History

Milos is an island with great history- as is the whole of Greece. It is remarkable that after any disaster or plunder at every historical period, it managed to be a large center of commerce and prosper in arts and culture. This is also a result of the strategic geographical position it holds-in the centre of the Mediterranean and between the Greek mainland and Crete- as well as the large natural bay, its coves and of course its large mineral wealth.

As early as the Neolithic period, thanks to obsidian, the people of Milos developed nautical commerce. Obsidian is a black, hard volcanic rock used to make weapons and tools. Obsidian tools have been found all over Greece and in Egypt.

In Milos you can still see the ancient remains of the city Philakopi, which is thought to be one of the earliest cities in Europe with a life span of more than 1500 years, an important centre of Cyclade civilization that boasted a complex and well-organized street plan. Philakopi was also a large centre of trade where great works of sculpture and ceramics were produced, the most important being “the Lady of Philakopi” during the Bronze age (3200 B.C-1100 B.C).

After Philakopi was abandoned, in the Archaic period, the commercial centre of the island was in the area named today Klima, showing great economical and cultural development. Ceramic art flourishes again with the famous amphoras of Milos, as do the arts of engraving seals and goldsmithing, while coins were issued that had an apple as its symbol and a local alphabet was developed, specimens of which can be seen up to this date.

But the contribution to art and culture does not stop here. During the Hellenistic period which were peaceful times in the area, a new lease of prosperity begins for our island. Milos at that time issued coins and creating great works of art like the statue of Poseidon which is in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, and of course the famous and beautiful statutue of Aphrodite of Milos, which is sadly in the Louvre Museum.

In Roman times we have the spreading of the Christian belief, according to many by the apostoles themselves, while at the same time the first early-Christian catacombs were created, parts of which remain and are worth visiting. The catacombs are a unique Christian monument. The ancient Roman theatre ,which still stands and is worth a visit, was also built at this time.

Milos was also infamous for its pirates, as there are many old pirate’s coves, the most famous being Sarakiniko and of course beautiful Kleftiko. In 1537 Barbarosa invaded the island on behalf of the Turks and began raids and looting, but the people of Milos managed to continue their development.

The people of Milos, having proven over time their courage and valor, were the third island to rebel against the Turks, contributing greatly in famous naval battles. They also took part in all the following wars and always managed to get back on their feet and prosper, due to the geographical location of the island, its beauty and its mineral wealth.

 

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