THE ANCIENT CITIES OF CRETE
Knossos - Oios
Knossos. Knossos (5 kilometres from the centre of Heraklion). Knossos is the most ancient and most famous city of Crete, headquarters of Minos. Strabo says: “At first, Knossos was called Kairatos, by the river of the same name that flows by Knossos”.
Knossos and Gortys were the two cities that were fighting for the principality of the island. Those two cities were domineering to the rest cities. When they were in war, the island was split in two camps. The winner was the one who had the alliance of the third most powerful city, Cydonia. However, in 189 BC, the two cities became allies against Cydonia. Knossos was usually the domineering city.
Lyktos or Lyttos, neighbouring city of Knossos, was another enemy. There were many fights between the two cities. Knossos destroyed Lyttos when the Lyttians were fighting against the Ierapytnians away from their city. In the civil wars between Knossos and Lyttos, many other cities were involved. Some of those cities were Gortys, Cydonia, Aptera, Polyrrenia, Eleftherna, Lappa, Orion, Arkadia, Dreros and Keraia. In addition, foreign powers were involved in those wars, such as the Lacedaemonians, the Aetolians, Philip E’, king of Macedonia, and the Achaians. Knossos is one of the cities that allied with Eumenes B’. In 166 BC, Knossos along with Gortys destroyed Rhaukos. According to an inscription (134 BC) Knossos, Olous and Lato agreed that Knossos is the judge in the differences between the two cities. Another inscription (220 BC) says that Knossos sent jurors to Dreros in order to judge their political issues. Knossos resisted strongly to Romans, did not give back the Roman captives and fought against the Romans in the second Macedonian war (171 BC). After the Roman dominion, Knossos became large Roman colony until the age of Strabo. In the first Christian centuries Knossos became bishopric.
In the historic times, Knossos’ neighbours were Cherronesos, Lyktos, Pyranthos, Arcadia, Gortys, Rhaukos, and Apollonia. Lykastos, Diatonion and Thene came under the rule of Knossos. The island Dia was also under the rule of Knossos. In the Minoan period, Amnisos, Herakleion, and Mation were ports of the city. The location of the city is doubtless. It was built at Makrys Toichos settlement, at the location that the Turks called “tou Tselepi” or “Kefala” and at Spilia. The fortifications of Herakleion and the settlement Makrys Toichos, which was built by the Venetians in the 13th century AD, were constructed with the ruins of ancient Knossos. Makrys Toichos and the settlement Bougada Metochi comprise the today suburb of Herakleion, called Knossos.
The coins of Knossos are various and many. The earlier coins have the image of Minotaurus, who is holding a stone. On the other side we can see the labyrinth, round or square, and the word KNOSION (of the Knossians). Hence, we may assume that the labyrinth was not legend. Later the coins have the head of Athena, who is the matron of Knossos, or Demeter, since Knossians were claiming that they were the first who ever used wheat for food.
In large terracotta jars there were found burnt seeds of wheat. The location of the palace was inhabited since 6000 BC and until 1100 BC. The city was destroyed many times. Its name is found in many inscriptions of Linear B that were discovered in the area. Most of the inscriptions were written when the Mycenean king had Knossos his headquarters. The area around the palace was always inhabited and active.
In a cup, found at the house of the monolithic pillars, it is written with ink of squid and in Linear A, the text: “by Atreas to Dionysos, son of Zeus, very young boy at Linaia”. Based on this text, we may assume who was the Mycenean king of Knossos.
In Knossos, there have been unearthed The Major Palace, The Minor Palace, The Royal Court, The house of the Priest, The Royal Tomb-Altar at Vlychia settlement, and many other building and tombs. The Court of Dionysos belongs to the Roman Knossos and has magnificent mosaics by Apollinarios. Chersiphron and his son Metagenes, who constructed the Temple of Artemis at Ephesos, one of the Seven Miracles of the ancient world, were from Knossos. Also, Iophon the prophet, Anesidemos the philosopher, Patelides the historian, Diktys who followed Idomeneus in the Trojan War and wrote about it on papyrus, were from Knossos as well. About Diktys, the legend says that the manuscript was buried with the poet. In 66 AD, the tomb was opened by earthquake. Someone called Eupraxias, found the manuscript, and gave it to Emperor Nero. Ergoteles, son of Philanoros, was another famous Knossian. He was winner at the Olympic, Isthmian, and Pythian games. Pindar the poet wrote about him.
Korion. “Korion was location in Crete, which took its name by a maid. The citizen is called Koresios. There is a lake of the name Koresia and the Temple of Athena the Koresia. Those names derive from the name of the maid. Korieus comes from the world Korion” Stefanos Byzantios. In antiquity, Koresia was called the unique lake of Crete, Lake Kourna, which is by the south of Georgioupolis and took its name by the arabic word “kourna” that means lake.
Korykos. At Grambousa Cape at Kisamos. Korykos is the mountain at Grambousa cape, near the ancient city of Phalasarna. Ptolemy calls it Korykos akra (Korykos end). It is the now called Bouza cape.
Kremnia. Another name of Gortys.
Kyta. Palaiokastro at Rogdia Malevyziou. Christoforo Buondelmonti says that Kytaion is the village Kavousi at Lasithi. Stefanos Byzantios says that there is also city called Kytaion in Crete.
Kytaion. Palaiokastro at Rogdia Malevyziou.
Kythera. “Kythera is island with city of the same name, opposite to Crete, and took its name by Kytheras the Phoenician. It was also called Porphyrousa because it was producing purple of good quality in the coast, as Aristotle says. The citizens are called Kytherioi and Kytheria the female. The island is also called Kytheraia.” Stefanos Byzantios.
Lagousa. Unknown location.
Lambe or Lappa. Argyroupoli Rhethymnou. Stefanos Byzantios says: “Lambe is city of Crete, built by Agamemnon and took its name by Lambos the Tarraian. The national adjective is Lambaios. Xenion writes the name with double b and double a and double e.”
Lamon. Plakias Agiou Vasileiou.
Lappa (and Lambe). Argyroupoli. 27 kilometres from Rhethymnon. The city was built in the northern coast of Crete, near the sea and on the top of hill, between the rivers Mousela and Petre. Phoinix was the port of the city. It was built by Agamemnon. In the Classical period the city flourished. In the Hellenistic period, Lappa took part in the civil wars and joined the Republic of Cretans. In the war of 221-220 BC, between Knossos and Lyttos, Lappa fought with both parts. It also signed the decree with Eumenes B’ in 170 BC. Until 68 BC the city was autonomous. The city was destroyed in 68 BC by Cointus Caecilius Metellus, and it was reconstructed later.
Ruins of the city have been detected near the village. There are many inscriptions that start with the phrase: “It seemed to the city of the Lappaians or to the population and to the city”. In the Roman civil war, in the battle of Actium (31 BC) the Lappaians fought for Octavius and against Antonius. After his victory, Octavius set the Lappaians free and let them reconstruct their city. After then, the city flourished. There are many coins from this city. One of the most important constructions of the city is its thermae, which was very important to the Roman settlements. The thermae of Lappa consist of a round chamber (18 feet diameter), two other halls, and many apartments for the bathers. Water supply system was draining water from the springs Kastanies and Kollita, one hour away from the village. There are 36 types of coins from Lappa. Some of them have the head of woman on the one side, and a bullhead on the other. Some others have the head of Poseidon, Artemis, or Apollo, and the word LAPPAION (of the Lappaians). The coins from the Roman period have the names of consular and the word LAPPAION.
Around the village, there are many Greco-Roman tombs, built in the rocks. One of those tombs is that of the Five Holly Virgins. By the rock, there is a chapel of them, Thekla, Mariamna, Aithana, Martha and Maria. According to tradition, Romans and Venetians had set mint in Lappa. At Ellinika location, in 1869, there were found machines of mint, and at Pavlis location, many bronze coins. Lappa was active until the A’ Byzantine period. One of the most ancient bishoprics of Crete is that of Lambe-Lappa, which was established in 457 AD by Apostle Titus himself. The Arabs destroyed Lappa. When it was re-inhabited, the city was called Polis (City). In the age of the Turkish dominion, the city was called Gaidouropolis and Samaropolis. The name Argyroupolis was given in 1822 by the revolutionary commission. The name derives from the mine of silver (Argyroupolis = City of silver).
Larisa. Kalamafka Ierapetras. Stefanos Byzantios cites many cities of this name. Some of them are written with double s and the others with single s. The ninth city out of eleven. The citizen is called Larisaios and Lariseus. He also says that there is Lariseus Zeus and that Strabo cites that in Ephesos there is Apollo Larisenos. Byzantios also adds that Larisa is one of the names that Gortys had before its present name.
Lasaia. Kaloi Limenes Kainourgiou. Lasaia was ancient city of Crete, near Kaloi Limenes, and opposite to the island of Palaios Molos or Traphos. In the Roman period, it was one of the ports of Gortys. Based on coins, we may assume that it was also called Thalassa (Sea) or Alasa. The ruins of the city are expanded from the seashore to the hill. There are many buildings of the Roman period, aqueduct, vaulted structures and many shells. The island Traphos consists of rocks in the sea. Probably it was structure of the Lasaians, part of the port. The cemetery is by the west of Lasaia. The island was used as refuge in the Greek revolution against the Turks. In 1854, the English commander Spratt thought that the Greeks on the island, were pirates. For this reason, he sent a ship to kill them. The revolutionaries fought against them and the damages were serious.
Spratt was the first he understood that in that area, Lasaia was built. Some peasants had opened tombs and had taken gems of those ancient tombs. A young shepherd found a ring with the inscription TRYPH/HNIA. Spratt bought the ring and he said that it reminded him an extract from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, where he cites the name of the city. Onorio Belli, in his letter to his uncle, he says: “11 October 1586,…Lasaia preserves its name. However, the whole city is ruined and there is no any other building in the area, apart from the Monastery called Apezanes, four or five miles away, on the top of high mountains. This place is very beautiful…”.
Lasos. Maybe Lappa.
Lato he Hetera. By north to Kritsa (c.3 kilometres). Cretan city built on the foot of the Lasithi mountains. The name of the city is cited in some inscriptions of Linear B’ from Knossos. The Mycenean artefacts from the area are rear. Lato flourished in the 7th century BC. In the 2nd century BC, its citizens abandoned the city and established new city, Lato pros Kamaran, near the sea. The French Archaeological School unearthed the ruins of Lato he Hetera. The excavations unearthed the following structures: a) the agora (market place) and the prytaneum; part of the prytaneum was a small temple, b) altar and theatre, structures from the Classical period, c) castrated private houses from the Classical period. Apart from them, there were also found sinks. The artefacts are exhibited in the Archaeological Museums of Herakleion, Malia, and Agios Nikolaos. Nearchos, friend and general of Alexander the Great, was from Lato.
Lato pros Kamaran. Agios Nikolaos Lasithiou.
Leben. Lenda Kainourgiou. Small seaside town in southern Crete. Trading port of Gortys. Hygeia the Savour, Persephone, Asclepios the Savour, the Nymphs with Acheloos River were worshiped in the city. In the temple of Asclepios, there was sacred spring where the citizens of Gortys were going when they were ill.
The city was established in the 4th century and it was important medical centre. It was vacated in the 9th century AD. The excavations unearthed a small building that was used for the storage of offerings, two sinks, guests’ rooms, buildings of the workers. All those structures are from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. There were also discovered vaulted tombs of the Protominoan age (3rd millennium BC). The tombs have many and important gems, that help us to understand the history of the area. The artefacts and the inscriptions from the tombs are at the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion.
The Lenda spring is characterised as simple, and warmish. It is alkaline and has arsenate minerals 0,00097 MG AS, which is very rare element in mineral waters and is important in blood affections. In the World War B’, the Germans destroyed not only the today settlement but also the pillars of the Asclepieion. Today, there are ruins of the Temple of Asclepios, parts of pillars. Svoronos believes that the city had its own coins, but they have not yet been found.
Letoa or Letoai. Two small islands at Messara gulf. Today they are called “Paximadia”. Their name derives from the Goddess Leto, who was worshiped in Phaistos. Some believe that the islands belonged to Phaistos and some others to Sybrita.
Lipara. Small island near Cydonia.
Lisos (or Lissos or Lissa). Ai Kyrkos Selinou. City and port of ancient Crete. Port of Yrtakine or of Elyros. It was established in the Classical period and flourished until the Late Antiquity. Its name was made certain by inscriptions. The early history of the city is unknown. Based on inscriptions and coins of the 3rd century BC, we know the city allied with King of Carthage Maga, and joined the Republic of Oreians. The Republic of the Oreians was consisted of the cities Lisos, Syia, Poikilassos, Tarra, Yrtakina and Elyros. Lisos had powerful trading and fishing navy. It was located at Selinou province, at Agios Kyriakos bay.
There were discovered ruins of theatre, aqueduct, cemetery, and baths of the ancient times, and Palaiochristian basilicas. In the area, there were also found many votive objects, which are now exhibited at the Archaeological Museums of Heraklion and Chania. In no other city of Crete, apart from Gortys, there were found so many pieces of sculpture. This fact testifies the prosperity and the power of the Asclepieion of Lisos. Lisos has its own coins with the images of Artemis and dolphin and the word LISION (of the Lisians). Lisos and Yrtakina were allies and they had trading intercourse with common currency. Their coins had dolphin or flying dove on the one side, and eight-ray star with the word L/I/S/I/O/N (of the Lisians) on the other.
Lykastos. At Vitsilia location, at Profitis Ilias village. Ancient city of Crete, which took part in the Trojan War. In the historic times, Knossos destroyed the city. Later the city came under the rule of Gortys, which gave the city to Rhaukos. In 185 BC, the Roman consular Appeius gave part of the city, the Lykastion, to Knossos and the rest, the Diatonion, to Lyktos. “Lykastos is city of Crete. Homer cites the city along with Lyktos and Miletos of Crete. It took its name by Lykastos, who was son of Minos. The citizen is called Lykastios.” Stef. Byzantios.
Lyktos. Between the villages Xidas (or Lyttos), Askoi and Kastamonitsa Pediados. It was built on hill, part of Dikte. The islands Minoa and Strogyle and the cities Miletos and Lyktia Arsinoe were under the rule of Lyktos. Chersonisos was the port of the city. The city took its name by Lyktos, son of Lykaona, who established the city. Later the city was called Lyttos (high, tall) because it was built high, on the mountain. Some scholars believe that Lyktos is cited as Ru-ki-to in inscription of Linear B’ from Knossos. Lyktos was also called Karnessopolis. This name testifies the Doric origin of the city, by the Karneian Apollo. Lyktos was the centre of Dorism in Crete.
According to Hesiod, the parents of Rhea sent their daughter to Lyktos to give birth to Zeus, in a cave, away from Cronus. Homer says that Lyktos participated in the Trojan War. The city sent army with Koiranos, the partner, and chariot driver of Meriones, who killed himself in order to save Idomeneas from the spear of Hector. Aristotle says that the Lyktians were claiming that they were colonisers from Sparta.
Many other ancient sources testify the fact that Lyktos was Spartan colony. In Lyktos, they worshiped all the Spartan gods as one god. In 668 BC, the Lyktians allied with the Spartans against the Messenians. In 343 BC, Archidamos, king of Sparta, exiled Phalaikos of Phokis, from Lyktos. Phalaikos had taken the city with the Knossians. Later Lyktos allied with other cities against Knossos. In 220 BC, Knossos destroyed Lyktos while the Lyktians were away from their land in war with the Ierapytnians. The Lyktians took refuge in Lappa. Later they took their city back, with the help of Gortys and Sparta. Later Lyktos joined the Republic of Cretans. In 170 BC the city allied with Eumenes B’ of Pergamos. In 68 BC, Lyktos allied with Ierapytna and Olous. In the same year, Metellus took the city under his rule. The ruins of the city are in the location that is now called Lyttos. There are have been discovered two statues of Trajan and Marcus Avrilius, which are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion.
Svoronos cites 89 types of coins from many different periods. Lyktos was independent city and thus had its own coins. The coins have the images of flying eagle and wild boars, and the word LYTTION (of the Lyttians). The Roman coins have the head of Caligula and Germanicus.
In Lyktos, there was the Temple of Athena Polias, where the Lyttians and the Ierapytnians set column with their decree in 113 BC. In 1586 AD, Dr. Oxogio Bemmi visited the area and excavated. He unearthed statues and the theatre of the city from the Roman period. The description of the city by Belli, four centuries ago, is very interesting because there is nothing like that anymore. Belli had learned Greek and travelled all over Crete. He wrote a book on his journey and drew many pictures of the landscapes. His works are at Bibliotera Ambrosiana di Milano. This is one of his letters to his uncle. It is written in Chania:
“ 11th October 1586,
My dearest Uncle,
I send you the drawings of three other theatres and one temple. The drawing of the theatre of the city Lyktos is dark in the stage, which is not decorated with pillars or anything else. This is due to the huge ruins that do not let you see how it used to be like. If your lordship could see what kind of walls these are, I am sure that you would be amazed for the mind of that nation of this age. The seats are hollowed in the mountain, which is soft stone. This stone is easily hollowed and it is also used in making house-roofs. People call this soft stone “lepida” (blade) and it is in many different colours and plenty. This theatre was the larger in that Kingdom. It had three series of bronze vessels so that they could multiply the voices and you can clearly see where those vessels were placed. The city of Lyttos was built on a hill with many tops and had limited flat space. In few words, the location is the oddest and ugliest I have ever seen. However, the city had many and important structures and I found many and beautiful statues, which someone can see in the house of my Master. I also found many burial steles, that you have seen, and based on them, we may assume that although, as Polybius says, those of Knossos and Gortys destroyed that city, however it seems that in the age of Trajan, Andrianos, and Matidie, the city flourished. The city is away from the sea twelve or fourteen miles. In that sea, there is another city, which was called Cherronesos and now is called Chersonesos. This was the port for the ships of Lyttos. From the one to the other city, there was a very beautiful and well-structured road, although it was through mountains and plains. It also had a very good aqueduct, which was bringing the water of a very big spring. This aqueduct was beginning four or five miles away from Lyttos and was taking the water of a big spring of the very high mountains called Lasithi…Do not think that this is the unique aqueduct in the whole kingdom. There are many others, not of course of the same cost and length. The town of Chersonesos is very small. I do not believe that it was two miles but Lyttos was four miles. However, although it is small town it has amphitheatre, one theatre that I send now to you, not very large, and very beautiful structures. It had one port, which is now banked up, capable for thirty galleys to embark. Strabo says here was the Temple of Britomartys, the ruins of which you can see..”
in Lyttos there have been found many statues and inscriptions. On the ruins of Lyktos, there are two chapels, of Timios Stavros and Agios Georgios.
Malia. In three kilometres from the village Malia, there are ruins of the Minoan palace and the city, which took their name by the village since we do not know the name of the ancient city. Is seems that after the vacation of the city in the Subminoan period, the name of the city was forgotten. The Minoan city was established on triangular limestone embankment, on Azymo hill. The palace was on the top of the hill. By the north of the city and near the sea, there is a series of necropoleis, the Osteophylakia, the Aletrivopetres and the Elliniko Livadi locations, which was called Chrysolakkos by the peasants. At Chrysolakkos, there were found the jewel of the bees, two pins, and other small golden objects.
The despoliation of the area started in 1880-1885. In the charnel houses, there were discovered bones, pottery, and some vessels of the so-called Chamaizi type. One of them has inscription in Hieroglyphics. The inscription has the word “reande”= for the smoothing. In the south, there was a mountain top shrine on the hill Profitis Ilias. In the east, there are some isolated houses and new settlements. In the west, the necropolis on the island tou Christou testifies the existence of another settlement. In the late Subminoan period, the burial memorials were expanded in the coastline up to the Stalida village. After the vacation of the city in 1200 BC, the area of Malia was never inhabited and the latest artefacts of the area are those of a Palaiochristian Basilica near Mylos.
The first who detected ruins in the area was Spratt in the 19th century. He detected all the seaside cities of Crete (Phaistos, Cydonia, and Zakros). The first systematic excavations started in 1915 by Iosiph Chatzidakis, curator of antiquities. The French Archaeological School continued the excavations in 1921-1932. The palace of Malia is not so luxurious as those of Knossos and Phaistos. There is no limestone, alabaster, and the memorial structure of the other palaces. Rocks, ironstone, and sand were used in the construction of the palace of Malia. Based on inscriptions in Linear B from Knossos, we may assume that the name of the city might be se-to-i-ja. Indeed, this name may be the true one of the settlement, since the word is etymologically related to the name of the hill Azymo. SETOIJA= Iera thesis>Ieros topos> Ierapolis. AZYMO= the one that is possessed by Divine fear. Indirectly, we can say that it means Sacred City, like the Mycenean word. Therefore, the ancient city of Malia might be the Ierapolis of “Crete of the one hundred cities” as Homer says.
In the south by west corner of the central court of the Minoan palace, next to the entrance, there are two communicator areas, which were used as the shrine of the south wing. In the first area, which is outside, there is the big offering table (kernos). The second area was roofed and it was the prothalamion. It had one pillar in the middle of the opening to the shrine. The entrance of the shrine was from the prothalamion and the external entrance to the prothalamion was from the corridor. Chapoutnier, who excavated the area says:
“Let us imagine that external entrance of the prothalamion open, and look inside from the corridor of the southern entrance at the shrine. In the end of the prothalamion, we see the pillar being lighten by the shrine. In front of us, there is the highest level of the shrine; on that level there is the offerings table (kernos) and on the left the other stone parapet. At the back, we see the priestess of the Minoan religion walking down the wide stairs. She holds the fruit offerings to put them on the table.”
Here, there was found stone altar with inscribed symbols, terracotta pottery, censer, and other religious objects. Some others believe that the stone was found in the countryside. I believe that this is right since the inscription is about a shrine dedicated to Hermes and the area Tarmaros belongs to the shrine of Hermes and Eros. This stone is now exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion. The stone is diorite and comes from crystallisation of volcanic magma. It is like granite and it has dark colour. In that stone there are images of hieroglyphics inscribed. We can read them in Greek with syllabic values of the Cretan hieroglyphics. These are words, which are said during libation, and they have libation rhythm. The libation was done in the end of the ritual and was called ERMAIA, on the honour of Hermes and in the autumn month Ermaio. The sources give us in 6-9 AD the following Cretan calendar, according to V.Grunel, Thesmophorios since 23rd September, for 31 days, Ermaios since 24th October, and for 30 days. In that month, they used to cultivate the land and seed cereals. In the Hermaia festival the slaves were enjoying in the houses of their masters, and the masters had to serve them. At first, this was ritual procedure, but later it became custom and part of the tradition.
The inscription is read in both ways (from right to left and the opposite). In the Greek alphabet, it is written ascending in translation: LET IT RAIN – BY THE LOVEABLE – THE PROFITABLE – THE CLEAR. Here we have libation to Hermes with his three features. I believe that there were libations done before the inscription for the fertility of the land.
In the opposite way, we read: SHRINE OF THE OUTRIDER OF THE SOULS (HERMES), “IF ONLY HE GOES TO THE MOUNTAINS”, YEA!
The same inscription in Cretan hieroglyphics it says: DA-JA-TI MO-NU-TA PI-RO KO-PI-TE-RO NU-NA-TA-I. In translation: Priest alone with hat, to hold the pieces of meat in the nine days of the month after the first day of the month. On the opposite way: I-TA-NA-NU RO-TE PI-KO-RO-PI-TA NU-MO TI-JA-DA. Translation: Red basket made of willows with dandelions, at the beginning of the lunation made of a willow.
Some of the most beautiful objects from Malia is the golden decoration of an acrobat on the ivory hilt of sword, an axe ending to leopard, the golden earring with the two bees, tablets in Linear A and hieroglyphics, seals and beautiful Neopalatial swords.
There is also a golden pin at the Museum of Agios Nikolaos that is from Chrysolakkos. The pin has the motive of bush and an inscription of 18 symbols in Linear A. the text says: Sixteen year old jar carrier girl, you will seem modest in the sacrifice and the libations.
In the malarial area in the southern part of Mylos beach, on limestone layer, at Marmara location, there are ruins of Palaiochristian Basilica. It is vaulted basilica. It was built in the early 6th century AD and it is the last archaeological site at Malia area. Beneath the arcade, there was underground tomb. In the tomb, there was found large attic sarcophagus made of pendelic marble. The decoration consists of garlands, bullheads, lion-heads, and Medusa heads. The sarcophagus was created in the Antonine age (2nd century AD) and it seems to have been reused in the 3rd or 4th century for the interment of a couple. After the vacation of the postpalatial settlement of Malia, the centre of the area is transferred to the area of Chersonesos, where the so-called city was established.
Malla. Malles Ierapetras. The city was between the villages Malles and Christos and it is unknown in the ancient sources. A 3rd century inscription that was found in the area has decree between Malla and Lyttos. The Mallians worshiped Monnitios or Moneitios Zeus, like in Lyttos and Ierapytna. In addition, at Malla, like in Ierapytna and Priansos, they had the Hyperboia festival. Mallo, city in Kilikia, was probably colony of Malla. The Mallaians signed the decree with Eumenes B’. The city was autonomous and independent and had its own coins. The coins have the image of Zeus, an eagle, and the word MAL. In 1955, at Anatoliko and Agia Paraskevi locations, there were found vessels and lamps of the Roman period.
Maroneia. The location of Maroneia is unknown. There is village Maronia at Siteia province (Lasithi prefecture). There are possibilities the ancient city to be there. Sotades, the leader of the school of historical poetry of Kinaidologon or Kinaidographon, was from Maroneia, according to Strabo. This iambic poet lived at the age of Ptolemy the Philadelphos, and he was writing in the ionic dialect. Apollonios, his son, and the critic Karystios of Pergamos wrote on his life and work. The work of Sotades that we have is fragmentary. We know only some titles of his works and some fragments (Eis Adou katabasis, Priepos, Eis Belestichen, Amazon etc).
Matallon (Matalla). Matalla Pyrgiotissas. Matalia or Matalon or Metallon. In the Roman period, it was one of the ports of Gortys. In the prehistoric times, it was probably port of Phaistos. In the area, there are few Roman remainders and some artefacts of the 4th century and on. In the limestone hills in the north and south of the bay, there have been excavated more than 100 chambers, which were used as burial chambers for sarcophagi. There is nothing from the port installation. Pliny calls the city Matalia. Polybios says that the Gortynians surprised Matala in 220 BC, in war against Phaistos. There are ruins of the city under the surface of the sea, like in Elounda. At Matala, Menelaus’ ship scuttled on his way back from Troy. The “smooth cliff in the misty deep”(The Odyssey 3.293) might be the Nysos cape between Kommos and Matala bays. Chent believes that the silver staters of Crete with the inscription MODALON belong to that city.
Miletos. Milatos Mirambellou. Milatos or Miletos. Known by Homer as well (The Iliad, 2.647). Homer includes the city among the seven Cretan cities, which participated in the Trojan War with Idomeneus and Meriones, their leaders. Sarpedon, brother of Minos, was considered the first citizen of the city. According to Apollodorus, Miletos, son of Apollo and Areia, and grandson of Kleochos established the city.
The city was the metropolis of the Ionian Miletos. Milatos flourished in the Classical and until the Hellenistic period. In 200 BC, the Lyktians destroyed Milatos (Strabo). In the area, there have been discovered Minoan objects, Mycenean tombs, Mycenean vessels, and some elements that testify prehistoric past. The ancient city was probably located on Kastello hill. Strabo and Pausanias cite the city.
Milatos was the homeland of Pindareos, who stole the dog of Zeus and gave it to Tantalus. Zeus killed Pindareos and his wife. Pindareos’ orphan daughters, Aedona, Kleothera and Merope, were brought up by Aphrodite and they never got married. Hera gifted them with wisdom and beauty, Artemis with stature of the body, and Athena taught them the female duties. When Aphrodite went to the heavens to ask Zeus happy marriage for her clients, the Arpyies abducted the virgins and gave them to the Erinyes, to have them slaves.
Stefanos Byzantios cites the existence of the Cretan Miletos and adds that it is said that Ogygia, the island of Calypso, was also called Miletos.
Minoa. “City in the island of Amorgos, one of the Cyclades. The second city is that of Sicily. The third in Siphnos, one of the Cyclades. It also has Minoa fountain. Gaza was also called Minoa. There is also of Arabia, the citizens of which are called Minoitai, by Minos. There is also that of Crete. There is also another island not far from Megara. And Paros Minoa. The citizens Minoai.” Stef. Byzantios.
Minoa. Marathi Cydonias. Port of Aptera.
Minoa. Pacheia Ammos Ierapetras.
Modaioi. Between Kisamos and Cydonia. The city became known by ancient coins, which were found at Maleme. The coins have the image of bearded Zeus, of bull, and the word MODAION (of the Modaians). Svoronos assumed that the coins might have belonged to ancient Cretan city of the name Moda or Modaia, but there is no city of this name in the ancient sources. The location of the city might be at Modi village, which preserves the name a little differentiated. N. Platon excavated the area in 1953 and confirmed the assumption of Svoronos. He discovered seven Protogeometric vaulted tombs. Two of them have chambers, vessels, iron weapons, craters, skyphoses, pyxides, pithoi, amphorae, etc. Based on those gems we can understand the geometric civilisation of western Crete.
Mycenae. In the west to Chania.
Myrina. Mycenae (or Sybritos?). Pliny cites the city. The existence of the city is doubtful. However, we should cite that Myrina of Lemnos had indirect relationship with Crete. According to the myth, the city had taken its name by the wife of the king of the island, Thoanta, who was officer of the Cretan king Rhadamanthys.
Naxia. The city was near the village Elounda (Merambelou province). Today, this location is called Naxia. The Naxioi Lithoi (Naxian Stones) are from Naxia. The city is often confused with Oaxos. It is believed that Naxia of Crete was the metropolis of the island Naxos of the Cyclades. Soudas says, “There is city called Naxia and Naxian stone is called the Cretan whetstone. Because Naxos was city of Crete.”
Oaxos. Axos Mylopotamou, Rhethymnon prefecture. Doric city of ancient Crete. The city was named Oaxos by Oaxos, grandson of Minos. The city was very wealthy and existed until the Byzantine period. There are nine Byzantine churches in the area. Axos was destroyed by the Venetians. The citizens of Oaxos went to the hinterland and established the village Anogeia, which was called Axoka Anogeia or Axika Anogeia or Xiganogeia. Astale, which was at Bali, was the port of Axos.
At the location of the ancient city, there have been unearthed Postminoan shells and there have been detected ruins of ancient cyclopic walls. Other unearthed elements are archaic relics, many terracotta female idols of the daedalic rhythm. Among the artefacts, there is a bronze crescent, bronze molds of the 7th century BC, many inscriptions, and a statue of Demeter made of marble. The shells testify that Axos existed in the Subminoan period. On a bronze mold, we see the image of geometric tripod. Over the boiler of the tripod, we see the image of a divinity with long hair and armoured with sword and shield. The tripod is framed with two lions. The coins from Axos have Apollo with garland, and the tripod. Some others have the head of Artemis and the tripod with the word FAXION or CAXION.
According to Herodotus, Etearchos was the king of Axos in the 7th century BC. He is the only king who is cited after the Doric descent, when the leaders where called “kosmoi”. Herodotus says about the colonisation of Kyrene by Batos:
“King Etearchos had Phronime his daughter. Her mother died and her father got married again. The stepmother hated Phronime and forced her father to annihilate her. At Axos, Themison, merchant from Thera, was guest. The king forced Themison to swear that he would do whatever he would order him. When Themison left from Axos to go back to Thera, took the princess in order to throw her to the sea. Themison bound the girl with a rope, he threw her to the sea, and then he lifted the rope up again. Thus, he did what he had promised and he had not killed the girl. At Thera, she was bought by Polymnetos and gave birth to Battos. Battos was a stammerer. Apollo encouraged Battos to go to Kyrene with the Theraians. Battos established the colony in 631 BC.”
According to Xenion and Philosthenes, Axos took its name by Oaxos or Naxos or Axos, son of Apollo and Akakallis, daughter of Minos. “Akakkallida made love with Hermes and with Apollo. By Apollo, she gave birth to Naxos and by Hermes to Cydon, whose name the city Cydonia took.” Stefanos Byzantios cites the etymology of the name. He says that it derives from the ancient Cretan word “axos”= crag. Indeed, the city is built in precipitous area.
The most important ruins are those of the Temple of Aphrodite, parts of walls, which were considered part of water supply. That water supply was probably bringing drawing water from Skafidia spring. Probably the water supply was Venetian structure and in the building of it, there were used materials from the ancient buildings.
Ogylos. “Ogylos is island between the Peloponnese and Crete. The national adjective is Ogylios.” Stef. Byzantios.
Oios. Unknown location.
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