Aeolian Islands

Historical traces

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Historical traces - The Aeolian Islands have been inhabited, since the beginning of the IV millenium B.C. by peoples coming from Sicily lured by the tremendous economic resource offered by obsidian, which perhaps, had only been thrown out a short time before by the volcano of Monte Pelato (NE of Lipari).
Obsidian, a black coloured cutting volcanic glass was very much in demand when the manufacturing of metals hadn't yet been extended so it constituted the basis of the extraordinary prosperity enjoyed by the islands through at least two thousand years. Obsidian of Lipari had been abundantly found in the Neolithic villages of Sicily and of the Italian Peninsula, but it reached also the coasts of the South of France and Dalmatia.
After a few centuries of decay, in the second half of the III and the beginning of the II millenium, the Aeolian Islands had a new economic and civil awakening in the Bronze Age starting from the XVIII century B.C. This awakening is due to the regular contacts which had been established with the Principalities of Mycenean Greece, which through daring sailing trips explored western seas, looking for those raw materials necessary to its power and survival.
The islands were then populated by Mycenean peoples of Aeolian descent, already firmly settled at Metaponte. The islands became for them outposts for the control of the commercial roads crossing the Strait of Messina. The islands took the name which still have from these Aeolian peoples. To them refer the legends of the mythic king of the winds Eolo, cited by Homer in his Odysee. During the XIII century B.C., Ausonic peoples, coming from the coasts of Campania, settled in the island. The legend of, king Liparo, from whom the town takes its name is connected to them. Neglected at the end of the X century B.C., possibly owing to rivalries among different peoples for supremacy on Southern Tyrrhenian, the islands remained for a few centuries almost deserted. During the 50th Olympiad (580-576 B.C.) Lipari was colonized by a group of Greeks of Doric race, coming from Cnido and Rodi, led by the heraclite Pentathlon, who survived after an unsuccessful attempt opposed by the Elimi of Segesta and the Carthaginians of colonization on the site of the present Marsala.
The new settlers had to defend themselves from the invasions of the Etruchians (Tyrrhennians). They had then to equip a powerful fleet which brought brilliant successes ensuring their supremacy on the sea. With the riches from their conquests, they erected in the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delfo, magnificent votive monuments (altogether over 40 bronze statues, whose bases still stand in testimony). The Leparese fleet dominated the Southern Tyrrhenian sea and in 393 B.C. they intercepted a Roman vessel carrying a great golden vase to Delfo, which reppresented a tenth part of the booty conquered at Veio. However Timositeo, their Magistrate, made them return it being an offering to the God Apollo, worshipped by Leparese. In 427 B.C., during the first Athenian expedition to Sicily, under the command of Lache, the Liparese formed an alliance with the Syracusans, possibly owing to their common Doric origin. They suffered many attacks, as Tucidide affirms, on the part of the Athenian and Reggian fleet, but without serious consequences.
At Aeolian Islands, there is tourist accommodation available in hotels, farm holiday, farmhouse, residence self-catering accommodation, b&b, rooms for rent, holiday homes, camp sites and tourist villages.