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The City Of Chalkis

The early foundation of Halkida is located 5km northeast, in Manika. The area flourished between 2900 and 2300BC, due to the fashioning of metal. The enormity and the organization of the settlement is surprising. Latter settlements developed and after a time, they were united to make the city of Halkida at the location where it still lays.

Halkida and Eretria were two of the most significant cities of Evia. The important locations of North Evia are considered to be Oreoi and Istiaea. Homer describes Istiaea as ‘rich in vines’, due to the fertile plain Kalada (Ksirias). There are two theories about these cities. The first is that Istiaea and Oreoi are the same city during different periods, while others talk about two different cities. Close to them there flourished another city, Athinae-Diades, which – according to tradition – was built by Kekropas.
Kirinthos is mentioned by Homer as one of the Greek cities that sent a fleet to the Trojan War. Close to Kirinthos, three other cities prospered: Methoni, Trihi and Orovies. The last one was known for the oracle of Apollo the Cellery-bounded.
Also, Elymnion and Aeges were known for the significant temple of Poseidon.
In South Evia, we find Amarinthos with the temple of Artemis the Amarisias and farther down lay Tamynae, Dystos and Kimi. The latter’s ancient location is not found; it is suggested that there lays the legendary Oehalea. In the area of Karystia, there flourished Karystos, Styra dna Geraestos.

After the death of king Amfidamantas of Halkida on the early 8th century, the establishment of kingship ends and oligarchy takes over. The power comes to the hands of Ippovotes – rich landowners. The same phenomenon occurs in Eretria. That period, with the co-operation of the two cities, we have the first wave of massive colonization.

On the 11th century, Avades settled on Chios and the shores of Minor Asia. From the 8th century, it is evident that the two largest cities of Evia co-operated in order to make a successful settlement in their new establishment. The cape of Pallini (Kassandra) was colonized by the Eretrians. The Halkideans colonized on Sithonia, with thirty establishments, the most important of which was Olythos.
The oldest settlement of Evia on the Italian peninsula dates back to the Mycenaean era. Between 775 and 750BC, Kimi was founded. The people of Kimi colonized on the three islands that lay on the cape of Napoli and created the settlements of Kaprea, Pontia and Pandateira. On 730BC, they created Rigio in Calambria, the southest edge of Italy, from where they became able to control the commercial routes of the Western Mediterranean. At the same period, settlers from Halkida along with the Kimeans of Campagna and other settlers from Evia founded Xagli. During the end of the 6th century, the dwellers of Rigio and Xagli created Ipponio on the Tyrrinean shores. Later, the settlers of Xagli were established at Imera, which became a great commercial center and rivaled Carthagena.

On 734BC, the Chalkideans founded Naxos on the eastern shore of Sicily. Six years later the dwellers of Naxos founded Leontinous and then Catane. Colonies were also created on the shores of Africa and Eastern Mediterranean.

The Euboeans who colonized on Kimi of Campagna gave to the people of N. Italy the Chalkidean or Evian alphabet, and also the art of working copper. It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that the presence of the settlers became the basis to the development of the Western European civilization.

The sources of the river Lilas come from the mountain of Dyrfis. The river transfers soil which settles on the Lilantion Pedion and therefore makes the area exceptionally fertile. This productive plain caused the rivalry of the two most important cities of Evia. Halkida and Eretria raged long-term wars which resulted to the destruction of both. Since then, no other city dared to claim the area. The long warfare for Lilantion Pedion seems a bit obscure. It is not yet clear if the victory belonged to the Halkideans or if there was indeed a victorious part after all. The war ended with a great fight of the cavalry, during which Kleomachos – an ally of Halkideans from Thessalia – was distinguished with his heroic death.
The historian Stravon speaks of a quite curious agreement between the two opponents which demonstrates the heroic spirit of that time. According to this agreement, there was only permitted physical involvement in battle. The use of weapons such as bows, arrows and catapults was banned.

During the fight for Lilantion Pedion, the Halkidean king Amphidamas fell. His sons and his brother, Panides, arranged a poetry contest between the poets Hesiod and Homer, to his memory. Hesiod won the prize, which he dedicated to the temple of the Muses that is found in Helikon. They say that Homer’s poem was better but it spoke of war. So the judges, tired of the long-term battles denied him the prize.
With the Lilantean Wars, the two cities, Halkida and Eretria begin to decline. During the Persian Wars, the Evian cities offered their help, while Eretria suffers ultimate destruction due to the aid she offered to the cities of Minor Asia against the Persians.

The alliance between Halkida, Thebes and Sparta against Athens also has destructive results for Halkida. This is the period when the class of ippovotes is lost.

There comes also a time of revolutions against Athens, and an alliance with Thebes during the battle at Leuktra.

In 334BC, Halkida grows bigger and acquires a fort.
The Macedoneans become its rulers and the Romans follow. During the time of Justinian, a bridge and its fortification is mended. It is probably at that time that the Old-Christian church of Aghia Paraskevi is built.

In 880BC, the general Oeneates defeats the Saracens of Osman Amira, using the Greek Fire.

In 1204, after the fall of Constantinople with the IV Crusade, the Flemish knigh, Zacques d’ Avence acquires the government of Evia. After his death during a battle in 1209, Evia passes to the power of Bonifatio Momferaticus. Evia is divided in three parts and is given to three barons from Verona, who call themselves Tritimores. Evia and Halkida are named ‘Negroponte’. That period, there appears of the most mysterious men of history, a knight called Lycarios. He was the one to free all Evia for a short time in the name of Byzantium.

The history of Evia at that time is ultimately connected to the family adventure of the Tritimores who ruled from 1205 until 1470, until the island was conquered by Mohamed the Conqueror.

In 1470, after a 28-day resestance, Mohamed the Conqueror takes control of Halkida, losing 77.000 soldiers. Halkida drowns in its blood and the Venetian ruler meets his death by sawing at the bridge.
Halkida becomes the headquarters to the administration of ‘Egriboz’. Murozini attempts to regain control, but he fails.
In 1821, Evia revolts but four years later the revolution is brought to an end. However, the city is liberated in 1833. Great figures that are distinguished in battle are Aggelis Govios from Limni and Kriezotis.

In 1830, when the rest of Greece was already liberated from the Turkish occupation, there come the protocols of London. The Turks are recognized as the legal owners of the island, so the financially ruined Greeks have to pay for them in order to get them back. What’s more, they have to meet the standards of the rich Europeans who come to buy the wealthiest parts and become landowners. In 1833, Evia becomes a part of the Greek Government.

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