Poros History

Poros History

About the history of Poros island, Greece

Mythological background

According to ancient Greek mythology, Poros is the birthplace of a romantic tragedy. When the Cretan King Minos was fighting the city of Megara, the daughter of the besieged city, Scylla, fell in love with the Cretan King. To show her love, she cut off a lock of her father's hair, which were the source of his immortality, stole the keys to the city's gates and gave them to King Minos. But when the king finally took the city, he rejected Scylla and prepared to return to Crete. In desperation, she jumped into the sea and followed the ships until she drowned of exhaustion. The area where she died was named after her and is called until today Cape Skili.

Yet, another myth associated with Poros is that of Theseus, son of Poseidon. He was the famous Athenian hero who killed the Minotaur of Crete, a monster that was half man, half bull. A temple was built in his honor, the known Temple of Poseidon.

Ancient times

During the Mycenaean times (1400-1100 BC), the powerful nautical station of the area was situated on the rocky island called Modi (or Liontari), on the eastern coast of Poros. Under the Archaic period (700-380 BC), ancient Calauria (Kalavria), the northern part of the island, was under the domination of Troezen. In fact, the history of Poros is much connected to the history of ancient Troezen. During the 7th century BC, Poros was the seat of an alliance called the Amphictyonic League, formed by the city-states of Hermioni, Epidaurus, Aegina, Athens, Prassia, Nauplia and Orchomenos. This cooperation was a nautical, religious and political confederation, founded as a protection to their independence and their trade from the Argives.

The first Persian attack to Greece took place at the beginning of the 5th century BC. The second one occurred during the spring of 480 BC. When the Peloponnesian war between Sparta and Athens (431-404 BC) ended, it expanded to the area of the Argo-saronic Gulf. In the middle of the 4th century BC, Greece came under Macedonian rule. In reaction, Troezen, followed by Kalavria, offered refuge to an anti-Macedonian called Athinogenis, who became the tyrant of the area. After the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC), the Ptolemies of Egypt were the next rulers of Greece and Poros.

From Medieval to Recent Age

The morphology of the Argo-saronic Gulf changed in 273 BC, when the volcano eruption in Methana. Like the rest of Greece, Poros came under the Roman domination from 86 BC until 395 AD, became a part of the Byzantine Empire from 330 AD to 1204 and fell under Ottoman rule from 1453 to 1821, a rule only interrupted by a period of Venetian domination. During the Turkish yoke, Poros developed a powerful merchant fleet which did not acquire such a great reputation as the one of the fleet of Hydra and Spetses, because it did not contribute that much in the war activity.

However, the role of Poros in the Greek War of Independence was very important and worth mentioned. As a matter of fact, the island of Poros became an important place of passage (because of its proximity to the Peloponnese) and of revolutionary meetings. The first navy yard and Naval Academy were formed in Poros in 1828 close to the Russian Dockyard and remained there until 1878. Also in September 1828, Poros was the siege of one of the most important meetings for Greece: the ambassadors of England, France and Russia came to meet Kapodistrias and discuss about the definition of the borders of the Modern Greek state, which was eventually established in 1830.

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