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  History contd.

At the end of the Persian wars Naxos came under Athenian control, followed by Spartan, Macedonian, Egyptian, and Roman dominance in succession.

During the Byzantine period of Naxos, which lasted from the 4th till the early 13th century, the Byzantine capital was thought to have been south of Kastro t' Apalirou near the Sangri valley. Hundreds of churches and small chapels on Naxos were built during this period.

  One of the oldest Byzantine churches in Southern Europe is Panagia Drosiani below the village of Moni, parts of which date back to the 5th and 6th centuries AD.
During restoration work successive layers of frescoes were discovered, the oldest of which are from the 6th and 7th centuries AD.

During these centuries the inhabitants of Naxos had to withdraw from the coastal areas and move inland due to frequent raids by pirates.
fresco from a small Byzantine chapel    

After the fall of the of Constantinople during the 4th crusade, Marcos Sanudo, a nephew of the doge of Venice, landed on the south coast in 1207 AD. He ordered his ships to be burnt and invaded Naxos. The siege at the Byzantine Castle t' Apalirou lasted many weeks. At a later date the castle was destroyed when the new Venetian capital had been established.
Sanudo proclaimed himself duke of Naxos. He established his capital on the site of the ancient acropolis of Naxos town, incorporating remnants of the ancient city and marble from the unfinished temple to Apollo on the islet of Palatia.
Naxos was divided into fiefdoms, and the land distributed to Venetian noblemen.
Feudal rule was established and imposed on the island.

  Some of the fortified Venetian mansions found in different parts of Naxos date from this time. To control regions of the fertile interior of the island, the Upper Castle (Apano Kastro) was later built on a rocky hill overlooking vast parts of the interior.
The Venetian tower houses and fortified monasteries were also used as places of refuge during pirate raids which continued to plague the Aegean for centuries. During one of those attacks thousands of people were taken prisoner and sold as slaves.
The last duke of Naxos was forced to resign when the Turkish admiral Barbarossa invaded the island in 1537 AD. Naxos remained under Turkish rule till Greek independence in 1821 AD, but the island was mainly expected to pay taxes to the Sultan. There was a brief period when a Jewish governor was installed by the Sultan but in general the feudal system continued under Venetian rule.
Many fortified mansions (pirgi), churches and fortified monasteries were built during this period because pirate raids occurred frequently.
  Uprisings of the local population against both the Venetian and Turkish rulers happened at intervals during the centuries of occupation. The pirgos at Akademi, built by the Politis family, was the center of one such rebellion and is only a very short distance from the Venetian pirgos at Halki. It now belongs to the Papadakis family. The fortified monastery of Ypsilotera near the valley of Engares looks more like a fortress than a monastery. It also was a refuge in times of uprisings by the local population and during pirate raids.
Naxos and the other Cycladic islands became part of the new Greek state after the revolution which began in 1821.
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