The land of Hephaestus
According to the Greek Mythology, after a fight between Zeus and Hera, Hephaestus was thrown by Zeus on Limnos because he took Hera’s side. Ever since, Hephaestus lived on the island and taught Sindies, the first Limnos’ inhabitants, the art of working with iron. It is also said that Sindies welcomed and helped Hephaestus and this is why he decided to teach them how to create various iron objects.
King Thoas and Myrina
Limnos was offered as a gift to Thoas, who was a general in the army of King Radamanthys of Phaistos. The king of Crete, Minoas, had sent Radamanthys to take over the Aegean Islands. At that time, Limnos was part of Thessaly and was dominated by Minyes; the king of Iolkos (capital of Thessaly) gave his daughter Myrina to Thoas as his wife. The island’s capital was named Myrina, in order to honour her.
The myth of “shortage of men”
During the years that Thoas was king of Limnos, the women neglected worshiping Goddess Aphrodite. So, she punished all women with bad odour. As a result, all men stayed away from women. The women got very upset and during a celebration, when the men were drunk, they managed to kill them all, by throwing them down a hill. The only man who survived was Thoas, who was saved by his daughter Ypsipili (she put him in a pot and threw him in the sea). Ypsipili became the queen of Limnos but the problem of shortage of men still had to be solved.
The Argonauts in Limnos and the establishment of pentathlon
During the period of men shortage, the Argonauts passed by the island on their way to Kolchida. Initially, the women of Limnos’ did not allow them to get off their ships, thinking they were pirates. However, they agreed to let them disembark with the condition that they would please each and every woman on the island, irrespective of age or looks. So, the Argonauts solved the problem of men shortage and Ypsipili had two sons with Jason. The Argonauts stayed on the island for quite a few years and in that period, Ypsipili organized athletic games in their honour; pentathlon games were held for the first time in that period.
The Argonauts left Limnos only after Hercules intervened, but they made a short stop on the island on their way back from Kolchida.