The city of Gytheio has been inhabited since Prehistoric times, as evidenced by the findings of the cave at Lakonis, near the city of Gytheio.
Ancient Gythio is located a little further north from the current location of the city of the same name, specifically in Paleopolis.
According to the tradition handed down by Pausanias, the city was built by Herakles and Apollo.
In fact, as the etymology of the name, Pausanias presents in his "Lakonika" the belief of the ancient inhabitants that it meant "Land of the gods", from the Homeric word "Son" (Earth) + god and this from the tradition that once the God Apollo quarreled with Herakles for the magic tripod of the oracle of Delphi and when they finally reconciled, the place was called "Son of the Gods" i.e. Gytheion.
Homer mentions that the small island of Gytheio Kranai was used as a refuge for Paris and the beautiful Helen. Gytheio was the main port and naval station of the Lacedaemonians during historical times and dredging and artificial protective works had been done in it. It belonged (from 146 BC) to the Council of the Lacedaemonians and then (22 BC) to the Council of the Eleftherolakons (along with 24 other Laconian cities).
During the Roman era, Gytheio became an important commercial port and craft center, because it exported porphyry stone and had a porphyry processing industry. In 375 AD suffered catastrophic damage from the terrible earthquake that shook southern Laconia and in 395 AD. it was completely deserted by the Goths. The most important ancient monuments are: The ancient Theater and the ancient Agora.
In Roman times (195 BC) Gytheio was the capital of the Koin of the Eleftherolakons and then the city's theater, its citadel, public baths, temples and several houses with rich decorations and mosaics were built, while the city was decorated with ornate statues. remains of buildings with mosaic floors, an aqueduct, a Roman temple of the emperors Augustus and Tiberius, baths, as well as a theater from the Roman period are preserved.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou