Early and Classical times (1100-338 B.C.)
03After these ancient settlers, the islands were inhabited by the Chalcedeans. These were Ionians who came to Skiathos during the period of their colonizing activities from the 8th century on. They seem to have arrived on the island during the 7th or 6th century, on their way to found colonies in Chalcidice (Macedonia). They built their town on the southeastern side of the harbour, on a height, where it could command a view and control the large bay and the inner double harbour.
The town was encircled by a wall of square marble blocks, large and rough-hewn, and two gates assured communication with the hinterl and and the harbour. This town survived all through the Classical, Hellenistic and Byzantine periods, until the time when the medieval town, the Kastro (fortress) was built on the northern side of the island.
Skiathos reappears on the historical scene during the Persian wars.Â As the historian Herodotus tells us, in 480 B.C.,when the Persian fleet was sailing down from Thessaloniki, the Greeks awaiting it at Artemision in Euboea, were warned by lighted torches on Skiathos. It seems that, during this period, Skiathos helped the Greeks and was perhaps one of the few cities which did not go over to the Medes.Â When the 1st Athenian Alliance -known as the Delian Alliance was founded in 478/7, Skiathos took the side of the Athenians.
Allied towns were divided into regions for tax-collecting purposes and from the “taxation lists”, still pre-served in attic inscriptions, we can see that Skiathos was included in the Thracian region and paid 1.000 drachmae a year – a very small sum, which indicates that Skiathos was poor at the time.
During the period of the Athenian Alliance, Skiathos had its own democratic and autonomous administration, as did the other allied cities.
That is, it had its own Boule (administrative/legislative council, its citizens’ assembly (“ecclesia”), and an eponymous archon (member of the executive in office for a year,and whose name was used to designate that year).
In the end, however, the alliance developed into an hegemony with the Athenians exercising dominance over their allies and an authoritarian form of goverment.
At the end of the Peloponnesian war in 404 B.C., when the Athenians were defeated by the Spartans, Skiathos came under the rule of Sparta and her system of goverment became that of an oligarchy.
In 386 B.C. during the Antalcidean or Basilean peace, in accordance with which all the islands with the exception of Limnos, Imbros and Skyros where the Athenians allotted holdings to settlers – were granted their autonomy,Skiathos, too, was officially declared independent.
The Spartans, however, violated the peace treaty and soon seized Skiathos again, together with other islands,where they left a garrison and imposed heavy taxes.
In 378/7 B.C., Athens established the 2nd Athenian Alliance, a genuinely defensive alliance this time, with the aim of opposing the expansionist intentions of the Spartans.
Skiathos once again ranged itself with Athens, following the campaign of general Chabrias in Euboea and the Northern Sporades in 377 B.C.
Skiathos remained in the 2nd Athenian Alliance with its autonomy and democratic institutions, approximately 40 years.
And it seems that during this period, the island’s financial situation improved so much that it was able, towards the middle of the 4th century B.C., to mint bronze coins with the head of Hermes on one side and his caduceus (staff) with the word CKIAÎ˜I in the other.
Later, the island was used by the Athenians as a naval port and a base for its expeditions against Philip II of Macedonia.
In 338 B.C., after the battle of Chaeronea, which virtually brought to an end the independence of the southern Greekstates and marked the beginning ofMacedonian domination, Skiathos came under Macedonian rule.