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According to Greek mythology, the palace of Thetis, mother of Achilles, king of Phthia, was situated between Imbros and Samothrace. The stables of the winged horses of Poseidon were said to lie between Imbros and Tenedos.
Homer, in The Iliad wrote:
In the depths of the sea on the cliff
Between Tenedos and craggy Imbros
There is a cave, wide gaping
Poseidon who made the earth tremble,
stopped the horses there.
Eëtion, a lord of or ruler over the island of Imbros is also mentioned in the Iliad. He buys Priam’s captured son Lycaon and restores him to his father.
For ancient Greeks, the islands of Lemnos and Imbros were sacred to Hephaestus, god of metallurgy, and on ancient coins of Imbros an ithyphallic Hephaestus appears. In classical antiquity, Imbros, like Lemnos, was an Athenian cleruchy, a colony whose settlers retained Athenian citizenship; although since the Imbrians appear on the Athenian tribute lists, there may have been a division with the native population. The original inhabitants of Imbros were Pelasgians, as mentioned by Herodotus in The Histories.
Miltiades conquered the island from Persia after the battle of Salamis; the colony was established about 450 BC, during the first Athenian empire, and was retained by Athens (with brief exceptions) for the next six centuries. Thucydides, in his History of the Peloponnesian War describes the colonization of Imbros, and at several places in his narrative mentions the contribution of Imbrians in support of Athens during various military actions.
He also recounts the escape of an Athenian squadron to Imbros. In the late 2nd century A.D., the island may have become independent under Septimius Severus.