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Ancient era

Naxos was one of the major centres of the Cycladic culture. Around 3000BC, the main settlements appear to have been near Hora, on the hill of Kastro and at Grotta. The island was later colonised by a party from Karia, led by a son of Apollo named Naxos.

Naxos was one of the first islands to work in marble and in the Archaic period produced the lions of Delos and Kouroi statues of increadible size. Indeed, for a period, huge was beautiful on Naxos; in 523BC the tyrant Lygdamis declared he would make Naxos' buildings the highest and most glorious in all Greece, although only the massive lintel from the gate of the Temple of Apollo remains on the islet of Palatia (in Naxos Town).

As with most of the islands Naxos declined in importance in the Classical age.

In Hellinistic times it was governed by Ptolemy of Egypt.

Venetian Occupation

Naxos makes history in 1207 when the Venetian Marco Sanudo captured the island's chief Byzantine castle, T'aparilou, and declared himself Duke of Naxos, ruler over all the adventures who had grabbed the Aegean Islands after the conquest in Constantinopole.

When Venice refused to grant Sanudo the independent status he desired, he broke away in 1210 and became the Latin Emperor's Duke of the Archipelago. Archipelago was the Byzantine name for the Agean; under Sanudo and his successors, it took on the meaning, 'a group of islands', in this case the Cyclades. Even after the Turkish conquest in 1564 the Dukes of Naxos remained in nominal control of Cyclades, although anwerable to the Sultan.


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