Greek Islands History
||Each island has its own distinct
history, much of which has been dug up by archaeologists and
is subject to the educated guesswork of professionals. The islands
have survived, some just barely, the intrusions of foreign powers
such as Turkey, Egypt, and Germany, to name a few. They have
always been ideal spots for commercial activity, making them
highly desirable possessions to other countries. They have also
struggled with constant earthquakes and
volcanic eruptions. The buildings that have not withstood these
natural disasters have been renovated and rebuilt over time, but
many will never be the same.
The most intriguing concept of Greek Island history relates to
the assimilation of fact with myth. At certain points in Greek history,
the line between myth and reality becomes fuzzy to the point of
When asked about the crescent shaped Santorini, professional historians
and scientists will give you explanations of how the center of what
was once a round island, fell into the sea during a volcanic eruption.
Others will tell you that in the center of Santorini once lived
the great people of Atlantis who became so powerful, they defied
the rules of the gods. In their anger, the gods caused earthquakes
to shake the island for one day and one night until the center fell
into the sea, swallowing the people with their sins.
Magnesia, the summer home of the gods, is an island less frequented
by vacationers but still full of both fact and myth. Excavations
prove that Magnesia was one of the first islands in Greece to be
inhabited, and the civilizations flourished. Magnesia played its
most significant role in the Bronze Age and many artifacts from
that time period have been found and are currently on display. However,
literature and mythology choose to believe that the story of Jason
and the Argonauts began on Magnesia, when they set off to find the
Crete has a long timeline of historical events dating back to 3000
BC. The island has been invaded and occupied by the Romans, Venetians,
Byzantines, and Germans, but in the end it still belongs to its
mother country, Greece. Countless artifacts have been unearthed
from Crete’s soil and there is always something to discover.
Underneath the dense history of the island’s prosperous commercial
and religious civilizations, lies a more fantastical theory of when
it all began. Tradition states that Zeus chose Crete as the hiding
place for his pregnant mistress who, in turn, gave birth to his
children, the god Apollo and the goddess Artemis.
No matter what side of the stories you choose to accept, there
is always a sense of wonder attached to Greek history. While myth
is simply fantasy, it is tempting to believe. Even many of the “facts”
are simply the guesswork of educated archaeologists and historians.
When you visit the islands, make sure to listen to different historical
accounts by tour guides, and if you can, make conversation with
friendly English speaking locals, because, with over 4000 years
of history, there is always a new piece of knowledge to be gained.