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LEROS Greece.

One of the Sporades, lying between Patmos and Kalymnos, ca. 40 km from the Anatolian coast (Caria). The island was inhabited in prehistoric times and again at least from the 7th c. B.C. A close, though not exactly definable, political relationship with Miletos is attested epigraphically and by statements of Herodotos (5.125) and Thucydides (8.26-27) from at least the early 5th c. to Roman times. It has been suggested that Leros was a deme of Miletos in Hellenistic times, a cleruchy earlier. Habitation of the island apparently continued uninterrupted into Byzantine times.

There have been no systematic excavations. The principal ancient town may have been located on the site of the modern Ayia Marina, where remains of a few unidentified Classical structures are visible. However, the places where various inscriptions have been found suggest that the administrative center was Parthenion in the N part of the island. The temple of Parthenos (Artemis) mentioned by Athenaeus (Deipnosophists (14.655,b,c) and in inscriptions has not been located, but is presumed to have been in the locality now known as Partheni (Metochion). At the S end of the island, on top of the hill of Xerokampos, are the remains of a wall probably built in the late 4th c. B.C., usually thought to be part of a tower. This, and a similar tower at Partheni, may link Leros to the precautions taken by Miletos on its peripheral islands, in order to control the sea in Hellenistic times. Architectural fragments of Classical date are built into later structures, especially churches, in various parts of the island (Smalu and Lakki), implying widespread habitation in Classical times. Inscriptions and some ancient objects are in the Archaeological HaIl in the Library at Platanos.


L. Bürchner, Die Insel Leros (1898); R. M. Dawkins & A.J.B. Wace, “Notes from the Sporades: Astypalaea, Telos, Nisyros and Leros,” BSA 12 (1905-6) 172-74; G. B. Bean & J. M. Cook, “The Carian Coast III,” ibid. 52 (1957) 134-35; J. L. Benson, Ancient Leros, GRB Monographs No. 3 (1963)MPI; G. Manganaro, “Le Iscrizioni delle Isole Milesie,” Annuario 25-26 (1963-64) 296-317; R. Hope Simpson & I. F. Lazenby, “Notes from the Dodecanese II,” BSA 65 (1970) 52-54.


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