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The colonies of Andros: towards a socio-economic history of Sane, Akanthos, Stagira, and Argilos
Thesis or Dissertation
1998-04 (degree granted: 1999-03-11)
The present study on the colonies of Andros is driven by the need to increase our knowledge of the northern colonies as a whole. Northern Greece is the least well documented of the regions which were reached by the 8th and 7th c. B.C. Greek colonists. Not only does the study of the Andrian colonies augment the available documentation on the northern Greeks, it also provides an opportunity to examine one mother-city's overall colonization process. Through the sum of ancient sources and archaeological data pertaining to the four Andrian colonies, the study attempts to lay out the socio-economic history of the colonies as a whole and as separate entities. Such aspects as: 1) The foundation dates; the colonization process; 2) the relations with the indigenous populations; and 3) the economic relations with the other Greek colonies in the region, as well as the major centers of the Greek mainland, are examined. There is first question of the colonizing enterprises undertaken by Eretria, Chalcis, and Paros so that a general understanding of the overall colonization of the northern Aegean coast can be obtained. The resulting synthesis helps fill in the gaps in the history of the Andrian colonies caused by the lack of primary sources for the latter, whether they be literary or archaeological. The socio-economic history of the colonies from the time of their foundation to the end of the 5th c. B.C. which is based on the analysis of the preliminary study of the Parian and Euboean colonization in the north, the ancient sources, and the archaeological remnants, taken in conjunction with what is known of the indigenous population, is the end result of the study. Though literary sources date the foundation of the colonies to 655/54, based on the archaeological evidence available, it is established that the colonies were founded within the 3rd quarter of the 7th c. B.C. An orderly pattern of colonization seems to have prevailed in that the colonies were established successively in accordance with the previous colonization efforts by the city-states of Euboea and the pre-established sea route the geographical emplacement of Andros imposes. Therefore, Sane, situated on the isthmus of Acte, and apparently colonized with the help of the Chalcidians, was the first to be settled, then came in order, Akanthos, Stagira, Argilos, and perhaps Tragilos. It is concluded, with relative probability, That Tragilos was also an Andrian colony established in the lst half of the 6th century. It has also been deemed highly probable that the colonies, after the initial foundation of Sane, were in part settled by land and that Thracian tribes, residing at both extremities of the Andrian periphery, undoubtedly contributed in the actual colonization process. The 6th and 5th centuries witnessed the gradual increase of commercial importance of the northern colonies reflected, in the lst half of the 6th c. by the influx of Corinthian pottery, no doubt due to the foundation of Potidaea, and of Thasian pottery. The trend of growing commercial interactions is characterized in the 2nd half of the 6th c. with the marked presence of Athenian pottery and the start of coining at three of the four colonies. Spurred by the Persian and general eastern demand for silver, Stagira and Akanthos began to mint coins around 530 B.C. while Argilos, which never seemed to have direct access to silver mines, only began around 510 B.C. The fact that Sane seems to have remained coinless throughout its existence suggests that it was primarily a settlement of an agricultural nature and that Akanthos may actually have exerted a hegemony of sorts over it. Strong bonds with the east meant that the Akanthian coin production was dominant in the area as of the end of the last Persian War until their production ceased in 380 B.C., ousting Stagira out of the picture during the course of this period. Argilos ceased production as of the middle of the 5th century which is to be attributed to a shift in Athenian interest in the region represented by the drop of the tribute to be paid to Athens by Argilos from 10.5 talents to 1 talent in 116/5, the increase from 3 talents to 30 talents in the Thasian tribute for the same year, the foundation of Amphipolis, and the Athenian presence at Berge which has been closely linked to the minting of coins at Tragil os. As the Athenian empire began to dwindle following the Peloponnesian Wars, the history of the colonies becomes intertwined with that of the growing Macedonian power which, by the middle of the 4th century would control the entire region. Overall, it would seem that Sane was commercially inactive throughout its existence, Stagira was able to exploit and profit from the nearby silver mines from the middle of the 6th c. until about 480 when it gradually started to lose importance to Akanthos, which remained a strong and independent city well into the 4th century, while Argilos, though probably more important than Akanthos for part of the 5th c., regretfully became insignificant, especially after the foundation of Amphipolis in 437 B.C.