PAROS  -- History and Ancient Sites

 

On this page we provide a very brief history of Paros in ancient times as it relates to the numerous sites that are still visible on the island. These are so numerous that the next page describes those that are in the port city of Parikia.  Then another page covers those that are found outside Parikia and on Despotiko and Tsimintiri.

 

Today the island of Paros is a natural hub for several major ferry routes as it has been a hub for passing humanity since at least thecycladic figurine Neolithic period.  Evidence of settlement about 4,000 B.C. as well as the well-known Cycladic figurines  in graves from around 3,000 to 2,000 B.C have been found on the tiny island of Saliago between Paros and Antiparos.   The shallow water in the area indicates all three were one island in ancient times.

 

Mycenean acropolis on Paros At the opposite side of Paros near the popular beach of Kolimpithres it is a short hike up a steep hill to the remains of a Kastro that was created when the Minoans held sway over the Aegean area about 1,500 B.C.  Later when the Mycenaeans were in charge it became an important outpost.

Still later in the Geometric period (900-700 B.C.) when the Greek city states were expanding into new lands a group came from Arcadia in the Peloponnese.  Their leader was Parus and the island took on his name.  As the Arcadians merged with the Ionians and trade expanded Paros became wealthy in the Archaic times about 700 B.C. based upon it pure translucent marble.  Then Paros became renowned as the birthplace and home of Archilochus, an innovative poet.  Later Paros was also the home of two well-known sculptors, Agoracritus and Skopas.

Most famous quote from Archilochus:

And by a prudent flight and cunning save

A life which valour could not, from the grave.

A better buckler I can soon regain,

But who can get another life again?

Next Paros started what became the unfortunate tradition of choosing the wrong side in regional disputes.  They allied with the Persians who lost to the Athenians and thus Paros became subject to Athens in the mid-5th century B.C.  Then as all of Greece in the mid-4th century B.C. they were subjects of Philip of Macadonia.  Next they were ruled by one of Alexander the Great’s heirs from what is now Turkey until the Romans conquered the whole world.  They used Paros only for mining marble and exiling dissidents and all development stopped—until modern times that is.

Read a more complete history of the Cyclades at the Ancient History Encyclopedia.

Ω Ω Ω

 

Today approaching the harbor of Paros once sees a ruined building with columns on a point at the entrance and on the other side a small funerary looking structure atop a hill.  Neither is over two hundred years old.  But as soon as you step off the ferry you see brown information signs everywhere that point out the truly ancient sites.  As a cross roads Paros is crawling with visible remnants of several ancient societies. 

Continue to read about ancient sites within the port city, Parikia. 

 

Jump to sites around the island and Despotiko (Antiparos)

 

Return to Visit Ancient Greece from Paros

 

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