Eresos (/ˈɛrəsɒs/; Greek: Ερεσός) and its twin beach village
Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of
Lesbos. They are villages visited by considerable number of tourists.
Eresos and the village
Antissa constitute the municipality
2.1 Archaic Period
2.2 Classical Period
2.3 Hellenistic Period
2.4 Imperial Period
5 In literature
6 See also
8 External links
The municipality of Eresos–
Antissa contains five other villages:
Messotopos, Vatoussa, Chidira, Sigri and Pterounda located in the west
and most barren part of the island. Bare rocky hills, derived from
ancient volcanic activity, dominate the area.
Skala Eresou is a centre
for international tourism and is a favorite spot of Greek families,
young people as well as gay women. With its long beautiful beach with
dark volcanic sand and its crystal-clear unpolluted water, Skala
Eressou was awarded Blue Flag status by the Foundation for
Stephanus of Byzantium, a lexicographer of the 6th century AD, claimed
that the city was named after Eresos, a son of the mythical king of
Lesbos, Macar. Archaeology suggests that the city of
founded in the 8th or 7th century BC. Information about Eresos
before the Classical period is extremely scant. The lyric poet Sappho
was born at
Eresos c. 620 BCE and belonged to an important family who
were socially prominent at Mytilene, the island's most important
city. In addition, the oldest Greek inscription on the island,
which dates to the 6th century BCE, has been found in the hills above
Eresos, and is thought to have belonged to a temple. The remains of
defensive towers and large enclosures thought to have had a religious
purpose built in the decorative Lesbian polygonal style and located at
the edges of Eresian territory suggests a certain degree of wealth and
prosperity in the Archaic period.
Eresos, along with
Antissa and Pyrrha, was one of the minor cities on
Lesbos in the 5th century BCE. When
Mytilene revolted from the Delian
League in summer 428,
Eresos supported Mytilene. The following
year, it fell to the Athenian general Paches and, along with the other
cities of the island except for Methymna, had an Athenian cleruchy
imposed on it. In the latter part of the Peloponnesian War, Eresos
went back and forth between Athenian and Spartan control on a number
of occasions. In summer 412,
Eresos revolted from Athens and joined
the Spartan admiral Astyochus in making an unsuccessful attempt to
seize Methymna. When Astyochus' attempt to take
Lesbos failed, Eresos
returned to Athenian control. The following year, exiles from
Methymna again raised
Eresos in revolt. The Athenian commanders,
Thrasybulus on Samos, both despatched
forces to retake Eresos. This siege was called off when the
Athenians realised they had been out-flanked by the Spartan admiral
Mindarus. Following the Athenian victory at the Battle of
Arginusae in 406,
Eresos may have fallen under Athenian control as the
rest of the island did. Whatever the case, in 405 the Spartan
Lysander imposed garrisons and Spartan governors on the
cities of Lesbos, which remained in place for the next two
Spartan control of
Eresos ended in 389 when the Athenian commander
Thrasybulus retook the city. In 377
Eresos is recorded as a member
of the Second Athenian Empire. About 371, Theophrastus, remembered
as the "father of botany", was born at Eresos; he spent hs entire
career at Athens, where he succeeded
Aristotle as head of the
Peripatetic school. From 377 down to 332, the chronology of Eresian
politics is difficult to establish with any certainty. Athens is
thought to have lost control of
Eresos following the Social War
(357–355 BC), after which its power in the Aegean waned. It was
perhaps at this point that the tyranny of Apollodorus and his brothers
took power. This family and their descendants remained in power until
336, when Attalus and
Parmenion campaigned in the region against the
Persians at the behest of Philip II of Macedon. It is assumed that
a democracy was set up at
Eresos and the city enrolled in the League
of Corinth. In 335,
Memnon of Rhodes retook this region for the
Persian Empire and re-installed the tyranny of Apollodorus and his
brothers. In spring 334,
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great invaded Asia Minor,
and it is assumed that the cities of
Lesbos (including Eresos) went
over to the Macedonian forces soon after his victory at the Battle of
the Granicus in May 334; again, the tyrants will have been expelled
and the Eresian democrats re-installed. In 333, the admiral Memnon
of Rhodes again attacked the island of Lesbos: he seized all the
cities except for
Mytilene and installed a new pair of tyrants at
Eresos, Eurysilaus and Agonippus. A long inscription later set up
Eresos c. 306-301 by the Eresian democrats claims (not without
partisan intent) that the tyrants committed many crimes, including
expelling the men from the city, holding their women hostage on the
acropolis, and exacting large sums of money from the populace, as well
as helping the Persians commit piracy against Greek shipping.
In 332, Alexander's admiral
Hegelochus of Macedon retook
the Persians once and for all and brought Eurysilaus and Agonippus to
be tried before Alexander in Egypt, where he left their fate in the
hands of the newly restored Eresian democracy. The same long
inscription which records the alleged crimes of the tyrants also
details their trial which ended in their execution. Biographical
traditions of the philosophers
Theophrastus and Phaenias of Eresos
claims that they were involved in the overthrow of tyranny at
Eresos. Efforts were made by the exiled relatives of Apollodorus
and his brothers to return to
Eresos in 324 and 319 and by the exiled
relatives of Agonippus and Eurysilaus to return c. 306-301, but on all
three occasions the Eresian democracy was successfully able to argue
that they should not be obliged to take back their exiles.
The history of
Eresos after the Classical period is only known from
its inscriptions, as almost no mention is made of it in the literary
sources which survive. In the last two decades of the 4th century BCE
Eresos had been subject to Antigonus I Monophthalmus. After
Antigonus' defeat at the
Battle of Ipsus
Battle of Ipsus in 301, the region of north
Asia Minor and the adjacent islands went over to King Lysimachus
until his death at the
Battle of Corupedium in 281. In the following
decades, the cities of
Lesbos with the exception of
into the Ptolemaic sphere of influence. Ptolemaic influence at
Eresos in the second half of the 3rd century BCE is indicated by the
creation of a religious festival in honour of the Ptolemaic royal
family called the Ptolemaia at which gymnastic competitions were
Political infighting at the Ptolemaic court following the accession of
Ptolemy V Epiphanes
Ptolemy V Epiphanes in 205 and the campaigns of Antiochus III in the
years following led to the disintegration of Ptolemaic influence in
the north Aegean. The power vacuum was filled by Rhodes, which soon
after agreed a treaty of alliance with
Eresos and the other cities of
Lesbos. In the first half of the 2nd century BCE,
Eresos also drew
closer to the other cities of
Lesbos under the aegis of the Lesbian
koinon, a quasi-federal organisation which had existed on the island
in various forms since the early 6th century BCE, but became more
active in times when a common danger was perceived. This period of
Eresian history also saw closer ties with Rome, at this time an
emerging power in the Eastern Mediterranean. Two Romans are honoured
in a list of proxenoi from
Eresos dating to the last third of the 3rd
century BCE, one of the earliest appearances of negotiatores in the
Greek East. An inscription recording a letter sent to
Eresos by a
Roman magistrate and another document honouring the Romans as
benefactors of the Greeks, both of which date to the 2nd century BCE,
indicate that Eresos, much like the other cities on Lesbos, sought to
forge closer ties with Rome. The complete destruction of
Antissa in 167 will have been a further encouragement to
It is unclear what role
Eresos played in the
Mithridatic Wars against
Rome (88-63 BCE) and whether, like Mytilene, it subsequently suffered
for its anti-Roman stance following victory over Mithridates VI of
Pontus. However, by the reign of
Augustus the elites of
become fiercely pro-Roman. There were cults to the Emperor Augustus,
his wife Livia, and his heirs Lucius and Gaius Caesar, and the people
Eresos further honoured
Gaius Caesar and Claudius Nero, later the
Emperor Tiberius, by electing them honorary prytanis in certain years,
the most important magistracy at Eresos. Prominent Eresian
aristocrats won Roman citizenship for their descendants by
participating in the Imperial cult, dedicating altars and temples to
the Imperial family, and arranging festivals in their honour. A
fragmentary inscription indicates that
Eresos successfully petitioned
Augustus in 12 BCE on an unknown matter, while in c. 7-4 BCE Publius
Quinctilius Varus, the Roman senator and friend of
defeated at the
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE, may have
Eresos on his way to Syria and conferred Roman citizenship on
one of the city's prominent families. In addition, numerous
funerary epitaphs and other monuments indicate the existence of a
permanently resident Roman population form the 1st century BCE
The only sport club based in
Eresos is a football team whose name is
AO Papanikolís (Greek: Αθλητικός Όμιλος
Παπανικολής), founded in 1979 and currently playing in one
of local football championships of Greece, lowest leagues of Greek
football. Its name was taken in honor of the captain Dimitrios
Papanikolis and its main colors are red and blue.
Eresos is the setting of Lawrence Durrell's Sappho: a Play in Verse
(1950), set in the Archaic period; Durrell invents an episode in which
an earthquake causes a large part of the city to be submerged beneath
Eresos makes a brief appearance in the novel Sure of You, the sixth
volume in the series
Tales of the City
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. In the
chapter entitled "The Third Whale", Skala Eressou is described as a
seaside town with concrete buildings and a beach of coarse grey sand.
Some places in the town are described. These include the shop on the
square where Mona found the key rings inscribed with the name
"Sappho", the hotel called "
Sappho the Eressian" where Mona stays in a
spare, clean room with a single bed and a lone lamp, the big grey
bluff at the end of the beach where more nude bathers were gathered,
and the famous tents put up by the women who were part of Sappho's
List of settlements in Lesbos
^ a b "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011.
ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical
Stephanus of Byzantium
Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. Ἔρεσος.
^ N. Spencer, A Gazetteer of Archaeological Sites on
^ D. A. Campbell, Greek Lyric I.
Sappho and Alcaeus (1990) x-xiii.
^ Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 48.1053.
^ G. P. Schaus and N. Spencer, 'Notes on the topography of Eresos'
American Journal of Archaeology 98 (1994) 411-430.
^ Thucydides 3.18.1.
^ Thucydides 3.35.1.
^ Thucydides 8.23.2-4.
^ Thucydides 8.100.3-5.
^ Thucydides 8.103.2.
^ Xenohpon, Hellenica 1.6.23-38.
^ Xenophon, Hellenica 2.2.5, 4.8.29, Diodorus Siculus 14.74.3.
^ Diodorus Siculus 14.94.3-4.
^ Inscriptiones Graecae II2 43 B.21.
^ P. J. Rhodes and R. Osborne, Greek Historical Inscriptions 404-323
BC (2003) 414-17.
^ P. J. Rhodes and R. Osborne, Greek Historical Inscriptions 404-323
BC (2003) 238-43.
^ Diodorus Siculus 16.91.2.
^ P. J. Rhodes and R. Osborne, Greek Historical Inscriptions 404-323
BC (2003) 372-9.
^ Diodorus Siculus 17.7.
^ Arrian, Anabasis 1.17-23, Diodorus Siculus 17.22-7.
^ Arrian, Anabasis 2.1-2, Diodorus Siculus 17.29.2.
^ a b c Inscriptiones Graecae XII (2) 526 ( OGIS 8 ).
^ Arrian, Anabasis 3.2.6-7, Curtius 4.8.11.
^ Theophrastus, testimonium 33A-B in W. W. Fortenbaugh et al. (eds.),
Theophrastus of Eresos: Sources for his Life, Writings, Thought, and
Influence, vol. 1 (1992).
^ Antigonus is the authority to whom they appeal in c. 306-301
regarding their exiles: Inscriptiones Graecae XII (2) 526 ( OGIS 8.C
^ The exact chronology is disputed by scholars: see R. Bagnall, The
Administration of the Ptolemaic Possessions Outside Egypt (1976), P.
Brun, 'Les Lagides à Lesbos: essai de chronologie' Zeitschrift für
Papyrologie und Epigraphik 85 (1991) 99-113, Ph. Gauthier, Bulletin
épigraphique (1992) no. 343.
^ Inscriptiones Graecae XII (2) 527 (c. 221-205 BCE), 528 (c. 175-150
BCE), Supplementum 122 (c. 209-205 BCE), 125 (late 3rd century BCE).
^ Inscriptiones Graecae XII Supplementum 120 (190s BCE).
^ L. Robert, 'Inscriptions de Lesbos' Opera Minora Selecta 2.801-31,
G. Labarre, 'Κοινὸν Λεσβίων' Revue des études anciennes
96.3-4 (1994) 415–46, G. Labarre, Les cités de
Lesbos aux époques
hellénistique et impériale (1996) 70-4, 137-45 H. J. Mason, Phoenix
52 (1998) 175.
^ Inscriptiones Graecae XII Supplementum 127. W. Mack, 'The Eresian
catalogue of proxenoi (IG XII Suppl. 127)' Zeitschrift für
Papyrologie und Epigraphik 180 (2012) 219, 223.
^ Inscriptiones Graecae XII Supplementum 123, 692.
^ Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien Bd. 59, no. 136
(23-22 BCE); Inscriptiones Graecae XII Supplementum 124 (c. 1-4 CE).
^ Damarchos son of Leon: Inscriptions Graecae XII (2) 539-42 (reigns
Augustus and Tiberius). His grandson,
Tiberius Claudius Damarchos
son of Leon, was a Roman citizen: Inscriptions Graecae XII (2) 549 (c.
^ Letter: Inscriptiones Graecae XII (2) 531. Varus: Supplementum
Epigraphicum Graecum 52.770. Quinctilii of Eresos: Inscriptiones
Graecae XII Supplementum 47 (1st or 2nd century CE).
^ Inscriptiones Graecae XII (2) 531, 536-45, 548-9, 562, 565-6, 573,
Inscriptiones Graecae XII Supplementum 47, 123-4, 127-8, 130, 693.
^ Eric Salmon, Is the Theatre Still Dying?, Greenwood Press (1985)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eresos.
"Theophrastos" Association of all over the World Eresians
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Calendar of Lesvos
Subdivisions of the municipality of Lesbos
Municipal unit of Agia Paraskevi
Municipal unit of Agiasos
Municipal unit of Eresos-Antissa
Municipal unit of Evergetoulas
Municipal unit of Gera
Municipal unit of Kalloni
Municipal unit of Loutropoli Thermis
Municipal unit of Mantamados
Municipal unit of Mithymna
Municipal unit of Mytilene
Municipal unit of Petra
Municipal unit of Plomari
Municipal unit of Polichnitos