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AEGEAN ISLANDS

Paros

According to ancient tradition, Paros was first inhabited by the Cretans, and that is why Pliny calls the island Minoida. Later on, the Arcadians came to the island and, according to the poet Callimachus, their leader was called Paros. He was the son of Parassius and grandson of Lycaon. This myth explains how the island got its current name. In the Antiquity it was also known as “Pactia”, “Demetrias”, “Zakynthos”, “Hyria”, “Hyleessa”, “Plateia” and “Cabarnis”. The Ionians, led by Clytius and Melas, came to the island as well, during the Late Mycenaean period.

According to a myth that is connected to Paros, Hercules was sent to bring the girdle of the Amazon Hippolyta to Admete, the daughter of Eurystheus. He killed Minos’s four sons, Eurymedon, Chryses, Nephalion and Philolaus, on the island and took his other two sons, Alcaeus and Sthenelus, with him to Asia Minor. The myth claims that Minos was informed about the death of his son Androgeus while he was offering a sacrifice to the Charites (Graces) at Paros, before he laid siege on Athens. Overcome by grief, he threw away the wreath he wore on his head and ordered the flute player to stop. It is said that the Parians offered sacrifices to the Charites without music or wreaths on their heads ever since.

Archaeological findings at Koukounaries indicate that Paros has been inhabited since the beginning of the Later Neolithic period. Findings from settlements that date back to the Early Bronze period (3200-2000 BC) have been discovered at Parikia, Koukounaries and Kambos. An ancient cemetery of the same period was also found at Pyrgos.

 

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