Chronology of the Aeolian Islands



Final centuries of 5th millennium bc: first phase of the Eolian Neolithic. Cultural facies of Castellaro Vecchio.
First centuries of fourth millennium bc: second phase of the Eolian Neolithic. Period of three-coloured pottery. Castle Rock of Lipari inhabited. Mid-fourth millennium bc: third phase of the Eolian Neolithic. Period of intricate spiral design pottery.
Second half of 4th and early 3rd millennium bc: Culture of Diana.


First phase of the Eneolithic
First half of 3rd millennium bc: cultural facies of Diana-Spatarella.
Middle Eneolithic
Mid-3rd millennium bc: culture of Pianoconte (which begins to show, however, before the middle of the millennium, probably around 2700-2600 bc).
Upper Eneolithic
Second half of 3rd millennium bc: Culture of Piano Quartara.


Early Bronze Age
Last centuries of 3rd millennium bc – 1430 bc: Culture of Capo Graziano.
Middle Bronze Age
c.1430-1270 bc: Milazzese Culture.
Late Bronze Age
c.1270-1125 bc: Ausonio I.
Late 12th – late 10th or early 9th cent. bc: Ausonio II.
Late 10th, early 9th cent. – c. 580 bc: the Eolian archipelago is completely uninhabited, with the exception of Lipari, where, according to Diodorus Siculus, on the arrival of the Greeks a very small number of natives lived.


580-576 bc: Groups of inhabitants of Cnido and Rhodes, survivors of the unsuccessful expedition of Pentathlos in western Sicily, land at Lipari, under the leadership of Gorgo, Tèstore and Epiterside and found the colony of Lipàra.
6th cent. – 474 bc: Naval conflicts with the Etruscans and numerous victories, judging by the donations to the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. Probably in the third decade of the 5th century bc Lipàra was briefly conquered by the Etruscans, who sacrificed Theodotos, one of the most strenuous defenders, to Apollo.
474 bc: The Etruscan threat to Lipari ends with their defeat at Cumae at the hands of Hieron of Syracuse. During the 5th century stable dwellings, of an agricultural nature, are set up on other islands of the archipelago.
427-426 bc: As an ally of Syracuse against Athens in the Pelopennesian war, Lipàra suffers Athenian raids (and from Rhegium, ally of Athens).
397-396 bc: During the war between Carthage and Syracuse, Lipàra is conquered by the Carthaginian fleet, under the command of Imilcone, which imposes on the town a ransom of 30 talents.
393 bc: The arconte (supreme magistrate) of Lipàra, Timasiteo, returns to Rome the gold crater (a tenth of a sail’s length) which a Roman ship, boarded by pirates from Lipàra, was taking to the sanctuary of Delphi in Greece.
389 bc: During the conflict between Dionysius of Syracuse and the Italiots, Tearide, Dionysius’ brother, captures ten enemy ships from the Rhegium fleet in the waters of Lipari.
304 bc: Lipàra is attacked treacherously by Agathocles, tyrant of Syracuse, who imposes a ransom of 50 talents; the ships of Syracuse that carry back the booty (votive offerings to Aeolus and Ephestus from the prytaneum of the town) are sunk in a storm, seen as a sign of divine anger.
264 bc: During the first Punic war Lipari allies with Carthage against Rome and becomes the operating base of the Carthaginian admiral Hannibal.
260-257 bc: The waters of Lipari are the scene of important episodes in the war between the Carthaginians and Romans, who try unsuccessfully to conquer the island on two occasions.
252-251 bc: Lipari is destroyed and conquered by the Romans under the command of the consul Aurelio Cotta.


218 bc: During the second Punic war nine Carthaginian triremes take refuge at Lipari.
First half of 2nd cent. bc: formation of Vulcanello.
69 bc: Lipari, ‘civitas decumana’, along with many other Sicilian towns, suffers the outrage of Verres, pro-praetor of Sicily, referred to by Cicero in one of his works.
37 bc: During the civil war with Sextus Pompeius, son of Cneo Pompeius, Octavius deports the inhabitants of Lipari to Dicearchia in Campania because they support the latter. Shortly afterwards Sextus Pompeius places strategic bases in the Eolian islands, especially on Lipari.
36 bc: The fleet of Octavius, commanded by Agrippa, obtains an important victory in the waters between Lipari and Milazzo over Sextus Pompeius, who will later that year be finally defeated in the naval battle of Nauloco, near Capo Peloro. Pliny the Elder (ad 23-79), in the 3rd book of his ‘Naturalis Historia’, mentions Lipari as ‘oppidum civium romanorum’, that is a ‘Roman town’ whose inhabitants had Roman citizenship and enjoyed administrative autonomy.
ad 205: Plantilla, wife of the Emperor Caracalla, is interned on Lipari with her brother Plauziano.
ad 417: Attalo Prisco, already nominated Emperor by Alarico, is interned on Lipari with the Emperor Onorio.
ad 506-511: Theodoric interns the curial Iovino, accused of murder, on Vulcano.
ad 543: The Goths establish a naval base on Lipari after their conquest of Naples. By the 6th century ad the remains of Saint Bartholomew are kept on Lipari (according to Saint Gregory of Tours).
First half of 8th cent. ad: Eruption of Monte Pelato.
ad 838: Lipari is sacked and destroyed by the Arabs. The remains of Saint Bartholomew are transferred to Benevento.
Taken from ‘Archeologia viva’ n. 46 – Edizioni Giunti
The dating of the phases of Eolian prehistory is the work of Luigi Bernabò Brea and Madeleine Cavalier.