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AEGEAN ISLANDS

Amorgos

The mythological tradition, according to which the foundation of the town of Minoa is related to the erection of the summer palaces of the Cretan king Minos, indicates the importance of Amorgos as a trade centre of the Minoans (1600-1450 BC). The ancient lexicographer Souidas mentions that “the Samians under the leadership of Simmias the Grammarian inhabited Amorgos and built the towns of Arkesini, Minoa and Aegiali”. The presence of the Samians on the island is also indicated by the numerous inscriptions discovered. According to those inscriptions, there were also Milesian settlers in Aegiali. It is mentioned that Amorgos was also inhabited by Naxians in the extrapolations of Anonymous to Dionysius Periegetes.

The island had other names during the Antiquity as well, such as “Ipatria”, “Patayi” or “Platayi”, “Pagali”, “Karkisia” and “Psichia”. The names “Amolgos”, “Amourgos”, “Amoulgos” and “Amourgia” are considered to be subsequent corrupted forms of its name. Scylax was the first to mention the existence of three towns. The names of the towns of Minoa, Aegiali and Arkesini were passed down to modern historians by the lexicographer Stephanus of Byzantium. During the Byzantine period, Aegiali was also called Melania. According to Ptolemy, Minoa was called Miniia and Aegiali was called Vegialida.

Athena Polias, Dionysus Kissocomus, Apollo Apotropaeus, Hera, Delian Apollo, Artemis and Aphrodite Urania were worshiped in Amorgos.  Coins of the island’s ancient towns indicate that Pan and Zeus were also worshiped on the island. The Heraean Games, the Dionysia and the Ekatomvaia were major celebrations.

 

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