A flourishing Ionian colony was established in Kythnos by kestoras and kelyfos during antiquity.
The ancient Kythnians were involved with merchant marine. During the Persian Wars, they denied forming a coalition with the Persian King and fought with a trireme and a 50 towed ship. The ancient state of Kythnos was renowned for its good government and for this reason Aristotle made a special study on Kythnos in his work “Peri Kythnion Politeias”; unfortunately, this piece of work has not been saved.
Furhermore, the ancient Kythnians excelled in letters and arts and the brought Timanthis and Kydias to prominence.
Kythnos had a major part in antiquity due to its location. Filip V, the king of Macedonia, deployed his army in Kyhtnos to check the roman attacks in 202 B.C. Indeed, after the Fall of Andras in 199 B.C. , the Romans tried to occupy Kythnos, but they failed. After a long siege they were forced to abandon the island because of its resistant fortification.
One can find tracks of ancient cities on the south-west of the island , at Rigokastro of Evraiokastro, and on the north-west, at Kefalokastro.
Kefalokastro seems to have been the capital of the island, but because of treason, it was destroyed by the Turks, in the 16th century.
Kythnos was also used by the Romans as a place of exile. But it because even more known from a fearless pirate called Nero. A large expedition was organized against him by Kalpournios Asprenatos, but the only managed to capture and kill pseudo – Nero.
- FRANKS - TURKS - RUSSIANS
During the occupation of the Franks, the island was governed by several Houses such as the Sanoudes and the Kasteli from 1207 to 1537, when the Turks occupied it.
In 1600, the Turks slaughtered all males and consequently the island was almost deserted. During the following century, the inhabitants, most of which came from the nearly islands, numbered from 1000 to 3000.
In 1770, Kythnos was occupied by the Russians and they installed a governor – commissioner and four trustees to be in command. When the Russians left Kythnos 4 years later, they took with them many antique items.
Wedding custom: The wedding customs both in Chora and in Dryopida are of a special interest. The wedding is a happy event for the residents. Everyone participates during its preparation and they all enjoy it while at the same time they wish the newlyweds. At a traditional wedding, there are no invitation cards as everyone is invited!
Carnival: On Shrove Thursday several festive events are held in Dryopida; the young ones wear their traditional costumes and dance “balos” in the alleys. Some other events are organized in Chora on the same day; there, the residents wear impromptu fancy-dress costumes. If found on the island, it is worth attending these events. You will get the smell of grilled meat coming from the barbecues at the squares and you will also listen to the sound of the bagpipe-the traditional wind instrument.
On the last Sunday of the Carnival, Chora “welcomes Lazanis”-the king of the Carnival of Kythnos. In Dryopida the Carnival is celebrated with a cheerful feast.
Agioi Theodoroi: The custom of “The big of Agioi Theodoroi is an equally interesting event. Young boys and girls light a big fire and jump over it so as to maintain strength and health.
Orthodoxy Sunday: is also specially honored in Dryopida. After attending the Mass, the locals take the icons all over the village. The young men carry a nicely decorated basket and escorted by traditional musical instruments, they collect eggs from all the houses and the same time they are treated with tidbits and wine.
Easter Monday: On Easter Monday the customs of the Swing takes place in Chora. A big swing is set up at the central square and young men and women swing wearing traditional costumes.
Those couples that swing together are on the spot committed to each other and to get married soon. Afterwards, there are treatments, foods and drinks, as well as traditional dances.
May 1st: On May Day Eve, the young men pick flowers from various yards to hang them on their beloved ones doors. They are escorted by musical instruments and they sing the tune of May: “… May has come sweetheart, summer is here, it’s time we became a couple…” (Translation of the greek lyrics)