What Was Zante Called in Ancient Greece?

What Was Zante Called in Ancient Greece?

When discussing the history of the Greek islands, it’s important to delve into the ancient names by which they were known. One such island that has a rich historical background is Zante, or as it was called in Ancient Greece, Zakynthos.

The Island of Zakynthos

Zakynthos, also spelled Zakynthus, is a beautiful island located in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of mainland Greece. It is the third largest of the Ionian Islands and has a long and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years.

Ancient Greek Name

In ancient times, Zakynthos was known as Hyrie or Hyria. The island’s original inhabitants were believed to be the son of Zeus and nymph Calliope. According to mythology, he named the island after his son Zakynthos.

Roman Influence

During Roman rule, Zakynthos became part of the Roman Empire and acquired its Latin name, Zacynthus. The Romans greatly influenced the culture and architecture of the island.

Zakynthos Today

In modern times, Zakynthos is commonly referred to by its Italian name “Zante.” This name gained popularity during Venetian rule in the 15th century when Venice controlled many parts of Greece.

  • Zakynthos boasts stunning natural landscapes with picturesque beaches and crystal-clear waters.
  • The island is also home to several notable landmarks such as Navagio Beach, which is famous for its shipwreck.
  • Zakynthos Town, its capital city, showcases beautiful Venetian architecture that reflects its historical past.


From its ancient Greek name Hyrie to its Roman designation Zacynthus and its modern name Zante, the island of Zakynthos has a rich history that spans centuries. Its captivating past, combined with its natural beauty, makes it a popular tourist destination today.

So next time you visit this enchanting island, remember its historical roots and the various names it has been known by throughout history!