Skopelos:: HISTORY ::Mythology

Quick Navigation

Mythology

MYTHOLOGY. The ancient name of the island of Skopelos was Peparithos, from the name of Peparithos, brother of Stafylos, its first resident. This name is also mentioned in Thucydides.

Stafylos – first mythical resident of Skopelos (Peparithos) was son of Dionysus, the God of Fertility, Euphoria, the Vine and Wine, and Ariadne, daughter of the Minoas, King of Crete.

According to the myth, Thesseus, son of Aegeas, king of Athens, was sent to the King of Crete, along with 7 young boys and 7 young girls, so as to be sacrificed to the Minotaur (a strange creation of nature, half man, half monster), who lived in a labyrinth in the palace of Knossos on Crete. On Crete, Thesseus met

Ariadne, who falls in love with him and helps him, by giving him a ball of string so that he can find his way out of the labyrinth and be saved. Indeed, Thesseus kills the Minotaur, finds his way out, kidnaps Ariadne and leaves Crete, However, he leaves Ariadne behind on the island of Naxos. There, God Dionysus finds

Ariadne, falls in love with her and transfers her to Limnos. There, Ariadne and Dionysus have four sons; Thoantas, Inopionas, Staphylos and Peparithos.

The above myth – as well as other relevant ones, confirm the view that Skopelos was lived on by Minoan residents, that there was a Minoan colony in the years of Cretan-Minoan prosperity, that there were contacts and relations with Cyclades islands, the Northern Aegean and Asia Minor, but also with Argolida, centre of the Mycenae civilization. It also confirms the oriental origina origins of Dionysean worship, that coincides with the beginning of vine cultivation in the Greek territory.

Archaeological findings on Skopelos confirm the myth of King Stafylos in the best manner; notable traces of the Mycenae era have been found on the south-east side of Skopelos. More specifically, there is a peninsula on the edge of the Stafylos bay. The grave of King Stafylos has been discovered at the edge of the peninsula, together with his sword, which is considered one of the most important specimens of art in the Mycenae and Minoan period. Stafylos sword, with its 32 cm golden handle, was found in a shaft grave with other Cretan-Minoan findings by archaeologist N. Platonas during a dig in 1936. The grave has been attributed to the mythical hero Stafylos. Probably the most convincing indication for the identity of the grave is the name of the area, which has remained unchanged for millennia. The sword is kept at the Archaeological Museum of Athens.

The ancient name Peparithos, with the –thos ending, refers us to pre-hellenic times; it is, thus, possible for Skopelos to have initially been resided by Kares from Asia Minor, followed by Minoans and Mycenaeans. There have been traces of Mycenaean era houses found at Stafylos, at the foot of mount Palouki, where Stafylos built his kingdom, in todays capital Skopelos and the area of Glossa, on the north-west side of the island.

Around the 8th –or beginning of the 7th c.- the settlement of Stafylos is abandoned and the towns Panormos (in the bay with the same name on the south-west of the island), Selinous (Loutraki nowadays) and Peparithos (in the place of the current town of Skopelos).