Acharna - Diktaion Andron


Acharna. Archanes Temenous. Archanes is located 15 kilometres south to Herakleion, and 10 kilometres south to Knossos. An inscription of the 5th century BC is the older source where we have the name of the city. This inscription was found at Argos, in the Peloponnese, and it is about the decree between Knossos and Tylissos. The inscription is also talking about the cult of Archon: TEMENOS HAD ACHARNAI AS RULER/LEADER.

The name is in singular. Archanes had never its own currency. However, there have been found in the area, coins of Knossos. This testifies not only that the city was under the rule of Knossos for many centuries, but also that it was not palatial centre. It was not palatial centre, but it was very important since it was an independent and autonomous settlement Priests, priestesses princesses, members of the Mycenean royal family of Knossos were living at Archanes. Archana was the linchpin between Knossos, the temple on the top of mount Yiouktas and the cemetery of Phourni, where there were buried the members of the royal family. Archanes is one of the most important areas in Minoan archaeology. The excavations in the area have many important elements about residential architecture (in the village), burial architecture, and burial habits (cemetery at Phourni). Evans had understood the importance of Archanes because of its close distance with Yiouktas. In 1922, he unearthed interesting ruins from the Minoan period, at the village Epano Archanes. Based on these ruins, he presumed that it was another palace, which was the summer residence of the royal family. The Greek archaeologists Yiannis and Efi Sakellarakis started excavations in the area in 1964. They unearthed buildings of the same period the Minoan palace was built (c.1600 BC). The walls, which are preserved up to 2 metres height, the rest building elements, and the rest mobile artefacts give to it great importance and make it comparable with the palace of Knossos. Not far away, there was found

archive of terracotta tablets in Linear A, and a small terracotta model of Minoan house. The Phourni cemetery and the artefacts found there are very important. The importance of the cemetery is emphasised by the long period use (more than 1500 years use), and by the objects, which were in the tombs. This is the most important cemetery of the prehistoric world, since it has objects from the Minoan and the Mycenean period. In the vaulted tomb A, there is in the side room, a royal burial from c.1400 BC. In the tomb of the princess-priestess, there were found golden rings, necklaces, mirror, bronze objects, ivory footstool, but also skeletons of sacrificed bull and horse. Also, in the main room of the tomb, there is buried a warrior. On golden ring that was found in this tomb and has representation of worship scene, it is written in Cretan hieroglyphics: “ Man who wears belt and asks for plea on a pedestal”. The hieroglyphics are written before the priestess and towards the man who worships. Until today, those hieroglyphics were considered to be flying butterflies. Similar ring was found at Vapheio tomb, but on it, there is written in hieroglyphics the word “zonite”, which is Dorian dialect. The excavations at Phourni unearthed many and valuable artefacts, such as seals, bronze vessels, stone vessels, ivory tablets with relief representations, idols, shrines, and other vessels. Another, important place is the royal temple on the top of Yiouktas. The today name of the mountain is corruption of the ancient one: IYTTOS> IYKTOS> YIOUKTAS.

At Yiouktas, there is unearthed a very important temple of the minoan period. In 1909, Evans discovered a mid-minoan temple, which was surrounded by cyclopic wall. A more recent research (1974-1981) retrieved the first inaccurate ground plan of the temple and gave us information on structure of Minoan temples on mountaintops, and on Minoan religion. On the highest tumulus there was built a long gradual shrine (shrine-type known by seal representations) over two deep hollows at the natural rock. Very close to the shrine, there was discovered a deep cave-like hollow, the opening of which was blocked by natural phenomenon or by human intervention. Deep in the hollow, there was found knoll with pottery and terracotta offerings. In the Minoan period, it was open and it was used for cults. The shrine was almost built at the opening of the hollow. Near the shrine, there was found a treasure of bronze double axes, votive bronze idols of men who are worshipping, terracotta idols, and votive human limbs. The shrine had plenty of terracotta idols, votive bullheads, snakes, birds, terracotta balls, signs of the zodiac, and S-like objects, which might represent embryos. Similar objects were found in the hollow. Also, in the area, there were found stone tables of offerings and many signets. Many offering tables are inscribed in Linear A. Those texts are about the religious beliefs of the Minoans and the use of the altar. In one inscription, it says that a table was offered with incense of young girl, who stumbled, fell in the hollow and was not hurt. She also asks for absolution and to throw her sins into the hollow. In the context had the inscription on the small spoon from Troulos at Archanes, and other inscriptions that have been found on offering tables at Diktaion Andron. There is also another inscription offered by a young girl from Lasithi with incense of plants from mounts Dikte and Ide. From antiquity and until our days, Yiouktas was considered the mythical tombs of Zeus. Cretan Zeus (Kretogenes) had the unique ability to be mortal, so that Cretans were considered liars by the rest Greeks. Probable explanation of this peculiarity is that Zeus was linked in Crete with the more ancient god of fertility, who was following the natural circle, and thus he was perishing and reborn every year. Writers preserved this tradition until the Byzantine period. In the 11th century AD, Michael Psellos was writing that the Cretans were showing some rocks that were covering the tomb of Zeus. Obviously, it is about the ruins of the temple on the mountaintop, that the peasants were calling “the memorial of Zia (Zeus). In Christian times, the old temple was replaced by the chapel of Afentis Christos (Jesus Christ the Master), which is built near the old temple.

Aeros. We do not know where this city was located.

Agia Triada. Archaeological area in southern central Crete, near Phaistos. There are important ruins from the prehistoric period. In addition, many unique artefacts of Minoan art have been found there. It is located in the western area of hills, the eastern of which is that of Phaistos. The area was gradually inhabited in the third millennium BC. In the mid-minoan period, the settlement had not yet been organised. However, in the early Postminoan period, seems to be developed. In c.1450, the city is destroyed. Later it is rebuilt and the inhabitation of the area continues until the geometric period. Since then, the area is uninhabited until the 2nd century BC. A cottage testifies re-inhabitation in the Roman times. Also, there are two chapels from the Venetian dominion: Agia Triada and Saint George. One of the most important artefacts from Agia Triada is the stone sarcophagus, which was found in the necropolis, in a dug out tomb. This is the only stone sarcophagus that has painted decoration. In the two longer sides, there are representations of the burial procedures, and in the two shorter sides there are two chariots, one earthy and one unearthly. It is dated in 1400 BC and it did not belong to member of the royal family of Phaistos. The Agia Triada court is characterised as royal because of the elegance of the structure, the variety of artefacts, and the painted decoration. However, the building is not like any other Minoan and it consists of two wings which are joined in right angle. The frescos have various themes of Minoan painting, such as lilies, wildcats, and pheasants. A large fresco theme in a room of the north wing is one of the most beautiful examples of the naturalistic mentality of Crete. The most beautiful vessels and rhyta with relief representations of the harvesters, the games and the anaphora, the talanta from the treasure of the court, terracotta jars and other vessels that were found there, are now exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion. The terracotta seals, which were, found (almost 150, many of which have texts of Linear A) and they were made by signets that belonged to the later phase of Minoan seal making. They represent the original Minoan style and have various themes based on ritual scenes, games, and the animal life. Some of those seals are made with the same signets, which were found in Zakros, Gournia, and Sklavokampos by Marinatos. Their themes are two-horse chariots with charioteer and bull. The court was luxurious. Based on the artefacts of the area, we can assume that this small town was centre of transit trading in the eastern Mediterranean. In addition, the court used to accommodate very important visitors who were travelling to the East. According to the hospitality procedure, the Cretans used to accommodate those travellers but also they were providing them whatever was necessary for their religious, intellectual and physical needs. The rhyta were probably made for those occasions. In my opinion, even Solon had visited the area, according to the texts of the Phaistos disk. When Solon was saying that in Yrso, every year they were sacrificing pigs, he was meaning in Agia Triada. On his way to Phaistos, Solon had been provided hospitality in Agia Triada

. Agneion. Agios Sostis Kisamou. Small coastal town of the Roman period in Agios Sostis Kisamou location, in the Korykon-Grambousa cape. This is referred in Stadiasmous. There was the temple of Apollo.

Aigilia. The island Antikythera

Aigilia. The name of the island that is now called Antikythera. Ancient Greek writers call it Aigialia and Latin writers call it Aegila or Aegyla. “There is an island between Crete and the Peloponnese that is called Aigila and the one who dwells it, is called Aigilios, just as we say Kytherios” Stefanos Byzantios.

Aina or Ainaon city. Short-life and unimportant town of Crete of 2nd-1st century BC, in Gortys area. There were found bronze coins in 1963 in Beis location, in Kainourgio Kastelli village, Herakleion prefecture. Today, they are exhibited in Numismatic Museum of Athens. The coins have on the one side the representation of Apollo with bay garland, and on the other an ox with the word AINION OR AINAONON. The name of this city is not referred anywhere.

Aitteia. “Aitteia is located in Laconia. There is also another city called Aitteia in Cyprus. Ellanicus cites a third city called Aitteia in Crete. The national adjective is Aitteates, like Korseates, Hydreates” Stef. Byzantios.

Akytos. Rocky holm in the debouchment of Platanias river, west to Chania. Today it is called Thodorou or Agioi Theodoroi. It is also cited as Toullouros. The today name comes from the chapel of Saints Theodores, of which we have now only the foundations. The island became famous in the Venetian period, when in 1574 there was built fortification, because the Venetian wanted to stop their enemy to embark at Platanias coast. In the same year, they built a castle on the top, which was called Turluru. Another castle was built lower. It was called Saint Theodore or S.Franscesco. They also wanted to build a third castle in the northern part of the island, but they did not. The Turks laid siege to the island in 1645 and they took it although the strong resistance of the besieged population. The leader of the guard was Vlasios, who set fire in the powder magazine. All the guards and many Turks died. In 1650 and until 1699, the island was again under the Venetian ruler. Since 1699 and until the independence of Crete, the island was ruled by the Turks. Today, the Greek authorities raise the protected specie of Cretan goat. Christoforo Buondelmonti, a priest from Florence, describes in his book in 1416, his journey in Crete in 1415.

In his journey, he wanted to testify what he had read in works of Ptolemy and Pliny. This catholic priest had learned Greek in Rhodes. Thus, he could communicate with the peasants of the island. He wrote two books on this journey. The books are written in Medieval Greek language and are “The book of the island of the Great Sea” (i.e. the Aegean Sea) and “Description of the island of Crete”. He describes in detail, the area of Platanias, and the island Thodorou. This is an extract from his narrative: “A new day begins. The sailors, all together, are yelling and they brail the jiggers. Then we sail along coast villages. We can see a fertile plain at the foot of a mountain. In the bay, we can also see the Tauronitis stream and on the foot of the mountains, we can hardly see Episkope of old-time Kisamos. Indeed, it is said that after the destruction of this city and of other cities of the island, the old bishops went to farms. Then we reach a plain that produces everything. Until the Koufou stream, we see villages and orchards. Then we see the Pyknos River, which is called Platanias nowadays. There is a village, which has unhealthy air. There the former colonisers had located Bishopric of Cydonia. Finally, we see the ancient small island of Letoa, which is now called Thodorou. There, in the middle of the island, I observed a large rocky cave. This island is inhabited by some monks.” In addition, Stefanos Byzantios says: “Akytos is the island which is located near Cydonia of Crete, the islander is called Akytios”

Alas (Lasaia)

Alassa (Lasaia)

Alba (Perhaps at Arvi in Viannos). “Alba is a city of Italy which was built by the Latin of Lavinium…There is also another city called Alba in Crete. The national adjective is Albaios, like Thebaios” Stefanos Byzantios.

Albe. Perhaps at the coastline settlement of Amira village, at Viannos county of Herakleion prefecture. In this area, there was ancient settlement, based on artefacts found. The name of the settlement was probably Arbe. In early 19th century, peasants found, near the sea, a sarcophagus made of white marble. It has relief representations. In those representations, we can see a Dionysiac parade. Ambelos (personified vineyard) is on a chariot; elephants, panthers and people follow him. Pashley, who went there in 1834, collected the items, he agglutinated the sarcophagus so well that we might think that it was never broken, as he says. He transferred the sarcophagus to England. Now it is exhibited at Fitz-Wiliam Museum. Xanthoudidis says that the area was inhabited since the prehistoric period. There were found stone and terracotta vessels of Minoan age. In the Hellenistic period, Rabies Zeus was worshiped there. Stefanos Byzantios says: “In Crete, there is a mountain called Arbion. There they worship Arbios Zeus. Arbios is also called the inhabitant of the mountain.” The Arbion Mountain was the hill, which is now called Vigla. Therefore, the temple of Zeus was probably at the foot of the mountain, where Saint Antonios monastery is now. All these elements testify that in the area, there was a great ancient city, mainly in the Greco-Roman period. The name of this city was probably Arbis.

Allaria. Paul Faure believes that the city was located near the village Stavromenos at Mylopotamos. The city is known to us by coins of 3rd and 2nd century BC, and inscriptions. The inscriptions are about the friendship decree between Allaria, Paros, Teo and king of Pergamos, Eumenes B’. The inhabitant was called Allariotes. Allaria was independent and free city. Its coins have Athena with a snake on her helmet, on the one side, and Heracles naked with the word ALLARIOTAN, on the other. “Allaria is city of Crete. The national adjective is Allatiotes, according to Polybius” Stefanos Byzantios.

Ambelos. Xerokampos Siteias. Seaside city of Crete. Ruins of the city were found at Xerokampos, Siteia county, near the chapel of Saint Nicolas and opposite the small islands Kavalloi. Based on the artefacts, we can assume that Ambelos was inhabited from the Roman period to the Hellenistic period. There were also found tombstones. The territorial cape was called “Ambelos akra” (end of Ambelos). The walls of the city were built with sandstone. Nearby, there is spring of mineral water. The water has also therapeutic features, and this is actually the reason the city was built there

Amnisos. Amnisos was the port of Knossos. Also, at the outfalls of Karteros River, there was the navy yard of Minos. Theseus embarked in Amnisos when he came to kill Minotaurus. Idomeneus, the grandson of Minos, sailed with eighty ships, to help Agamemnon in his expedition against Troy. Odysseus stopped there in his wandering going back to Ithaca. In his excavations in 1932, Spyros Marinatos unearthed Minoan court of the third Mid-minoan period. The court has beautiful frescos. Some of them is the famous “lilies frescos”, which are now exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion. In 846 AD, the Byzantine general Karteros embarked at Amnisos. Karteros gave his name to the whole area later, when he fought the Saracens. From the top of the hill of Palaiochora, where the city was located, you can clearly see the bay. In addition, the Eileithyia cave or the “fairy-cave”, as the peasants call it, is located at the slope of the hill. This cave is one of the most ancient religious places. The cave is consecrated to Eileithyia, matron of birth and daughter of Hera. It has beautiful natural columns, lakes, and stalactites. The word Amnisos is the first word that was deciphered in Linear B. the city was ruined in 1500 BC by the waves that the upheaval of Thera volcano caused. Pieces of pumice stone were also found there. Near the hill, there was found a temple consecrated to Zeus Thenatas. The temple has a large round altar, which has traces of burned sacrifices. The structure is built with huge hacked boulders of limestone. On the boulders, there are inscribed symbols. There were also found inscription tables and two seated eagles made of limestone. Myrinos, who was epic and lyric poet, was from Amnisos.

Amphimalion (Amphimala). Georgioupoli Apokoronou. Port of Lappa. It was on the hillock, which is now called “tou Venou” or “Kefala”, 1200 metres west to Georgioupoli. The city flourished in the Archaic and Hellenistic period. “Amphimalion. City of Crete, the name of which comes from Amphimalos. The citizen is called Amphimaleus or Amphimalios. It is also called Amphimala and the national adjective is Amphimalaios” Stef. Byzantios

Amyklaion. Kokkinos Pyrgos Pyrgiotissas.

Anopolis. Anopolis at Sfakia. The ancient city was built near the village Anopolis at Sfakia. Phoinicousa was its port, at the location of the village Loutro. In this period, there were two cities, Anopolis and Katopolis. Katopolis was known with the name Phoinix. The ancient Anopolis signed the decree of alliance of thirty Cretan cities with Eumenes B’. The city had also its own currency, since it was independent and free. Parts of Pelasgic cyclopic walls are preserved at Riza location. The city flourished especially in the Roman and Byzantine period. However, Pashley had found shells of the Hellenistic period. That means that the area was inhabited even earlier than the Roman period. There also found ruins of cisterns, part of the water supply of the city. During the Venetian dominion, the city was centre of the Cretan members for the national resistance, in western Crete. Therefore, the city was destroyed in 1365 AD. It was rebuilt in the period of Turkish dominion. The habitants of the city worked on sailing.

Aoros. Eleftherna at Mylopotamos (see Eleftherna). “Aoros was a city of Crete, which took its name by nymph Aora. It was renamed to Elefthera by Eleftheras, who was of the Kouretes. The citizen was called Aorios or Aorites, like Alorites” Stef. Byzantios.

Apollonia. Agia Pelagia at Malevizi. The exact location of the city is unknown to us. It was the most important Cretan city that had this name (like Cydonia and Eleftherna). The city is cited by Stefanos Byzantios. It is considered located at Agia Pelagia or at Palaiokastro or at the estuary of Almyros River at Herakleion. However, in the second Byzantine period, in Chandacas (Herakleion), there was a settlement called Apollo. This settlement is referred by Kastrophylakas and by Basilicata. In addition, in an official paper of 1257, the settlement is said to be under the jurisdiction of Paliani Monastery. There is also a possibility the city to be in this area, north by east to Venerato village. Appolonia is also one of the thirty Cretan cities that signed that decree with Eumenes B’ of Pergamos (197-159 BC). Another decree, in which Apollonia participated, is the one between Ionia and the Cretan cities in 193 BC. This decree prescribes immunity right in the temple of Dionysos. Polybios (27.16) and Diodorus the Sicilian (30.15) say that the citizens of Cydonia had a special relationship with the citizens of Apollonia in equality before the law and “in community of all just and right people”. The decree was ratified by oath at the temple of Idaian Zeus. In 171 BC, the Cydonians forswore and they vanquished Apollonia. Probably, Apollonia was not near Knossos, unless Knossos was in great decay in this period. Coins that are considered to be from Apollonia, it is not certain that they were minted there. On the one side, they have representation of Heracles bending a deer, and on the other side, there is Heros/Cupid sitting on a cock. Some other coins, have Artemis wearing garland, and a lighten torch with the words APOLLONIA TON DA. Finally, in a few coins, we have a young man, Apollo, and a tripod on curved ground. “Apollonia. 1st…6th in Crete, near Knossos,…13th in Crete; it used to be called Eleftherna and was the homeland of Linos. Diogenes was also from there. Tryphon, in his book “Peri Paronymon”, said that the national adjective is Appolonieus. However, it does not derive from the name of the city, but from Apollonion, like Doulichieus from Doulichion.” Stef. Byzantios

Apollonia. Eleftherna at Mylopotamos.

Apollonias. Argoules Sfakion

Aptera (Aptara). Palaiokastro Apokoronou. South by west to Kalami Apokoronou. Aptera or Aptara, Apteria, Apteraia and Apteron. One of the most important cities in northern coast of western Crete. It was built in upland (231m. height) near the sea. It is at Suda gulf, between the capes Kyamos and Drepanos. The city was a very important trading centre of this period. The city had two ports at Kisamos. Some believe that they are western to Kalyves and some others near Kalami, at north by east of the Cape, near Sternes. The ancient city Aptera is considered the settlements at Palaiokastro Apokoronou at Chania prefecture. According to the tradition, the name of the city derives from the abstraction of the wings of the Sirens by the Muses. This took place in this area after the defeat of the Sirens in musical contest. According to another version, the city took its name by Pteran or Apteran, mythical constructor of the Delphi oracle. The hero of the city is also called Apteros. Recent research testify that the name of the city is found in tables of Linear B from Knossos, in the form APATAXA (ARATACHA). These are the most important historical moments of the city: Pausanias says that archers from Aptera were allies to Sparta in the second Messenian war, in 668 BC. Aptera participated in civil wars between the Cretan cities. It was in alliance with Knossos. In 220 BC, Philip B’, leader of the Achaian army, laid siege to the city. Also, Aptera was one of the thirty Cretan cities that signed the decree with Eumenes B’ of Pergamos. The ruins, which are preserved, show the flourish and power of the city. The walls (Classical and Hellenistic period) are expanded. Their length is four kilometres and they have towers and parapets. In late 5th and early 4th century BC, there was constructed a small temple, which was excavated by H.Drerup. It has two alcoves, and each one of them has a door in the east. Remarkable are to cisterns of the Roman times, which are in a very good condition. The one of them is divided in three parts by pessaries. In the same period is dated the vaulted structure that has three conches. The theatre of the city is hardly recognisable today. Based on inscription, we may assume that in the city there was temple of goddess Eileithyia, cult of Apteran Artemis and Prytaneion. In 500metres away from the city, there was found a cemetery with vaulted tombs of Roman times. The area of the ancient city and its outskirts has not yet been systematically searched. Inscriptions and coins from the area testify the trading importance of the city in late Classical until Roman times. In the period of the great flourishing, the city had many coins. Svoronos is talking about seventy-six different forms. The majority of them have the head of a woman, probably of Hera, and the word APTARAION or APTERAION, and on the other side, there is a bearded warrior and the word PTOLIOIKOS. Some others had Artemis and a bee. K.Dounakis, who has studied the history of Aptera, says that the city had eight suburbs at the foot of the hill, at Stylos valley. This area is from the banks of Kylaris River to Neo Chorio, at the hills Kalosykia, Azogyre, Kefalas ton Tholon, ton Selion, and tou Ai Lia, according to the artefacts that were found there. The suburbs were older settlements of a more ancient city, of the same location, the name of which was “Ippokorona”. “Aptera is city of Crete, which took its name after the victory of the Muses on the Sirens in a musical contest. The contest took place between the city and the sea, and the Muses won. The Sirens lost their wings and they became white. Hence, the city was called Aptera (without wings) and the close small islands were called Leukai (white). The citizen was called Apteraios” Stef. Byzantios.



Aptera was founded in the Geometric period, although the city is mentioned in the Linear B tablets found at Knossos (A-pa-ta-wa). It reached a peak in the Hellenistic period, with intense commercial and political activity. In the Roman period, the town had a more rural character. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the 7th century A.D. and much later, in the 12th century, the Monastery of Hagios Ioannes Theologos (St. John the Baptist) was founded at the site.
In 1942 the site was excavated by the German conquerors, who investigated the bipartite sanctuary and in 1958, St. Alexiou excavated parts of buildings and graves. In the years 1986-87 and 1992-95, systematic and salvage excavations were carried out by the Ephorate of Antiquities.

The most important monuments of the site are:

Roman cisterns.
Bipartite temple, known as the "bipartite sanctuary", dated to the 5th-4th century B.C.
Part of a Roman bouleuterion.
Byzantine buildings.
Monastery of Hagios Ioannes Theologos (St. John the Baptist).

 Araden (Heraden). Aradaina Sfakion. Aradena is located in the western area of the gorge, at Sfakia. The gorge separates the plateau of Aradena with that of Anopolis, in the west of Agia Roumeli and near Agios Ioannis. Stefanos Byzantios confuses Aradena with Anopolis. The ruins of ancient Araden or Heraden are preserved at Passopetra location, near the village Aradena. It was independent city and it was one of the thirty cities of the often-cited decree. The ancient necropolis is at Xenotafi location. Phoinix was the port of Aradena. It is believed that Phoenician colonisers established it and they link the name of the city with the Phoenician word Aruad, which means shelter. In Phoenicia, there was a city with the same name. Aradena was flourishing until the last centuries of Venetian dominion and the first century of the Turkish dominion. Its citizens were working on sailing and trading. In the Revolution of Daskalogiannis against the Turks of the Ottoman Empire, the village was utterly ruined. To Aradaina, we can go via Chora Sfakion and Anopolis. “Araden is city of Crete, which is also called Anopolis, because it is in high location. The citizen from the genitive form of the word, was called Aradenios, like Araphenos, Araphenios” Stef. Byzantios.

Arados. Island at north by west coast of Crete. “With the name Arados, there is one island in Phoenicia, one in Red Sea and one in Crete. The national adjective is Aradios, Aradia” Stef. Byzantios.

Arbis. Arvi at Viannos.

Arkades (Arkadia). Profitis Ilias location at Afrati Pediados village. Arkades or Arkadia. Mediterranean city of central Crete. the ancient writers do not give us a lot of information about this city. Polybios says that Arkades had participated in the civil war between the Cretan cities in 221 BC. Inscriptions testify the importance of the city in the 2nd century BC. They had signed decrees with Teo of Ionia in 193 BC and with Eumenes B’ in 183 BC. Based on the silver and bronze coins of the city, we can presume that it was independent. The coins have representations of Zeus and Athena with the word ARKADON. The coins that have been found and an inscription confirm the identity of the city and its location at Herakleion prefecture. Excavations took place in the area in 1924. There are found many houses, a cemetery with vaulted tombs, which is typical Minoan characteristic. The burials, which were mainly in earthen jars and urn boxes, contained many important artefacts from the geometric and oriental period (9th-7th century BC). The vessels are products of the local workshop. Also, there was found a Phoenician capital of 7th century BC. The capital has Egyptian influence and is the only one found in Crete.

“Arkades was city of Crete, as Xenion cites in his book “Kretika”(the Cretan issues). The citizens were called Arkades. However, Demetrios does not call the city Arkades but Arkadia and the national adjective Arkades” Stef. Byzantios

Arsinoe. Port of Lyktos. Stefanos Byzantios counts all the cities that have the same name and says “ninth Lyktos”. Bursian believes that the city is near Itanos. Spratt locates it near Erimoupoli. On the other hand, Muller says that it was in northern Crete, between Chersonisos and Milatos, where there are some ruins. Svoronos says that the most probable condition is the last one, because then the city is not far from Lyktos and near Chersonisos, which was part of the Lyktian land. There are coins, which are attributed to this city.

Asos. Near Vourvouliti Kainourgiou. “Asos. Small town of Crete. The citizen was called Asios because there they worship Zeus and there is a very old temple of Asios Zeus” Stef. Byzantios.

Astale or Atale. Bali Mylopotamou. The ancient city Astale was the port of Axos during the Roman period. It was located at the place where Bali village is now located, at Melidoni Mylopotamou, Rhethymnon prefecture. It is in the western coast of the bay. There are no references about the village in the Venetian catalogues. The Venetian maps include the bay and in official papers, there is cited a porto or redoto di Atali = bay of Atale. In the book “Stadiasmoi tis megalis thalassis”, we have this reference: “From Amphimatrion to Astale it is 30 stadiums; there is port and spring. From here, Elefthera (Eleftherna) is 50 stadiums away.” The Turks renamed the area to Bali, because in the area there was developed apiculture. In Turkish, balli means honey.

Asterousia. “Asterousia is called a mountain in Crete. In the south, there is sea. There is also a city in Caucasus, which is called Asterousia and it is colony of Cretans. The residents are called Asterousianoi and Asterousieis and Asterousiois”. Stef. Byzantios. Asterousia is in southern Herakleion prefecture. Some researchers believe that there was a city in Crete, which was also called Asterousia. However, we do not know its exact location.


Axos (Oaxos). Axos Mylopotamou. “Axos is city of Crete. It is the fourth city Herodotus Cites. The national adjective is Axios” Stef. Byzantios.

Aylon. (Avli Pediados).

Aylon. “Aylon…there is a third city or area with this name, which is in Crete.” Stef. Byzantios.

Bene. Gortys region. City of Crete which was under the rule of Gortys, homeland of poet Rhianos. Near the village Beni, there have been found ruins of fortification, walls and cisterns that belong to the archaic and Roman period. “Bene was city of Crete, under the rule of Gortys. The national adjective is Benaios. Poet Rhianos was said to be from this city and he was called Benaios or that he was from Kerea and thus he was called Kereates or simply Cretan.” Stef. Byzantios.

Biannos. Ano Viannos. Biannos or Biennos is located bellow Epano Viannos village. According to Stefanos Byzantios, the city took this name by her founder Biennos (one of the Kouretes) or by the word bia, which means violence, struggle, that took place there among the sons of Poseidon and Ares, Otos and Efialtes. The citizens of the city were called Biennioi or Biannioi. Biannos was independent. The city had its own coins. The coins have the representation of female head and a flower. In addition, Biannos was one of the Cretan cities that signed the decree with Eumenes B’. However, it seems that later the city was under the rule of powerful Ierapytna. In the village, a built Christian tomb with marble inscription has been found. At Galana Charakia, N. Platon excavated two tombs in rock hollows with thirty earthen jars and vessels from the early Minoan period III and Mid-Minoan I period. In the same area, a Mid-minoan building of four rooms and paved floor was unearthed. At Kefalas Chondrou, a Postminoan settlement of fifty rooms, corridors, and yards was unearthed. It was destroyed probably by fire, and in some houses, there might be first floor with wooden stairs. Utensils, pottery, and built box-like ovens were found. At Rousses Chondrou, N.Platon unearthed a midminoan house-temple.

Stefanos Byzantios adds “There is another city in Galia (France) with the same name, near the Rhodanos River, which is Cretan colony.”.

Biennos. Between Phalasarna and Kriou Metopou. It was port or city of Crete, which belonged to Polyrrenia and was at Kriou Metopon Cape. This cape is the southeastern end of Crete.

Bionnos. Kerame Agiou Vasileiou.

Boiai. See Boion.

Boibe. Near Gortys. Probably the village Bobia at Kainourgio. Boibe at Thessaly was related to the Cretan city. Both cities were built by the Magnetes. “…there is in Crete as well, Boibe that is near Gortys…”.Stef. Byzantios.

Boion. “Boion. …there is a city in Crete with this name or Boia. The citizen is called Boiates, like Karyai, Karyates, Pitanai, Pitaniates…he is also called Boiaios according to Ephoros. According to Herodianos, he is called Boiites…”Stef. Byzantios.

Chalketorion. Unknown location. “Chalketorion is city of Crete. The citizen is called Chalketoreus, as Apollodorus says in his forth book of the Chronika, and Krateros in “Peri Psephismaton” calls them Chalketoras.” S. Byzantios

Cherronesos or Chersonesos. Chersonisos Pediados. Powerful city of Crete in the northern coast of the island. It was port of Lyktos, between Herakleion and Olous. Plutarch says that the city was established by the children of the citizens of Imbros and Lesbos islands. The mothers of those children were Athenians, which had been abducted. Those children married Spartan women. They were exiled from Sparta. They took money, ships and their leaders were the Spartans Pollis, Delphos and Kratais. The story is true, since on seal with Hieroglyphics from Lyttos, we read Spartan dialect. Those residents brought with them a statue of Artemis. Strabo cites a Temple of Artemis Britomartys, the Cretan goddess, which was represented, on the coins of Cherronesos. The city joined the Republic of Cretans and allied with Eumenes B’ of Pergamos. In inscriptions of the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, the city is cited as “seaside Lyttos”. The citizens of the two cities are considered relatives and they had close economical intercourse. In an inscription, we read that the citizens of both cities were considered Lyttians: “those of the Lyttians, the inhabitants of the upper city and that in the sea.” The excavations at Limenas Chersonisou unearthed signs of Minoan settlement. In the Classical period, the acropolis was at peninsular side of the coast. There have been found relics of Roman theatre, houses and port. At the location where the Church of Agios Nikolaos is now, there was the temple of Artemis Britomartys. Marinatos found their inscription of verse couple that is dedicated to Britomartys, of the 1st century BC. At Poli location, there was found inscription on marble stone that had the decree between Knossians and Gortynians.

.There were also found fragments of statues and architectonic parts of structures. The city was watered by water supplies. At the 25th kilometre of the road Potamies – Lasithi, there are ruins of huge water-bridge. The location is called Xerokamares. Many coins of Chersonisos have the head of Artemis, naked Apollo seated on tree trunk, holding his lyre. Other coins have Heracles or Athena and the word CHESRONASION. The city preserved its importance until the 1st Byzantine period. The city was under decline only in the Arabic dominion.

Chersonesos. Sfinari Kisamou Cape. Ancient city of western Crete of the Roman period. Chersonesos and Phalasarna were the ports of Polyrrenia. Strabo and Ptolemy cite the city.

Cydonia. Chania. Cydonia was the third larger city of Crete that was located where the city of Chania is now built. It was the most important city of the Cydonians, with port and rich hinterland. According to tradition, Minos or Cydon, son of Apollo or Hermes and Akakallis, daughter of Minos, or son of Tegeates, was the founder of the city. Cydonia was inhabited since the Midminoan period (17th century BC). The ruins that have been unearthed testify the existence of a great palatial centre. Herodotus says that in 520 BC, refuges from the island of Samos threw away the Zakynthians from Cydonia and inhabited the area. In 515 BC, the Cretans allied with the people of the island of Aigina and threw away the Samians. The Temple of Diktynna-Britomartys, which is related to the Goddess Aphaia of Aigina, was built then on Mount Tityros near the city. In 429 BC, the Athenians ruined the city of Cydonia in order to help the neighbouring city of Polychna. In 343, BC, Phalaikos, leader of the Phokaians, laid siege to the city unsuccessfully. His army was ruined and he was killed. In the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, Cydonia had good relationship with Athena and Macedonia. In the 3rd century BC, Cydonia was involved in the civil wars between Knossos and Gortys. At the same time, the city was in war with Phalasarna, Aptera, Polyrrenia, and Elyros. In 219 BC, the city joined the Aitolian and then the Achaian Federation. In the 2nd century BC, Cydonia was in great flourishing. The city did not sign the decree with Eumenes B’ and did not join the Republic of Cretans that was established in the mid 3rd century BC. In the 1st century BC, the city resisted to the Romans, but it was conquered by Caicilius Metellus in 69 BC. Panares, the one general of the city, signed decree with the Romans, the city was not ruined, and Lasthenes, the other general takes refuge in Knossos, where he continued resisting. In 30 BC, Augustus gave to Cydonia autonomy. The coins of Cydonia are remarkable. They have images of Dionysos, Athena the Cydonian, Diktynna-Britomartys, Apollo, Demeter and Persephone, the female wolf that feeds Cydon and the word KYDONIATAN. Svoronos is talking about 96 types of coins from older Cydonia and 62 of the Roman times.

Herodotus says: “The Samians built Cydonia in Crete; they went to Crete not with this aim, but to throw away the Zakynthians from the island. They stayed there and lived in prosperity for five years, and they built in Cydonia, shrines and the Temple of Diktyna. However in the sixth year, the citizens of Aigina won along with the other Cretans the Samians.”Stefanos Byzantios says: “Cydonia is city of Crete. It was called Apollonia. It took its name by Cydon, son of Apollo and Akakallis, daughter of Minos. The citizen is called Cydoniates and Cydon and Cydonios and Cydonaios, the female Kydonia and Kydonis and Kydonikos the male.”

Daidala. “Daidala…there is another city in Crete. The citizen is called Daidaleus, like Samosata, Samosateus and the female form is Daidalis.” Stef. Byzantios.

Dia. Island in the Cretan Sea. It comes under the village Elaia, Pediada province, Herakleion prefecture. It is 5.4 miles in the north from Herakleion. According to mythology, Theseus left Ariadne at Dia. There Ariadne met Dionysos who took her in the heavens. According to other versions of the same myth, this took place not at Dia of Crete, but at Dia of Naxos. In 1976, Cousto and his team found in the sea an ancient shipwreck, which was considered Minoan. It seems that the island was inhabited. It was destroyed by the upheaval of Thera volcano (1643-1623 BC). Part of the island went under the sea. There are no references about the port of Dia. “Dia…d) island near Knossos of Crete. The national adjective was Dieus and the female form was Dias…” Stef. Byzantios.

Diatonion. Suburb of Knossos. We do not know whether was independent city before. The city is located between Knossos and Lyttos. Soon it came under the rule of Knossos. However, in the war between Knossos and Gortys, the Gortynians won, and made the city under the rule of Lyttos. (Polybios 23.15 – Strabo 10.479). Today, between Knossos and Lyttos there is the village Aitania. The name of the village is similar to the name of the ancient city. It is also believed that the city might have been part of Lykastos.

Diktaion Andron. Cave near the village Psychro, at mount Dikte. It is famous as Diktaion Andron. According to the ancient writers, this is the place where Zeus was born, brought up, and made love with Europe. The cave was dedicated to the cult of Diktaian or Cretan-born Zeus. The hymn that was sung on the honour of Zeus was found written in inscription of 2nd century AD at Palaiokastro. The research in the cave has unearthed offering tables, bronze idols of men who worship, double axes, vessels, tools, and jewellery. Everything is from the Postminoan period.

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