Κυριακή, 23 Μαρτίου 2014

History island of Euboea Greece (Evia) by Petros Kalligas



A Historic Survey of the Island

Of Euboea

P. Kalligas

The geographic position and the

geologic composition of the island of

Euboea have been the determining

factors for the development of human

activity on it, from the dawn of History to

the present.

The human presence on the island goes

back to the Paleolithic and Mesolithic

periods, while already in the early third

millenium and during the Proto-Helladic

phase Euboea has developed mutual

relations with the Cyclades. the Asia

Minor coast across the Aegean and the

neighbouring areas of mainland Greece.

These relations will become most fruitfull

in the middle of the third millenium when

the island is going through a period of

prosperity.

It is then that the coastal district of

Manika becomes an important center of

transit-trade.

The so called Middle-Helladic phase,

that corresponds to the first half of the

second millenium BC, can be traced

almost everywhere on the island. while

the picture becomes more clear during

the Late-Helladic phase. which

corresponds to the second half of the

millenium (Mycenaean period).

The significant Mycenaean domed and

chamber tombs excavated so far all over

the island can support the theory that

Euboea was at that time divided in a

number of small. mdepended kangdoms.

The area to the north of the present town

of Chalkida must have been the center of

an important kingdom oí the fourteenth

to thirteenth century BC that had

developed close relations with the

prominent anactoric center of Thebes in

Boeotia.

However. in the end of the twelfth or the

beginning of the eleventh century BC the

Mycenaean world all over Greece was

rapidly deteriorating for reasons not

clearly identified as yet. This heavy crisis

of the Mycenaean world is overcharged

by the shift of various Greek tribes within

the boundaries of the broader Greek

area. It seems that the Aeolian speeking

tribe of the Avandes is in the eleventh

century BC separated from the Aeolians

of Thessaly have migrated over the entire

island of Euboea.

During the Proto-Geometric period the

area of Chalkida is firstly inhabited as the

finds from scattered clusters of humble

tombs indicate. It is probable that the

Eretria district was inhabited alike.

However. the most important settlement

remains _ that of the Toumba-Leukandi

vicinity. because of the most significant

and rich finds of tombs excavated in that

area.

ln the late ninth century BC (830-800 BC)

a strong upheaval ls observed in the

entire mainland and insular Greece. It is

quite probable that Euboea was at that

time invaded by the Ionians who thus

obliged the Aeolian speeking Avandes to

flee to the Aegean islands and Asia

Minor. New settlements are created in

Chalkida and Eretria districts.

The eighth century BC is a period of great

social agitation which resulted, among

others, to a remarkable colonization

movement.

However. the wealth accumulated in

Chalkida and Eretria, the naval power

obtained and the rivalries between the

aristocratic families ruling the two cities

led to a long civil war, known as «the war

over the Lilandion pedion the Lilandion

valley)» which finally disrupted the

development of both cities.

In the centuries that follow other

independent cities flourish in the island,

such as Istiaia to the North and Karystos

to the South. not to mention Distos and

Kyrne. each with its own administration

and coin issues.

However, the rising power and prestige of

Athens in the neighbouring Attica was

only natural to influence the Euboean

cities. Already in 506 BC the Alhenians

defeated the Chalkidians and installed

Athenian peasants in the fertile fields of

the Lilandlon valley. a practice they also

repeated in the case of lstiaia after their

victorious campaign (446/5 BC). The fall

of the Athenian leadership set the

Euboean cities free` although Eretrìa

participated and in the second Athenian

League (378 BC).

After the battle of Chaeroneia (338 BC).

when the Athenians and their allies were

defeated and the Macedonian rule was

extended all over central Greece. the

Euboean cities followed the common

destiny. The Macedonian kings were

highly evaluating the strategic position of

Chalkida. not to mention the close

relations they had developed with Eretria.

as the important, built tombs of

Macedonian style that have been

excavated in the city cemeteries prove.

The institution of «the Euboeans'

CommonsD was an effort for closer and

more efficient links among the Euboean

cities having common administrative

model and coinage. Unfortunately, the

rising power of Rome restrained all

attempts and resistance, as the

destruction of Eretria in 198 BC made

absolutely clear.

In the years of Roman occupation and

especially in the imperial period Chalkida

remained the main city of the island.

Perhaps in the age of the Byzantine

emperor Justinian, but more probably in

the beginning of Heraclius reign (610-

620 AD) the ancient city was definitely

abandoned and the new one was

founded westwards, on the small hill

close to the Euripus' straits.

The city of Chalkida at its new, wiser

chosen position by the Euripos remained

unconquered and survived throughout all

Siabic and Arabic invasions which

repeatedly and for centuries had

threatened the Byzantine Empire and

represents the nucleus of the medieval

and modern city.

The smooth evolution of the city was

interrupted by the disaster of 1204 AD,

when Constantinople, the Capital of the

Empire fell in the hands of the western

Crusaders and the Byzantine State was

abolished. The dismembering of the

Empire that followed assigned Euboea

to three Lombard barons and to

Venice later (1205-1470). The Venetians

were succeeded by the Turks in 1470 AD

after a long and hard siege of Chalkida.

During the years of Turkish occupation

(1470-1833 AD) Eboea was a part

-along with Boeotia and Attica- of the

«Pashaliki of Egripou» . while Chalkida

retained in this administrative division a

prominent position.

The wind of freedom also blew over

Euboea in the beginning of the

nineteenth century. However, in spite of

the heroic efforts of the Greek ñghters

under Gouvios, Kriezotis and Favieros

the resistance of the Turks ceased only in

1833. when they handed the island over

to the already free Greek State.

The liberation of Euboea marks a new era

in the historic route of the island. The

parallel course of urbanization and

industrialization in the late nineteenth

century enriched Chalkida with a great

number of elegant. neoclassical houses

as well as with many industrial

installations.

New, creative Greek powers reinforced

the age-long roots of the island. when

refugees from the across coast the

Agean found shelter in the fatherland of

Euboea in 1922.

As far as the components oí the Chalkida

population is concerned we should make

special reference to the formerly thriving

Jewish communiîy. which was existing in

the city already since the Venetian

period.

Needless to say that the historic memory

of a land must continuously remain active

and alive if it deserves to participate in

the steadily progressing contemporary

life. The historic and archaeological

studies are the main vehicle and

instrument of memory preservation and

Euboea can present in this field quite

satisiactory achievements.

Of special importance in these terms is

the conîribution of the Society of

Euboean Studies mainly through the

publication of the significant «Archive of

Euboean Studies» which is creatively

continued until today.

Wonh noting is also the effon of the

recently instituted Euboean Archaeophile

Society -it has already published two

volumes of the periodical edition

«Anthropologie and Archaeologic

Chroniclew- and the effective work of

the local Ephorate of Antiquities which

operates all over the island since 1978,

advancing the archaeological research

and organizing and supervising in the

best possible way all relevant subjects

and projects on and for the island.

source:Mr.Petros Kalligas