The city's last centuries
It was long thought that toward the end of the 3rd century AD Eretria was gradually deserted, and that a powerful earthquake in 365 AD completed the process of depopulation. Nevertheless, both the recent discovery of the Temple of the Imperial Cult (Sebasteion), which was probably destroyed by Christians in the 5th century AD, and a series of tombs probably dating from the 6th century suggest that a community continued to live in Eretria, at least up until that time.
It remains difficult, however, to obtain a clear picture of how the settlement was organized during the city's last centuries, for not many remains have been discovered: a few fragments of walls, a building and a well near the temple of Apollo, where a part of an internal parapet (chancel) was also found, possibly indicating the presence of a church. Many buildings from earlier periods were probably reused without leaving any trace. The world of the dead is somewhat better known to us: most of the sepultures -graves built with tiles or covered with stone slabs- were situated along the city's main thoroughfares and intersections, and also close to former temples: in the north, near the Sebasteion and the Monumental Tomb, towards the south, along the ancient road and around the Sanctuary of Apollo. The scanty pottery and bronze ornamental objects discovered in the tombs suggest a relatively prosperous population, but the city had certainly decreased in importance.
We know that an earthquake again shook the region in 511, perhaps resulting in the flight of the last inhabitants. Only the church of Aghia Paraskevi, situated 1 km east of Eretria, and the necropolis that surrounds it indicate that the place was still frequented in the 6th century.
A page has turned, erasing the memory of the ancient gods and the city of Eretria.