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A titular see in Macedonia, suffragan of Thessalonica. The island of Thasos was anciently known under many names, such as Æria Æthra, and, on account of its gold mines, Chrysos. Its first known inhabitants were the Phoenicians, whom the Greeks supplanted. The latter extended the prosperity of the island, which had a powerful navy and founded many colonies — Parium, Datos (afterwards Philippi ), and others. After having repulsed, in 494 B.C., and attack by Histiaeus of Miletus, Thasos surrendered in 492 B.C. to Xerxes, who took its navy and exhausted the island with the taxes he levied. After the defeat of the Persians, Thasos joined the confederation of Delos, but, having quarrelled with Athens, was defeated by sea and by land and, completely ruined by its rival, became its tributary in 465 B.C. Polygnotus, the celebrated painter, a native of Thasos, then followed the Athenians. The island passed from the domination of Athens to that of Sparta, then again to that of Athens, and at last became a Macedonian possession. The Romans gave it back its independence in 197 B.C., until it was annexed to the Roman Empire and included in the Province of the Islands. Le Quien (Oriens christianus, II, 87) mentions only one bishop, Honoratus, who was present at Chalcedon in 451. Alexander, in the eight century, is known by an inscription (Echos d'orient, IV, 93). At least as early as the tenth century, Thasos was a suffragan of Mitylene (Gelzer, "Ungedruckte . . . Texte der Notitiae Episcopatuum", 559); under Manual Palaeologus (1391-1425) it was raised to the rank of an autocephalous archbishopric (Gelzer, op. cit., 613). The relics of the holy martyrs Mark, Sotericus, and Valentina, venerated on 24 October, were brought thither. The Patriarch St. Nicephorus lived as an exile there under Leo the Armenian.

The Venetians took Thasos in 1204, and it was given to the Dandolo family ; the Greeks afterwards recaptured it, and it was then occupied by the princes Gateluzi of Lesbos, and finally conquered by Mohammed II, in 1462. In 1841 the Sultan Mahmoud II granted its revenues to Mehemet Ali, Khedive of Egypt, who introduced a garrison of Egyptians into the island; but the Turks reoccupied it in 1908, and Egypt now (1911) receives only the revenues, according to the terms of the treaty of 1841. The island constitutes a caza depending upon the sanjak of Drama and the vilayet of Salonica. It is fertile and well timbered, and has an area of 100 square miles and a population of 18,000, all Greek schismatics.


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