1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Naxos (Cyclades)

NAXOS, the largest of the Cyclades (about 22 m. by 16 m.), a fertile island in the Aegean Sea, east of Paros, with which, and adjacent smaller islands, it forms an eparchia. In ancient times it was also called Dia or Strongyle. It was rich in vines and famous for its wine, and a centre of the worship of Bacchus. The god found Ariadne asleep on its shore, when she was deserted by Theseus. The sculptors of Naxos formed an important school of early Greek art; several unfinished colossal statues are still to be seen in the quarries, notably one in Apollona Bay, to the N.E. of the island. A tyrant Lygdamis ruled Naxos in alliance with Peisistratus of Athens during the 6th century B.C. In 501 a Persian fleet unsuccessfully attacked it, but in 490 it was captured and treated with great severity. Four Naxian ships took part in the expedition of Xerxes, but deserted and fought on the Greek side at Salamis in 480. Naxos was a member of the Delian League (q.v.); it revolted in 471, was captured by Athens, and remained in her possession till her empire was destroyed. In later times the most remarkable event was its capture, in A.D. 1207, by the Venetian Marco Sanudo, who founded the duchy of Naxos, which flourished till the Turks took the island in 1566. Since the War of Independence it has belonged to the Greek kingdom. The only ancient remains of any importance are those of a temple (Palati), supposed to be that of Dionysus, on an island just off the town. Naxos is still rich in fruit trees, and also exports corn, wine and oil, as well as emery, its richest and most important mineral product. Pop. (1907) 25,185 (province), 2064 (commune).