The Nisyrian History

Despite its explosive past, Nisyros has been inhabited since prehistoric times, when the first inhabitants of this island were the pre-Hellenic Pelasgians, followed by the Kares, the Kos people, the Thessalians and the Rhodes people. During 4th century BC the island thrived and evolved to an autonomous ‘city-state’, cutting its own coin.

Palaiokastro, the capital’s fortress castle and one of the best preserved fortifications of the ancient world, dates back to the same period and it was protecting one of the most impressive villages. This was the ancient Acropolis of Nisyros, with a history of 2.600 years. In 200 BC the island surrendered to Rhodes and in 197 BC fell to the Romans.

During early Byzantine period (324-610) Nisyros was threatened by the Sarakinian corsairs, followed by the proselytism to the Christian religion, while for the middle Byzantine period (210-1081) there is lack of information.

At the beginning of the 14th century (1309) knights from Ioannina seized the island. They built the castle above Mandraki in 1315, along with four other fortresses and they stayed on the island until 1522, when the Ottomans arrived and dominated until 1912. Afterwards the island came to the Italians until the year 1948, when the Dodecanese joined the Hellenic State.

Nisyrian History
Timeline Highlights

Trojan War

Nisyros together with Kos, Karpathos, Kalymnos and Kasos, took part in the Trojan Campaign with thirty ships, under the orders of Pheidippos and Antiphos, sons of the Herakleid Thessalos

7th - 6th c. BC

The finds from the cemeteries of Nisyros bear witness to the island’s economic and artistic heyday. At the end of this period the Greek cities of Asia Minor and the islands were subjugated by the Persian Empire

480 BC

Together with Kalymnos and Kos, Nisyros takes part in the naval battle of Salamis, on the side of the Persians, under Artemisia of Halikarnassos

5th c. BC

Nisryos appears as a member of the First Athenian League, in the tribute lists, under the category of “Ionian” or “island” tax. After the defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War, the island was politically dependent on Sparta

394 BC

Nisyros was relieved of Spartan dependence

355 - 332 BC

For a brief interval, the island was under the control of Mausolos, satrap of Karia, together with Rhodes, Kos and Kalymnos

4rd - 3rd c. BC

Nisyros did not participate in the Second Athenian League. For about 200 years it was an independent state, issued decrees and minted its own coinage.

Late 3rd c. BC

The wars of the successors (Diadochoi) of Alexander the Great for control of the Aegean brought the Macedonian king Philip V’s brief sovereignty over Nisyros (First Cretan War -Second Macedonian War)

200 BC

Incorporation of Nisyros in the Rhodian State

197 BC

Romans, aided by the Rhodians, defeat Philip V at Cynoscephalae in Thessaly

1st c. BC - 3rd c. AD

Following the fortunes of Rhodes, Nisyros was yoked to the chariot of the Roman Empire

4th - 7th c. AD

Early Christian period

8th c. - 1314 AD

Byzantine period

1314-1522 AD

Hospitaler period

1523-1912 AD

Ottoman period