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The banner of the Kythera Island

Kythera Island, or simply Kythera, is an arid Greek island located off the southernmost tip of Peloponnese. Its main settlement was the Kythera Town, located in the central region of the Pilgrim Hill.



According to the legends, Kythera was where the goddess Aphrodite first stepped on land, and the city of Kythera was the first to welcome her.[1][2][3]

5th century BCE

During the 5th century BCE, the island kingdom was renowned for two principal things: its temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite, and the local trade of Tyrian purple, a dye made from the murex shellfish. The former attracted pilgrims from all across Greece while the latter was highly respected due to the immense labor required to produce it from the hundreds of thousands shellfish caught. Because of this, Tyrian purple was highly coveted and its export was enormously profitable for Kythera, which came to be known as the 'Home of the Tyrian Purple'.[4][5][3]

During the Peloponnesian War, Kythera was coveted by the Athenians, and they occupied it for most of the conflict, taking advantage of its proximity to Lakonia to raid the Spartans' home.[2]


Both the mythical as well as the commercial facts were abundantly clear on the emblem of the island during the Peloponnesian War: a stylized white dove, the sacred bird of the goddess Aphrodite, standing on a field of Tyrian Purple.[5][2]


People worshipping Aphrodite on Kythera

The people of the island, especially sailors and fishermen, were avid worshipers of Aphrodite and often prayed her to watch over them in the surrounding waters, known for being tricky to navigate.[6]


Kythera Island had a dry climate, but still the island was littered with flowers, as they grew in abundance near water sources, and were spread all around in celebration of Aphrodite.[5]

Unified in its dedication of Aphrodite, Kythera Island was separated into three regions, with Aphrodite's Watch keeping an eye on the pass that separated the island from Peloponnese, the Pilgrim Hill consisting of the site of the pilgrimage and the road that led up to the Temple of Aphrodite, and the Skandeia Bay wherein laid Skandeia Harbor and the island's treasury.[5]

In addition, the Chytra Atoll was also considered part of Kythera.[5]

Behind the scenes

In both Assassin's Creed: Odyssey as well as Ubisoft's own site, the island is given the epithet "Home of Tyrian Purple", referencing rare and thus expensive dye.[3]

Historically Kythera's association with Aphrodite exists due to the transmission of the cult of Astarte that began on the island during the Early Archaic Age, when Kythera was originally colonized by the Phoenicians.