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ERESSOS (Ancient city) LESVOS
The name Eresos has its roots in mythology. Macar or Macareus, the mythical leader of the Pelasgian people, was the first founder and king of Lesbos. Perhaps this is why Homer called Lesbos "Makaria". According to mythology, Makar had five daughters: Mytilene, Issa, Antissa, Methymna and Arisbe after whom the five cities were named. The King also had four sons: Kydrolaus, Neandros, Leuchippus and Eresus. Eresos was named after the latter who was the city's first king.
The first settlers of Eresus in the pre-hellenic times were probably the Pelasgians, while major population shifts of the hellenic, Aeolian, Ionian and Dorian tribes took place during the 11th and 9th century Β.C. The city of Eresus was built on the present-day coastal location of Skala Eresos by the Achaean or seafaring Aeolian settlers.
A multitude of scattered ruins all over the ancient city indicate the brilliant and majestic constructions that once existed: the Agora, the Stadium, the Theatre and the Prytaneum. The city was an important centre of trade and its fine products reached as far as Egypt. Apart from trade and shipping the city's population also took to the cultivation of the land. Eresus barley and sesame seed were amongt the finest, and this accounts for the ear of barley, the emblem which appears on the first coins of Eresus.
In 540 Β.C. Eresus was forced under Persian vassalage. The Persians turned the naval force of Eresus to their advantage during their expeditions.
Thoughout the long struggle between the two great powers, Athens and Sparta, Eresus repeatedly ranged itself on one side of the battlefield or the other and finally acceded to the 2nd Athenian Alliance in 377 B.C. In the years that followed, the town experienced political instability and the tyrants began to play an important role.
Duing the Roman Times, Eresus knows particular prosperity, however during the Byzantium it suffers the consequences of the Piracy of the Saracens, the Venetians etc, who plunder Lesbos. In 1462 Lesbos falls into the hands of the Turks and during the 17th century Eresos relocates to the midlands, to the north-east of the old city and at a distance of 4 kilometres from the coastline.
In 1821, the first year of the Greek war of Independence, Eresos becomes associated with a major naval tour de force, the first of the war for freedom. Liberation arrives in 1912 and the beautiful town follows the fate of the rest of the island and is at last incorporated in the national body (Modern Greece).
Coins of the city
It seems that Eresus minted its own coins which bore the inscription OF ERESUS. However there is another coin as well, portraying the whole body or just the head of Sappho. This is ample evidence that confirms Sappho did indeed originate from Eresus. Yet, the representative coin of the city was a coin which depicted a spike of wheat on one side, a symbol of cereal productivity, and the head of Hermes or Apollo on the other side, which once again clearly indicates the worship of Hermes and Apollo.
This extract is cited October 2004 from the URL below, which contains images
ERESSOS (Ancient city) LESVOS
Eresos: Eth. Eresios, Eresieus. So called from Eresus the son of Macar. (Steph. B. s. v.) Eressus, as it is in the text of Strabo (p. 618), was a city of Lesbos, situated on a hill, and reaching down to the sea. From Eressus to Cape Sigrium is 28 stadia, as the MSS. have it, which Casaubon (ed. Strab.) has changed to 18. It was on the west side of the island, and its ruins are said to be at some little distance from a place now called Eresso, which is situated on a hill. Eressus joined Mytilene and other towns in Lesbos in the revolt from the Athenians during the Peloponnesian War (B.C. 428); but it was compelled to surrender to Paches, the Athenian commander, shortly after. (Thuc. iii. 25, 35.) There was a fresh revolt from Athens (B.C. 412), and a fresh subjugation. (Thuc. viii. 23.) It revolted a third time shortly after (Thuc. viii. 100), and was besieged by Thrasybulus with an Athenian force, but he was obliged to give up the siege to follow the Peloponnesians to the Hellespont. In B.C. 392 Thrasybulus lost many ships in a storm off Eresus, but he recovered the town, with other places in Lesbos, for the Athenians. (Diod. xiv. 94.)
Eresus is mentioned by Pliny (v. 31) as one of the existing cities of Lesbos. Eresus was the birthplace of Tyrtamus, to whom his master Aristotle gave the name of Theophrastus. Phanias, another of Aristotle's pupils, was also a native of Eresus. According to the poet Archestratus, in his Gastronomia, quoted by Athenaeus (iii. p. 111), if ever the gods eat flour, they send Hermes to buy it at Eresus.
The name of the town on the coins is said to be always EPESION, with one S.
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited May 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
or Eresus (on coins the name is always written Eresos). A city of Lesbos, situated on a hill at a distance of twenty-eight stadia from Cape Sigrium. It derives celebrity from having given birth to Theophrastus. Phanias, another disciple of the great Stagirite, was likewise a native of this place. According to Archestratus, quoted by Athenaeus, Eressus was famous for the excellence of its wheaten flour.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
The remains of the ancient city are near the Skala (harbor) of the modern inland town of Eresos, ca. 92 km from Mytilene. Strabo (13.618) mentions this site. The chief preserved antiquities are a part of the pre-Hellenistic and Hellenistic isodomic circuit wall, some remains of buildings, and the ruins of the ancient harbor. In 1931 a local archaeological collection was begun, which includes finds of various periods.
This extract is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Feb 2003 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
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