Argos (/ˈɑːrɡɒs, -ɡəs/; Modern Greek: Άργος [ˈarɣos];
Ancient Greek: Ἄργος [árɡos]) is a city in Argolis, the
Greece and once was one of the oldest continuously
inhabited cities in the world. It is the biggest town
Argolis and a major centre for the area.
Since the 2011 local government reform it has been part of the
municipality of Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. The
municipal unit has an area of 138.138 km2. It is 11 kilometres (7
miles) from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour. A settlement of
Argos has been continuously inhabited as at least a
substantial village for the past 7,000 years.:121- The city is a
member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.
A resident of the city of
Argos is known as an Argive (pronounced
/ˈɑːrɡaɪv/, "AHR-gyv", or /ˈɑːrdʒaɪv/, "AHR-jyv"; Greek:
Ἀργεῖος). However, this term is also used to refer to those
ancient Greeks generally who assaulted the city of Troy during the
Trojan War; the term is more widely applied by the
Numerous ancient monuments can be found in the city today. Agriculture
is the mainstay of the local economy.
3.2 Democracy in Classical Argos
3.3 Roman, Byzantine, Crusader, Ottoman rule and independence
5 Ecclesiastical history
10 Notable people
11 International relations
11.1 Twin towns & sister cities
11.2 Other relations
12 See also
14 Sources and external links
Climate data for Argos, Greece
Average high °F (°C)
Average low °F (°C)
Source: <World Weather Online >
Argos Monthly Climate Average,
Greece. World Weather Online. 2016
Retrieved 13 September 2016. Missing or empty title= (help)
The name of the city is very ancient and several etymological theories
have been proposed as an explanation to its meaning. The most popular
one maintains that the name of the city is a remainder from the
Pelasgian language, i.e. the one used by the people who first settled
in the area, in which
Argos meant "plain". Alternatively, the name is
associated with Argos, the third king of the city in ancient times,
who renamed it after himself, thus replacing its older name Phoronikon
Astu (Φορωνικόν Άστυ, "city of Phoroneus"). It is also
believed that "Argos" is linked to the word "αργός" (argós),
which meant "white"; possibly, this had to do with the visual
impression given of the argolic plain during harvest time. According
to Strabo, the name could have even originated from the word
"αγρός" (=field) by antimetathesis of the consonants.
Argos is traditionally considered to be the origins of the ancient
Macedonian royal Greek house of the
Argead dynasty (Greek:
Ἀργεάδαι, Argeádai).The most celebrated members were Philip
II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. As a strategic location on the
fertile plain of Argolis,
Argos was a major stronghold during the
Mycenaean era. In classical times
Argos was a powerful rival of Sparta
for dominance over the Peloponnese, but was eventually shunned by
other Greek city-states after remaining neutral during the
The Heraion of Argos
View of the ancient theatre
Ancient regions of
Peloponnese (southern mainland Greece).
There is evidence of continuous settlement in the area starting with a
village about 7000 years ago in the late Neolithic, located on the
foot of Aspida hill.:124- Since that time,
Argos has been
continually inhabited at the same geographical location. Its creation
is attributed to Phoroneus, with its first name having been Phoronicon
Asty, or the city of Phoroneus. The historical presence of the
Pelasgian Greeks in the area can be witnessed in the linguistic
remainders that survive up to today, such as the very name of the city
and "Larisa", the name of the city's castle located on the hill of the
The city is located at a rather propitious area, among Nemea, Corinth
and Arcadia. It also benefitted from its proximity to lake Lerna,
which, at the time, was at a distance of one kilometre from the south
end of Argos.
Argos was a major stronghold of Mycenaean times, and along with the
neighbouring acropolis of
Tiryns became a very early
settlement because of its commanding positions in the midst of the
fertile plain of Argolis.
Argos experienced its greatest period of
expansion and power under the energetic 7th century BC ruler King
Pheidon. Under Pheidon,
Argos regained sway over the cities of the
Argolid and challenged Sparta’s dominance of the Peloponnese. During
this time of its greatest power, the city boasted a pottery and bronze
sculpturing school, pottery workshops, tanneries and clothes
producers. Moreover, at least 25 celebrations took place in the city,
in addition to a regular local products exhibition. A sanctuary
dedicated to Hera was also found at the same spot where the monastery
of Panagia Katekrymeni is located today.
Argos remained neutral or the ineffective ally of
Athens during the
5th century BC struggles between
Sparta and Athens. This, however, led
to its weakening and loss of power, which in turn led to the shift of
commercial focus from the Ancient Agora to the eastern side of the
city, delimited by Danaou and Agiou Konstadinou streets.
Democracy in Classical Argos
Argos was a democracy for most of the classical period, with only a
brief hiatus between 418 and 416. Democracy was first established
after a disastrous defeat by the Spartans at the battle of Sepeia in
494. So many Argives were killed in the battle that a revolution
ensued, in which previously disenfranchised outsiders were included in
the state for the first time.
Argive democracy included an Assembly (called the aliaia), a Council
(the bola), and another body called 'The Eighty,' whose precise
responsibilities are obscure. Magistrates served six-month terms of
office, with few exceptions, and were audited at the end of their
terms. There is some evidence that ostracism was practiced.
Roman, Byzantine, Crusader, Ottoman rule and independence
The castle on Larissa Hill.
Under Roman rule,
Argos was part of the province of Achaea. Under
Byzantine rule it was part of the theme of Hellas, and later of the
theme of the Peloponnese.
In the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, the Crusaders captured the
castle built on Larisa Hill, the site of the ancient acropolis, and
the area become part of the lordship of
Argos and Nauplia. In 1388 it
was sold to the Republic of Venice, but was taken by the Despot of the
Theodore I Palaiologos
Theodore I Palaiologos before the Venetians could take control
of the city; he sold it anyway to them in 1394. The Crusaders
established a Latin bishopric. Venetian rule lasted until 1463, when
the Ottomans captured the city.
In 1397, the Ottomans plundered Argos, carrying off much of the
population, to sell as slaves. The Venetians repopulated the
town and region with Albanian settlers, granting them long-term
agrarian tax exemptions. Together with the Greeks of Argos, they
supplied stratioti troops to the armies of Venice. Some historians
consider the French military term "argoulet" to derive from the Greek
"argetes", or inhabitant of Argos, as a large number of French
stratioti came from the plain of Argos.
The church of the Kimisis (Dormition) of the Virgin
During Ottoman rule,
Argos was divided in four mahalas, or quarters;
the Greek (Rûm) mahala, Liepur mahala, Bekir Efenti mahala and
Karamoutza or Besikler mahala, respectively corresponding to what is
now the northeastern, the northwestern, the southwestern and
southeastern part of the city. The Greek mahala was also called the
"quarter of the unfaithful of Archos town" in Turkish documents,
whereas Liepur mahala (the quarter of the Rabbits) was composed mostly
of Albanian emigrants and well-reputed families. As far as Karamoutza
mahala is concerned, it was home to the most prominent Turks and
boasted a mosque (modern-day church of Agios Konstadinos), a Turkish
cemetery, Ali Nakin Bei's serail, Turkish baths and a Turkish school.
It is also at this period when the open market of the city is first
organised on the site north to Kapodistrias' barracks, at the same
spot where it is held in modern times. Interestingly, a mosque would
have existed there, too, according to the city planning most Ottoman
Argos grew exponentially during this time, with its sprawl being
unregulated and without planning. As French explorer Pouqueville
noted, "its houses are not aligned, without order, scattered all over
the place, divided by home gardens and uncultivated areas". Liepur
mahala appears to have been the most organised, having the best
layout, while Bekir mahala and Karamoutza mahala were the most
labyrinthine. However, all quarters shared the same type of streets;
firstly, they all had main streets which were wide, busy and public
roads meant to allow for communication between neighbourhoods (typical
examples are, to a great extent, modern-day Korinthou, Nafpliou and
Tripoleos streets). Secondary streets were also common in all four
quarters since they lead to the interior of each mahala, having a
semi-public character, whereas the third type of streets referred to
dead-end private alleys used specifically by families to access their
homes. Remnants of this city layout can be witnessed even today, as
Argos still preserves several elements of this Ottoman type style,
particularly with its long and complicated streets, its narrow alleys
and its densely constructed houses.
Argos by Vincenzo Coronelli, 1688
With the exception of a period of Venetian domination in 1687–1715,
Argos remained in Ottoman hands until the beginning of the Greek War
of Independence in 1821, when wealthy Ottoman families moved to nearby
Nafplio due to its stronger walling.
At that time, as part of the general uprising, many local governing
bodies were formed in different parts of the country, and the
"Consulate of Argos" was proclaimed on 28 March 1821, under the
Peloponnesian Senate. It had a single head of state, Stamatellos
Antonopoulos, styled "Consul", between 28 March and 26 May 1821.
Argos accepted the authority of the unified Provisional
Government of the First National Assembly at Epidaurus, and eventually
became part of the Kingdom of Greece. With the coming of governor
Ioannis Kapodistrias, the city underwent efforts of modernisation.
Being an agricultural village, the need for urban planning was vital.
For this reason, in 1828, Kapodistrias himself appointed mechanic
Stamatis Voulgaris as the creator of a city plan which would offer
Argos big streets, squares and public spaces. However, both Voulgaris
and, later, French architect de Borroczun's plans were not well
received by the locals, with the result that the former had to be
revised by Zavos. Ultimately, none of the plans were fully
implemented. Still, the structural characteristics of de Borroczun's
plan can be found in the city today, despite obvious proof of
pre-revolutionary layout, such as the unorganised urban sprawl
testified in the area from Inachou street to the point where the
railway tracks can be found today.
After talks concerning the intentions of the Greek government to move
the Greek capital from
Nafplio to Athens, discussions regarding the
Argos also being a candidate as the potential new
capital became more frequent, with supporters of the idea claiming
that, unlike Athens,
Argos was naturally protected by its position and
benefited from a nearby port (Nafplio). Moreover, it was maintained
that construction of public buildings would be difficult in Athens,
given that most of the land was owned by the Greek church, meaning
that a great deal of expropriation would have to take place. On the
Argos did not face a similar problem, having large available
areas for this purpose. In the end, the proposition of the Greek
capital being moved to
Argos was rejected by the father of king Otto,
Ludwig, who insisted in making
Athens the capital, something which
eventually happened in 1834.
The mythological kings of
Argos are (in order): Inachus, Phoroneus,
Argus, Triopas, Agenor, Iasus, Crotopus,
Pelasgus (aka Gelanor),
Danaus, Lynceus, Abas, Proetus, Acrisius, Perseus, Megapenthes, Argeus
and Anaxagoras. An alternative version supplied by
Tatian of the original 17 consecutive kings of
Argos includes Apis,
Argios, Kriasos and
Phorbas between Argus and Triopas, explaining the
apparent unrelation of
Triopas to Argus.
The city of
Argos was believed to be the birthplace of the
mythological character Perseus, the son of the god
Zeus and Danaë,
who was the daughter of the king of Argos, Acrisius.
After the original 17 kings of Argos, there were three kings ruling
Argos at the same time (see Anaxagoras), one
descended from Bias, one from Melampus, and one from Anaxagoras.
Melampus was succeeded by his son Mantius, then Oicles, and
Amphiaraus, and his house of
Melampus lasted down to the brothers
Alcmaeon and Amphilochus.
Anaxagoras was succeeded by his son Alector, and then Iphis. Iphis
left his kingdom to his nephew Sthenelus, the son of his brother
Bias was succeeded by his son Talaus, and then by his son Adrastus
who, with Amphiaraus, commanded the disastrous Seven Against Thebes.
Adrastus bequeathed the kingdom to his son, Aegialeus, who was
subsequently killed in the war of the Epigoni. Diomedes, grandson of
Adrastus through his son-in-law Tydeus and daughter Deipyle, replaced
Aegialeus and was King of
Argos during the Trojan war. This house
lasted longer than those of Anaxagoras and Melampus, and eventually
the kingdom was reunited under its last member, Cyanippus, son of
Aegialeus, soon after the exile of Diomedes.
After Christianity became established in Argos, the first bishop
documented in extant written records is Genethlius, who in 448 AD took
part in the synod called by
Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople
Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople that
Eutyches from his priestly office and excommunicated him. The
next bishop of Argos, Onesimus, was at the 451 Council of Chalcedon.
His successor, Thales, was a signatory of the letter that the bishops
Roman province of Hellas sent in 458 to
Byzantine Emperor Leo I
the Thracian to protest about the killing of Proterius of Alexandria.
Bishop Ioannes was at the
Third Council of Constantinople
Third Council of Constantinople in 680, and
Theotimus at the Photian Council of
Constantinople (879). The
local see is today the
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Argolis.
Under 'Frankish' Crusader rule,
Argos became a Latin Church bishopric
in 1212, which lasted as a residential see until
Argos was taken by
Ottoman Empire in 1463  but would be revived under the second
Venetian rule in 1686. Today the diocese is a Catholic titular see.
The city of
Argos is delimited to the north by dry river Xerias, to
the east by Inachos river and Panitsa stream (which emanates from the
latter), to the west by the Larissa hill (site of homonymous castle
and of a monastery called Panagia Katakekrymeni-Portokalousa) and the
Aspidos Hill (unofficially Prophetes
Elias hill), and to the south by
the Notios Periferiakos road.
The Agios Petros (Saint Peter) square, along with the eponymous
cathedral (dedicated to saint Peter the Wonderworker), make up the
town centre, whereas some other characteristic town squares are the
Laiki Agora (Open Market) square, officially Dimokratias (Republic)
square, where, as implied by its name, an open market takes place
twice a week, Staragora (Wheat Market), officially
and Dikastirion (Court) square. Bonis Park is an essential green space
of the city.
Currently, the most commercially active streets of the city are those
surrounding the Agios Petros square (Kapodistriou, Danaou, Vassileos
Konstantinou streets) as well as Korinthou street. The Pezodromi
(Pedestrian Streets), i.e. the paved Michael Stamou, Tsaldari and
Venizelou streets, are the most popular meeting point, encompassing a
wide variety of shops and cafeterias.
In 700 BC there were at least 5,000 people living in the city. In
the fourth century BC, the city was home to as many as 30,000
people. Today, according to the 2011 Greek census, the city has a
population of 22,209. It is the largest city in Argolis, larger than
the capital Nafplio.
The old Dimarcheio (City Hall) in 2002; built in 1830, it served as
the headquarters of municipal government until 2012
The primary economic activity in the area is agriculture. Citrus
fruits are the predominant crop, followed by olives and apricots. The
area is also famous for its local melon variety,
Argos melons (or
Argetiko). There is also important local production of dairy products,
factories for fruits processing.
Considerable remains of the ancient and medieval city survive and are
a popular tourist attraction.
Most of Argos' historical and archaeological monuments are currently
unused, abandoned, or only partially renovated:
The Larisa castle, built during prehistoric time, which has undergone
several repairs and expansions since antiquity and played a
significant historical role during the Venetian domination of Greece
and the Greek War of Independence. It is located on top of the
homonymous Larisa Hill, which also constitutes the highest spot of the
city (289 m.). In ancient times, a castle was also found in
neighbouring Aspida Hill. When connected with walls, these two castles
fortified the city from enemy invasions.
The Ancient theatre, built in the 3rd century B.C with a capacity of
20,000 spectators, replaced an older neighbouring theatre of the 5th
century BC and communicated with the Ancient Agora. It was visible
from any part of the ancient city and the Argolic gulf. In 1829, it
was used by
Ioannis Kapodistrias for the Fourth National Assembly of
the new Hellenic State. Today, cultural events are held at its
premises during the summer months.
The Ancient Agora, adjacent to the Ancient theatre, which developed in
the 6th century B.C., was located at the junction of the ancient roads
coming from Corinth, Heraion and Tegea. Excavations in the area have
uncovered a bouleuterion, built in 460 B.C. when
Argos adopted the
democratic regime, a Sanctuary of Apollo
Lyceus and a palaestra.
The "Criterion" of Argos, an ancient monument located on the southwest
side of the town, on the foot of Larissa hill, which came to have its
current structure during the 6th-3rd century BC period. Initially, it
served as a court of ancient Argos, similar to
Areopagus of Athens.
According to mythology, it was at this area where Hypermnestra, one of
the 50 daughters of Danaus, the first king of Argos, was tried. Later,
under the reigns of Hadrian, a fountain was created to collect and
circulate water coming from the Hadrianean aqueduct located in
northern Argos. The site is connected via a paved path with the
The Barracks of Kapodistrias, a preservable building with a long
history. Built in the 1690s during the Venetian domination of Greece,
they initially served as a hospital run by the Sisters of Mercy.
During the Tourkokratia, they served as a market and a post office.
Later, in 1829, significant damage caused during the Greek revolution
was repaired by Kapodistrias who turned the building into a cavalry
barrack, a school (1893-1894), an exhibition space (1899), a shelter
for Greek refugees displaced during the population exchange between
Greece and Turkey (since 1920) and an interrogation and torture space
(during the German occupation of Greece). In 1955-68, it was used by
the army for the last time; it now accommodates the Byzantine Museum
of Argos, local corporations and also serves as an exhibition
The Municipal Neoclassical Market building (unofficially the
"Kamares", i.e. arches, from the arches that it boasts), built in
1889, which is located next to Dimokratias square, is one of the
finest samples of modern Argos' masterly architecture, in Ernst Ziller
style. The elongated, two corridor, preservable building accommodates
The Kapodistrian school, in central Argos. Built by architect Labros
Zavos in 1830, as part of Kapodistrias' efforts to provide places of
education to the Greek people, it could accommodate up to 300
students. However, technical difficulties led to its decay, until it
was restored several times, the last of which being in 1932. Today,
its neoclassical character is evident, with the building housing the
1st elementary school of the town.
The old Town Hall, built during the time of Kapodistrias in 1830,
which originally served as a Justice of the peace, the Dimogerontia of
Argos, an Arm of Carabineers and a prison. From 1987 to 2012, it
housed the Town Hall which is now located in Kapodistriou street.
The House of philhellene Thomas Gordon, built in 1829 that served as
an all-girls school, a dance school and was home to the 4th Greek
artillery regiment. Today it accommodates the French Institute of
Athens (Institut Français d' Athènes).
The House of
Spyridon Trikoupis (built in 1900), where the politician
was born and spent his childhood. Also located in the estate, which is
not open to public, is the
Saint Charalambos chapel where Trikoupis
The House of general Tsokris, important military fighter in the Greek
revolution of 1821 and later assemblyman of Argos.
The temple of Agios Konstadinos, one of the very few remaining
Argos dating from the Ottoman
Greece era. It is estimated
to have been built in the 1570-1600 period, with a minaret also having
existed in its premises. It served as a mosque and an Ottoman cemetery
up to 1871, when it was declared a Christian temple.
The chambered tombs of the Aspidos hill.
The Hellinikon Pyramid. Dating back to late 4th B.C., there exist many
theories as to the purpose it served (tumulus, fortress). Together
with the widely accepted scientific chronology, there are some people
who claim it was built shortly after the
Pharaoh tomb, i.e. the Great
Pyramid of Giza, thus a symbol of the excellent relationship the
Argos had with Egypt.
A great number of archaeological findings, dating from the prehistoric
ages, can be found at the
Argos museum, housed at the old building of
Dimitrios Kallergis at Saint Peter's square. The
located in an homonymous area (Aerodromio) in the outskirts of the
city is also worth mentioning. The area it covers was created in
1916-1917 and was greatly used during the
Greco-Italian War and for
the training of new Kaberos school aviators for the Hellenic Air Force
Academy. It also constituted an important benchmark in the
organization of the Greek air forces in southern Greece. Furthermore,
the airport was used by the
Germans for the release of their aerial
troops during the Battle of Crete. It was last used as a landing/take
off point for spray planes (for agricultural purposes in the olive
tree cultivations) up until 1985.
The railway station
Argos is connected via regular bus services with neighbouring areas as
well as Athens. In addition, taxi stands can be found at the Agios
Petros as well as the Laiki Agora square. The city also has a railway
station which, at the moment, remains closed due to an indefinite halt
to all railway services in the
Peloponnese area by the Hellenic
Railways Organisation. However, in late 2014, it was announced that
the station would open up again, as part of an expansion of the Athens
suburban railway in Argos,
Nafplio and Korinthos.
Argos has a wide range of educational institutes that also serve
neighbouring sparsely populated areas and villages. In particular, the
city has seven dimotika (primary schools), four gymnasia (junior
high), three lyceums (senior high), one vocational school, one music
school as well as a Touristical Business and Cooking department and a
post-graduate ASPETE department. The city also has two public
Argos hosts two sport clubs with presence in higher national divisions
and several achievements,
Panargiakos F.C. football club, founded in
AC Diomidis Argous handball club founded in 1976. Diomidis
Argos is the unique provincial Greek sport club with European cup.
Sport clubs based in Tripoli
Earlier presence in Beta Ethniki
AC Diomidis Argous
Panhellenic and European titles in Greek handball
Acrisius, mythological king
Theoclymenus, mythological prophet
Agamemnon, legendary leader of the Achaeans in the Trojan War
Acusilaus (6th century BC), logographer and mythographer
Ageladas (6th–5th century BC), sculptor
Calchas (8th century BC),
Homeric mythological seer
Karanos (8th century BC), founder of the Macedonian Argead Dynasty
Leo Sgouros (13th century), Byzantine despot
Nikon the Metanoeite
Nikon the Metanoeite (10th century), Christian saint of Armenian
origin, according to some sources born in Argos
Pheidon (7th century BC), king of Argos
Argus (7th century BC), king of Argos
Polykleitos (5th–4th century BC), sculptor
Polykleitos the Younger (4th century BC), sculptor
Telesilla (6th century BC), Greek poet
Bilistiche, hetaira and lover of pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus
Eleni Bakopanos (born 1954), Canadian politician
Samuel Greene Wheeler Benjamin
Samuel Greene Wheeler Benjamin (1837-1914), American statesman
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See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Greece
Twin towns & sister cities
Argos is twinned with:
Mtskheta, Georgia (1991)
Most Ancient European Towns Network
Kings of Argos
Communities of Argos
List of settlements in Argolis
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Greece Ministry of Interior (in Greek)
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ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΗΚΗ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΜΟΥ".
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Argolid since 1700 Authors Susan Buck Sutton, Keith W.
Argolid Exploration Project Editors Susan Buck Sutton, Keith W.
Adams Contributor Keith W. Adams Edition illustrated Publisher
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^ a b Eventful Archaeologies: New Approaches to Social Transformation
in the Archaeological Record The Institute for European and
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Douglas J. Bolender Editor Douglas J. Bolender Publisher SUNY Press,
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p. 105-106; vol. 2, pp. XIV e 94; vol. 3, p. 117; vol.
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^ Urbanism in the Preindustrial World: Cross-Cultural Approaches, p.
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^ Geology and Settlement: Greco-Roman Patterns, p. 124, at Google
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Sources and external links
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Argos.
GCatholic with incumbent bio links
The Theatre at Argos, The Ancient Theatre Archive, Theatre
specifications and virtual reality tour of theatre
Subdivisions of the municipality of Argos-Mykines
Municipal unit of Achladokampos
Municipal unit of Alea
Municipal unit of Argos
Municipal unit of Koutsopodi
Municipal unit of Lerna
Municipal unit of Lyrkeia
Municipal unit of Mykines
Municipal unit of Nea Kios
Most Ancient European Towns Network
Stato da Màr
Stato da Màr of the Republic of Venice
Istria (10th century – 1797)
Dalmatia (11th century – 1797)
Durazzo (Durrës) (1392–1501)
Cerigo (Cythera) and Cerigotto (Anticythera) (1363–1797)
Zante (Zakynthos) (1479–1797)
Santa Maura (Leucas) (1684–1797)
Modon and Coron (1207–1500)
Negroponte (Euboea) (1209/1390–1470)
Napoli di Romania (Nafplio) (1388–1540)
Lepanto (Naupactus) (1407–1540)
Kingdom of the Morea
Kingdom of the Morea (1687–1715)
Crete (1205–1669), then only Souda,
Duchy of the Archipelago
Duchy of the Archipelago (1383–1537/79), then only Sifnos
Soldaia (Sudak) (13th century – 1365)
Fourth Crusade & Frankokratia