Friday, 15 December 2017
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An island with two cities B'

An island with two cities, Ikaria maintained this double nature during the biggest part of the Classical years, when the two cities, Enoe and Therma reached the peak of their prosperity and were in a position to pay almost two talents to the common treasury of the Alliance in Delos. It is obvious that it was the total sum of two contributions, since -a totally unusual fact- the Ikarian cities were independent and each one had a separate relation with the Athenian Alliance. It seems that in the case of Ikaria, the exceptional reasons for which the Athenians would allow shared taxation called "synteleia", that is "payed together", was not the case, as in the example of Kea and Amorgos. During the whole of their history Enoe and Therma (detached from each other) on the opposite sides of the mountain chain of the island, lived as two different communities and it seems that they never happened to be united to deal with an important issue together.

B.Therma

-Therma, the second city of ancient Ikaria was built in the south lee coast of the island, at the foot of the mountain Pramnos, which, with its steep peaks, isolates the south from Enoe in the north. The coast does not face south-east to the coast of Asia Minor, where there was once ancient Miletos. It could be assumed that the people of Miletos chose to disembark there and establish the first "official" Greek colony in Ikaria in order to protect themselves from the Persians. Since the people lived among rugged and sloppy mountain sides that almost reach the sea, their economy was not based on agriculture but on the exploitation of the thermal springs, which seem to have brought in very satisfactory revenue and it could have been the only trade for the inhabitants of the region in ancient times. It seems that the spa had started to win a lot of fans who were looking for relief or just enjoyed using them, thus supporting so much with their visits the economy of the Ikarian health resort, that there was surplus and the people of Therma could pay 3000 drachmae yearly as contribution to the Atheninan Alliance. The water, not just the one of the spa but the drinking water, too, as well as the air of the island were two more motivations for the guest of Ikaria. Besides, even today, the drinking "immortal" water of a fountain in the region of the village "Ksylosyrtis", just a few kilometres west of Therma, is considered excellent, while the fans of hydrotherapy believe that it also has other special curing qualities. Nowadays in Therma there are no remnants of buildings or baths from the Classical years, apart from a few lavatories of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, ½ kilometre east of the settlement. However, at the bottom of the little cove, 20 metres from the shore, one can detect ancient ruins half-buried in the sand, while the people of Therma say that in 1930 a sign with the name of the god Apollo was found at the seaside spot where there is the hotel "Apollon" now.

The acropolis of Therma

The acropolis of Therma was built on a hill over the ancient town, at the foot of a specially rugged mountainside. At the perimeter of this hillock which is located at the place where the village Katafygi is nowadays, one can see what is left from the well-built wall of the acropolis of the Classical era, as well as the remains of a water-tank attached to the foundation of the wall. On the east side of the acropolis was the burying place for the dead and there have been found various objects of the 5th and 6th centuries BC. Among the findings of the cemetery it is undoubtedly an impressive marble column dating at the first half of the 5th century, that is when Therma was a member of the Athenian Alliance. The column was found accidentally in 1933 by some workers, as they were digging to build the school of the village and since there was no museum at the time in Ikaria, it was kept for many years in a classroom. Today the public can see it in the museum of Aghios Kirykos but in the hallway of the school in Katafygi one can see its exact copy.


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