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History of Milos

In Milos  island the goddess Venus was worshipped in a special manner. One of the most admirable objects of worshipping and a wonderful piece of Art, the Aphrodite (Venus) of Milos  island, which was discovered in 1820 in a cave in Plaka of Milos  island and is considered a work of art of the Hellenistic years, decorates today the Museum of Louvre. A copy of the statue stands in the Archaeological Museum. Legend reports that Milos  island was the name of the first emigrant who was sent by the goddess Venus to the island. The Neolithic era had only just begun when people braved the Aegean in papyrus boats to mine the island's veins of obsidian, a hard black volcanic glass suitable for making tools.Until the recent discovery of the Mesolithic settlement in Kythnos, Milos  island laid claim to the oldest town in the Cyclades, at Phylacope, settled by either Phoenecians or Cypriots. Under Minoan and later Mycenean rule the island became rich from trading obsidian all over the Mediterranean. During the Peloponnesian war Milos  island sided with Sparta. When the Athenians made war in the east, the Milians refused to fight alongside them. Athens sent envoys to Milos  island to change their minds. Their famous discussion, "the Milian Dialogue", included in the fifth chapter of Thucydides, one of the most moving passages in classical history. When Milos  island still refused to cooperate, the Athenians besieged the island, and when the Milians unconditionally surrendered they massacred all men of fighting age, enslaved all the women and children, and resettled the island with colonists from Athens. Aided by the Spartans, the surviving Milians managed to return to their island and expel the Athenians. Milos  island prospered again especially during the Hellenistic period. The existence of the catacombs in Milos  island shows that Christianity was established very early in the island and that Milos  island provided a bridge for the transmission of Christianity from Asia through Jewish traders. There was a prosperous Jewish community in Milos  island based on the trade in Milian minerals. In the Byzantine Age, Milos  island, was victimized by its isolation in the Aegean. Pirates found it an easy target. Milos  island met the same sorry fate as the other Byzantine provinces following their conquest by the Crusaders. The Venetians took control until 1566, when Turks seized all of the Cyclades. The island became a nest of pirates, who used it as a trading centre.
Milos  island was one of the first islands that took part in the revolution of 1821 against the Turks. In 1836 Cretan war refugees from Sfakia founded the village Adamas, the present port. During the Crimean War the French navy docked in the harbour of Milos  island and left many monuments, as they did during the First World War. During the Second World War Milos  island was under German occupation from May 1941 until May 1945.

 

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