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greece greek islands kos cos dodecaneseKos Page 8

According to Homer, Kos took part in the Trojan war (1194 B.C.) with a fleet of thirty ships, but after the fall of Troy the Asklepeades fled and were shipwrecked on the shores of Kos where they introduced the worshipping of Asklepeios the Savior.

In the 11th century B.C. the southern parts of Asia Minor and many Aegean islands, including Kos, were colonized by the Dorians. In the 6th, century B.C. Kos flourished and became a power to be reckoned with; so much that in 700 B.C. Kos along with the cities of Knidos and Halikarnassos founded the Dorian Hexapolis (the union of six cities). This was a religious, economic and political alliance with a common center of worship dedicated to Triopian Apollo, and situated opposite Kos town.

At the end of the 6th. century B.C. the Persian King Darios occupied many Greek cities in Asia Minor including Kos. After the defeat of the Persian garrisons at Salamis, the Koans expelled the Persians and with the Athenian Federation, governed from the island of Delos.

In the middle of the 5th. century B.C. Hippocrates, the famous physician was born. During the Peloponnesian war (431-404 B.C.) the Koans remained allies with the Athenians and supported the democratic governments. The wars between the Athenians and the Spartans nearly ruined them both.

greece greek islands kos cos dodecaneseIn 332 B.C. Kos was occupied for a short time by the Persian General Memmon, who was born on the island of Rhodes. He was deposed by the Generals of Alexander the Great the same year. During the Mithridatis wars (85 B.C.) Kos assisted Rome. After Kos was liberated from Mithridatis the island became part of the Eastern province of the Roman Empire. Although Kos had autonomy, a privilege bestowed on the people, because of the Asklepieion, the island did not avoid the tragic looting of the libraries and art treasures.

St. Paul visited the island and preached Christianity with success. With the reign of Constantine the Great and the establishment of Constantinople, Kos became part of the Byzantine Empire, and was repeatedly attacked by Persians - Saracens - Arabs and Crusaders.

In 1306 Vignoli the Venetian Admiral of Byzantium, who was also the Governor of the Dodecanese, sold Kos and the other islands to the Knights of St. John who had been forced out of Jerusalem. They ruled for two hundred years.

In 1464 the Turks, even though they had 156 ships and 18,000 soldiers, failed to conquer Kos. In 1523 the Sultan Suleiman through an act of treason managed to take Rhodes. Because of a treaty with Suleiman the Knights were free to leave the islands safely - abandoning the people of Kos to the mercy of the Turks. The Turkish occupation lasted three hundred and ninety years and the Greek culture was preserved only through the secret teachings of language and history in grottos, monasteries and hidden schools. Persecution and killings by the Turks became almost an everyday occurrence.

In 1912, Italy being at war with Turkey, occupied Kos and the other Dodecanese islands. The Italians were welcomed as liberators but as it turned out the Greeks ended up under Fascist rule. In 1943 the Germans took over occupied Kos after Italy’s surrender, and March 7th 1948 Kos and the rest of the Dodecanese islands were finally reunited with Greece.

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