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Eretria (Municipality, Greece)


Last modified: 2014-10-25 by ivan sache
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Flag of Eretria - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 28 September 2013

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Presentation of Eretria

The municipality of Eretria (13,053 inhabitants in 2011; 17,000 ha) was established by the 2011 local government reform as the merger of the former municipalities of Amarynthos (Αμάρυνθος, 6,723 inh.) and Eretria (6,330 inh.).
Eretria (lit. "Town of the Rowers") is located in Euboea, facing the coast of Attica across the Euboean Gulf.

Eretria was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC. Excavations of the ancient city began in the 1890s and have been conducted since 1964 by the Greek Archaeological Service (11th Ephorate of Antiquities) and the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece.
The first evidence for human activity in the area of Eretria are pottery shards and stone artefacts from the late Neolithic period (3500-3000 BC) found on the acropolis as well as in the plain. The first known settlement from the Early Helladic period (3000-2000 BC) was located in the plain. It was moved to the top of the Acropolis in the Middle Helladic period (2000-1600 BC), because the plain was flooded by the nearby lagoon. In the Late Helladic period (1600-1100 BC), the population dwindled and the site was abandoned during the Dark Ages.
The city was probably founded as the harbour of Lefkandi (located 15 km to the west). Eretria's population and importance increased at the same time as Lefkandi began to decline in importance from c. 825 BC onwards. Homer 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. Eretria controlled the Aegean islands of Andros, Tenos and Ceos. They also held territory in Boeotia on the Greek mainland. Eretria was also involved in the Greek colonisation and founded the colonies of Pithekoussai and Cumae in Italy together with Chalcis. At the end of the 8th century BC, however, Eretria and Chalcis fought (Lelantine War) for control of the fertile Lelantine plain, and Eretria was defeated. As a result of this defeat, Eretria turned to colonisation and planted colonies in the northern Aegean, on the coast of Macedon, in Italy and Sicily.

Having supported the Ionian Greeks when they rebelled against Persia in 499 BC, Eretria was sacked and burned by the Persians in 490 BC and the population was deported to Mesopotamia. The temple of Apollo, built around 510 BC, was destroyed by the Persians. Eretria was rebuilt shortly afterwards and took part in the Battle of Plataea (479 BC). During the 5th century BC Euboea became part of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire. Eretria and other cities of Euboea rebelled unsuccessfully against Athens in 446 BC. During the Peloponnesian War Eretria was an Athenian ally against Sparta and Corinth. But when the Spartans defeated the Athenians at the Battle of Eretria in 411 BC, the Euboean cities all rebelled.
In 404 BC, Athens soon recovered and re-established her hegemony over Euboea. The Eretrians rebelled again in 349 BC and this time the Athenians could not recover control. In 343 BC supporters of Philip II of Macedon gained control of the city, but the Athenians under Demosthenes recaptured it in 341 BC.
The Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, in which Philip defeated the combined armies of the Greeks, marked the end of the Greek cities as independent states and Eretria dwindled to become a provincial town. In 198 BC it was plundered by the Romans. In 87 BC it was finally destroyed in the Mithridatic Wars and abandoned.

Olivier Touzeau, 28 September 2013

Flag of Eretria

The new municipality of Eretria uses the same flag (photo, July 2013) as the former municipality.
The flag (Kokkonis website) is white with the municipal seal - featuring a boat on the sea - and name in blue.

Olivier Touzeau, 28 September 2013