The history of Kalamata begins with Homer , who mentions Pharai (Φαραί) , an ancient city built more or less where the Kalamata Castle stands today. It was believed that during ancient times the area that the city presently occupies was covered by the sea, but the proto-Greek and archaic period remains (Poseidon temple) that were unearthed at Akovitika region prove the opposite. The second town, sometimes transliterated "Pharae" ( Φαραί), was located in Messenia. Strabo locates the town on the bank of the Nedon river, five stadia from the sea (the Messenian Gulf ) (Geography 8.4. 8.5); Pausanias says six stadia (Description of Greece 4.31.1). Smith attributes the discrepancy to the accumulation of silt over time at the mouth. Pausanias wrote that Pherae had been founded by Pharis, son of Hermes and the Danaid Phylodameia (Description of Greece 4.30.2; 7.22.3). Pausanias distinguishes this city from the Achaean city of Pharae (Φαραὶ), 150 stadia from Patrae and 70 stadia from the coast (Description of Greece 7.22.1), which Pausanias was unable to discover, whether the same town Pharis had founded or another by the same name (Description of Greece 7.22.5). The Messenian town was located on the site of modern Kalamata and, like the current Messenian capital, it probably also was the chief town of the southern Peloponnesian plain. In Homer, Pherae was the home of Diocles, whose sons Crethon and Orsilochus were killed by Aeneas (Iliad, 5. 541-550). As part of his entreaty to Achilles Agamemnon promised to include "holy Pherae" as one of seven "strongholds" in the dowry of the daughter Achilles chooses to marry if he returned to the fight on behalf of the Achaeans (Iliad 9.151). Strabo argues that Pherae must have belonged to the Atreides ; otherwise Agamemnon would not have offered it. The home of Diocles is also where Telemachus and Peisistratus spent a night at his house on their way from Pylos to visit king Menelaus in Lacedaemon (Odyssey 3.488-90) and their return (Odyssey 16.186). Xenophon records that Pherae (Φεραί) was one of the Lacedaemonian cities razed by Persian satrap Pharnabazus II and Athenian General Conon during the Corinthian War (in 394 B.C.E.) (Hellenica 4.8.7). Pausanias says that because Messenia sided with Antony during the Roman civil war (Description of Greece 4.31.1), Augustus punitively had Pherae and all of Messenia incorporated into Laconia (Description of Greece 4.30.2). When Pausanias visited it, Pherae had a temple dedicated to Fortune (Tyche) (Description of Greece 4.30.2).Pharai was rather unimportant in Antiquity, and the site continued in obscurity until middle Byzantine times. Kalamata is first mentioned in the 10th-century Life of St. Nikon the Metanoeite, and experienced a period of prosperity in the 11th–12th centuries, as attested by the five surviving churches built in this period, including the Church of the Holy Apostles, as well as the comments of the Arab geographer al-Idrisi , who calls it a "large and populous" town. Following the Fourth Crusade , Kalamata was conquered by Frankish feudal lords William of Champlitte and Geoffrey of Villehardouin in 1205, when its Byzantine fortress was apparently in so bad a state that it could not be defended against them. Thus the town became part of the Principality of Achaea, and after Champlitte granted its possession to Geoffrey of Villehardouin, the town was the center of the Villehardouins' patrimony in the Principality. Prince William II of Villehardouin was born and died there. After William II's death in 1278, Kalamata remained in the hands of his widow, Anna Komnene Doukaina , but when she remarried to Nicholas II of Saint Omer , King Charles of Anjou was loath to see this important castle in the hands of a vassal, and in 1282 Anna exchanged it with lands elsewhere in Messenia. In 1292 or 1293, two local Melingoi Slavic captains managed to capture the fortress of Kalamata by a ruse and, aided by 600 of their fellow villagers, took over the entire lower town as well in the name of the Byzantine emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos. Constable John Chauderon in vain tried to secure their surrender, and was sent to Constantinople, where Andronikos agreed to hand the town over, but then immediately ordered his governor in Mystras not to do so. In the event, the town was recovered by the Franks through the intercession of a local Greek, a certain Sgouromalles. In 1298, the town formed the dowry of Princess Matilda of Hainaut upon her marriage to Guy II de la Roche . Matilda retained Kalamata as her fief until 1322, when she was dispossessed and the territory reverted to the princely domain. In 1358, Prince Robert gifted the châtellenie of Kalamata (comprising also Port-de-Jonc and Mani ) to his wife, Marie de Bourbon, who kept it until her death in 1377. The town remained one of the largest in the Morea—a 1391 document places it, with 300 hearths, on par with Glarentza—but it nevertheless declined in importance throughout the 14th and 15th centuries in favour of other nearby sites like Androusa . Kalamata remained in Frankish hands until near the end of the Principality of Achaea, coming under the control of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea only in 1428.Kalamata was occupied by the Ottomans from 1481 to 1685, like the rest of Greece. In 1659, during the long war between Ottomans and Venetians over Crete, the Venetian commander Francesco Morosini , came into contact with the rebellious Maniots, for a joint campaign in the Morea, in the course of which he took Kalamata. He was soon after forced to return to Crete, but the Venetians returned in the Morean War . The Venetian Republic ruled Klamata from 1685 as part of the " Kingdom of the Morea " ( Italian : Regno di Morea). During the Venetian occupation the city was fortified, developed and thrived economically. However, the Ottomans reoccupied Kalamata in the war of 1715 and controlled it until the Greek War of Independence . Kalamata was the first city to be liberated as the Greeks rose in the Greek War of Independence . On 23 March 1821, it was taken over by the Greek revolutionary forces under the command of generals Theodoros Kolokotronis , Petros Mavromichalis and Papaflessas. However, in 1825, the invading Ibrahim Pasha destroyed the city.In independent Greece, Kalamata was rebuilt and became one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean sea. It is not surprising that the second-oldest Chamber of Commerce in the Mediterranean, after that of Marseille, exists in Kalamata. During World War II on 29 April 1941, a battle was fought near the port between the invading German forces and the 2nd New Zealand Division , for which Jack Hinton was later awarded the Victoria Cross. After World War II, and due to political issues, Kalamata, as well as most of the Peloponnese, was excluded from the government development plans in favour of north Greece. That was a major brake on the local economy, resulting in the decline of the port and hence the city. During the 1970s and 1980s, development and growth in Kalamata were unknown. Kalamata was again in the news on 13 September 1986, with an earthquake that measured 6.2 on the surface wave magnitude scale. It was described as "moderately strong" and caused heavy damage and killed 20 people. Following this severe damage, the local authorities and individuals strained their financial resources to bring a wind of change to the forgotten capital of Messinia. Due to these efforts, Kalamata has now fully recovered and developed into a modern provincial capital. Today, Kalamata has the second largest population and mercantile activity in Peloponnese. It makes important exports, particularly of local products such as raisins, olives and olive oil. It is also the seat of the Metropolitan Bishop of Messenia . The current Metropolitan Bishop is Chrysostomus III , since 15 March 2007.