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Tinos, A Name, A History.


The origin of the name Tinos is an item of argument amongst the locals and the scholars over the centuries. The wannabe name-givers are numerous and their explanation are mostly based on logic and not fiction. There is the romantic side and the historical side.

The dominant explanation supports the idea that Tinos derivs from the the Phoenician word "Tunnoth" which means Snake, as our island is abundant with the specific serpents. Over the years (and the language decay), Tunnoth became Tinos.

The story that I heard with my own ears is one that dates back a long time ago. I was a child, on the ship to Tinos and heard two nearby passengers discuss the name of the island. One of them said that in the years of old, a boat was passing between the islands Andros and Tinos, and the people on the boat were wondering "Whose island is this?" (Tinos also stands for 'whose?' in Greek).

Though, I have to admit, the most romantic and contemporary version on the island's name, I read in B. Anagnostopoulos' book Greek Lore and Traditions. The narration of the story about a young princess whose name was Tinos, sent to exile on the island by her father to perish. Given a loaf of bread and matches by her nanny in order to survive. Meeting another exiled prince and setting the island (which was abundant with forests at the time) on fire, and spending their lives together on an island full of snakes.

The fact that there were (and still are) numerous snakes on the island, is the reason why our island was also called Fidoussa (Full of Snakes in greek).

Version and opinions come and go, you can enrich your knowledge by strolling down the villages and listen to what the locals have to say about that.

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