The ancient myths that have survived, speak of a kingdom at the western end of the Greek world that belonged to the "Kefalonians". The first inhabitants of Kefalonia and the surrounding islands are said to be the "Tafioi" or "Televoes", descendants of Poseidon. However, the first king of the island was the mythical Kefalos, who gave it its name. There is extensive mythology about Kefalos, which seems to have been triggered by one of the most famous myths, that of his abduction by Eos. According to the website of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cephalonia, "Eos (deity- personification of Dawn, daughter of the Titans and sister of the Sun and Moon) fell in love with Kefalos - whose origin was from Attica - and persecuted him all the way to Syria, wherever she reached him, grabbed him and made him hers. From their union Phaethon was born. Eight years later, Kefalos manages to return to his homeland and reconcile with his wife Procris. Unfortunately, the latter never ceased to suspect that her husband could be cheating on her. One day she secretly followed him on the hunt and hid behind a bush. Kefalos, seeing the branches of the bush swaying, believed that there was some large prey behind the bush, so he hurled his javelin, causing him to unwittingly kill his wife. After the murder, Kefalos is exiled from Athens and ends up in Thebes where he fights alongside King Amphitryon against the Televoi. After the victory of the Thebans, Amphitryon gave Kefalonia as a prize to Kefalos, who now founded his kingdom there. Kefalos had 5 sons, Cranios, Paleas, Pronisos, Samos and Arisios. The first four later founded a city-state, creating the well-known "Tetrapolis" mentioned by Thucydides, while Arisius became king of Ithaca, father of Laertes and grandfather of Homeric Odysseus".
The archaeological findings in the area of Fiskardo, Sami and Skala place the human presence on the island to appear in the Paleolithic era (50,000-10,000 BC) and continue into the Neolithic era (6,800-3,200 BC). The data for the second period came exclusively from findings in the caves of Drakaina Poros and Gerogobos Palliki, however today, they are also supported by various outdoor facilities that have been located on the coast of the island and in the interior.
Settlements were established throughout the island during the Prehistoric era, while it experienced its first major development in the Mycenaean years (1,550-1,050 BC), as evidenced by the findings and the impressive chamber and vaulted tombs that were investigated at the sites Mazarakata, Lakithra, Diakata and Prokopata of the Argostoli, Mavrata and Tzannata of the Eleios-Pronnoi D.E., Kontogenada and Skinea of the Palliki D.E. and finally, Metaxata and Kagelisses of Livathos. The vaulted tomb in Tzannata is one of the most imposing tombs of Kefalonia. In addition, the cemetery in Mazarakata is the largest in area, while the richest in findings to date is that of Lakithra.
The theory that the island was deserted after the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization (after 1,050 BC) is permanently abandoned based on excavation data. At that time, gradually began to create the first organized settlements, which during the Classical period (5th-4th century BC) would be formed in the four city-states, Krani, Pali, Pronnoi and Sami, which are mentioned by Thucydides as the "Kefalonian Tetrapolis". The cities are autonomous and independent, with separate coins and impressive fortifications.
They were at the edge of the Greek world at the time, but they were not isolated at all and played an important role in the political events of the time. During the Persian wars, the participation of Pali in the battle of Plataea (479 BC) with 200 hoplites is mentioned, while in 434 BC ships from Pali took part in the naval battle of the Corinthians against the Corfiots. The Kefalonian Tetrapolis reached the peak of its power during the Hellenistic period, while in 220 BC Kefalonia became a member of the Aetolian League and a little later acquired an isopoliteia. This resulted in the Cephallenians coming into conflict with the Macedonians, who were then fighting the Aetolians. Philip V in 218 BC campaigns against the island and besieges, but without success, Pali, and so abandons all attempts to capture the rest of the island. In 189 BC the Romans besieged Sami, having already captured Krani, Pali and Pronnoi, but the inhabitants of Sami put up strong resistance. Finally, after a four-month siege, Sami would pass into the hands of the Romans, an occupation that was accompanied by the enslavement of the inhabitants.
During the Roman centuries (188 BC-330 AD), under the rule of Rome the four cities, after the economic decline brought by the new situation, gradually began to recover. New cities are founded, such as Katelios and Fiskardo. The natural harbor of Sami is a Roman naval base and is therefore supplied with public benefit projects, bringing great economic prosperity to the inhabitants, which is also evidenced by the findings kept in the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli.
After the division of the Roman Empire in 495, the island belongs to the Byzantine Empire and the Theme of Cephalonia is founded. It later fell into the hands of Frankish nobles, followed by two short periods of Ottoman occupation (1479-1481 and 1485-1500).
In the period 1500-1797 Kefalonia was under the rule of the Venetians, who created the necessary infrastructure for trade, as well as fortifications, such as the castle of Agios Georgios in Livathos and the castle of Assos in Erissos.
During the Napoleonic Wars the island was under French occupation, while in 1809 it was occupied by the British. The period of British rule ended when in 1864 the union of the Ionian Islands with the rest of Greece took place.