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Methone (also known as Modon) is a city in Messenia in the far southwest corner of the Peloponnese, an important naval station on the route between the Aegean Sea and Italy. Attested as a city in late antiquity, it was visited by Belisarius on his way to North Africa in 533. Methone apparently survived the Slavic invasions more or less intact, and it was undoubtedly strongly fortified. The city suffered considerably from Arab devastation in the 9th–10th centuries, although it did receive refugees from other parts of the empire.

In 881 the Byzantine admiral Nasar donated the booty he took from the Arabs to the church of Methone. The city apparently prospered during the 11th-12th centuries, but it also became the lair of pirates, and the Venetians attacked it in 1125 and destroyed the walls. Methone played a crucial role in east-west trade and it was one of the ports that Alexios III opened to Venetian traders in 1198. To many of the Crusaders the Peloponnese was known as the Isle de Modon, reflecting the central role the city played for many Westerners; Geoffrey I Villehardouin landed at Methone in 1204 and began his conquest of the Peloponnese there. The Partitio Romania, however, granted Methone to Venice and, along with Korone, Methone remained under Venetian control (despite struggles with the despotate of the Morea) until 1500, when it fell to the Ottomans.

The bishop of Methone was originally subject to Corinth, but by the 10th century he was a suffragan of Patras. The best known bishops were St. Athanasios of Methone (late 9th–early 10th century) and Nicholas of Methone, who provided an interesting contemporary description of the city. The Venetian overlords retained the Greek bishop of Methone, who in 1301 was under the jurisdiction of Monemvasia. The walls of Methone are primarily Venetian in date, but they are mostly built on Byzantine foundations and many Byzantine spolia are used in them.


Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium

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