The Occupation by the Knights

From 1309, when Rhodes and the other islands of the Dodecanese, except Karpathos, Kassos and Patmos, were conquered by knights from loan-nina, until 1522 when they came into the possession of Suleiman the Magnificent, Symi was a part of the crusader state which had its headquaters on Rhodes. It was not a colony but a junction point where decisions were made.

The period when the knights were on Symi is indicated by the coat of arms which are built into the kastro of the island.

Barricaded within this fortified kastro and despite their disadvantage in numbers, the Symiots were able to defeat the Turks during repeated attacks in 1460,1485 and 1504. Under the regime of the knights' occupation, Symi had many privileges; it was self-governed and its inhabitants made progress in shipbuilding, shipping and trade. They had only to pay a tax to the battalion which was known as an 'mortuario epitaph' and which, in 1353, reached the sum of 500 Turkish aspra (silver farthings).           



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