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Amorgos history

Along with several neighboring islets, the largest of which is Nikouria Island, it comprises the municipality of Amorgos, which has a land area of 126.346 square kilometres (48.782 square miles), and a population of 1,973 (2011 census).

Due to Amorgos' position opposite the ancient beaches of Ionian towns, such as Militos, Alikarnassos and Ephesos, it became one of the first places from which the Ionians passed through to the Cyclades Islands and onto the Greek mainland.

Throughout history, Amorgos was also known as Yperia, Patagy, or Platagy, Pagali, Psichia and Karkisia.

Amorgos features a lot of remnants of ancient civilizations. At the time of Archaic Greece, there were three independent city-states there. They are believed to have featured autonomous constitutions but the same currency. Amorgos is distinguished by the size and quality of the walls surrounding the city of Arkesini, by the ancient towers whose remains are scattered all over the island, by the ancient tombs, the stone tools, the inscriptions, the vases and by other antiquities.

Due to the name Minoa we suspect that Amorgos had been colonised by the Cretans from ancient times,[citation needed] but there are no archeological remains supporting this view.

Early Cycladic period

Dokathismata figurine, Early Cycladic II, Syros phase (2800-2300 BC). Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art
Almost a dozen separate inhabited centres are known in this period. Amorgos is the origin of many famous Cycladic figurines. ‘Dokathismata style’ figurines were originally found here. Cycladic sculptures had been discovered from the cemeteries at Aghia Paraskevi, Aghios Pavlos, Dokathismata, Kapros, Kapsala, Nikouria and Stavros.

'Kapsala Cycladic figurines', dating around 2700 B.C., are named after a find place in Amorgos. This is the earliest of the 'canonical types' -- a reclining female with folded arms. They tend to have slender and elongated proportions. At this time, anatomical features such as arms are modeled three-dimensionally. With the later types, sculptors tended to render this feature with incised lines.

'Dokathismata Cycladic figurines' date from a somewhat later period of 2400-2100 BC. Compared to the statuettes of the Spedos type -- the most common and renowned type of figurines featuring finely modeled and somewhat rounded shapes -- the statuettes of the Dokathismata type tend to have a more slender and sometimes angular silhouette.

Classical period

Part of the island is named Aspis, where the ancient temple of the goddess Aphrodite stood.

In approximately 630 BC, the poet Semonides led the foundation of a Samian colony on Amorgos. With the passing of time, the island's name changed to Amolgon, Amourgon, Amorgian, and Amourgian. After the 5th century one can also find the name Amoulgos from Bishop Theodore who signed a Synod in Constantinople, as Theodore the Bishop of Parion, Sifnion, and Amoulgion. Skilax mentions it as Tripoli (the circumnavigation of the Cyclades Islands). It was known as "Yamurgi" during Ottoman rule between 1566-1829.

On 9 July 1953, a very powerful earthquake (7.5 on the Richter scale) with a consequent Tsunami at a height of circa 20m resulted in the deaths of 53 people.

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