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Administrative Region : North Aegean
Regional unit : Kalymnos

Astypalaia (Greek: Αστυπάλαια, pronounced [astiˈpalea]), called in Italian Stampalia and in Ottoman Turkish İstanbulya (استانبوليه), is a Greek island with 1,238 residents (2001 census). It belongs to the Dodecanese, an island group of twelve major islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea. The island is 18 km. long, 13 km. wide at the most, and covers an area of 97 km2. Along with numerous smaller uninhabited offshore islets (the largest of which are Sýrna and Ofidoussa), it forms the Municipality of Astypalaia. Astypalaia is part of the Kalymnos peripheral unit.

Astypalaia,

The coasts of Astypalaia are rocky with many small pebble-strewn beaches. A small band of land of roughly 10 kilometres, almost separates the island in two sections. The capital and the previous main harbour of the island is Astypalaia or Chora, as it is called by the locals. A new harbour has been built in Agios Andreas on the mid island from where now the connections are west and east with Piraeus and the other islands of the Dodecanese. Flight connections with Athens from the airport close to Maltezana.
View of the city and the harbour
View of Astypalaia and its castle

History
Map of Astypalaia by Giacomo Franco (1597).

In Greek mythology, Astypalaia was a woman abducted by Poseidon in the form of a winged fish-tailed leopard.[1] The island was colonized by Megara, and its constitution and buildings are known from numerous inscriptions. The Roman emperors recognized it as a free state (see following).

During the Middle Ages it belonged to the Byzantines until 1207, when - in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade - it became a fee of the Querini, a noble Venetian family, until 1522. The Querini built a castle that is still in place and added the name of the island to their family name, that became Querini Stampalia. Astypalea became Turkish in 1522, and the Ottomans kept it until 1912, with only two interruptions: from 1648 until 1668, during the War of Crete, it was occupied by Venice, and from 1821 to 1828 it joined the insurgents during the Greek War of Independence.

Occupied again by the Ottomans in 1828, on April 12, 1912, (during the War of Libya) a detachment of the Regia Marina landed on Astypalaia, which thus became the first island of the Dodecanese to be occupied by Italy. From there the Italians, on the night between the 3rd and 4 May, landed on Rhodes.[2] The island remained under Italian governance until World War II. In 1947, together with the whole Dodecanese, it joined Greece.
Significance of the 105 B.C. Treaty with Rome

The text of Astypalaia's treaty with Rome, made in 105 B.C., has survived through a monument found by archaeologists.[3]

The main feature of this treaty is the formal assumption of complete equality between Rome and Astypalaia: The Astypalaians would not aid the enemies of the Romans or allow such enemies passage through their territory or territory under their control, and likewise the Romans would not aid the enemies of the Astypalaians or allow such enemies passage through their territory or territory under their control; in case of an attack on Astypalaia the Romans would come to its aid, in case of an attack on Rome the Astypalaians would come to its aid; etc.

Had no other historical evidence survived, finding this text might have led to the conclusion that Rome and Astypalaia were powers of roughly equal size and power. In fact, of course, there is plenty of solid evidence to show that at the time of this treaty Rome was already an imperial city completely dominating the Mediterranean, while Astypalaia was a very minor political and military power at this and any other period in its history. The fact of Rome keeping the form - if not the substance - of equality is indicative of tendencies in Roman policies towards the Greeks at the time.

Historians assume that the treaty granted by the Romans to Astypalaia was not unique, but a standard form - though the assumed similar treaties signed with other Greek cities had not survived.
Geography

Islets: Agía Kyriakí, Astypálaia, Avgó, Glynó, Zaforás, Kounoúpoi, Koutsomýti, Mesonísi, Ofidoússa, Plakída, Pontikoúsa, Stefánia, Sýrna, Fokionísia, Khondró, Khondronísi (all uninhabited except Astypálaia)
Villages: Astypalea or Chora (pop. 1,036), Analipsi or Maltezana (149), Livadi (39), Vathi (14)

Notable people

Onesicritus (c.360-c.290 BC), historian

References

^ Theoi.com
^ Bertarelli, 161
^ The full text appears in Robert Kenneth, "Rome and the Greek East to the death of Augustus", p. 57-58 [1]

Notes

Bertarelli, L.V. (1929). Guida d'Italia, Vol. XVII. Consociazione Turistica Italiana, Milano.

The Dodecanese Islands

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