Peparethos is the ancient name of Skopelos. The island was named after Peparethus, the son of Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of vine, wine, and fertility, and of Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete. He was also the brother of Staphylus, Skopelos’ first mythical settler.
The ancient name of the island was also mentioned by Thucydides, the great historian. According to the legend, Theseus, the son of King Aegeus, was sent from Athens to Minoan Crete as part of a sacrificial group of seven young boys and seven maidens. This group was intended as a sacrifice to the Minotaur, the mythical beast half-man and half-bull that was kept in the Labyrinth in the Palace of Knossos. Theseus met Ariadne, Minos and Pasiphae’s daughter, who fell in love with him and helped him escape the labyrinth with a ball of thread to trace his way back out of the maze, the famous “Ariadne’s Thread”. Thus, Theseus, slayed the Minotaur and eloped with Ariadne. On their way back to Athens, Theseus and his companions stopped at Naxos Island, where the god Dionysus appeared in his dream and requested that he leave Ariadne, claiming that she was destined to become his own wife.
Drawing on various local versions of the legend, Dionysus took Ariadne to Lemnos Island where they had four sons together: Thoas, Oenopeon, Staphylus, and Peparethus. This best confirms, as many other relevant tales do, that Skopelos was a Minoan colony during the period of Creto-Minoan prosperity. Based on the above, it is also concluded that Peparethos established relationships and business ties with the Cyclades and Northern Aegean Islands, Asia Minor, and Argolis, the well-known center of the Mycenaean civilization.
In the southeast of the island, important archaeological Mycenaean findings suggest that King Staphylus’ legend is based on actual events. Specifically, in 1936, the archeologist Nikolaos Platon found a shaft tomb on the peninsula at the edge of Staphylos Bay, which is believed to be King Staphylus’ grave. Excavations brought to life the King’s sword with its 32cm-long gold handle inside the tomb, which had not been looted, and other Creto-Mycenaean artifacts that are now on display at the National Archeological Museum of Athens.
The name “Peparethos” with the suffix -thos is characteristic of the pre-Hellenistic period in which the Carians, a native race from Anatolia (Asia Minor), followed by the Minoans and Mycenaeans, appear to be the first settlers of Skopelos Island. The presence of Mycenae is confirmed by traces of Mycenaean houses at the foot of Mount Palouki (in the region of Staphylos), the second highest mountain in Skopelos after Mount Delphi. King Staphylus founded his kingdom in the same region. In modern-day Skopelos town (also known as Chora) as well as in Glossa in the northwest of the island, above the port of Loutraki, ruins of Mycenaean houses have also been discovered.
In the 8th century BC or early 7th century BC, the Staphylos settlement was abandoned and new settlements were developed in Panormos (located in the namesake bay in the southwestern part of the island), Selinus (modern-day Loutraki, in Glossa), and Peparethos (the Chora of Skopelos).