Summary: Main city state of southern Euboea.
Type: Port city
Region: Euboea


Dark Age









The modern town of Karystos, built in the 19th century A.D., is located on the N shore of the large Karystos Bay, at the S base of Mt. Ochi. The definite location of the ancient city has not been determined by excavation. Recent topographical research, however, indicates that the earliest city, of the Geometric and Archaic periods, was situated just north of the Plakari Ridge at the NW edge of the bay. During the Hellenistic and later periods the city of Karystos was centered at modern Paliochora, 3 km N of the modern town. The exact date and reasons for the transfer of the ancient city from Plakari to Paliochora remains unknown. The harbor of post-Archaic Karystos was probably located at the small bay of Geraistos, ca. 14 km to the E of Paliochora.


Karystos was listed in the Homeric Catalog of Ships and the nearby Sanctuary of Poseidon at the harbor of Geraistos was recorded by Homer as the first safe stopping place for the ships returning from the Trojan War. Very little is known, however, about the early history of the Karystia.

Karystos is strategically located at the S entrance to the Euripos Channel and it was a major objective of the first Persian advance in 490 B.C. In contrast to the other Greek islands and states along the Persian route, however, Karystos did not submit to the Persians without a fight. The Persians easily defeated the Karystians and in 490 B.C. In 480, when the Persians returned the second time, Karystos surrendered without a battle.

After the defeat of the Persians on the mainland, Athens forced Karystos into the Delian League, seized the Karystian port at Geraistos, and probably imposed an Athenian clerouchy on the territory.

With the exception of a short period of Spartan influence in Euboea at the end of the 5th century B.C., Karystos remained first subject to and then allied with Athens until Greece became a part of the Macedonian empire after 322 B.C.

Karystos, due largely to its important maritime location and in part to its natural resources, remained prosperous throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods.


G. Papavasileiou carried out minor excavations in 1903-1910. A long-term Canadian survey and excavation project began in 1984.

Sources Used:

PECS, 438; Leekley and Efstratiou 1980, 64-65

Other Bibliography:

F. Geyer, Topographie und Geschichte der Insel Euboias (1903); G. Papavasileiou, Prakt (1903) 38-9; (1908) 101-13; F. Johnson, "The Dragon-Houses of Southern Euboea," AJA 29 (1925) 398-412; V. Hankey, "A Marble Quarry at Karystos," BMBeyrouth 18 (1965) 53ff; H. Mason and M. Wallace, "Appius Claudius Pulcher and the Hollows of Euboia," Hesperia 41 (1972) 128-40; D. Knoepfler, "Carystos et les Artemisia d'Amarynthos," BCH 96 (1972) 283-301; D. Theocharis, Arkheion Euboikon Meleton (1959) 284ff; H.L. Sackett et al., "Prehistoric Euboia...," BSA 61 (1966) 33-110 (maps); A. Choremes, "Eideseis ex Euboias," AAA 7 (1974) 27-34.