Greek islands in the Ionian Sea. Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features the Paxi islands of Greece in the Ionian Sea.
The Paxi islands can be seen in the upper-left corner of the photograph. Paxos is the larger island to the north, and Antipaxos is the smaller island to the south.
The Paxi islands are known for their Greek hospitality and for exotic beaches surrounded by emerald water.
Greek settlers from Sparta and Laconia conquered the Messapian village of Taras on the river of the same name (modern Tara) and founded a new Taras on the peninsula (cut in 1480 by a canal) between the Mare Piccolo and the Mare Grande. Taras soon became one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia (Greek colonies in southern Italy), and its inhabitants founded several other coastal cities. Taras reached its zenith of military power and prosperity in the 4th century BC under the great philosopher and scientist Archytas, but after his death the city suffered in a series of wars, culminating in its submission to Rome in 272 BC. During the Second Punic War, it fell into the hands of the Carthaginian general Hannibal but was recaptured and plundered by the Romans (209). Although it later recovered many of its privileges, the Roman Tarentum declined under the Roman Empire, in spite of attempts to repopulate it.
Image Credit: ESA