as that found on the column of Kaminia.
  Objects that were found, witness the trade exchange between the city of Ifestia, and the other islands of the Aegean. Pottery of the early Corinthian years and Attic, with black figures portray the relations of this city with areas of inland Greece.
  After the conquest of the island by Athens, the population, according to Herodotus, declined. Many graves exist with attic pottery and the oldest is estimated around the first half of the 5th century. Many graves of the following years were found that are from up until the roman era. Between the Greek buildings an ancient theatre was found which originally was built during the Hellenistic period and later rebuilt in the roman era.
  Other buildings (churches and houses) witness the importance of the city during the Byzantine period.
  For the period of recess and total evacuation of the city two reasons seemed to have contributed. Firstly the natural destruction of the port due to the flooding from heavy rain and secondly the domination of Christianity around the second and third century. The Christians unable to apply their religion as they wanted in the city, found a new centre at Kotsinas and the progress of this new city caused Ifestia to be deserted.

This text is cited Jan 2004 from the Limnos Medical Association URL below.




KAVIRIO (Ancient sanctuary) LEMNOS (LIMNOS)
  The sanctuary of Kavirio was discovered by L. Bernarbo Brea at the cape Chloe in the distinct of Ifestia and was excavated by the Italian Archaeological School of Athens between 1937-39. From 1982 onwards the excavations and research are continued. The sanctuary was protected from land by a long wall at the top of the hill which protected it from the sight of the uninitiated. The main buildings of the sanctuary were large halls where the initiations took place in which the "holy" appeared to the initiators. Their ruins are rescued in two floors, supported to the steep slope toward the sea by embarkments. In the northern floor the ruins of a large Hellenistic initiation hall is rescued. The hall of the initiations with the "shrine" at the far end was divided into three aisles, by two rows of four ionic columns. In the southern floor the ruins of a smaller hall of initiations of the 3rd BC century is rescued, built after the distraction of the Hellenistic hall of initiation. At the far end of the nave are the ruins of a small "chapel" intended for the "holy". The nave was divided into three aisles by two rows of five columns and by one portico supported from the sea by a powerful stereobate. Under the foundations of the next Roman hall of initiations ruins of previous periods have been discovered until the time of the establishment of the sanctuary between the 8th and 7th century BC. In this premature phase belongs a substantial deposit of donations.
  To the classical and Hellenistic phase belongs a rich deposit of donations, small lamps for the night ceremonies, beetles, compasses, ceramics for the holy symposiums. In the sanctuary pieces of sculptures were found, clay and copper statues, glass and many offerings, honorary, liberty inscriptions.
The archaic hall of the initiations are in the southern floor and are of dimensions 6.40 x 13.5 m with desks of semi-roasted bricks along the length of the wall where those initiated sat. At the far end the most holy site, the shrine, where the priests entered and the statues of the gods stood. It is the most ancients known hall of initiations in Greece, older than the Solonian hall of initiations of Elefsis. It was destroyed probably during the Persian invasion in 512 BC.
The Hellenistic hall of initiations was built at the Northern floor and it is the first that the visitor sees coning into the archaeological site. Rectangular with dimensions 33 x 46.1 m are double in relation to the sanctuary of Samothrace and in the front it had an area with 12 columns. It was divided into three aisles with two rows and four ionic columns.

This text is cited Jan 2004 from the Limnos Medical Association URL below, which contains image.


  Today it is a small fishing village, however during the mediaeval years it was an important port. Initially it was the seaport of Ifestia and later it gained the fortress where the goverment of the island was centered. The name derives from the word Kotinos (wild olive tree). The village was first mentioned in 1136 when the bishop of Lemnos Michael offered the island to the Venetian merchants.
  The fortress is mentioned as one of the three most important ones of the island and was built by the Venetians between 1207-1214. In 1475 it became famous by the heroine of Lemnos Maroula who supported the people of the island during the invasion of Souleiman Pasha. The fortress was destroyed in 1656 by the Venetians. It was already under the Turkish occupation and its people had abandoned it and the center of the island was transferred to Mirina. In 1688 Kotsinas is mentioned as a small village.
  In the region of the church of Zoodohos Pigi there was a small monastery of the 14th century.. From the surrounding of the church begins a stair-case dug into the rock having 57 steps. The steps are made of rock except for every 13th step which was made of marble. The stair case ends up in the center of the hill where there is drinking water which is considered holy and miraculous and in the past this water was delivered to the fortress.
  Around the fortress there was a stank which was connected with the sea and made the fortress look like an island.

This text is cited Jan 2004 from the Limnos Medical Association URL below, which contains images.







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Limnos Medical Association


Perseus Project



Lemnos is called dipolis, referring to the towns Myrina and Hephaestia.

Perseus Project index

Lemnos, Lemnian, Lemnians


The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  About 475 sq. km in area, rugged, and of volcanic origin. The main sites have been excavated. The two principal Classical cities are Hephaistia and Myrina, on its N and W coasts respectively. It contains several important Bronze Age sites, notably Poliochni (on the E coast), whose culture is closely related to that of Troy. The pre-Classical inhabitants were described as Tyrsenoi, associated by ancient writers with the Etruscans of Italy. The Athenian Miltiades took the island at the end of the 6th c. B.C. After brief occupation by the Persians it remained Athenian throughout antiquity, receiving cleruchs from Athens ca. 450 B.C. and with intermittent occupation by Hellenistic kings.
  Hephaistia, the main city, occupies a peninsula site beside an almost wholly landlocked harbor. The only above-ground remains explored are of a Graeco-Roman theater, with its stage buildings and some houses of late antiquity, but the excavations have recovered much of its pre-Greek Tyrsenian period. This includes a large cremation cemetery, which is succeeded by Classical Greek burials in the 5th and 4th c. B.C. and votive deposits from a pre-Greek sanctuary including terracottas in a partly Hellenized style.
  Myrina occupies a rocky peninsula site, with good harbors. There are traces of its Classical fortifications, an archaic and Classical cemetery, and inscriptions indicate a Sanctuary of Artemis.
  Northeast of Hephaistia, at modern Chloe, a Sanctuary to the Kabeiroi has been discovered, with inscriptions ranging in date from the 5th c. B.C. to the 3d A.D. The sanctuary occupies two semicircular terraces within a circuit wall. On the S terrace a three-roomed building is identified as the early telesterion, with a structure in the central room surrounded by offering bases, probably intended for the display of sacred objects to initiates. The upper terrace is mainly filled by a large Hellenistic building, probably the later telesterion, with a 12-column Doric facade, faced by a monumental stoa. Southwest of Hephaistia, at Mosychlos, were the sources of Lemnian earth.
  At Kaminia in the SE part of the island was found a stele (now in the National Museum of Athens) inscribed in the Lemnian language, related by some to Etruscan. At Komi, inland in the E half of the island, are remains of a Temple of Herakles, referred to in an inscription.
  The finds from Lemnos are in the National Museum of Athens and the museum at Kastro (Myrina).

J. Boardman, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

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