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The ancient geographer Stephanus of Byzantium claims that the Phoenicians were the first settlers of Ios and that is the reason why the island was called Phoenicia. On this ground linguists tried to provide an etymology of its current name from the Phoenician word “iion”, which means “pile of stones”.

Regardless of the accuracy of this interpretation, a mythological tradition connects the island’s name to its colonization by the Ionians around the 11th century BC, who came to Ios under the leadership of Neleus, the son of the king of Athens Codrus.

The folk name of the island is Nios and its residents are called Niotes. Edrisi, the renowned Arab geographer and cartographer of the 12th century, also calls the island Nios. Ios was renowned among the ancient Greeks, since, according to tradition, this was the birthplace of Homer’s mother, Clymene. In fact, it was thought that his tomb was located on the island. The poet was also engraved on ancient coins.


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My Aegean
Co-financed by Greece and the European Union - European Regional Development Fund