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KIMOLOS (Island) KYKLADES

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

Cimolus

  Cimolus (Kimolos), a small island in the Aegaean sea, one of the Cyclades, lying between Siphnos and Melos, and separated from the latter by a narrow strait only half a mile in breadth. The extreme length of the island is 5 miles, and its breadth 3 1/2 miles. Pliny relates (iv. 12. s. 23) that Cimolus was also called Echinusa, a name which is not derived from Echidna, viper, as most modern writers have supposed, but from Echinus, the seaurchin, of which there are several fossil specimens on the west coast, and which are not found in any other of the Cyclades or Sporades, except on the opposite coast of Melos. Cimolus is not mentioned in political history, and appears to have followed the fate of the neighbouring island of Melos; but it was celebrated in antiquity on account of its earth or chalk (he Kimolia ge, Cimolia Creta), which was used by fullers in washing clothes. This chalk was also employed in medicine. (Strab. x. p. 484; Eustath. ad Dionys. 530; Schol. ad Aristoph. Ran. 713; Plin. iv. 12. s. 23, xxxv. 17. s. 57; Cels. ii. 33.) This Cimolian earth is described by Tournefort as a white chalk, very heavy, without any taste, and which melts away when it is put into water. The island is covered with this white chalk, whence Ovid (Met. vii. 463) speaks of cretosa rura Cimoli. The figs of Cimolus were celebrated by the comic poet Amphis (Athen. i. p. 306); and though the soil is barren, figs are still produced in the vallies. Another writer (quoted by Athenaeus, iii. p. 123, d) speaks of certain caves of the island, in which water being placed became as cold as snow, though warm before.
  Cimolus contained 1200 inhabitants when it was visited by Ross in 1843. The modern town is in the SE. of the island, about a quarter of an hour from the harbour, which is both small and insecure. In the middle of the west coast there is a Paleokastron, situated upon a steep rock about 1000 feet in height; but it appears only to have been built as a place of refuge to be used in times of danger. The ancient town was situated at Daskalio, also called St. Andrew, on the S. coast, opposite Melos. Daskalio, or St. Andrew, is the name given to a rock, distant at present about 200 paces from the island, to which, however, it was originally united. The whole rock is covered with the remains of houses, among which Ross noticed a draped female figure of white marble, of good workmanship, but without head and hands. As long as the rock was united to the island by an isthmus, there was a good, though small harbour, on the eastern side of the rock. Around this harbour was the burial-place of the town; and several of the sepulchral chambers situated above the water were opened at the end of the last and the beginning of the present centuries, and were found to contain painted vases and golden ornaments, while above them were stelae with reliefs and inscriptions; but at present nothing of the kind is discovered. The strip of coast containing the tombs is called Hellenika. To the E. of Daskalio on the S. coast there is a small rock, containing a ruined tower, called Pyrgos; and N. of the present town, there is upon the east coast a good harbour, called Prasa, where there are said to be some Hellenic sepulchral chambers. This harbour, and the one at Daskalio, are probably the two, which Dicaearchus assigns to Cimolos (Descript. Graec. 138, p. 463, ed. Fuhr):
Epeita Siphnos kai Kimolos echomene,
Echousa limenas duo
.
The Greeks still call the island Cimoli; but it is also called Argentiera, because a silver mine is said to have been discovered here. Others suppose, however, that this name may have been given to it even by the ancients from its white cliffs. (Tournefort, Travels, &c. vol. i. p. 111, seq., transl.; Fiedler, Reise durch Griechenland, vol. ii. p. 344, seq.; Ross, Reisen auf den Griech. Inseln, vol. iii. p. 22, 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


Perseus Project

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites

Kimolos

  A small island of volcanic origin in the S Aegean, separated by a narrow channel from the island of Melos to the S. In antiquity Kimolos was best known as a source of kaolin (he Kimolia ge), a fine white clay still quarried as a component of porcelain and for other commercial uses.
  Very little is known about the history of the island. Limited archaeological exploration has indicated that it was inhabited during the Bronze Age. After the fall of the Mycenaean civilization the island--along with its neighbor Melos and other islands of the S Aegean--came to be occupied by Doric-speaking Greeks, and it is likely that its early history was closely connected with that of Melos. As Dorian islands, Kimolos and Melos were not members of the Delian Confederacy and, therefore, not tributary to Athens. As a result of the fall of Melos to Athens in 416-415 B.C. (Thuc. 5.84ff), Kimolos seems to have achieved (perhaps by the early 4th c. at the latest) a certain independence. But, at least by the last half of the 3d c., it--along with many of the other Aegean islands--came under the influence of the Macedonian kings. Thereafter its history is unknown.
  Archaeological exploration and excavation have indicated that the ancient town lay on the SW coast of the island, in an area known today as Ellinika (Limni). Here a large cemetery of Late Mycenaean, Early Iron Age, Classical, and Hellenistic times has been found. Of special interest was the discovery of some 20 cremation burials containing over 200 vases of the 9th and 8th c. B.C., one of the richest collections of Geometric pottery from the Aegean islands. The site has been partially submerged owing to a change of sea level since antiquity. Walls and other indications of ancient habitation can be seen in the shallow water along the shore as well as on the offshore islet of Haghios Andreas (Daskalio), which was once part of the mainland. It is possible that Haghios Andreas was the site of the Sanctuary of Athena, apparently the principal religious center of Kimolos, at least during Hellenistic times. Evidence of ancient and mediaeval (or later) occupation has also been noted on the height of Palaiokastri, located N and E of Ellinika.

T. W. Jacobsen, 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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