According to mythology, the first settler of Skopelos was Peparithos, from whom the island got its ancient name. From other sources we are informed that it was inhabited around the 15th century BC by Cretan settlers, who arrived on the island from Knossos, led by the brother of Peparithos, Staphylos, son of the god Dionysus and Ariadne. The Cretans introduced the cultivation of vines and olives to the island.
Staphylos was made a hero and thus he is mentioned among the fifty Argonauts who traveled with Jason to Colchis to get the Golden Fleece. The current name of Skopelos is mentioned for the first time by Ptolemy and Hierocles in the 2nd century AD. and possibly originates from the rockiness of its northern coasts, which was a "skopelos", i.e. an obstacle, for would-be invaders.
In Archaic times, the Chalcidians in turn colonized Peparithos, which reached great prosperity at the end of the 6th and the beginning of the 5th century BC, minting a series of silver coins and maintaining commercial contacts with many other cities of the Aegean. After 480 the island loses its independence and falls under the First Athenian alliance.
In 427 a powerful earthquake accompanied by a terrible tidal wave collapses many public buildings, as reported by Thucydides. At the beginning of the 4th century, Peparithos became independent again, and again minted its own coins, which bore the head of Dionysus on one side and a grape on the other, an emblem of the island since Archaic times. In the middle of the century we know that together with the rest of the islands of the Sporades it had become a naval base of the Athenians, while it had commercial transactions with cities of the Black Sea, where it exported the famous ``peparathion'' wine. Precisely the island's reputation for its wine is evidenced on the one hand by the frequent depiction on coins of Dionysus, the grape and a wine amphora and on the other hand by the ceramic workshops producing mainly amphorae that have been identified on the island.
From inscriptions we know that in Peparithos there was a theater, where tragedies were performed, as well as a temple of Demeter, where sacramental ceremonies took place. However, the patron deity of the island seems to have been Athena, but there was also a cult of Dionysus. At the site of Kanakis, Laka, the pillars of the temples of Athena and Dionysos have been found.
After the battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC the island passed into the hands of the Macedonians until 146 BC when the Romans conquered Greece. At that time there were three cities on the island: Panormos, Selinous and Peparithos. In the times of the successors of M. Alexander, the island is not mentioned in the ancient sources and only in 209 BC it appears to be a field of conflict, during the war between the Macedonian king Philip V and the king of Pergamon Attalus I, who also he takes it in 209, but then Philip sends a strong force and retakes it. In 199 BC he himself destroys the island, because he does not want it to become a military base for the Romans. However, this disaster does not seem to have significantly affected life on the island, since two years after 197 BC. it is mentioned in a resolution that the Peparithians had established the democratic state and were building temples. In 82 BC the king of Pontus Mithridates captured Skopelos and Skiathos and maintained the sovereignty of the region until 76, when the Roman Vrotios Souras liberated them. In 42 BC, Antony donated Peparithos to the Athenians, who continued to own it until the time of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). In the 2nd century AD the island enjoyed self-reliance, but paid heavy taxes. In 193, however, the emperor Severus imposed Roman authority again. In these times, the name Skopelos is mentioned for the first time, which has been established ever since. when the Roman Vrotius Souras freed them. In 42 BC, Antony donated Peparithos to the Athenians, who continued to own it until the time of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). In the 2nd century AD the island enjoyed self-reliance, but paid heavy taxes. In 193, however, the emperor Severus imposed Roman authority again. In these times, the name Skopelos is mentioned for the first time, which has been established ever since. when the Roman Vrotius Souras freed them. In 42 BC, Antony donated Peparithos to the Athenians, who continued to own it until the time of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). In the 2nd century AD the island enjoyed self-reliance, but paid heavy taxes. In 193, however, the emperor Severus imposed Roman authority again. In these times, the name Skopelos is mentioned for the first time, which has been established ever since.
In the 4th century AD the figure of bishop Riginos dominates the island, who contributed to the spread of Christianity in the North Sporades. In 363, during the persecutions of Julian, Riginos was killed and later the church proclaimed him a saint. During the Byzantine period the island went through a period of decline and was used as a place of exile. After the Conquest of Constantinople by the Franks, the island belonged to the Duchy of Naxos. Later, during the years of Emperor Michael H Palaiologos, it came to the Gyzi family (in 1207). In 1277, it returned to Byzantine rule, where it remained uninhabited for a long time, and since 1730 it has again been referred to as an episcopal seat. In 1538 AD the Algerian pirate Barbarossa attacked the island and massacred the inhabitants. Around 1600 AD those who were saved and had taken refuge in Evia and Thessaly returned to the island. Then the Turkish occupation began, but it was relaxed. Skopelos, like some other islands of the Aegean, was self-governing and the inhabitants were simply obliged to pay taxes and provide 30 sailors who served a year in the Turkish navy. No citizen of Turkish origin ever settled on the island.
From 1750 AD the first thieves and charioteers began to come to the island from Olympus, Halkidiki and Thessaly, stirring up the people. But, from 1810 AD there were disputes between the locals and the armatoli of mainland Greece. During the Revolution of 1821 the captains of Skopelos helped their brothers whenever their help was needed. When the revolution failed in Thessaly and Macedonia, 70,000 souls, men, women, children, settled again on the island overwhelmed by epidemics and poverty. Finally, Skopelos became part of the Greek State in 1830. Poverty was the reason that in the 19th century. several residents migrated abroad in search of better fortunes. Nevertheless, the class that was the driving force in the improvement of the biotic and cultural level of the island was that of the sailors, who with their ships plowed the seas of the Mediterranean, the Black, but also the great oceans. The result was to accumulate a lot of wealth on the island and mainly among the class of shipowners.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou