Gyaros (Cyclades) 32 Gyaros - Γύαρος

Γύαρος - Gyaros, island, poor and site of exile in Roman times, the modern Gyaros, Cyclades Greece
Hits: 32
Works: 19
Latitude: 37.602000
Longitude: 24.732000
Confidence: High

Greek name: Γύαρος
Place ID: 376247IGya
Time period: HR
Region: Cyclades
Country: Greece
Department: Syros/Gyaros
Mod: Gyaros

- Pleiades
- IDAI gazetteer ID

Read summary reports on the recent excavations at Gyaros in Chronique des fouilles en ligne – Archaeology in Greece Online.
Search for inscriptions mentioning Gyaros (Γυαρ...) in the PHI Epigraphy database.

Modern Description: Gyaros lies equidistant in longitude between Tinos and Kea, and in latitude between Andros and Syros; its profile is clearly visible from all four. Though abandoned today, a settlement existed on the island in Antiquity. An inscribed Hellenistic stele found at Palaiopolis on Andros, refers to the ‘deme of the Gyarians'. Strabo visited the island in person in 31/30 BC, and mentions that his boat took on board a local fisherman who was being sent as an envoy to the Caesar to request reduction of the island's annual tribute from 150 drachmae, which it could not manage to pay, to a minimal 100 drachmae (Geog. X, 5.3). Strabo emphasises the poverty of the island, and other references to its harshness abound: the first is a pseudo-Aristotelian work cited by Aelian which asserts that even the ‘rats eat iron' on the island. No significant trace of the ancient settlement has been uncovered, nor is its exact location determined; but archaeological finds (an inscription) attest a cult of Aphrodite Mychia, and from other pottery fragments the worship of Zeus and of Demeter is inferred. Gyáros appears to have been relatively well-known in the later ancient world, since we have references to it, in different contexts, in Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, Pliny, Juvenal, Tacitus and Lucian. Most frequently it is mentioned as a place of exile under Imperial Rome. Some idea of how inhospitable the island must have been is indicated by the fact that on two occasions Tiberius had a sentence of exile on Gyáros changed to another more hospitable island, such as Kythnos or Amorgos, noting that ‘if a man were granted his life he must be allowed the means to live'. (Tacitus, Annals III, 69 & IV, 29). The only remains visible today behind the island's one protected landing point in the middle of the eastern shore, are those of the internment camp built in 1948 to isolate and confine members of the Greek Communist Party and National Liberation Front. Most of the several thousand detainees lived in cramped tents, in all weathers; the decaying buildings were only for the administration of the camp. The island was used again as a prison during the military dictatorship in Greece between 1967 and 1974, since when the island has been uninhabited.
Wikidata ID: Q1147663
Trismegistos Geo: 33241

Info: McGilchrist's Greek Islands

(From McGilchrist’s Greek Islands, © Nigel McGilchrist 2010, excerpted with his gracious permission. Click for the books)

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