Lesbos

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Lesbos

(lĕz`bŏs) or

Lésvos

(lāz`vôs), island (1991 pop. 87,151), c.630 sq mi (1,630 sq km), E Greece, in the Aegean Sea near Turkey. A fertile island, it has vast olive groves and also produces wheat, wine, and citrus fruit. Fishing, tanning, livestock raising, and tourism are significant industries. MitilíniMitilíni
or Mytilene
, city (1991 pop. 24,953), capital of Lesbos prefecture, E Greece, a port on the island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea. Roman remains are there.
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 is the island's chief town. Lesbos was a center of Bronze Age civilization and later (c.1000 B.C.) was settled by Aeolians. The island was a brilliant cultural center from the 7th to the 6th cent. B.C., when the poets AlcaeusAlcaeus
, c.620–c.580 B.C., Greek lyric poet of Lesbos. An aristocrat, he was often embroiled in political battles with the ruling tyrants. He wrote drinking songs, hymns, love songs, and political odes. He was, according to tradition, a close associate of Sappho.
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 and SapphoSappho
, fl. early 6th cent. B.C., greatest of the early Greek lyric poets (Plato calls her "the tenth Muse"), b. Mytilene on Lesbos. Facts about her life are scant. She was an aristocrat, who wrote poetry for her circle of friends, mostly but not exclusively women, and like
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 and the statesman PittacusPittacus
, c.650–c.570 B.C., Greek statesman and military leader; one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. He helped to overthrow the tyrant of Mytilene in Lesbos and became the lawgiver there, ruling for 10 years.
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 were active there. AristotleAristotle
, 384–322 B.C., Greek philosopher, b. Stagira. He is sometimes called the Stagirite. Life

Aristotle's father, Nicomachus, was a noted physician. Aristotle studied (367–347 B.C.
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 and EpicurusEpicurus
, 341–270 B.C., Greek philosopher, b. Samos; son of an Athenian colonist. He claimed to be self-taught, although tradition states that he was schooled in the systems of Plato and Democritus by his father and various philosophers.
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 lived on the island, and TheophrastusTheophrastus
[Gr.,=divinely speaking], c.372–c.287 B.C., Greek philosopher, Aristotle's successor as head of the Peripatetics. The school flourished under his leadership.
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 was born on Lesbos. Lesbos joined the Delian LeagueDelian League
, confederation of Greek city-states under the leadership of Athens. The name is used to designate two distinct periods of alliance, the first 478–404 B.C., the second 378–338 B.C.
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 and revolted unsuccessfully against Athens in 428–27 B.C. Later, Lesbos passed to Macedon, Rome, and the Byzantine Empire. It was taken by the Ottoman Turks in 1462 and became part of Greece in 1913. The island is sometimes known as Mytilene, which is a variant of Mitilíni.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lesbos

 

(also Lesvos), a Greek island in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Asia Minor. Area, 1,636 sq km. The shores are strongly dissected, and there are many convenient inlets. Hills and low-mountain terrain predominate, with elevations up to 967 m high (Mount Olimbos). Lesbos is composed of limestone, mica schist, marble, and volcanic lavas. The vegetation is Mediterranean; pine forests are found in the upper mountain zone. The island has deposits of manganese, lead, chrome ore, and barite. There are marble quarries and hot springs. Lesbos is one of Greece’s major producers of olives (over 900,000 olive trees) and olive oil. Tobacco, citrus fruits, and figs are also cultivated. There is fishing. Mitilini (Mytilene) is the main city and port.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Lesbos

an island in the E Aegean, off the NW coast of Turkey: a centre of lyric poetry, led by Alcaeus and Sappho (6th century bc); annexed to Greece in 1913. Chief town: Mytilene. Pop.: 90 642 (2001). Area: 1630 sq. km (630 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005