Friday, 15 December 2017
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History

Ikaria was first inhabited when it became a station between continental Greece and the coast of Asia Minor, in the beginning of the Bronze Era, since the commercial contacts between Europe and Asia were boosted and travellers passed from one continent to the other following the route: Paros, Naxos, Delos, Syros, Mykonos, Ikaria, Samos.

-ACCORDING TO ANAKSIMENES THE LAMPSACEUS, Miletos colonized Ikaria between the 8th and 7th centuries BC. The first colony of the Milisioi (the people of Miletos) in Ikaria was most probably established at the south coast of the island, the one that is protected from the wind and lies opposite the coast of Asia Minor. The second colony was in Enoe, on the north windy side of the island, the coast sailors avoided during July and August, when there are the seasonal strong winds called "meltemia".

-5th CENTURY BC. More ambitious than the Lydians, the Persians did not stop at the coast of Asia Minor but penetrated the Aegean and included in their domain the Eastern Sporades, among which was Ikaria, aiming at using the islands as bases for conquering the Greek mainland. However, when in 499 BC they crossed the Ikarian Sea and tried to occupy Naxos, the inhabitants resisted and impelled the Persians, a fact that gave hope to the Greeks as well as the spark for the outbreak of the revolution in the cities of Ionia.

-THE ALLIANCE OF DELOS: After the Spartans left the alliance, the new alliance was officially established in 478 BC under the leadership of the Athenians thanks to the general appreciation they enjoyed among the Greeks related to the crucial contribution of their city to the victories against the Persians. Nevertheless, the Athenians did not believe that this would ensure their leadership, so they tried to enhance even more their position by following the old successful policy of Peisistratus, that is, to emphasize more and more on the elements of the Ionic cultural inheritance the inhabitants of Attica had in common with those of Asia Minor and the people who lived on the Aegean islands. Among the Ions of the Aegean were included the inhabitants of Ikaria, as certain place names common with others in Attica show, as well as other signs showing their ionic origin. Thus, one can assume that the effort of warming up the traditional bonds among all the Ions had an impact on the population of Ikaria, who accepted pleasantly the suggestion of Athens as a candidate for the leadership of the alliance. In the framework of the confereation, the traditional bonds of Ikaria with Miletos were also renewed.

-THE POPULATION OF IKARIA DURING THE ERA OF PROSPERITY
Τhe population of Ikaria during the happy decades of the 5th century BC can be compared, as far as the number of people is concerned, with another era of prosperity from the more recent history of the island. In 1892, when the old insignificant scattered settlements became well organized, thriving residential units, according to reliable records the island's population reached the 12800 people. The same stands for the 5th century, when the population is estimated to have been 13000 people. The towns of Ikaria were very densely populated, something that was not common at the time. The main mass of people was gathered around Enoe, whereas a little less than half of the people, obviously farmers, lived in various villages with a density of 3-4 inhabitants per square kilometre- a population of farmers in satisfying numbers, considering the uneven, rough lie in the interior of the island. At least it is so assumed from the findings of Katafygi, the 5th century tombs in Arethousa, the earthenware statuettes from Akamatra, the sign of Daphne or the traces of the ancient settlement in Legaromandra and the ruins in Kasteli, a whole lot of evidence that support the aspect that in Ikaria of the 5th century there were numerous villages, probably the same number with those established later, in modern times, in the thriving era of the 1890s. During that period the Ikarians lived in villages of the north side of the island, not far from Enoe and they were rather closely related to the wine production procedure.


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