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According to mythology, Patmos was a present from Zeus to his daughter Artemis, goddess of hunting and young women. She was worshipped here in antiquity. The island, one of the Dodecanese, has probably been inhabited since prehistoric times. It paid tribute to Athens in the 5th century BC, belonged to the Macedonians in the 4th century BC, and was taken by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. During Byzantine times, the inhabitants of Patmos built the Grand Royal Basilica of Saint John on the site of the temple of Artimus. Massive fortifications were constructed around the basilica as a protection from pirates. The island of Patmos was used as a place of exile under the Romans. The Apostle John came to Patmos in 95, exiled by the Roman governer of Miletus, during the reign of Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus, for preaching the Christian faith. John wrote the apocalypse while on the island (Cave of the Apocalypse). He was on Patmos for 2 years. The island suffered from the Arab raids from the 6th to the 9th century, a period during which the Grand Royal Basilica of Saint John was destroyed. Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komninos 1, gave the monk Christodoulos authority over the island in 1088. Christodoulos built the current Monastery of St. John the Theologian on the site of the Basilica. Construction started in 1101. It overlooked the capital city of Chora. During the end of the 12th century, the island of Patmos was transformed into a commercial center. In 1207, the Venetians conquered Patmos and the island was given to the Duke of Naxos. Supported by the Duke of Naxos, the island became a semi-autonomous monastic state and gained great wealth and influence. In 1340, the Knights of Saint John conquered the island. In 1522, the Turks came to the island. In 1655, Patmos was again governed by the monks. Its growth stopped in 1659 when Francesco Morozini, a Venetian, conquered the island. The Russians conquered the island in 1770 after the Turkish-Venetian War. Greece gained independence in 1832 but the Greek State did not include the islands of the Dodecanese, they were given to Turkey. The Italians occupied all the islands of the Dodecanese in 1912 and remained there until 1943. The Germans then took over the island. In 1945 the island was liberated and remained autonomous until 1948 when it joined the Greek state. A tempestuous history for sure.
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