Monday, 2 January 2017

The Gold Mines of Sifnos

Sifnos was first inhabited by Carrians and Phoenicians who called the island Akis and Meropie. The later inhabitants came from Ionia and they named the island Siphnos around 1000 BCE. The island prospered in Archaic times thanks to its prolific gold and silver mines.

In 524 BC, a group of pirates set sail for Sifnos. They robbed the island of 100 talents of gold, an unfathomable sum at the time. In the ancient world, a talent was a unit of weight equivalent to 26 kilograms, or about 836 troy ounces.
The island enjoyed relative prosperity long after its gold and silver mines were flooded, all the way up to the Byzantine years. Subsequently it became the subject of the Duchy of Naxos after the crusaders captured Constantinople in the 13th century, and later it came under the control of the Despotic Da Coronia. Later, Sifnos was captured and held by the Turks until 1821 when it joined the Greek revolution against the Ottoman occupation.