ASTROPALIA (classical Astypalaea), an island, with good
harbours, in the south part of the Aegean, situated in 36.5° N.
and immediately west of 26.5° E. It was colonized by Megara,
and its constitution and buildings are known from numerous
inscriptions. The Roman emperors recognized it as a free state,
and in the middle ages it was called Stampalia, and belonged to
the noble Venetian family of Quirini. It was taken by the Turks
in the 16th century, and is now noted for its sponges. The
customs and dress of the people, who speak a patois of romaic
origin, are interesting.
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