Island of the NE Aegean, Greece.
About 475 sq. km in area, rugged, and of volcanic origin.
The main sites have been excavated. The two principal
Classical cities are Hephaistia and Myrina, on its N and
W coasts respectively. It contains several important
Bronze Age sites, notably Poliochni (on the E coast),
whose culture is closely related to that of Troy. The pre-Classical inhabitants were described as Tyrsenoi, associated by ancient writers with the Etruscans of Italy. The
Athenian Miltiades took the island at the end of the 6th
c. B.C. After brief occupation by the Persians it remained
Athenian throughout antiquity, receiving cleruchs from
Athens ca. 450 B.C. and with intermittent occupation by
Hephaistia, the main city, occupies a peninsula site
beside an almost wholly landlocked harbor. The only
above-ground remains explored are of a Graeco-Roman
theater, with its stage buildings and some houses of late
antiquity, but the excavations have recovered much of
its pre-Greek “Tyrsenian” period. This includes a large
cremation cemetery, which is succeeded by Classical
Greek burials in the 5th and 4th c. B.C. and votive deposits from a pre-Greek sanctuary including terracottas in a
partly Hellenized style.
Myrina occupies a rocky peninsula site, with good harbors. There are traces of its Classical fortifications, an
archaic and Classical cemetery, and inscriptions indicate
a Sanctuary of Artemis.
Northeast of Hephaistia, at modern Chloe, a Sanctuary
to the Kabeiroi has been discovered, with inscriptions
ranging in date from the 5th c. B.C. to the 3d A.D. The
sanctuary occupies two semicircular terraces within a
circuit wall. On the S terrace a three-roomed building is
identified as the early telesterion, with a structure in the
central room surrounded by offering bases, probably
intended for the display of sacred objects to initiates.
The upper terrace is mainly filled by a large Hellenistic
building, probably the later telesterion, with a 12-column
Doric facade, faced by a monumental stoa. Southwest of
Hephaistia, at Mosychlos, were the sources of Lemnian
At Kaminia in the SE part of the island was found a
stele (now in the National Museum of Athens) inscribed
in the Lemnian language, related by some to Etruscan.
At Komi, inland in the E half of the island, are remains
of a Temple of Herakles, referred to in an inscription.
The finds from Lemnos are in the National Museum
of Athens and the museum at Kastro (Myrina).
C. Fredrich, “Lemnos,” AthMitt
& XII, Suppl.; F.L.W. Sealy, “Lemnos,”
23 (1918-19); Annuaria d. Scuola archeologica di
X-XII (1931); XIII-XIV (1933); XV-XVI (1942PI
[Hephaistia]); XVII-XVIII (1942 [Hephaistia theater,
Chloe]); L. Bernabò-Brea, EAA
III (1960), s.v. Efestia;
IV (1961), s.v. LemnoMI