previous next

PAROS Greece.

One of the larger Ionian islands, W of Naxos, celebrated for its fine, white marble. It was an important center of Cycladic culture of the 3d and 2d millennia B.C. (Neolithic finds have been made on the small desert island of Saliangos near Paros) and continued to flourish until Late Mycenaean times. Reflecting this period are the myths about the subjection of the island by Minos (it was on Paros that he learned about the death of Androgeus) and by his sons, who were expelled by Herakles when he captured the island. In historical times lyric poetry flourished here with Archilochos (7th c. B.C.), the poet and warrior, who is the primary source for the myths and history of the island. Paros took an energetic part in the fierce rivalry of the long Lelantine war (8th-7th c. B.C.) and then in the great wars caused by the spread of Greek trade and colonization. Paros' alliance with Eretria and Miletos explains the war with Naxos, which belonged to the rival combination of Chalkis, Corinth, and Samos; it also explains the colonization of Thasos by Telesikles, the father of Archilochos. Thasos, with the Thracian possessions on the mainland (gold mines) was the source of wealth and power, while Paros' chief natural resource was marble, exported everywhere throughout antiquity. At the peak of its sculptural importance, Parian marble was used in all the major Greek temples and for the manufacture of marble furniture, even for the anthropomorphic sarcophagi of Sidon.

At the beginning of the 5th c. the strength of Paros was demonstrated by the failure of Miltiades' expedition against the island after the battle of Marathon, although he had vowed that he would take it with ease and bring back a wealth of gold (Hdt. 6.133). Themistokles later succeeded in part (Hdt. 8.112). Paros was a member of the Athenian Alliance after this, and as an ally during the Peloponnesian war tried vainly to revolt from Athens in 412-410. Governed either as a democracy or an oligarchy consistent with the style of the ruling power in the Aegean, Paros continued to exist as an important state until the Late Roman period. It maintained connections in various directions and with the support of Dionysios the elder, tyrant of Syracuse, it colonized Pharos, an island off Dalmatia (mod. Hvar) in 385 B.C., an area with which it had apparently had contacts since the prehistoric period, through its fleet. It achieved a cultural flowering in the Hellenistic period. From the 3d c. restoration of the 6th c. B.C. Archilocheion, a heroon which was probably a part of the Gymnasion, come important literary inscriptions: the Parian Chronicle and an extensive Biography of Archilochos with lines from his poetry (an epitome was added in the 1st c. B.C.).

The ancient city, of the same name as the island, is now covered by Paroikia, the modern capital; it was much larger, as can be seen by the preserved portion of the wall, which was continually renewed but whose earliest parts are archaic. The acropolis was on a low peak in the middle of the hill overlooking the modern jetty. A part of this hill including its W peak has fallen into the sea, so only the E end of a large Ionic temple of Athena on the summit has been preserved. This is distinguished by the large gneiss foundation slabs of the opisthodomos and cella, and a few marble courses over the foundations, on which rests the N wall of the church of Agios Konstantinos. Its exact plan is uncertain. Numerous architectural fragments from the buildings of the ancient city, including many from the temple, are built into the nearby Venetian fort; in particular there are parastades (h. 6 m, w. 0.9 m) and a lintel (1. 5.9 m). The doors were as big and as beautiful as those of the contemporary temple at Naxos, and the two may have been the work of the same artisans. Among the marbles in the kastro are also pieces of a Doric colonnade from a stoa of the Late Hellenistic period. The round structure in the kastro is half of a Hellenistic building (heroon?) which was reconstructed in its original form as the apse of a church with orthostates, courses, a Doric frieze, an internal meander and a geison, not in situ.

Remains of houses from the Cycladic town have been found near the archaic temple. These are the most important building remains from this period, although tombs have been found all over the island. Some remains which have not been scientifically investigated have also been found under the Basilica of Katapoliani (the only such building which has been preserved in its entirety; its present appearance dates from the time of Justinian). A noteworthy mosaic depicting the Labors of Herakles and numerous ancient carvings and inscriptions were built into the Basilica or have been discovered in its vicinity. Two archaic bas-reliefs from the frieze of the Archilocheion have been found: the funerary feast (of Archilochos) and a lion attacking a bull.

At the SW edge of the city, near Haghia Anna, are some scanty remains of the Pythion and the Asklepieion, and two high terraces. Only a trace of the supporting wall is preserved of the first, but on the second, the terrace of the Asklepieion, there are two fountains. The earlier one (4th c. B.C.) is smaller, surrounded with plain slabs; the other made of marble. There is a rectangular temenos in front, with colonnades, and an altar inside.

The remains of the Delion are more fully preserved. This is on the flat top of a hill (ca. 150 m) now called Kastro or Vigla, N of Paroikia, above the NW side of the harbor. It consists of a marble peribolos nearly square (26 x 24 m) with an entrance at the S. The peribolos encloses in its NW corner a small Doric temple in antis (9.5 x 5.4 m), the foundations of which are preserved. It dates no earlier than the beginning of the 5th c. Behind the temple, the peribolos wall is interrupted by a projecting terrace with two steps on each side. To the. left of the temple are rooms with benches around a mosaic floor, perhaps a banqueting hall (hestiatorion). There are remains of an altar (and possibly another earlier one in front of the temple) under which were traces of an older building which contained finds of the 8th-7th c. B.C. Approximately in the middle of the peribolos is a rock outcropping surrounded by a circular wall which has been theoretically identified as the archetypal altar founded by Herakles in honor of Apollo (Pind., frg. 140a, Snell). There are notable sculptures of the Severe period in the museum. The sanctuary was dedicated to the Delian gods: Delian Apollo, Delian Artemis, Zeus Kynthios, and Athena Kynthia.

To the NW of the Delion, about an hour's drive from Paroikia, is a hill called Kounados with a chapel of Profitis Elias at the summit, where, according to an inscription found there, Zeus Hypatos was worshiped. A little to the W was a shrine of Aphrodite, a temple without a peribolos; S and lower down was a shrine of Eilethyia, a narrow terrace with a spring and a cave next to it carved out to receive offerings. The rock has collapsed so that it is now almost unrecognizable. Nearer the city, 1200 m beyond the Katapoliani, near the road to Naousa, the “Three Churches” or “Crossroads” were shown by excavation to have been built over a three-aisled basilica (6th-7th c. A.D.) into which a number of ancient marbles had been built: architectural fragments, sculpture, inscriptions. Among these is an archaic Ionic column capital with a later inscription (4th c. B.C.) mentioning Archilochos' tomb. It is not likely that all the pieces came from one nearby building, and especially not from the Archilocheion. Three orthostates from this building (including the two with the biographical inscriptions about Archilochos) were found in the E bank of the Elita river and other places in the city.

An hour's drive from Paroikia, near the old monastery of Aghios Mamas, are important marble quarries (lychnites lithos, because quarried by lamplight). There is a continuous underground gallery with entrance and exit close to each other. On the rock at the entrance is a carving of the Nymphs dedicated by Odryses the son of Adamas.

Of the sparse and little-known antiquities from the rest of the island, the most important is the cave of Aghios Ioannis at Dris harbor at the SE end, where there was a shrine of Artemis. Inscriptions and sculpture have been found, including a large statue of a seated Artemis (of the Muses).

The museum contains some prehistoric sherds and Cycladic idols. There are important archaic statues and reliefs, some pottery, inscriptions, and architectural fragments. There is an anthropomorphic sarcophagus as well as later ones, and fragments of funerary heroa.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

O. Rubensohn s.v. Paros, RE (1947); AthMitt 25 (1900) 341ff; 26 (1901) 157ff; 27 (1902) 189ff; 42 (1917) 1ff; ArchAnz (1923-24) 118ff, 278; Ionic temple: G. Gruben & W. Koenigs, “Der ‘Hekatompedos’ von Naxos und der Burgtempel von Paros,” ArchAnz (1970) 135ff; Delion: O. Rubensohn, Das Delion von Paros (1962) (cf. Gnomon [1966] 202ff); Three Churches: A. Orlandos, Praktika (1960) 246f; (1961) 184ff; Archilocheion: N. M. Kontoleon, Νέαι Επιγραφαί περί τοῦ Ἀρχιλόχου, ArchEph (1952) 32ff.

N. M. KONTOLEON

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: