Naxos

Portara_Naxos
Apollo Temple’s entrance (Portara)

Naxos (Greek: Νάξος) is a Greek island, the largest island in the Cyclades island group in the Aegean. It was the centre of archaic Cycladic culture.

Mythic Naxos

According to Greek mythology, the young Zeus was raised in a cave on Mt. Zas (“Zas” meaning “Zeus”). Homer mentions “Dia”; literally the sacred island “of the Goddess”. Karl Kerenyi explains (speaking as if he were an ancient Greek):
“ This name, Dia, which means ‘heavenly’ or ‘divine’, was applied to several small craggy islands in our sea, all of them lying close to larger islands, such as Crete or Naxos. The name “Dia” was even transferred to the island of Naxos itself, since it was more widely supposed than any other to have been the nuptial isle of Dionysus.”

Sphinx
Sphinx of the Naxians, now at Delphi Archaeological Museum.

One legend has it that in the Heroic Age before the Trojan War, Theseus abandoned the princess Ariadne of Crete on this island after she helped him kill the Minotaur and escape from the Labyrinth. Dionysus (god of wine, festivities, and the primal energy of life) who was the protector of the island, met Ariadne and fell in love with her. But eventually Ariadne, unable to bear her separation from Theseus, either killed herself (according to the Athenians), or ascended to heaven (as the older versions had it). The Naxos portion of the Ariadne myth is also told in the Richard Strauss opera Ariadne auf Naxos.

The giant brothers Otus and Ephialtes figure in at least two Naxos myths: in one, Artemis bought the abandonment of a siege they laid against the gods, by offering to live on Naxos as Otus’s lover; in another, the brothers had actually settled Naxos.

Cycladic civilization

Zas Cave, inhabited during the Neolithic era, contained objects of stone from Melos and copper objects including a dagger and gold sheet. The presence of gold and other objects within the cave indicated to researchers the status of the inhabitant.

Tempel_der_Demeter_(Gyroulas)
Temple of Demeter

Emery was sourced during the time to other islands.

Classical era and Greco-Persian Wars

During the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Naxos dominated commerce in the Cyclades. Naxos was the first Greek city-state to attempt to leave the Delian League circa 476 BC; Athens quickly squashed the notion and forcibly removed all military naval vessels from the island’s control. Athens then demanded all future payments from Naxos in the form of gold rather than military aid.

Herodotus describes Naxos circa 500 BC as the most prosperous Greek island.

In 502 BC, an unsuccessful attack on Naxos by Persian forces led several prominent men in the Greek cities of Ionia to rebel against the Persian Empire in the Ionian Revolt, and then to the Persian War between Greece and Persia.

Source Wikipedia.


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