Skiathos in ancient times

Despite its small size, Skiathos has a great history that is worthy to its natural beauty that dates from very ancient years…

The island is known from pre-historic years but no one can certainly say who the first citizens of the island were. It is considered that the Pelasgians, the ancestors of Greeks that had origins from Thrace were the first inhabitants of the island. The specialists do not exclude that during 1600 B.C, Minoans (Cretans) had probably lived in Skiathos as one of the devotional names of god Dionysus where “Skianthos” that resembles a lot the name of the island. Moreover it is well known that Cretans had been installed in the nearby Skopelos.

However, it is certain that later, during 700-600 B.C. Chalcis (Ionians) were at the highlight of their colonial activity and they were installed in the island and so their city remained until the Byzantines years. According to Herodotus, during the Persians Wars in 480 B.C Skiathos helped the Greek party contrary to other Greek cities that were afraid to be averse to Persians. So Skiathos was found at the route of Persian fleet that started from Hellespont and sailed at the seaside by following the land parties of army. Greeks who dropped anchor in Artemisio of Euboea headed by Themistocles were informed for the move of enemy by torches at Skiathos and they caused a great damage at the Persian fleet.

Two years later, in 478 B.C. after the successful outcome of 2nd Persian War at Plataea, the citizens of Skiathos became members of 1st Alliance of Athens. According to attic writing saved until nowadays, Skiathos was, during the early ancient years, a poor place fact that is indicated by the law tax that it was paying. The alliance with Athens has as a result the participation of Skiathos in Peloponnesian war against Sparta and its allies. When the war was over, Skiathos was under the domination of Spartans that imposed the oligarchic system of government at island.

Skiathos ancient coin.

A few years later, at 378 B.C. Skiathos was occupied by Athens and becomes member of 2nd Alliance of Athens. In contrary to the 1st Alliance of Athens, the new one has a defense character and the peace period that was in force for many years ameliorated the financial situation of citizens. At the same period Skiathos, introduced coppers coins with the representation of Hermes at the one side and the word CΚΙΑΘΙ at the other.

A few years later Skiathos was functioned as dock yard by Athenians and as a base for their operations against Philippe B as they used Skiathos to send army and fleet. In 338 B.C after the conflict of Chaeronea Skiathos was occupied by Macedonians and a long peace period was installed.

Many years later, in 200-199 B.C Macedonians entered into war with Romans and the King Philippe 5th ordered the destruction of nearby Skopelos in order not to be occupied the enemy navy and battle against him. The island was ravaged another time at the same year by the roman fleet that was reinforced by the fleet of Rhodes and the fleet of Attalus (the chief of Pergamon). However, despite the double destruction, the city recovered and in 146 B.C all Greece and Skiathos are occupied by Romans.

At 42 B.C after the conflict of Filippoi, the winner Antoine offered Skiathos and some other islands to Athenians as a symbol of thanksgiving for their friendly behavior towards him.