Ο τάφος της Ποθητής.

Kasos (/ˈkɑːsoʊs/; also Kassos; Greek: Κάσος) is a Greek island municipality in the Dodecanese. It is the southernmost island in the Aegean Sea, and is part of the Karpathos regional unit. As of 2011, its population was 1,084. The island has also been known in Italian as Caso, and Turkish as Kaşot
Kasos lies SW of Karpathos, between this island and Crete. Adjacent to the island is the Strait of Kasos, through which some of the Modified Atlantic Water enters the Sea of Crete. Its shape is elliptic and resembles that of Rhodes. The main island has a surface of 49 square kilometres (19 sq mi), and it is 17 km (11 mi) long and 6 km (4 mi) wide. It is very mountainous, its highest mount being Mt. Prionas, which is 550 metres (1,800 feet) high. There is fresh water on the island.

The municipality of Kasos includes several uninhabited offshore islands, the largest of which are Armathia and Makronisi. Its total land area is 69.464 square kilometres (26.820 sq mi). It has five villages, Fry (pronounced like "free", pop. 357), Agia Marina (444), Panagia (34), Poli (80), and Arvanitochori (169). Fry is the capital and home to the island's harbor, Agia Marina is most populous village. The airport is located close to Fry and is big enough for an ATR 42 to land.
Kasos is notable for its lack of large scale tourism, the quality of its fish, cheeses, and other culinary specialties, and its hospitality toward visitors.


he earliest traces of human habitation on the island date from the Final Neolithic/Early Bronze Age (4th and 3rd millennia BC). There are indications of permanent settlement, with strong Minoan influences, at the southwest end of the island, around the safe Khelastros bay, during the Middle and Late Bronze Age (until circa 1450 BC). In Mycenaean times the centre of activity was transferred to the north part of Kasos, to the naturally fortified site of Poli.

The first known settlements are Minoan and Mycenaean in origin. According to Homer (Iliad, 2.676), Kasos participating, along with other Dodecanesian islands, in the Trojan War.
Κάσος δὲ ταύτης μὲν ἀπὸ ἑβδομήκοντά ἐστι [p. 688] σταδίωντοῦ δὲΣαμωνίου τοῦ ἄκρου τῆς Κρήτης διακοσίων πεντήκοντακύκλον δὲ ἔχεισταδίων ὀγδοήκονταἔστι δ᾽ ἐν αὐτῇ καὶ πόλις ὁμώνυμοςκαὶ Κασίων νῆσοικαλούμεναι πλείους περὶ αὐτήν.Strabo. ed. A. Meineke, Geographica. Leipzig: Teubner. 1877
Casos is seventy stadia from Carpathos, and two hundred and fifty from Cape Samonium in Crete. It has a circuit of eighty stadia. In it there is also a city of the same name, and round it are several islands called Islands of the Casians.

Strabo. ed. H. L. Jones, The Geography of Strabo. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924. 
In historical times the ancient capital, also called Kasos according to Strabo, remained in the area of Poli, arround the hill of the Mycenaean citadel. Potsherds scattered over the hilltop date from the Final Neolithic/Early Bronze Age to the Early Christian period and attest to the continuous occupation of the site, which together with the strip of land linking it with the harbour at Emboreio constituted the principal settlement core on the island over the centuries.

In the 8th century BC it was conquered by Rhodes, and 300 years later it became member of the Athenian League when war against the Persians united almost all of Greece.

Kassians are mentioned for the first time in the Athenian Tribute lists of the 5th century BC, while the ethnic Kasos, written in Hellenistic inscriptions from beyond the bounds of the Rhodian state, point to the island’s independence in that period. Kassian emissaries (theoroi) are recorded on Delos in 275/4 BC and they are included in the list of independent cities, among which is Rhodes. Nonetheless, the presence of Late Hellenistic inscriptions with Rhodian deme-names indicates the eventual subjection of Kasos to the Rhodian state, which event must have taken place in the first half of the 2nd century BC. On present evidence, it seems that Kasos did not mint its own coinage but used the Rhodian. However, our knowledge of the history of Kasos during the period of incorporation into the Rhodian state, which is attested into Roman times, is limited.

During the Roman and Early Christian periods the main settlement on the island was apparently transferred to the coast around Emboreio bay, where there are traces of two Early Christian basilicas. Another two basilicas stood at Maritsa, to the east, while a fifth should be sought in the area of Panagia. The concentration of large public buildings of luxurious construction bears witness to the island’s prosperity in Early Christian times.

With the division of the Roman empire into provinces, in the reign of Diocletian (AD 284-305), Kasos was assigned to the XXVIII Provincia, the governor of which was based in Rhodes, to which the Episcopal Sees were subject too. With the division of the Byzantine state into Themata, however, Kasos was detached from the XVIII Thema of Kibyrrhaiotoi and included in the Thema of Crete. Information about the island in Byzantine and Medieval times is scant.History.

In 1207 the island was captured by the Venetians occupying Crete. In 1311 it was taken by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, but following the intervention of the pope, Kasos and Karpathos were returned to the possession of Venice in 1315, so remaining until 1537, when they were conquered by the Ottomans. Suleiman the Magnificent granted the Kasians self-government, in return for an annual tax (maktu) of 1,000 grossi. Kasos is referred to as a deserted island by travellers in the 16th century. Nonetheless, it was repopulated, as borne out by patriarchal documents of 1622, mentioning that it was removed from the Archbishopric of Karpathos and became a patriarchal eparchy, which was ceded to the patriarchal official Hyaleas. The new settlements of Arvanitochori and St. Marina were built inland, because of fear of raids by pirates, who from before the Sack of Constantinople (1204) and for the ensuing five centuries were the scourge of the islands. Throughout the centuries life continued in the settlement around the acropolis of Poli.

During the Middle Ages Kassos belonged to the Venetians, but it was really a pirate nest. When the Turks ruled the island in the 18th century, it was reputed as a flourishing island with a strong commercial fleet. Ironically for the Turks, this helped greatly in the war of Independence that started in 1821, since the island contributed to the Greek side with a fleet of over 80 ships.

The recent history of Kasos is characterized by periods of prosperity as well as by major catastrophes. From early times the inhabitants of this barren island turned to the sea and succeeded in enhancing Kasos as a flourishing maritime and mercantile centre. In the second half of the 17th century Kasos had 80-100 sailing ships, whose activities brought home significant profits. By the early 19th century, the Kasiot fleet of trading vessels numbered some 700, which were later turned into warships for the needs of the Greek Struggle for Independence.

1818: Kasos becomes a member of the Philike Hetaireia (Friendly Society).

1821: Kasos has a population of about 8,000. In April, revolutionary activity commences. In July, the fights for the liberation of Crete, and Kasos become a refuge for many Cretan civilians. It is then that the Egyptians decide to destroy the island.

During Classical Antiquity it closely followed the history of nearby Karpathos. In the Middle Ages, along with Karpathos, it was subjected from 1306 until 1537 to the Venetian Cornaro family, after which Kasos was conquered by the Ottoman Turks.

Kasos had been the first island to declare independence during the Greek Revolution and supported the cause with its fleet of ships. In 1824, Mehmet Ali, the Pasha of Egypt, furious with the Kasiots, dispatched his fleet to the island. The Egyptian armada burned the entire island and killed most of the population.

Kasos Massacre
The Kasos massacre was the massacre of Greek civilians during the Greek War of Independence by Ottoman forces.

On 7 June 1824, Mehmet Ali's men landed on Kasos and killed around 7,000 inhabitants. Reprisals were committed after the Greek Christian population rebelled against the Ottoman Empire; the island was burnt to the ground.

1829: Kasos temporarily under Greek governance. Those Kasiots who survived the destruction begin gradually to return to the island, whose economy is based on the few ships that have remained.

1830: After the end of the Greek War of Independence, Kasos remains under Ottoman rule, under the terms of the London Protocol.

1843: The Kasiot merchant fleet numbers over 75 ships.

1859: Many Kasiots emigrate to Egypt, to work on the construction of the Suez Canal.

1866: A new wave of emigrants from Kasos to Egypt.

1890: The countdown begins for the Kasiot sailing ships, after the development of stream-powered ships.

1908: Greek labourers on the Suez Canal found the “Phoenix” Mutual Assistance Society, which operated with the participation of many Kasiots, until 1918.

1912: The Italians capture Kasos, which was until then under Ottoman Occupation.

1914: World War I. Thriving Kasiot shipping suffers great losses in ships and manpower.

1919: 27 July. Venizelos-Tittoni Accord. Italy resigns her rights in the Dodecanese. Only Rhodes remains under Italian Occupation.

1920: July. The new Italian government headed by Giolitti denounces the agreement. 10 August. Treaty of Sevres on the Dodecanese. This treaty was to come into force after Turkey’s ratification of the Peace Treaty of Serves, something which never happened.

1923: Second period of Italian Occupation.

1945: The British in provisional control of the Dodecanese.

1947: The Dodecanese are liberated from the Italians and incorporated in Greece. The liberation is due to the many years of activity of the Central Executive Committee of Dodecanesian Unions, which was founded in Alexandria in 1923. On 7 March the Unification of Kasos with Greece is celebrated.

2001: The population of Kasos, once 12,000 in its heyday, is now only about 1,080.

The island's population recovered as did its economy, still largely based on shipping. The introduction of steam ships made Kasos' shipyard (which produced wooden sailing ships) redundant and its economy suffered accordingly. Beginning in the later half of the 19th century, many emigrated from Kasos, initially to Egypt (about 5,000 people), then to Istanbul, Greece, USA and South Africa. By the 1920s, out of about 2,300 houses on the island, only 400 were permanently inhabited.

Battle of Cassos
On 12 May 1912, during the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-12, after the so-called "Battle of Cassos" that took place on 29 January 1912, the island was occupied by the sailors of the Regia Marina ship Regina Elena. With the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, Kasos joined the other islands of the Dodecanese in the Italian possession of the Italian Aegean Islands, and was ceded by Italy to Greece with the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947. The island formally joined the Kingdom of Greece on 7 March 1948 together with the other Dodecanese islands.

Near the port Chelartos, in the south of the island, surface Minoan character finds (16th-15th c. BC) have been found.

Ancient Acropolis
The oldest settlement in Kasos is Polly. Built built at 200 altitude on a hill with its ancient citadel.

In Poli, in the Castle Hill, in the place of the ancient settlement of Kasos it is evident the defensive wall on the east side of the ancient Acropolis. From the citadel paved road leading to the ancient Emporios port.

Cave Ellinokamara Agia Marina
Located on the northern rocky slope of Mount Prophet Elias. In the cave were found remains of the Mycenaean and Middle Minoan period, Hellenistic and Roman and inscriptions of Linear A and B. The cave entrance is fortified with a wall that is dated to the Hellenistic period.

Other archaeological sites

On Ofrys positions (Fry) and Xelartos identified other sites of historical times, and one can read dedicatory inscriptions seamen engraved in the rock in place English letters. Emporio in the church of the Nativity of the Virgin is in the early Christian basilica with baptistery, which identifies fragments of mosaic floor. In front of the chapel of the Archangel Michael, between Fry and Emporio there early Christian mosaic floor.


Archaeological Museum of Kasos

In a specially designed area of ​​the old town hall of Fry the archaeological collection of Kasos and artifacts from the period of the Revolution of 1821.

Folklore Museum of Kasos

The Folklore Museum of Kassos is housed in an old house in Arvanitochori. Two rooms of the traditional Kasian house, the bedroom and the living room, representing life and accommodate everyday objects.

The traditional architecture of Kasos is almost identical to that of Karpathos, as the island worked almost exclusively the famous Carpathian craftsmen. Thus, in Kaso meet the simple one-room house with a small courtyard, embellished with "Chochlaka" black and white pebbles. The internal layout meets the functional needs of everyday life, with the characteristic presence of soufas, where the family slept, and elaborate array of dishes on wooden shelves on the walls. Despite the long period of Italian rule on the island, and unlike the rest of the Dodecanese, Italian architecture is limited to the Governor's building, where all public services are housed today. Impressive mountainous areas of Kassos the existence of Mitata improvised xirolithikon domed buildings that functioned as ephemeral dwellings for shepherds; these buildings to meet and Crete.

The musical tradition of KasosThe wealth of musical tradition of Kasos is impressively big regarding its size. The musical idiom of Kasos has been created by the exceptional result of the composition of influences from Crete and the Dodecanese, the old time and the West, as the island was a significant crossroad between Eastern and Westerner Mediterranean.

The musical instruments local people use, are mainly the Dodecanesean lyre and the lute. However the songs are totally special. “Skopoi” as Kasian people name them, are lyric in melody and simple in structure, avoiding the tendency to show-off, without however achieving it at all. Many Kasians are great folk masters. You can find it out every September at the international meeting of lyre and instruments with bow, organized in Kasos.

Music is an essential part of anyone living in Kasos. It has been a companion at moments of everyday routine, small or big, at time of joy but at the same time in pain and loss. Serenades are still alive and describe with rhyme and often derisive way, all the incidents taking place on the island.

Manolis Kalomoiris himself will observe the natural tendency of Kasian people to music: «Καταδεικνύεται όθεν, ότι οι Κάσιοι πάσης τάξεως και ηλικίας κατεγίνοντο πολύ εις την Μουσικήν δια την οποίαν φαίνεται είχον και ιδιαίτερον τάλαντον. Εις τας πολλάς του ασχολίας ο Κάσιος δεν ελησμονεί την λύραν του, αλλ’ απ’ εναντίας επάνω εις τα χορδάς της εύρισκε την ανακούφισιν του».

If someone is looking for a place which at the same time maintain pure the old local individuality and the assimilating with admirable balance the external influences he will find all of them in Kasos. History can approve this:

At 1928 the Dodecanesean community at Egypt releases at Port-Saint the first (and last unfortunately…) volume of Dodecanesean lyre. It’s about a monumental effort of recording the melody and poetic tradition of Kasos. It‘s been reported that in the island more than 63 different melodies were played!

This great book, has been looked after an important Kasian (for any aspect of Dodecanesean problem) Nikolaos G. Music.04Mavris. It has been completed due to E. Papadopoulos’ help, director at many schools at the Egyptian community. Moreover the great Greek musician of that time Manolis Kalomoiris helped. He is reporting that in one of his tours in Crete for studying country music, Cretans musicians told him that <>. You must consider that we are talking about an isolated island, with 5 small villages with not so many residents, located at the north-eastern part of its only 66 infertile square kilometers…

Mr Kalomoiris is so excited that not only does he care of and give his knowledge on music, but he also begins a series of concerts and lectures in Alexandria, Suez, Ishmael and later in Athens, so as the public come closer to Kasian and Dodecanesean music, pointing that <<… Greek composer of the future doesn’t have but to bend and drink the Immortal water of various but one and indivisible Greek music>>. And also that these melodies have <<… all the thyme of Greek mountains and all the brine of Greek sea>>.


Bertarelli, L.V. (1929). Guida d'Italia, Vol. XVII. Consociazione Turistica Italiana, Milano.
Εφημερίδα "Ο ΚΑΣΙΩΤΗΣ", Δημοσιογραφικό όργανο του "Συλλόγου Κασιωτών"
Εφημερίδα "Η Φωνή της Κάσου", Ενημερωτικό έντυπο των Κασίων της Αιγύπτου
Περιοδικό "Ο Κασιώτικος Παλμός", Δημοσιογραφικό όργανο του "Συλλόγου των εν Ελλάδι Κασίων"
"Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
Bertarelli, 139
Peter Saundry, C.Michael Hogan & Steve Baum. 2011. Sea of Crete. Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds.M.Pidwirny & C.J.Cleveland. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC.
Bertarelli, 138
"MINOAN AND MYCENAEAN SETTLEMENT IN KASOS AND KARPATHOS - Melas - 2010 - Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies - Wiley Online Library". Onlinelibrary.wiley.com. 2010-03-12. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
Paul D. Hellander, Greece, pg 530
"Κάσος: Τουρκοκρατία και Ολοκαύτωμα". Insitu.gr. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
Paul D. Hellander, Greece, pg 530

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