Mythology & History of Mithymna
The Pelasgians are reported to have been the first settlers on Lesbos island, under the reign of King Makara and his daughters, Mytilana, Methymna, Antissa, Arisba and Eresus. Lesbos, a heroic figure from Thessaly was married to Methymna, after which the town was named. The Aeolic form of the name, which appears on coins and inscriptions, is Mathemna. The Attican form of the name, which ultimately prevailed on Lesbos as early as the Hellenistic Time, is Mythemna or Mythemni.
The Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Geometric Period:
Recent research revealed indications that not only Mythemna but the whole island was inhabited during the Prehistoric Times. However, "polis" in the historical sense of the term, were built with the arrival of the Aeolians. According to existing sources, Mithymna was founded between 1140 and 1053 BC. From as early as the 8th century BC, Mytilena and Mithymna were the most influential towns on Lesbos.
The Archaic Period:
Mithymna knows rapid development and establishes itself as the second most influential town in the agricultural, commercial, maritime, military and cultural sector. Mithymna does trade with Thrace, the Hellispondo and the opposite Trojian coastal zone. Myrsilos refers to Assos, in Asia Minor as "Mythemnaion ktisma" (built by Mythemnians).
From 480 BC Mythemna has its own mind. Mithymna flourishes during the 7th and 6th century BC and competitiveness between the town and Mytilene grows.
Classical Period (480-323 BC):
In 479 BC Mithymna is liberated from the Persians and joins the 1st Athenian Alliance.
During the Peloponnesian War Mithymna sides up with Athens.
In 428 BC every "polis" on Lesbos except Mithymna apostatizes from the Athenian Alliance. In 406 BC the city is conquered by the Spartans, who impose the oligarchy.
The Antalkideia Peace Treaty was signed in 386 BC. In 377 BC Mithymna joins the 2nd Athenian Alliance.
In 333 BC the Persians and Macedonians take the city by storm. One year after the beginning of Alexandra the Great's expedition, the Persians and Macedonians liberate the city and place it under their protection.
The Hellenistic and Roman Rule:
In 167 BC the Antissa area is incorporated by Mithymna. Thus, its territory extends some 631 Km*.
In 120 BC Mithymna capitulates with Rome. During the Roman Empire, Mithymna and the Lesbos island in general, enjoy a period of autonomy and economic prosperity.
Byzantine Era and the Reign of the Cattilusio family:
During the 2nd century AD Lesbos accepts the Christian faith. During the Byzantine period Mithymna suffers a series of raids. As a result, the population declines rapidly.
Between 1355 - 1462 the Gattilusio family establishes itself on the island and rules peacefully. Mithymna benefits in many ways from these peaceful rulers.
Ottoman Turk Occupation:
From 1462 - 1912 Lesbos forms part of the Ottoman Empire. When the Ottoman Turks are defeated by the Russians (1768-1774), shipping and trade flourish on the island and in Mithymna. The people of Lesbos, who controlled virtually all the fields of economic activity (shipping, trade, small industry), were merely nominal subjects of a declining Ottoman Empire. The flourishing economy brought on a boom to intellectual activity.
In 1912 the island was liberated once and for all from the Turks. Greek rights to the island were acknowledged by the Chevronne Treaty and the Lausanne Treaty signed in 1923.
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