Homer mentions in the Odyssey that “there are two cities in Syrie” which were “rich in flocks and herds, yielding plenty of wine and wheat”. Historians examine whether this description is actually connected to Syros, or refers to another island. Apart from that, linguists of the 19th century provided an etymology of the word Syros from the Phoenician word “sour” or “osoura”, which means “rocky”. This interpretation is connected with the arrival of Phoenicians settlers in the 8th century BC on the island.
Archaeological findings at Chalandriani and at the well preserved fortified settlement of Kastri indicate that the first settlers came to the island between 2800 and 2200 BC, namely during the Early Cycladic period. According to tradition, the Carians or the Leleges were the first settlers of Syros. Traces of human habitation during that time have been discovered at the areas of Talanta, San Michalis, Azolimnos, Galissas, Mallia and Manna. The Phoenicians seem to have settled on the island, followed by the Minoans and later the Mycenaeans. The Ionians, led by Hippomedon, also settled on Syros. One of the island’s kings was called Ctesias and he is mentioned by Homer.