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date: 05 December 2023



  • Eugene N. Borza


  • Ancient Geography

Thasos, a large wooded island of the north Aegean, colonized from Paros (see colonization, greek) in the early 7th cent. bce. It was rich in timber and precious metals. Thasos sent colonists to the nearby Thracian mainland to develop gold mines in the region of Mt. Pangaeus. In the 6th cent. a mining outpost was established at Crenides, which was seized by Philip (1) II of Macedon in 356 bce, and refounded as Philippi. Various commercial and mining interests produced a revenue of 200–300 talents (if Hdt. 6. 46. 2 is to be trusted), making Thasos the most prosperous state in the region. It was part of the Delian League but seceded c.465 in a dispute with the Athenians over mining and trading rights on the mainland. It took the Athenians more than two years to subdue the island, and the Thasians were deprived of their peraea or mainland possessions (Thuc. 1. 100–1). It is a matter of dispute whether they were recovered shortly thereafter. In the 4th cent. Thasos joined the Second Athenian Confederacy, but it was taken by Philip II c.340. It remained a Macedonian dependency until freed by the Romans in 196. Thasos enjoyed many of its traditional liberties and mainland privileges well into the Roman period. Its declining revenues from mining were partially compensated by an increase in the production and export of its fine wines (see wine), as evidenced by the large number and wide distribution of Thasian wine-amphorae bearing the official stamp of the city. Thasian coinage, minted to a high standard, also circulated widely in the Balkans.

Thasos had a flourishing school of sculpture in the early period, and it was home to the painter Polygnotus. Archaeologists from the French School at Athens have revealed a large, prosperous city on the north coast, with an excellent harbour and impressive walls and buildings from the Classical period. See theagenes(3).


  • École Française, Guide de Thasos (1967).
  • Études Thasiennes (1944– ).
  • M. H. Hansen and T. H. Nielsen (eds.), An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis (2004), no. 526.

R. Osborne, in L. Mitchell (ed.), Greek History and Epigraphy (2009), 103–114Find it in your libraryGoogle PreviewWorldCat (on the many inscriptions).