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- Xenios Dias WebPages, University of Patras
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Paros or Parus (Eth. Parios: Paro), an island in the Aegaean sea, and one of the
largest of the Cyclades, lies west of Naxos, from which it is separated by a channel
about 6 miles wide. It was said to have been originally inhabited by Cretans and
Arcadians, and to have received its name from Parus, a son of the Arcadian Parrhasius.
(Callimach. ap. Steph. B. s. v.) It was also reported to have borne the names
of Pactia, Demetrias, Zacynthus, Hyleesa, Minoa, and Cabarnis. (Nicanor, ap. Steph.
B. s. v.) It was colonised by the Ionians, and became at an early period so prosperous
as to send colonies to Thasus (Thuc. iv. 104; Strab. x. p. 487), to Parium on
the Propontis (Strab. l. c.), and to Pharus on the Illyrian coast. (Strab. vii.
p. 315.) After the battle of Marathon, Miltiades in vain endeavoured to subjugate
the island. (Herod. vii. 133, seq.; Ephorus, ap. Steph. B. s. v.) The Parians
did not take part in the battle of Salamis, but kept aloof at Cythnus, watching
the course of events. (Herod, viii. 67.) They escaped, however, punishment, by
giving large bribes to Themistocles. (Herod. viii. 112.) Along with the other
islands in the Aegaean, Paros shortly afterwards became subject to Athens, and,
according to an inscription, paid the imperial city the yearly tribute of 19,440
drachmas. (Franz, Elem. Epigr. Gr. No. 49.) Paros subsequently shared the fate
of the other Cyclades; and there is nothing further in its history to require
special mention. The poet Archilochus was a native of Paros.
The island consists of a single round mountain, sloping evenly to
a maritime plain which surrounds the mountain on every side. It was celebrated
in antiquity for its white marble, which was extensively employed in architecture
and sculpture, and was reckoned only second to that of Mt. Pentelicus. The best
kind was called lithos luchnites, luchneos, or lugdos. (Athen. v. p. 205; Plin.
xxxvi. 5. s. 14: Diod. ii. 52.) The quarries were chiefly in Mt. Marpessa. (Steph.
B. s. v. Marpessa; Marpessia cautes, Virg. Aen. vi. 471.) The Parian figs were
also celebrated. (Athen. iii. p. 76.) According to Scylax (p. 22) Paros possessed
two harbours. Its chief city, which bore the same name as the island, was on the
western coast. It is now called Paroikia, and contains several ancient remains.
On a small hill SE. of the city Ross discovered in the walls of a house the inscription
Demetros Karpophorou, and close by some ancient ruins. This was probably the site
of the sanctuary of Demeter mentioned in the history of Miltiades, from which
we learn that the temple was outside the city and stood upon a hill. (Herod. vi.
134.) Paros had in 1835 only 5300 inhabitants. (Thiersch, Ueber Paros und Parische
Inschriften, in the Abhandl. der Bayrischen Akad. of 1834, p. 583, &c.; Ross,
Reisen auf den Griech. Inseln, vol. i. p. 44; Leake, Northern Greece, vol. iii.
p. 85, &c.)
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
One of the larger Ionian islands, W of Naxos, celebrated for its fine,
white marble. It was an important center of Cycladic culture of the 3d and 2d
millennia B.C. (Neolithic finds have been made on the small desert island of Saliangos
near Paros) and continued to flourish until Late Mycenaean times. Reflecting this
period are the myths about the subjection of the island by Minos (it was on Paros
that he learned about the death of Androgeus) and by his sons, who were expelled
by Herakles when he captured the island. In historical times lyric poetry flourished
here with Archilochos (7th c. B.C.), the poet and warrior, who is the primary
source for the myths and history of the island. Paros took an energetic part in
the fierce rivalry of the long Lelantine war (8th-7th c. B.C.) and then in the
great wars caused by the spread of Greek trade and colonization. Paros' alliance
with Eretria and Miletos explains the war with Naxos, which belonged to the rival
combination of Chalkis, Corinth, and Samos; it also explains the colonization
of Thasos by Telesikles, the father of Archilochos. Thasos, with the Thracian
possessions on the mainland (gold mines) was the source of wealth and power, while
Paros' chief natural resource was marble, exported everywhere throughout antiquity.
At the peak of its sculptural importance, Parian marble was used in all the major
Greek temples and for the manufacture of marble furniture, even for the anthropomorphic
sarcophagi of Sidon.
At the beginning of the 5th c. the strength of Paros was demonstrated
by the failure of Miltiades' expedition against the island after the battle of
Marathon, although he had vowed that he would take it with ease and bring back
a wealth of gold (Hdt. 6.133). Themistokles later succeeded in part (Hdt. 8.112).
Paros was a member of the Athenian Alliance after this, and as an ally during
the Peloponnesian war tried vainly to revolt from Athens in 412-410. Governed
either as a democracy or an oligarchy consistent with the style of the ruling
power in the Aegean, Paros continued to exist as an important state until the
Late Roman period. It maintained connections in various directions and with the
support of Dionysios the elder, tyrant of Syracuse, it colonized Pharos, an island
off Dalmatia (mod. Hvar) in 385 B.C., an area with which it had apparently had
contacts since the prehistoric period, through its fleet. It achieved a cultural
flowering in the Hellenistic period. From the 3d c. restoration of the 6th c.
B.C. Archilocheion, a heroon which was probably a part of the Gymnasion, come
important literary inscriptions: the Parian Chronicle and an extensive Biography
of Archilochos with lines from his poetry (an epitome was added in the 1st c.
The ancient city, of the same name as the island, is now covered by
Paroikia, the modern capital; it was much larger, as can be seen by the preserved
portion of the wall, which was continually renewed but whose earliest parts are
archaic. The acropolis was on a low peak in the middle of the hill overlooking
the modern jetty. A part of this hill including its W peak has fallen into the
sea, so only the E end of a large Ionic temple of Athena on the summit has been
preserved. This is distinguished by the large gneiss foundation slabs of the opisthodomos
and cella, and a few marble courses over the foundations, on which rests the N
wall of the church of Agios Konstantinos. Its exact plan is uncertain. Numerous
architectural fragments from the buildings of the ancient city, including many
from the temple, are built into the nearby Venetian fort; in particular there
are parastades (h. 6 m, w. 0.9 m) and a lintel (1. 5.9 m). The doors were as big
and as beautiful as those of the contemporary temple at Naxos, and the two may
have been the work of the same artisans. Among the marbles in the kastro are also
pieces of a Doric colonnade from a stoa of the Late Hellenistic period. The round
structure in the kastro is half of a Hellenistic building (heroon?) which was
reconstructed in its original form as the apse of a church with orthostates, courses,
a Doric frieze, an internal meander and a geison, not in situ.
Remains of houses from the Cycladic town have been found near the
archaic temple. These are the most important building remains from this period,
although tombs have been found all over the island. Some remains which have not
been scientifically investigated have also been found under the Basilica of Katapoliani
(the only such building which has been preserved in its entirety; its present
appearance dates from the time of Justinian). A noteworthy mosaic depicting the
Labors of Herakles and numerous ancient carvings and inscriptions were built into
the Basilica or have been discovered in its vicinity. Two archaic bas-reliefs
from the frieze of the Archilocheion have been found: the funerary feast (of Archilochos)
and a lion attacking a bull.
At the SW edge of the city, near Haghia Anna, are some scanty remains
of the Pythion and the Asklepieion, and two high terraces. Only a trace of the
supporting wall is preserved of the first, but on the second, the terrace of the
Asklepieion, there are two fountains. The earlier one (4th c. B.C.) is smaller,
surrounded with plain slabs; the other made of marble. There is a rectangular
temenos in front, with colonnades, and an altar inside.
The remains of the Delion are more fully preserved. This is on the
flat top of a hill (ca. 150 m) now called Kastro or Vigla, N of Paroikia, above
the NW side of the harbor. It consists of a marble peribolos nearly square (26
x 24 m) with an entrance at the S. The peribolos encloses in its NW corner a small
Doric temple in antis (9.5 x 5.4 m), the foundations of which are preserved. It
dates no earlier than the beginning of the 5th c. Behind the temple, the peribolos
wall is interrupted by a projecting terrace with two steps on each side. To the.
left of the temple are rooms with benches around a mosaic floor, perhaps a banqueting
hall (hestiatorion). There are remains of an altar (and possibly another earlier
one in front of the temple) under which were traces of an older building which
contained finds of the 8th-7th c. B.C. Approximately in the middle of the peribolos
is a rock outcropping surrounded by a circular wall which has been theoretically
identified as the archetypal altar founded by Herakles in honor of Apollo (Pind.,
frg. 140a, Snell). There are notable sculptures of the Severe period in the museum.
The sanctuary was dedicated to the Delian gods: Delian Apollo, Delian Artemis,
Zeus Kynthios, and Athena Kynthia.
To the NW of the Delion, about an hour's drive from Paroikia, is a
hill called Kounados with a chapel of Profitis Elias at the summit, where, according
to an inscription found there, Zeus Hypatos was worshiped. A little to the W was
a shrine of Aphrodite, a temple without a peribolos; S and lower down was a shrine
of Eilethyia, a narrow terrace with a spring and a cave next to it carved out
to receive offerings. The rock has collapsed so that it is now almost unrecognizable.
Nearer the city, 1200 m beyond the Katapoliani, near the road to Naousa, the Three
Churches or Crossroads were shown by excavation to have been built over a three-aisled
basilica (6th-7th c. A.D.) into which a number of ancient marbles had been built:
architectural fragments, sculpture, inscriptions. Among these is an archaic Ionic
column capital with a later inscription (4th c. B.C.) mentioning Archilochos'
tomb. It is not likely that all the pieces came from one nearby building, and
especially not from the Archilocheion. Three orthostates from this building (including
the two with the biographical inscriptions about Archilochos) were found in the
E bank of the Elita river and other places in the city.
An hour's drive from Paroikia, near the old monastery of Aghios Mamas,
are important marble quarries (lychnites lithos, because quarried by lamplight).
There is a continuous underground gallery with entrance and exit close to each
other. On the rock at the entrance is a carving of the Nymphs dedicated by Odryses
the son of Adamas.
Of the sparse and little-known antiquities from the rest of the island,
the most important is the cave of Aghios Ioannis at Dris harbor at the SE end,
where there was a shrine of Artemis. Inscriptions and sculpture have been found,
including a large statue of a seated Artemis (of the Muses).
The museum contains some prehistoric sherds and Cycladic idols. There
are important archaic statues and reliefs, some pottery, inscriptions, and architectural
fragments. There is an anthropomorphic sarcophagus as well as later ones, and
fragments of funerary heroa.
N. M. Kontoleon, 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 7 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
An island in the Aegaean Sea, one of the larger of the Cyclades,
was situated south of Delos and west of Naxos, being separated from the latter
by a channel five or six miles wide. It is about thirty-six miles in circumference.
It was inhabited by Ionians, and became so prosperous, even at an early period,
as to send out colonies to Thasos and to Parium on the Propontis. In the first
invasion of Greece by the generals of Darius, Paros submitted to the Persians;
and after the battle of Marathon Miltiades attempted to reduce the island, but
failed in his attempt, and received a wound of which he died. After the defeat
of Xerxes, Paros came under the supremacy of Athens, and shared the fate of the
other Cyclades. The most celebrated production of Paros was its marble, which
was extensively used by the ancient sculptors. It was chiefly obtained from a
mountain called Marpessa. Paros was the birthplace of the poet Archilochus.
In Paros was discovered the celebrated inscription called the
Parian Chronicle. The modern name of the island is Paro.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
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- Municipality of Paros WebPage