Peparethos (Skopelos) 63 Skopelos - Πεπάρηθος

Πεπάρηθος - Peparethos, island and polis, modern Skopelos town, Sporades, Thessaly
Hits: 63
Works: 34
Latitude: 39.124600
Longitude: 23.728500
Confidence: High

Greek name: Πεπάρηθος
Place ID: 391237PPep
Time period: ACHRL
Region: Thessaly
Country: Greece
Department: Sporades/Skopelos
Mod: Skopelos

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- IDAI gazetteer ID

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

Modern Description: The deserted and beautiful coastline of Skopelos was a busy thoroughfare of antiquity; tiny craft with obsidian and minerals from Milos in the 3rd millennium BC, Minoan metal traders in the 2nd millennium, and in the first millennium BC barges laden with amphorae containing the island's prized wine, destined for the Black Sea, all plied up and down this same coast. Of the island's vitality in Antiquity, and its three cities of Peparethos, Panormos and Selinous, the visible remains are scant: high on the slopes of Mount Delfi at ‘Sendoukia', a small and curious necropolis occupies one of the most magnificent positions in all of the Northern Aegean.
The discovery of a substantial Bronze Age shaft-grave on the promontory at Stafilos in 1936 provided clear evidence of Cretan colonization on the island in the late 17th century BC. Dubbed locally the “tomb of King Staphylos”, because of the rich grave gifts which were unearthed in it, the find gave tendentious credence to the legend that the island's first notable ruler was Staphylos, the son of Ariadne. As to whether he was her son by the hero Theseus or by the god Dionysos the sources are characteristically ambiguous, as Plutarch points out (Theseus, 21). His brother was Pepárethos, the name which the city and island of Skopelos bore all through Antiquity. Since ‘stafili' is the ancient Greek for a ‘grape bunch', and the name Pepárethos could be seen as cognate with the verb ‘pepainein', ‘to ripen', we may simply be looking at the mythical explanation of the island's importance and fame throughout ancient times as a producer of a highly prized wine – the ‘Πεπαρήθιος οἶνος' which was exported to points all around the Euxine (Black) Sea, as the presence of the island's amphorae there show. In historical times, much of the island's history is identical with Skiathos: the city of Peparethos (modern Skopelos Chora) was founded in the 7th century BC, by colonists from Chalcis in Euboea, along with two other cities on the island – Panormos, and Selinous (modern-day Loutraki). Some remains of the acropolis walls of all three cities are still visible. Skopelos joined the Delian League, paying the substantial annual tribute of 3 talents, indicative of its relative prosperity and trading strength, based on the export of its wine. In 427 BC earthquakes and tidal waves damaged the city of Peparethos according to Thucydides (III, 89). After the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, the island passed under Macedonian rule: it was freed by Rome in 197 BC, but was later gifted by Mark Anthony after the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC to Athens in acknowledgement of the city's support.
Christianity came to the island most notably in the person of the bishop-saint, Reginos, who was martyred for his faith under Julian the Apostate in 362 or 363 AD. In the 6th century the island's name first emerges as ‘Schepola' in Byzantine chronicles. Together with Skiathos, Skopelos belonged to the Byzantine theme of Macedonia. In 1204, after the 4th Crusade, it came under the possession of the Ghisi family. In 1276 they were driven out by the Byzantine fleet. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 the inhabitants sought the protection of the Venetian Republic, which governed Skopelos until it was captured for the Turks by Khaireddin Barbarossa in 1538, who – as was his generally his custom – left the island devastated and depopulated. Under Turkish control, however, the islanders possessed a number of privileges and freedoms. During the 1820's Skopelos accepted refugees from Thessaly and Macedonia, and in the 1920's, from Asia Minor. The island became part of the new Greek state in 1830.
Other than the walls at the kastro and a number of dispersed fragments incorporated into later churches, the visible remains of classical Peparethos in Chora are scant. The northern end of the harbor promenade is closed and anchored by the long, low mass of the Church of the Panaghia tou Pyrgou sitting on the rocks above. Its name (‘Virgin of the Tower') would suggest that this point of the promontory was once marked by a watch-tower. The old part of the church – the domed, inscribed-cross core of the building – is 15th century, with a spacious narthex and elegant bell tower added in the 19th century. There are remains of wall-paintings near the south door. Steps lead up to a higher level and the church of Aghios Athanasios tou Kastrou which is of the 11th century and probably the oldest church in Chora. Its design is a simple barrel vaulted nave, which has been substantially buttressed on its south side. The lateral wall-paintings of figures of saints, however, are of 500 years later; and the carved iconostasis is of the 18th century. The church's size and its proximity to the old citadel/acropolis would suggest that it had particular importance early on, and may have been the original episcopal church of the island. From Aghios Athanasios, it is a short climb to the summit where a taverna unexpectedly occupies the site of the fortress castle built by Filippo Ghisi in the 13th century. The area of the castle is small, and probably represents the keep of a larger fortified complex which extended to the north and west. Descending the steps at the rear (west side) and looking back, the base of the large masonry blocks of the walls of the ancient acropolis of Peparethos are visible at the lower level. These are of the 5th century BC and function as the solid foundations for the mediaeval walls built on top of them. Other vestiges of ancient retaining walls can be glimpsed higher up on the hillside which lies to the west and northwest of the fortress: these created the terraces on which the temples of Athena and Dionysos originally stood, commanding magnificent views and visible from far out to sea.
Taking the narrow street which skirts closely around the south side of the bottom of the castle and descends a narrow alley between houses anticlockwise round the hill, you will come to the end of the path at some steps and to an alley which runs transversely. To the right of you is the Church of Aghios Antonios, and to the left is Aghios Giorgios, clearly recognizable by its cupola, with a tall drum decorated with blind arcades: it vies with Aghios Athanasios as one of the oldest churches in Chora, but it is a more intimate space and more beautiful building, with a domed Greek-cross plan. The interior has a beautiful pebble floor: there are wall paintings on the west wall which, though venerable, are in poor condition. Further along the same street on the opposite side, through a gate and with a small space or avli in front of it, is another remarkable church, dedicated to the Panaghia (Zoödochos Pigi). This has fine paintings in the apse and sanctuary: a Christ and Virgin blessing above a ring of saints; and a Lamentation scene, to the left.
Wikidata ID: Q7536281
Trismegistos Geo: 6486

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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