The grand sweep of the setting of Kárystos is unexpected: the curve of its sheltered gulf, the majestic, concave rise of Mt. Ochi behind and the openness of the amphitheatre formed by the mountain, have something of the magnificence of the south coast of Crete near Sfakiá, or even of the landscapes of eastern Anatolia. The site of ancient Karystos lies a little to the north of the modern town, which was only created in the wake of the Greek Independence revolution; its acropolis is still prominently marked by the pinnacle of Castel Rosso, the rambling fortress, visible from all around, from which the Venetians held the south of the island.
Karystos is first mentioned in Book II of the Iliad: it took part in the Trojan War under the command of its king, Nauplios. In Classical times it became the principal commercial and cultural centre of Southern Euboea, issuing its own coinage in the 6th century BC. Glaukos, a boxer who was victor in the Olympic Games in 520 BC was from Karystos. Remembering is destruction in 490 BC at the hands of the Persians, the city allied with Xerxes in the second Persian invasion, and was later treated punitively for its ‘Medising' by Themistocles as a result. It was part of the First and Second Athenian confederacies, and after 338 BC came under Macedonian control. Apollodorus, a Comic dramatist, and Antigonus, a bronze sculptor and writer, were 3rd century BC natives of Karystos. The Romans took the city in 198 BC; their later exploitation of the marble quarries here made the city into an important and prosperous provincial centre – though Dio Chrysostom paints a (perhaps overly-rhetorical) picture of its economic decline already as early as the turn of the 2nd century AD. All this meant a wealth of commerce for the port of Karystos.
One block north of the harbour (intersection of Kótsika and Sahtoúri streets) are the remains of a 2nd century AD Roman funerary monument of an obviously wealthy official in charge of the marble quarries. It had the appearance of a small Ionic, peripteral temple, with 6 x 7 columns, and an entrance on the east side: its base and the cella threshold are visible. Some of the marble from the structure and one of its decorative elements – a carved ‘tondo' depicting the bust of a man with a bridled horse by his shoulder, which surmounted the doorway – is now incorporated, along with other antique marbles, in the east side of the 13th century tower on the harbour esplanade (east of Aiolou St.), known as the ‘Bourtzi'. The tower is a fortress, of irregular hexagonal form, with two cannon embrasures on the seaward wall, and well-preserved machicolations high up on the south wall.Chronique des Fouilles linkWikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CarystusWikidata ID: Q13554032Trismegistos Geo: 1013Manto: 9718704
Info: McGilchrist's Greek Islands
(From McGilchrist’s Greek Islands, © Nigel McGilchrist 2010, excerpted with his gracious permission. Click for the books)