|© 1998 Bernard SUZANNE||Last updated December 10, 1998|
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This page is part of the "tools" section of a site, Plato and his dialogues, dedicated to developing a new interpretation of Plato's dialogues. The "tools" section provides historical and geographical context (chronology, maps, entries on characters and locations) for Socrates, Plato and their time. By clicking on the minimap at the beginning of the entry, you can go to a full size map in which the city or location appears. For more information on the structure of entries and links available from them, read the notice at the beginning of the index of persons and locations.
One of the southernmost Cyclades Islands, south of Naxos,
better known under its modern name Santorin (area
Thera is a volcanic island that was the location of a gigantic eruption toward the middle of the XVIth century B. C., at the peak of the Minoan civilisation centered in nearby Crete. The whole island was devastated, and a thick layer of lava from the eruption buried a palace that was thus preserved till our time in a perfect state. Some historians have tried to explain the sudden decline of the Minoan civilization toward 1450 B. C. as a consequence of this cataclysm, but this explanation has now been abandonned.
In later times, the island, under the name of Calliste ("the most beautiful"), was colonized by Phoenicians before being settled by people coming from Sparta under the leadership of Theras, who gave it his name. Theras was said to be a descendant of Oedipus, his father being the great-grandson of Polynices, one of Oedipus' sons. He was thus of the race of Cadmus the Phoenician, brother of Europa, who had sailed through Thera while searching for his sister, leaving there some of his Phoenician companions (Herodotus, IV, 147-149).