Thursday, January 30, 2014

Molyvos, Lesvos Greece:

Molyvos, Lesvos Greece

Mithymna is a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit.The second most important town of the island, it is located NE of Eressos, N of Plomari and NW of Mytilene.The town is on the northern part of the island, just some 6 km north of the popular beach town of Petra. One of the most noticeable features of the town is the old Genoese fortress on the hill in the middle of the town.The municipal unit of Míthymna stretches eastward from the town along the northern part of the island; it is the island's smallest municipal unit in land area at 50.166 km². Its population was 2,433 at the 2001 census. The next largest towns in the municipal unit are Árgennos and Sykaminéa.As Methymna, the city was once the prosperous second city of Lesbos, with a founding myth that identified an eponymous Methymna, the daughter of Macar and married to the personification of Lesbos.Very little is known about Methymna in the Archaic period. The story of Arion and the dolphin, which involves the Corinthian tyrant Periander and is evidently set at the turn of the 7th century BCE, suggests that Methymna was already a prominent city with far-reaching contacts across the Greek world at this period.Herodotus tells us that at some point in the Archaic period, Methymna enslaved the city of Arisba on Lesbos: this will have greatly increased the territory of Methymna, as well as giving it access to the fertile land around the Gulf of Kalloni.We are also told by a local historian, Myrsilus of Methymna, who wrote in the first half of the 3rd century BCE, that Methymna founded the city of Assos which was on the coast of Asia Minor opposite Methymna.However, another local historian, Hellanicus of Mytilene, writing in the mid-5th century BCE, instead simply says Assos was an Aeolian foundation and does not specify a particular city as its founder.This has led some historians to doubt Myrsilus, and instead suggest that this is an example of "local Methymnaean manipulation of the past", although this could equally be true of Hellanicus.Methymna had a long-standing rivalry with Mytilene, and during the Peloponnesian War it sided with Athens during the Mytilenaean revolt in 428 BCE when all the other cities of Lesbos sided with Mytilene.When the Athenians put down the revolt the following year, only Methymna was spared from having its territory turned into a cleruchy.After 427, Methymna and Chios were the only members of the Delian League to remain self-governing and exempt from tribute, indicating the privileged position Methymna held within the Athenian Empire.Methymna was briefly captured by the Spartans in summer 412, before quickly being retaken by the Athenians: in describing this episode, the historian Thucydides indicates that the Methymnaeans were much more inclined to side with Athens than Sparta.This was likewise the case in 411, when a group of Methymnaeans who were in exile at Cyme in Aeolis attempted to return to Methymna by force, but were rebuffed by the population.When the Spartan commander Kallikratidas besieged Methymna in 406, the city stayed loyal to its Athenian garrison and held out until it was betrayed by several traitors.Our knowledge of the history of Methymna in the 4th century is limited, but its prominence as a polis is firmly attested by the city's silver and bronze coinage.[14] By at least the 340s BCE, the tyrant Kleommis had expelled the city's democrats and remained in power for the next decade.We do not know what happened to Kleommis after this, although it is likely that he was expelled when the island fell to Philip II's generals Parmenio and Attalus in 336.[16] The political history of the following four years are poorly attested: we know that Lesbos changed hands several times between the Macedonian forces of Alexander the Great and the Persian forces of Memnon of Rhodes, that Memnon captured Methymna in 333 BCE, and that when Alexander's admiral Hegelochus recaptured Methymna in 332 BCE its tyrant was Aristonicus not Kleommis.However, it is not clear whether Aristonicus was made tyrant when the Persians recaptured Methymna in 335, or whether Kleommis was re-installed and Aristonicus only made tyrant in 333. Whatever the case, in 332 Alexander gave Aristonicus over to the newly restored Methymnaean democracy to try, and he was found guilty and put to death by torture.



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