Archeology IV Picture

Eretria – Greece.

The earliest surviving mention of Eretria was by Homer (Iliad), who listed Eretria as one of the Greek cities which sent ships to the Trojan War. In the 8th century BC, Eretria and her near neighbour and rival, Chalcis, were both powerful and prosperous trading cities, and the Eretrians controlled the Aegean islands of Andros, Tenos and Ceos. They also held lands in Boeotia on the Greek mainland. At the end of the 8th century, however, Eretria and Chalcis fought the Lelantine War. Little is known of the details of this war, but it is clear that Eretria was defeated, and lost her lands in Boeotia and her Aegean dependencies. Neither Eretria nor Chalcis ever again counted for much in Greek politics. As a result of this defeat, Eretria turned to colonisation. She planted colonies in the northern Aegean, on the coast of Macedon (Macedonia – Northern Greece), and also in Italy and Sicily. The Eretreans were Ionians, and were thus natural allies of Athens. When the Ionian Greeks in Asia Minor rebelled against Persia in 499, Eretria joined Athens in sending aid to the rebels. As a result, Darius made a point of punishing Eretria during his invasion of Greece. In 490 the city was sacked and burned by the Persians. During the 5th century the whole of Euboea became part of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire. During the Peloponnesian War Eretria was an Athenian ally against her Dorian rivals Sparta and Corinth. But soon the Eretrians, along with the rest of the Empire, found Athenian domination oppressive. When the Spartans defeated the Athenians at the battle of Eretria in 411, the Euboian cities all rebelled. After her eventual defeat by Sparta, Athens soon recovered, and re-established her hegemony over Euboea, which was an essential source of grain for the urban population. The Eretrians rebelled again in 349, and this time the Athenians could not recover control. In 343 supporters of Philip II of Macedon gained control of the city, but the Athenians under Demosthenes recaptured it in 341. The Battle of Chaeronea in 338, in which Philip defeated the combined forces of Athens and Thebes, securing Macedonian hegemony, and Eretria dwindled to become a provincial town. In 198 it was plundered by the Romans. In 87 it was finally destroyed in the Mithridatic Wars and abandoned. (Source: wikipedia).

Copyright 2007 Jordan Kevrekidis

See also:

Archeology II

Archeology III

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