Ikaria
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The history of the island of Ikaria in Greece

Ikaria 's ancient island names were Dolichi and Ichthyoessa, the latter referring to the richness of the fishstocks of the island. However, the island later became associated with the Greek myth of Ikarus and its name was subsequently changed to Ikaria. According to mythology the name of the island derives from Ikaros, who escaped from the labyrinth of king Minos of Crete, and who flew too close to the sun with his wings made of wax, making the wax melt. He fell into the sea near the island of Ikaria. According to the myth of Ikarus, Daedalus was a famous craftsman and prisoner of King Minos on Crete. In an attempt to escape from King Minos his imprisonment, Daedalus made two sets of wings, one for himself and one for his son, Ikarus. They attached the wings to their backs with wax and secretly flew away, heading toward Athens out over the sea. However, nearing an island, Ikarus became excited by the view and flew too close to the sun. The wax of his wings melted and he plunged into the sea and drowned. The surrounding sea was thus named after him, Ikario Pelagos, and the island was called Ikaria.

In the seventh century BC Ikaria was already inhabited and in the 6th century BC the island became one with Samos island. After the Persian wars Ikaria became a member of the Delian alliance (alliance of the island of Delos). After the Peloponnesian wars the island decayed and became a target for pirats. At the end of the 4th century BC Ikaria joined forces with Athens. Around 230 BC Ikaria became a part of the Roman Empire. Between the 5th and the 12th century the island was part of the Byzantine empire, and towards the end of this it was regularly targetted by pirats. After the fall of the Byzantine empire in 1204 it became part of Constantinopel, and than after that it came into the hands of Genua (14th century) and the Knighs of St. John untill 1521, when the island was occupied by the Turks. In spite of the resistance of the inhabitants the island only became officially a part of Greece again in 1912.


Hans Huisman, http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/ 2014
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