History of Skopelos
It is the biggest in length island (after Skiros) in North Sporades complex, 80% of which is covered by pine forests, plum trees, vineyards and olive groves. According to mythology its first inhabitant was Stafilos, son of Dionysus (or Thiseas) and Ariadne. The island extends over a surface of 101 km2, its coastline is 67 km long and it has 5,000 inhabitants.
The island was inhabited probably in the Neolithic period. Its ancient name was Peparethos and is mentioned by the pre-Hellenic people of Asia Minor who settled in the Aegean region in the period 2800 - 2000 BC. This name is mentioned likewise by Thoukydides.
Around 1600 BC Cretans whose leader was the mythical king Staphylos, son of Theseus and Ariadne, settled the island.
As tradition reminds us, Theseus, son of Aegeas king of Athens, was sent with 7 young boys and 7 young girls to the Cretan king Minos, as a duty demanded by Athens, intended to be offered as sacrifice to the Minotaur (a strange creation of mythology, half man, half bull) who lived in the labyrinth underneath the palace of Knosos in Crete. There, Theseus became acquainted with Ariadne, Minos' daughter. Ariadne fell in love with him and helped him, giving him a ball of wool, to escape from the labyrinth and to survive. Theseus found the exit, kidnapped Ariadne and left Crete. .
But on the island of Naxos he abandoned Ariadne who in her loneliness discovered the God Dionisos who in his turn fell in love with the girl and took her to Lemnos. In Lemnos Ariadne and Dionisos had four sons, Thoantas, Oinopionas, Staphylos and Peparithos. Peparithos was the first to settle on the island of Skopelos. Until today his name survives in this place full of olive trees and pine forests.
At the end of Staphylos bay there is a peninsular. At the tip of this peninsular the tomb of King Staphylos was discovered containing his sword and many other artifacts, representing some of the most important finds of workmanship from the Mycenian and Minoan period. The sword handle is covered in gold, a precious sword for a precious king Staphylos.
The handle and sabre of Staphylos
The sabre of Staphylos with the handle, 32 cm long, was found in a pit like tomb, together with other Cretan-Mycenian findings by the archeologist N.Platonas during excavations in 1936. The tomb was attributed to the mythical hero Staphylos. Probably the most convincing proof for the tombs identity is the name of the region, which for thousands of years has remained the same. The sword is kept on display in the Archeological Museum of Athens.
History - Antiquity
Skopelos participated in all the wars, and was a colony of the Athenians. The political system of the island was Democratic. The island took part, too, in the Greek athletic games. In fact Agnontas, an athlete from Peparethos, had won the running competition in 569 BC, and to honor him today's bay of Agnontas was given his name.
To honor the oracle of Delphi the inhabitants of Peparethos had dedicated a statue of the God Apollon, to celebrate beating the Kares in battle.
Peparithos had important ancient towns too, such as Knosos, Panormos and Selinos. Today a large part of the castle of Panormos is preserved. Knossos' name was changed to Glossa, Selinos' name was changed to Loutraki, where some remains of an ancient castle and an ancient settlement are still visible today.
In Skopelos "armaka" is the name given to the accumulation of many large stones gathered together, a pile of rocks we would say. The whole island is full of such piles; we hope future scientists will uncover their secrets.
In the 13th century BC, King Ilkon of Pellas captured the island. Skopelos remained stagnant for quite some time until the 6th century BC when the export of wine and olive oil began. This brought back prosperity and progress to the island.
Aristotelis refers to the famous wine of Peparethos renowned for its aphrodisiac qualities.
In classical times, people of Peparethos, were allies of the Athenians, but after the battle of Chaironia in 338 BC, the island passed into the hands of the Macedonians until 146 AD when the Romans conquered Greece.
The name Skopelos appears for the first time in the texts of Ptolemaios who wrote in the 2nd century AD. The name is most probably a reference to the many shoals and reefs that protrude around the island.
During the Roman and Byzantine period the island was in decline. The Byzantines used it as a place of exile. After the conquest of Constantinopel by the Franks, the island was united with the Dukedom of Naxos and later passed into the administration of Guizi in the years of the reign of emperor Michael H' Palaiologos. It remained in his possession until 1453 AD when the inhabitants offered their island to the Venetians in order to escape the Turkish occupation.
In 1538 the Algerian pirate Barbarosa came to the island and slaughtered the inhabitants. Around 1600 survived and escaped to Evia and Thessaly but later returned to the island. Then the Turkish occupation started, though these occupiers treat the population more gently. The inhabitants were self governed and simply had the duty to pay their taxes and to assign 30 sailors to serve one year in the Turkish fleet. No citizen of Turkish origin ever settled on the island.
During 1750 AD the first Greek partisans and guerilla fighters started to come to the island from Olympus, Chalkidiki and Thessaly. But from 1810 onwards there were fights between the locals and the guerillas of central Greece. During the revolution of 1821 the captains of Skopelos helped their brothers wherever they were needed. When the revolution failed in Thessaly and Macedonia, 70.000 people, men, women and children settled again in the island - exhausted by epidemics and poverty. .
Finally Skopelos became part of the Greek state in 1830.