THE ANCIENT CITIES OF CRETE
Oleros - Zakros
Oleros. Meseleroi Ierapetras. Ancient city of Crete. It was built on barrow, north by east to Ierapytna. The location has view of the Cretan and the Libyan Sea. Ierapytna vanquished Oleros. There was the cult of Athena Oleria. The Oleria festival was of the most important of Oleros and Ierapytna. The name of Meseleroi village is corruption of the name of the ancient city. Oleros was under the rule of Ierapytna and therefore the city did not have its own coins.
Stefanos Byzantios cites the city: “Oleros is Cretan city. Xenion says in his “Kretika”, that it is built on high location near Ierapytna. The citizen is called Olerios, and Athena Oleria, and the neutral is Olerion. He says that due to the festival dedicated to the goddess, the city was called Oleria.”
Olopyxos. City of ancient Crete. It is believed that it might be at the village Rotasi Monofatsiou or at Amari, near the village Patsos. The second assumption is based on the last two syllables of the word i.e. Pyxos and its similarity with the today name Patsos.
Olous. Elounda Merambellou. City in the northern coast of Crete, at Agios Nikolaos gulf. The history of the city is known mainly by inscriptions and coins of 330-280 BC. In c.260 BC, the city became part of Knossos and later, Olous did not join the Republic of Cretans. In 201 BC, Olous allied with Rhodes, but later the city came under the rule of Lato. The only ruins that exist from the ancient city are parts of walls and cemeteries near Elounda. In addition, parts of the buildings can be observed under the sea at the narrow isthmus. The city sank by local landslide. Hence, it is not part of the landslide of Eastern Crete. There were also found reliquaries and terracotta jars of the Postminoan period. The city was known by the statue of Britomartys that Daedalus created.
An inscription found in the area, which is now exhibited at Louvre Museum, has the decree of Olous with many other cities of Crete. The same inscription informs us that there was Temple of Asclepios. Another inscription (3rd century BC) cites the friendship decree between Olous and Lato, the name of the main temple, and the names of the two “kosmos”, Sophronymos and Kratinos. In another inscription, there is the decree of 134BC, between Olous, Lato, and Knossos. The decree recognises Knossos as the judge in the differences between the two other cities. Fragment of another inscription is the decree between Olous and Lyttos. In 1960, An. Orlandos excavated the Palaiochristian Basilica. He discovered a piece of ironstone with the inscription of the decree between Olous and Rhodes. H. Van Effenterre found other fragment of the same inscription in 1937 in the apsis of the basilica. Those inscriptions are in Doric dialect. The last inscription is menial for Olous, since Rhodes wanted to establish its dominion in Eastern Crete and remove the pirates from the area.
The main cults in Olous, were those of Tallaian Zeus, Ares, and Artemis Britomartys. Olous was independent city and thus had its own coins. Most of them have the image of Artemis Britomartys and Zeus with eagle, or dolphin, or eight-ray star and the word OLOUNTION (of the Oloundians). Svoronos cites eleven different types of coins. According to Venetian official paper, Olous was one of the cities of Crete, where the settlement of foreigners was allowed.
The name of Olous is cited in many ancient sources (Skylax, Ptolemy, and Pausanias). “Olous is city of Crete, as Xenion says in “Kretika”. The citizen is called Oloundios, as Selinoundios”. Stef. Byzantios.
Onychion. “Onychion is location of Crete. it took its name by the “nychi” (nail) of the anchor that was clinched there when the Amyklaioi colonised it”. Stefanos Byzantios.
Orion. “Orion is location of Crete and those who live there are called Orioi” Stef. Byzantios. Orioi or Oreioi or Orion. Common location of the highland citizens of the cities Lisos, Poikilasos or Poikilasion, Yrtakos or Yrtakina, Elyros and Tarras of the southern part of Chania prefecture, in the Hellenistic period. It is assumed that it might have been city; one of the cities that left from the alliance of Knossos. The city was renamed to Agrion and in the Byzantine period, it was bishopric. The name Agrion or Arion is cited for the first time by Saint John the Xenos in his will in 1207 AD. The Bishopric of Agrion or Arion was at the ruined location Viran Episkopi Rhethymnis. I believe that S. Byzantios is talking about location and not city, since he characterises it as location.
Osmida. Perhaps at Onithe location of Oros village at Rhethymnon. It is 20kilometres from Rhethymnon. There were fortifications, shells from relief terracotta vessel, sinks and objects from the Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman times. In 1939, there was found a limestone statue of seated man in religious pose, perhaps of the Archaic age. Skylax 47 says: “Because after Osmida, in the north there is Eleftherna..”
Pandomatrion. At Phodele beach, based on Ptolemy’s description. City of western Crete. The exact location of the city has not yet been detected. Ptolemy locates the city near Rhethymnon, while Pliny between Aptera and Amphimala. It was port of Eleftherna. Claudius Ptolemy cites the city among the northern cities of Crete: Herakleion, Panormos, Apollonia, Kytaion, Dion Akron, and Pandomatrion. Claudius Ptolemy is right about the location of the city, at Phodele and after Dion Akron. Another element that testifies the location of the city is the name of River Pandomatrios at Phodele. “Pandomatrion is city of Crete. The citizen is called Pandomatrios or Pandomatrieus” Stef. Byzantios.
Pannona. Agios Thomas Monofatsiou. City of Crete. Ptolemy cites the city between Knossos and Gortys. Skylax says that “in the north of Lyttos there is mount Kadiston and there is the port of Olounda and Pan…” Svoronos believes that it is the city Pannona. Paul Four assumes that Pannona was at the village Agios Thomas Monofatsiou. N. Stavrakakis says that we should look for relics of the ancient city near Melissochori Monofatsiou.
Panormos. Panormos Mylopotamou Rhethymnis. The city was where the village Panormo is now, between two bays. It was the port of ancient Eleftherna. Pliny locates the city between Rhethymnon and Kytaion (today Palaikastro Rogdias). The area was first inhabited in the Minoan period, according to the artefacts from Koutrouli location. Coins found in the area have the image of goddess and phoenix with the letters P/A. they are attributed to ancient Panormos. Panormos existed from Roman times (1st century BC) until the 9th century AD.
In the second Byzantine period, the city was the Bishopric of Mylopotamos. In the Venetian periods, visitors cite Kasteli Mylopotamou at the location of the today village, where we can see ruins. The village was called Kasteli until the beginning of our century. The pirate Enrico Pescatore built the castle of Mylopotamos and the Venetian preserved it. It is known since 1212 AD. Its shape was like egg, with two gates and seven towers. In 1583, Barbarossa destroyed it. I believe that St.Alexiou’s opinion that Panormos was the gulf of Agia Pelagia and Malevyzi at the location of ancient Apollonia is wrong. St.Alexiou, in his book “To Malevyzi”, comments on the word Panormon and not on the city Panormos.
Paraisos. See Praisos. “Paraisos is city of Crete” Herodianos. “Paraisos was established by a relative of Minos. The city took its establisher's name and it is read in the same way” Stef. Byzantios.
Pelkin (Pelkis). Kastraki-Pelekanes Selinou.
Pergamos. At Trouli location. SW to Grimbilliana village, Kolymbari Kisamou, near Cydonia. The city was also called Pergamia and Pergamon. Skylax 47 says: “Doktynnaian Temple of Artemis to the north wind of the Pergamian land”. Ploutarch also cites the city. According to tradition, Agamemnon built it, when he was coming back from Troy, and gave this name to the city in memory of the citadel of Troy, Pergamos. Virgil, in The Aeneid, says that Aeneas built the city, but before then, there was city in Crete called Pergama, between Cydonia and Aptera, as Pliny informs us. The Dorians took Pergamos in 1025 BC.
Petra. It is considered the second part of the word Ierapetra = Ierapytna. Some numismatologists believe that its coins belong to another city called Petra. Today this name is preserved at the Bishopric of Petra.
Phaistos. Phaistos Pyrgiotissas. Very old and famous city of Crete. The second most important of city, with Knossos the first. It is frequently cited in the ancient sources. Homer is the first source where we find Phaistos. In Book 2 of The Iliad and in Book 3 of The Odyssey, Homer characterised Phaistos as well established. Phaistos participated in the Trojan War. Diodorus the Sicilian says that Phaistos, along with Knossos and Cydonia, was one of the most important cities of Crete that Minos himself established. On the other hand, Pausanias and Byzantios claim that Phaistos, son of Heracles or Rhopalos, established the city. More specifically, Phaistos is related to Rhadamanthys, who according to one version of mythology, was son of Phaistos and not brother of Minos.
The ancient centre of Phaistos is on hill of three levels at Mesara plain. It was also in the eastern bank of Lethaios River (now called Geropotamos), not far from the Libyan Sea. Spratt was the first who detected the exact location of Phaistos, based on Strabo. In the Early Palatial period, Phaistos was the most famous city of South Crete. Phaistos existed for four millenniums, from the Neolithic age to the Byzantine period. The city flourished in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. The first palace and many other structures were built in that period. Phaistos was trading centre of the trading between Knossos, Egypt and maybe the Eastern Aegean. Phaistos was often in war against Gortys. Finally, the Gortynians destroyed Phaistos in 200 BC.
Phaistos was independent and autonomous. Svoronos cites many types of the coins from Phaistos. Most of them have the image Europe with chiton, seated on bull and one the other side, there is lion-head and the phrase PHAISTION TO FAIMA. Some other coins have Hermes seated on rock, the hero Talo, naked, young, with wings and a dog, or Heracles with the lion-skin. The Gortynians destroyed only the Hellenistic Phaistos. Therefore there were found hellenistic relics on the ground, which were laid aside so that they could excavated the minoan palace. Only in the central court, those Hellenistic relics were not removed, since they did not obstruct the excavations.
The different layers of Phaistos are result of continuous earthquakes, as we read in Phaistos disc. The recent excavations (1993-4) by the Italian Archaeological School testify the context of the Disc about the earthquakes.
In Phaistos, they used to have the Ekdysia festival on the honour of Phytie Lato, who transformed the daughter of Galateia to young man. Galateia had got married and gave birth to one daughter. Her husband wanted to have son. Galateia lied to her husband on the sex of the child and called him Leukippos. When the child had grown up, Galateia could not continue lying. She prayed to Phytie Leto to transform her daughter to man. The goddess heard Galateia’s pledge and transformed her daughter to man. The Phaistians established this festival and called it Ekdysia.
Epimenides, prophet and theosophist, was from Phaistos. Epimenides was invited to Athens in 596 BC. He was considered one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. Because of his friendship with Solon, he is often presented with Solon. According to Phaistos disc, Solon had visited Phaistos. He was initiated to the Orphics of the Phaistians; he made sacrifice and promised never to change his mind.
The Disc of Phaistos was found in the northern part of the city, in mixed layer of Palatial and Hellenistic layers. It was believed that the text was hymn to divinity. The text is written in Greek Cretan dialect. Actually, it is message of the Phaistians to the one who would find the disc in the future. In that Disc, there is the description of the civilisation of that time until the Hellenistic age, with text, images, geometric figures and Orphic symbols. The disc is exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion. It is one of the human masterpieces through the ages. The value of the disc will be recognised only when top astrophysicists, scientist of religion, mathematicians, geometricians, seismologists, geologists, historians will analyse through their science the context of the “message” that the Phaistians sent to us. The Greek text of the Disc is the following.
Side A: ÏÓ ÏÔÁÍ ÏÔÅÙÍ ÏÓØÉÁ ÐÏËÉÍ ÖÅÓÔÏ ÏÓÏ ÅÓÏ. ÏÔÁÍ ÐÏËÉÍ ÏÓÕ ÉÐÉ. ÐÏËÉ ÏÔÁÍ ÏØÅÅÉ ÏËÏ ÓÅÉ. ÅÑÖÅÖÅÉ ÏÅÙÍ ÌÕÓÍ. ÅÌÖÅÏ ÏÔÅÙÍ ÓÏËÙÍ ÏØÏÉ ÁÓÔÕ. ÏÑÖÅÙ ÔÙÍ ÏÔÅÙÍ ÅÏÓÏ ÏÌÍÙÍ.
Translation: “when, in whatever far future you will be in the covered city of them, on which the text is. When the city was buried under the land in this way. When, as it seems, the city quivers all the time. After he came back, they speechified and initiated him. Self-exiled, as it seems, Solon in their city. In their Orphics he swore.”
Side B: ÅÏÉ ÏÉ ÎÅÉÅÔÅÙÍ. ÅÏÉ ÅÕÔ ÏËÙÍ. ÙÓÕ ÕÑÓÙ ÏÓÅÅÍÙÍ ÓÕÙÍ. ÏÉ ÓÔÉÅÙÍ ÓÕÙÍ. ÔÙ ÎÅÉÅÔÅÙÍ ÓÕÙÍ. ÏÉ ÓÔÉÅÙÍ ÏØ ÅÔÅÏÍ ÏÌÍÙ. ÅÕÍÙÍ ÅÓÏ. ÁÓÌÙÍ ÐÉÙ. ÏÏÓÙ ÏÌÏÙÍ ÁÉÍ. ÙÓÕ ÏÌÖÅ ÓÏËÙÍ.
Translation: Gods of the hosts. Gods to whom they all pray and sacrifice. Like at Yrsos, every year (they sacrifice) hogs. To (the Gods) of the Stieans, they offer hogs. For this reason, they offer hogs to the Gods of the hosts. Indeed, I swear by the Gods of the Stieans. I like you. I am pleased. And I foresee that I shall be forever of the same mind with you. Thus, Solon foresaw.
Beni Amariou. Phalanna is cited in Theorodokon table of Delphian inscription. It is also in the catalogue of the one hundred cities of Crete: “Phalana, da quale e Phalenide peripaticio.” (=Phalanna, whence Phalenides the peripatic was.). Phalanna was considered colony of the so-named Achaian city of Thessaly. Svoronos says that coins with the head of Hera garlanded and two fish in animal. That means that the city was independent and free. Byzantios cites Phalanna of Crete whence Phaniades the peripatic comes. The citizen was called Phalanaios and Phalannaia was the feminine.
Phalannaia. Probably at Beni Amariou village. City of ancient Crete. It is identified as Phalanna. There are silver coins from Phalanna. Phalannaia is considered the feminine type of the national adjective of Phalanna. “Phalannaia is city of Crete. The citizen is called Phalannaieus, like Heraia> Heraueus.” Stef. Byzantios.
Phalasarna. Koutri Kisamou Cape. It was the western city of Crete. Its port was very important and was frequently by Polyrrenia. The city did not join the Republic of Cretans, since it was under the rule of Ptolemy. In 184 BC, Phalasarna was vanquished by Cydonia. Ruins of Phalasarna were detected at Koutri Cape and at the neck of Korykia (Grambousa) Cape. Part of the acropolis, tower of the wall, sinks, walls of houses and of temples dedicated to Diktynna and Apollo, are preserved. All of them belong to the Archaic and Classical period. There are no relics of the port since the sea level has been changed.
In south by east, there are the necropoleis of hollowed tombs. There were found vessels of the Classical and Hellenistic period. Coins found testify the independence of the city. The coins have the image of female head and the letters FA in a trident. It was one of the Cretan cities that signed the decree with Eumenes B’ of Pergamos. Polybios says that in 184 BC, the Cydonians vanquished the city. However, Appios ordered them to leave from the city. Today, there are some ruins of walls. There are also, relics of walls, house foundations, ruins of the temple of Artemis Diktynne or of Apollo.
Pashley visited the area in April 1834. He saw thirty hollowed in rock tombs; like those at Matala. A stone throne is considered to be dedicated to Poseidon. Pashley believes that the throne belongs to the temple of Artemis. On the other hand, Spratt assumes that the throne was tribune of rhetorician due to its size. Were also observed Hellenistic and Roman shells, and at Metochi and Panagias to Livadi locations, there were found sinks, water supply, and Doric capitals. At Louthouria and Analavosi locations, there were tombs. In 1960, there were collected from Phalasarna burial earthen jars, which are at the Museum of Chania.
“Phalasarna is city of Crete. The citizen is called Phalasarnios, as Xenios says.” S. Byzantios.
Pharai. Inland city of Crete, at Ligortynos area. Stefanos Byzantios cites the Cretan city Pharai, which is colony of the so-named city of Messene, as Philon says.
Phelaia. Trachilas Kisamou Cape.
Phoinikous. Loutro Sfakion. Common name of ports. Famous ports of that name are those of Kythera, Crete, Messenia, Pamphelia, Sicily and Libya. The name probably derives from the inhabitation of Phoenician merchants. It was port of Anopolis Sfakion and for this reason, it was called Kato Poli. There are underground vaulted chambers, ruins from all periods, Roman relics, foundations of structures, inscriptions, tombs, walls etc. at Phoinikous, there were purple workshops. The ruins of the Byzantine city are at Loutro gulf, up to Phoinikies location, which preserves the ancient name. Claudius Ptolemy cites Phoinikous city and Phoinix port. Byzantios gives us the following information: “Phoinikous. City of Crete. There is also island towards Lykia. There is also Phoinikous port…the national adjective is Phoinikountios and Phoinikousios, like Selinountios and Selinousios.”
Phoinix Lambaion. Plakias Agiou Vasileiou. Seaside ancient settlement in the southern coast of Crete. Strabo cites it: “Phoinikas Lambaion, which is believed to be at the seaside settlement Plakias, province of Agios Vasileios of Rhethymnon.” Probably the characterisation Lambaion (of the Lambaians) was due to the other city Phoinikous at Sfakia. This city belonged to the Lambaians, citizens of Lambe or Lappa, which was at Argyroupoli location.
Poikilasos or Poikilasion. Small seaside town at Voukilasi or Voukoliasi location at Sfakia. More specifically at Trypiti cape, between Sougia and Agia Roumeli. The ancient city was near Trypiti of Sfakia. Poikilasion was not autonomous city. It was part and port of Elyros. In the town there was found inscription that testifies the existence of Temple of Serapes. There were also found hollowed tombs in the rocks and marble pits. Its ruins are of no importance. It was city of the Greek, Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic period. Ptolemy calls it Poikilasion in three cities of southern Crete. In the 918 Code of Markian Library, it is called Pecilasio overo Pescalio, among one hundred cities.
Polichna (or Polichne). Near the ancient Cydonia. “Polichna is city of Troy. The citizens are called Polichnaioi. There is also in Crete, city of the name Polichne, the citizen of which is called Polichnites.” Stef. Byzantios. It existed in the Archaic and Classical period. It is cited by the two great ancient Greek historians. Herodotus says that all the Cretans participated in the expedition against Sicily to take revenge for the death of Minos, apart from the Polichniteans and the Prasians. Thucydides says that the Athenians attempted to take Cydonia in 429 BC. They sent twenty ships to the Polichniteans who were in war with the Cydonians, but they were unsuccessful. In the historic times, Polichna was independent and had its own coins. The coins of the city had the letters PO and symbols similar to those of Cydonia and Aptera. There is no doubt on the adjacency of the city with Cydonia since Thucydides says: “the Polichniteans who were neighbours of the Cydonians”.
Polyrrenia. At the village Polyrrinia Kisamou. Polyrrenia (according to Ptolemy) or Polyrrene (according to Stefanos Byzantios) or Polyrrenion (according to Pliny). City of western Crete. According to tradition, the Achaians and the Laconic colonisers established it in the late 2nd millennium BC or in the 8th century BC. The earlier signs of inhabitation in the area are dated to the 11th century BC. Strabo says that the population of the area lives in small settlements.
The city flourished in the Classical times. It was powerful political centre and had two ports, Kisamos, and Phalasarna. In the Chremonidean War, Polyrrenia fought for Sparta, and in the civil wars between Lyktos and Knossos, fought for Lyktos. Since 201 BC, Polyrrenia was fighting for Rome, just to contrast Cydonia. They set up the statue Cointus Caecilius Metellus, ruler of Crete. Today, we have the base of the statue with inscription, where Metellus is called savour of the city. For this reason, the city flourished until the 2nd century AD, and had its own coin, the “boucranium”. Polyrrenia participated in the alliance of the Cretan cities with Eumenes B’ of Pergamos in 170 BC. After the 3rd century, there is no information about this city.
In the 10th century AD, Polyrrenia became important Byzantine state. The ruins of Polyrrenia were found at the village Polyrrenia. On the top of the hill, there was the citadel of the city. The citadel had T shape and had nice and clear view of the whole area. Polyrrenia was expanded from the north to the south, as Skylax says. There are few parts of the Hellenistic fortifications, because the Byzantine reconstructed the walls.
There are two sinks, hollowed in the rock, near them there is cave dedicated to the Nymphs, which is now called “peristerospilios”. The hollow of the cave exhaled warm air, the “Zesta” as the modern Polyrrenians call it. At the rock, there are many hollowed tombs. There were also discovered many inscriptions and foundations of houses and other structures, which were characterised as temples, tombs. The inscriptions inform us until the 4th century BC. At the Temple of Diktynne, there was found decree of Polyrrenia with Phalasarna and Lacedaemona of the 4th century BC. Another inscription fixed in the Church of Agioi Pateres, which was built with materials of ancient Greek temples, is about the offering of the statue of the Lacedaemonian king Areos to the temple in 272 BC. In the same church, there is another fixed inscription of 189 BC. That inscription says that the Polyrrenians honoured Gnaius Cornelius Scipio. Another inscription of 62 BC says about faith to Cointus Caecilius Metellus.
On the top of the hill, at Chalkoklisia location, was the temple of Dintynne Artemis, the Cretan divinity Britomartys. The Polyrrenians worshiped Diktynna, Cretogenes Zeus, and Athena with crescent and spear, that shows the martial character of the city. Because of their martial character, Polyrrenia became the second most important city of western Crete, after Cydonia. Before 220 BC, when Knossos and Gortys allied and vanquished the whole Crete, Polyrrenia allied with Lyttos and with the king of Lacedaemona Philip E’, who sent martial assistance, to lay siege to Cydonia, Aptera and Eleftherna, and forced them to leave from the alliance of Knossos. The citizens of Polyrrenia were cattle-breeders with many sheep. In Polyrrenia, there was temple where they were making sacrifices. Agamemnon, on his way back from Troy, passed from Polyrrenia to make sacrifice. He did not finish his religious duty, when he was informed that his captives burnt the ships and thus he left from Polyrrenia in hurry. Since then, when there was made episodic sacrifice, it was called Cretan sacrifice.
Polyrrenia had its own coins. Most of them have the head of Zeus with garland, bullhead, and the word POLYRENION or the head of Hera with garland. Some others have the head of Artemis or Athena and Bacchus with horns of 5th century. Later coins have a male head with quiver and seated woman on throne. Coins of the Roman period have the head of Augustus with raid-garland. Some of them are at the Museum of Chania.
“Polyrrenia is city of Crete and is called like that because it has many “rhenea” i.e. sheep. The citizens is called Polyrrenios”. Stef. Byzantios.
Praisos. Vaveloi – Nea Praisos Siteia. It was also called Prasos or Praisia or Paraisos. It is ancient city in the eastern end of Crete. The city occupied the area between Kalamafki (Zou), Pandeli, and the river Stomios. That river was called Didymos and therefore the gulf of Siteia was called Didymos as well. The main settlement was built on three hills-acropoleis, and on the plateau between the hills. Praisos had under its rule the whole peninsula of Siteia. The ancient geographer Skylax, son of Karyandeas, says: “Praisos was expanded to both sides.” Heteia in the Cretan Sea, and Steles in the Libyan Sea, were the two ports of Praisos.
The constitution of the Greek geometric Praisos was democratic. The “kosmoi”, the Counsel of the Elders and the Assembly of the “deme” were the basic institutions of the constitution. Praisos was autonomous city and had its own coins. We know fifty types of them. Most of the coins have the images of Hercules with his bow, infant Zeus sucking a cow, Zeus in his throne, Apollo, Demeter, bullhead, wild goat, and the word PRAISION (of the Praisians). The ruins of the city belong to many different periods, from the Neolithic until the Hellenistic period. Strabo informs us that in 144 BC, the citizens of the neighbouring city Ierapytna, which was of Doric origin, “dug the city”. Before its destruction by the Ierapytnians, Praisos had vanquished Dragmos and had laid siege to Itanos. Praisos did not manage to vanquish Itanos, because the second city was under the protection of Ptolemy the Philometor until 146 BC. Later, there was built in the same area another, less important settlement, Prasoi. In the Venetian census of 1577, Prasoi has 127 residents. In the Turkish census of 1671, there is no city of that name.
The ancient city flourished in the Geometric and Archaic period. On the mountaintop, there was found shrine of the Geometric period, which seems that it was used from the 8th and until the 5th century BC. There were found an earthen altar, terracotta architectonic models, bronze and terracotta vessels, idols, jewellery, and weapons. The Hellenistic ruins of Praisos were unearthed in the northern area of the city. It was built on two hills and had fortification. Ruins of the earlier city are ruins of houses, tombs, and part of earthen water supply. At Agios Konstantinos, there is spring, which is called Mesa Vrysi or Flega tou Tzani. Praisos was watered by that spring. There was probably old temple dedicated to the divinity of the spring. The temple was replaced by the Church of Agios Konstantinos.
According to the philological tradition, Praisos was the centre of the Eteocretans, i.e. the aboriginal Cretans (“eteos” = original). Homer is the first who cites the Eteocretans (The Odyssey, 19.176). He calls them “high-hearted”. When the Achaians and the Dorians came to Crete, the Eteocretans isolated themselves at Praisos. They preserved their language and their religion, and they were against and separated from the rest Cretans. Therefore, they did not participate in the expedition against Kokalos, king of Sicily. Herodotus informs us that the aim of the expedition was to take revenge for the murder of Minos. Excavations inthe area confirmed the legend of the Eteocretans. In 1884, there were unearthed in Praisos the first Eteocretan inscription and many terracotta idols.
At Skales cave, there were found many pieces of Neolithic and Camaraic pottery. In 1901, there were excavated megalithic house and tombs at Agios Konstantinos location. The tombs had many important gems, such as golden rings, a golden rosette with the word ANTIGONOY (of Antigonos) on it, a golden stater, a bird-shape vessel, a yellow ribbed agate, many swords, spear points etc. On the agate there is inscribed a recumbent ox at the plain, a hunter who catches the ox by its horns. We assume that those artefacts do not belong to the Eteocretan Praisos, but to the later settlement of the historic times. In 1935, there was excavated tomb of Praisian athlete. In the tomb, there were found the prizes of the athlete; two of them are Panathenaic amphorae of 560-500 BC. The most important artefacts of Praisos are three Eteocretan inscriptions on limestone in Greek letters. The Greek letters testify the fact that the Minoan language was Greek. The inscriptions belong to the 6th, 5th and 4th centuries BC.
The first inscription says in the Cretan dialect (in translation): “To the great mother, the famous, at the gulf of Itanos, at seaside location, near the edge (of the cape). Famous, since the ancient times all over the world, the marvellous temple at the edge (of the cape).”
Stefanos Byzantios says: “Praisos is city of Crete, feminine name. The national adjective is Praisios and Praisieus”
Prepsidai. Between Dreros and Milatos.
Priaisos. Probably Priansos.
Priansos. Kastelliana Monofatsiou. Priansos was important city. The innumerous coins found in the area testify the autonomy of the city. The coins have the image of seated Hygeia wearing chiton. Her right hand touches a snake. On the other side, there is Poseidon with trident and the word PRIANSIEON (of the Priansians). Other coins have marine motives, dolphin, Apollo, goddesses, nymphs, Athena with trident, and again the word PRIANSEON.
Many inscriptions cite Priansos. A stele, inscribed with relief Greek letters in both sides, that cites Priansos, was found in Venice, built in a house. Today it is exhibited in the Museum of the city. That stele is the decree of Priansos with Gortyna and Ierapytna. The decree includes the oath of the Priansians: “I swear to Hestia…the a…Skylion… and to Hera and to Athena Oleria and to Apollo the Pythian and to Leto…” It seems that Priansos was marine superpower. Its port might have been at Inatos, at Tsoutsouros location. Priansos was on flat mountaintop, near Kastelliana village, Monofatsi province. At the same location, there was established castle in the early 13th century AD. Probably Pescatore established the castle and it was called Belvedere, which means nice view. In the construction of the castle, there were used materials from the ruins of the ancient city.
Strabo says: “Adjacent with them (the Gortynians) were the Prasians. They were 70 stadia away from the sea and 180 stadia from Gortys. Priansos had signed decree of alliance with Eumenes B’ of Pergamos in 170 BC and with Teo of Ionia for the use of the Temple of Dionysos as refuge.”
Stefanos Byzantios adds that the citizens were called Priaisioi and Priaisieus
Pronos. Unknown location.
Psychion. Melissa Agiou Vasileiou Cape. “Psychion is location of Crete, in which there is city of the same name. The national adjective is Psychieus.” Stef. Byzantios.
Pyloros. Apesokari-Plora Kainourgiou. Ancient city of Crete of the Roman period. Pliny cites the city. Pashley locates the city at Plora village, based on the similarity of the names Pyloros-Plora. Inscriptions found in the area Plora-Apesokari do not cite any city of the name Pyloros.
Pyranthos. Pyrathi Monofatsiou. 40 kilometres from Herakleion. The ruins of the ancient city are at Trochales location. By north to Pyrathi village. There are shells of the Greco-Roman period. In addition, there is Pyriathiani Kefala hill. In the Venetian period, Pyranthos belonged to Belvedere castelancy. In 1915, at Vlachiana and Aposelemi locations, there was found big limestone inscription of the Roman period, written in Latin. The inscription says that in 63 AD, Leucius Turpilius Dexter, vice-consul of Crete, set that stele as boundary of public land of Gortyn. Stefanos Byzantios says: “Pyranthos is small city or village of Crete, near Gortys. The citizens of the city are called Pyranthioi.”
Rhamnous. Stomion Kisamou. City of western Crete of the Roman period. Claudius Ptolemy cites the city (“in the western side of Crete, there is the port Rhamnous”). The exact location of the city is unknown. Ptolemy says that it was at the coast of Kisamos. Pliny locates the city between Lyttos and Lykastos and Paul Four assumes that the one is at Stomion Kisamou, near Chrysoskalitissa, and the other as Pliny. In the ancient Rhamnous, there was the Temple of Themis. In the entrance of the temple, there were two marble thrones. One for Themis and the other for Nemesis. In 1696 AD, Coronelli located the city at Gramboussa Cape, at Tigani Peninsula and calls it Remno. In 1815, Sieber claims that the location of the city was at Ramni Apokoronou location, because the two names are similar Rhamnous-Ramni. Svoronos says that Pliny does not write Rhamnous but Rhaucus = Rhaukos.
Rhaukos. Agios Myron Malevyziou. It was ancient city of Crete. According to Skylax the city was near Gortyn, by the south of Knossos: “Axos and Knossos in the north, in the south, Rhaukos has Gortyn.” According to tradition, at first Rhaukos was in another place. The first citizens were forced to vacate the city because there were many bees. Hence, they established new city between Knossos and Gortyn. Although Rhaukos was established in the Minoan period, Rhaukos became important in the civil Cretan wars in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. It joined the Republic of Cretans and allied with Teo of Ionia. Raukos also allied with Eumenes B’, king of Pergamos. The city was destroyed in 166 BC, in the civil war between Knossos and Gortyn. Tzetzis, a Byzantine Grammatician, calls the city Drauke.
Rhaukos was independent and autonomous, and thus had its own coins. The coins have the image of naked Poseidon, trident, dolphins. We do not know whether Rhaukos had port. There are no coins later to 166 BC. We do not also know when the city was reconstructed. However, we know the existence of the city by the biography of Agios Myron, who was born there. For this reason, there are assumptions that the village Agios Myron is built over the ruins of the ancient city.
“Rhaukos is inland city of Crete. The national adjective is Rhaukios and Rhaukia.” Stef. Byzantios.
Rhithymnia or Rhithymna. Rhithymnia is city of Crete. The national adjective is Rhithymniates and Rhithymnios.” Stef. Byzantios. The city was built where Rhethymnon is now located. For this reason, there is no building of the ancient city. There were found some mosaics and foundations of cities, which were covered by modern structures. The acropolis might have been at Fortetza. We know few things about the history of the city. The only sources we have are inscriptions. The city had its own coins since the 4th and 3rd century BC. The city might have intercourse with the Ptolemy dynasty that renamed the city Arsinoe. In the 3rd century, there was the Temple of Artemis Rokkaia. The main goddess of the city was Athena. The city existed even in the Postminoan III period. At Mastamba suburb was the cemetery of the ancient city. In 1947, excavated Postminoan tomb testifies that in that period there was Minoan settlement at the location of Rhethymnon. Rhithymna was important city in the Mycenean Postminoan times. In the 3rd century AD, the city was under decline since Claudius Aemilianus cites the city as town. However, it was always independent and its coins had the head of Apollo or Athena with garland, and two dolphins or trident or goat.
The settlement existed even in the Byzantine times as town. It flourished again in the Venetian period and became state. The name of the city is not cited in any inscription. We have only the national adjective Rhithymnios. It is not certain whether the hill called Fortetza, was used in the antiquity. The older name of the hill, Palaiokastro (=Old castle), testifies the existence of castle on the hill. K.Kalokyris in his book “The Ancient Rhithymna” says that according to Onorio Belli, on the hill, there were pillars and other relics of ancient temple. He assumes that there was the Temple of Artemis Rokaian and that the acropolis of the city was on the hill. He also believes that Fortetza was island that became one with the land by banking up. Rhithymna was built there. This opinion was confirmed nowadays. After the construction of the port, the waves imploded sand to the beach and extended it.
In 1558, during the fortification programme of the city, Kontarini, representative of the Rhethymnians went to Venice and asked for the building of castle at Palaiokastro hill. The Venetians did not build the castle. After the destruction of the city by Ulutch Ale, the castle was built in three years (1573-1580). In 1538, Barbarossa ruined Rhethymnon and in 1567, Ulutch Ale robbed the city and then burnt it. In 1571, Selim Sultan burnt it again and in 1590, the city was destroyed by flood. In 3rd October 1646, Rhethymnon came under the Turkish yoke. The Venetian and Cretan citizens occluded themselves in Fortetza. In the end, they agreed to surrender. However, Chousein killed all of them. In the Turkish dominion, the city was under decline like every Greek city.
Rhizenia. Prinias Malevyziou. “Rhizenia is city of Crete. The citizen is called Rhizeniates.” Stef. Byzantios. At Patela tou Prinia location, the Italian Archaeological School (1906-1908) unearthed important relics of the ancient city. Based on inscriptions, the ancient city was identified as Rhizenia or Apollonia. In the area, there was found inscription with the letters (I)ZENI(A). That testifies that the ancient city is Rhizenia that Stefanos Byzantios cites. The name of the city is also cited in other inscriptions of the 5th century BC from Gortyn. Another inscription says that Rhizenia, that was located between Gortys and Knossos, had the responsibility to send fatlings every four years, for the sacrifices made at the Diktaion Andron.
That city flourished as independent city from the Subminoan until the Archaic period. From the 5th and until the 2nd century BC, the city was subject to Gortys. The city was gradually abandoned. In addition, there were no fortifications around the city. In the 5th century BC, there was built in the southern part of the city, a rectangular castle with four towers that lasted for three centuries. In the construction of the castle, there were used limestone burial steles with relief decoration. Those steles were from the neighbouring cemetery of the 7th century. In the same area, there were found iron and lead weapons.
The foundations of archaic temples and houses, parts of the temple of the Minoan goddess of the snakes and tables with luxurious offerings belong to the 7th century BC. The A temple was the most important and it was probably dedicated to Rhea. Relief frieze with cavalry, deer, panthers and two statues of seated gods come from this temple. Those pieces of sculpture belong to the Daedalic rhythm. There were also found painted shells that testify the cult of Athena in the city in the 2nd century BC. Xanthoudidis believes that the cavalry relief is made by the Cretan statue-makers Daedalides (Dipoinos and Skyllis).
Rhytion (Rhytiassos). Rotasi Monofatsiou. Two kilometres from Pyrgos Monofatsiou, at the foot of Asfedilia hill. It was city of central Crete of the Archaic-Hellenistic period. In Book 2 of The Iliad, it is one of the seven Cretan cities that participated in the Trojan War (Knossos, Gortys, Lykastos, Milatos, Lyktos, Phaistos, and Rhytion). The Homeric Rhytion was probably at Rotasani Kefala location of Rotasi village. “and Phaistos and Rhytion, all towns well established” The Iliad, 2.648. Hesychius calls it “Rhytion City”. There have been signs of the Minoan period (relics of settlements, bronze weapons etc) that confirm that the city of Rhytion existed since the 2nd millennium BC.
At Asprolivada location, there was found in 1956, treasure of bronze tools and weapons, very well preserved, three puncheons, nine chisels, four double axes, saws and spear points. At Pharmakara location, there was found cemetery of the Geometric times. Rhytion existed as independent city until the Hellenistic period. Strabo says that later the city came under the rule of Gortys and was under decline in the Roman period. The decline of Rhytion is written in inscription that is exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion. The name of the city is also cited by Nonnos, Pliny and Stefanos Byzantios. Byzantine churches testify the existence of Rhytion until the Byzantine period. Claudius Aelianus says that the citizens of the city were forced to leave due to mass of an insect. Aelianus cites similar story of Raukos. Spratt cites that Rhytion was vacated once because fly specie was plaguing the residents so much that they had to vacate the city. It seems that he had heard Aelianus’ history. In the Turkish dominion, Rotatzi had mosque and minarets that were went up by the Christian population. “Rhytion is city of Crete. The citizen is called Rhytieus, and of Rhytiassos is Rhytiasseus, like Alikarnasseus.” Stef. Byzantios.
Saoros. Probably Eleftherna.
Satra. “Satra is city of Crete, the renamed Eleftherna. The citizen is called Satraios.” Stef. Byzantios. Near Prinies Mylopotamou. See Eleftherna.
Sikinos. Unknown location.
Sipilen. Between Eleftherna and Cydonia.
Sisaia. At Sises Mylopotamou. It is cited in Barozzi and Kastrophylakas. In 1965, in constructive works at Sises village, there was found cylindrical stele that was used as altar or boundary in the area. On the cylindrical surface there is inscribed with letters of the 2nd or 1st century BC, the word SISAION (of the Sisaians). That stele, coins from tombs, and the ruins that were found in the area testify that there was ancient city of the name Sisa or Sisai and the citizens were called Sisaioi, although it is not cited in ancient sources. The name is Minoan and it was preserved in the Sises village.
Sosandra. “Sosandra is island near Crete. It was called like that because when the Lyttians attacked the city in the night saved those who were in the city. The islander is called Sosandrios.” Stef. Byzantios.
Soulia. Agia Galini Agiou Basileiou. City of Crete of the Roman period. At Agia Galini or Agios Galinis location, Agios Basileios province, Rhethymnon prefecture. Soulia was the port of Sybritos. There are the sources of Platys (Helectras the ancient name) River. At the outfalls of the river, there was the Temple of Artemis. Pillars and temple relics were found on the beach, on the right bank of the river. That temple was the Temple of Artemis.
Stalai. Between Makrygialos and Goudoura, in southern coast of Siteia province. It was port of Praisos in the southern coast of Crete. The citizens of the city were called Stalites and had high income by purple fishing and the taxes of the ports. It had the island Leuke (Koufonisi) under its rule. The Stalites were forced by Praisos to transfer by their ships the representatives of the city abroad.
Stelai. City of ancient Crete. It is assumed that it was located where the Venetian castle Belvedere was built at Monofatsi, near Kastelianna village. The citizens were called Stelaioi or Stelites.
Sybrita. Thronos Amariou.
Sybritos. Thronos Amariou. Sybrita or Sybrita or Sibyrtos or Soubritos or Soubrita or Sybritos. City of Crete, in the south of Eleftherna. It was in the central road that linked the northern coast with Mesara plain and the southern coast. The city was established in the late Minoan times and flourished in the late Classical until the Roman times. It was one of the first Cretan cities that minted coins with the image of Dionysos who holds kantharos and tharsos, emblem of the god. On the other side, there is Hermes and the word SIBRITION. Some other coins had Zeus with garland, goat with grape, trident and dolphin or Apollo. Svoronos cites 15 types.
The ruins of Sybrita are detected at Thronos village, where there were found relics of Acropolis, ruins of houses with mosaics, vessels, idols, and metallic vessels. The cemetery was in south by west of the village. It was on the hill, in different levels. From there, you could see the whole Amari and Beni plains. Soulia was the port of the city. Symbritos participated in the decrees with Eumenes B’, with Teo of Ionia. Skylax calls it “Eleftherna in the North”. Sybritos existed until the 2nd Byzantine period and the early Venetian period. It seems that the Arabs destroyed it. It was Bishopric.
“Sibyrtos is city of Crete. The national adjective is Sibyrtios, as Polybius says.” Stef. Byzantios.
Syia or Syba. Sougia Selinou. Ancient seaside town in the southern coast of western Crete. It was port of Elyros. Today it is called Sougia. Strabo calls the town Syba. The name derives probably from the word “sys”, i.e. hog. Therefore, Syia is the “hog-city”. There might have been forests of oaks and hollies, which is the basic food of pigs. The broad streambed of Lakkos Zografos splits the ruins in two. The bigger part of the city was in the eastern bank of the stream. In the western bank of the stream, there was the port. The port was capacious and safe. Today, due to the upraising of Western Crete, there is no port at Sougia.
Syia flourished in the Roman and the 1st Byzantine period. There are Roman ruins and three large Palaiochristian Basilicas. It seems that the Saracens destroyed the city. Pashley detected in the north by west of Elyros, ruins of the Roman water supply and thermae. In Syia, there are also relics of ancient buildings, walls, hollowed tombs, foundations of Roman houses. Pashley also observed inscribed crosses on marbles. Syia had set up monetary union with Yrtakina, Elyros, Lissos, and Tarra. The city also participated in the Republic of the Oreians. “Syia is small city of Crete. It is port of Elyros. The citizen is called Syiates and Syieus.” Stef. Byzantios.
Syrinthos. Makrys Gialos Siteias. “Syrinthos is city of Crete. The national adjective is Syrinthios, like Olynthios; the feminine is Syrinthia.” Stef. Byzantios.
Tanos.Near Cydonia. City of ancient Crete from the 6th century BC to the 6th century AD. The location of the city is unknown. There are assumptions that the city might have been near Cydonia, based on the similarities between the coins of the two cities. The coins have the head of Dionysos with garland and tripod, thunder or small ball and the letters TAN or T/A/N. Some other coins have Hermes and the letters TAN/I/T.
Based on the coins, we assume that the national adjective was Tanitai and not Tanioi that Stefanos Byzantios says. In addition, the coins testify the autonomy and the independence of the city. In Creta Sacra, we read Hippocoronium sive Tanus hodie Castrum Apricornum = Hippocoronion or Tanos, today Kastro Apokoronou. Therefore, Hippocoronion and Tanos might be the same city. Stefanos Byzantios says: “Tanos is city of Crete, as Artemidoros says in his fourth book of his geography. The national adjective is Tanios.”
Tarra. Agia Roumeli Sfakion. City of western Crete, near Samaria Gorge, at Agia Roumeli location. It is near the sea, on the hill, on the left bank of the stream bank. It was probably established in the Classical period and was very important religious centre. The city flourished in the Greco-Roman period. There was the cult of Apollo Tarraios. There were found parts of his temple. Tarra in frequently cited in the ancient sources.
Although it was small town, Tarra had its own coins. The coins have the head of Cretan wild goat, arrow, and bee. Tarra had monetary union with Elyros, Yrtakina and Lisos. The coins belong to the 3rd and 2nd century BC, when Tarra became member of the Republic of Cretans. The city had established colony of the same name at Caucasus. It is also believed that Tarras of South Italy was another colony of the city.
In 1415, Buondelmonti detected in the ruins of the Temple of Apollo, an inscription in Greek that was saying: “Peel your shoes, cover your head and come in.” Similar inscription was found at the Temple of Matala. The custom of entering the temple without shoes is ancient. Apollo, after the murder of Python, went to Tarra, where there were done purgatorial rituals by priest Karmanoras. According to Pausanias, Apollo “in the house of Karmanor, Apollo made love with nymph Akakallidi”. The nymph gave birth to twins, Phylakides, and Philanders. A goat fed them. Therefore, the Elyrians presented to Delphi bronze goat feeding to infants. In Tarra, there were glassworks workshops.
Loukillos was from Tarra. He commented on the Argonautics by Apollonios of Rhodes. Chrysothemis, a lyre player, son of Karmanor, who won at the Pythian festival, was from Tarra as well. Tarra is one of the city that signed decree with Eumenes B’ in 170 BC. Pashley was the first who detected the location of the city. In the area, there was found stone stele with inscribed double axe. It is exhibited at The Archaeological Museum of Chania.
“Tarra is city of Lydia. There is another in Crete, where Apollo Tarraios is worshipped. Loucios, who wrote three books on proverbs, was from Tarra. The feminine of the resident is called Tarraia.” Stef. Byzantios.
Tegea. Near Polyrrenia. The city flourished in the Greco-Roman period. In the alphabetical catalogue of the one hundred cities of Crete of the Code of the Markian Library, Tegea is included. Cornelius, in the alphabetical catalogue of the one hundred cities of Crete, says: “Myrina or Tegea established by Talthybios in land called Kalous Limenes.” If the information is right, Tegea was at Kalous Limenes. Stefanos Byzantios gives us the following information: “There is Tegea in Crete as well. Talthybius built it. The citizen is called Tegeates, like Eleates and the feminine is Tegeatis. The poetess Anyte Tegeatis was from Tegea. The city is also called Tegeas, like Ilias…”.
Thebe. Siva Pyrgiotissis.
Thenai or Thenes. City of Crete near Knossos. The exact location of the city is doubtful. There are assumptions that it might be near Kanli Kasteli village or Sambe Pediados village. The city is cited by Callimachus and by Stefanos Byzantios. The autonomy of the city is doubtful, since we do not know whether it had its own coins.(Svoronos)
“Thenes is city of Crete, but some others believe that it is in Arcadia, and some other that it is mountain. The national adjective is Thenaios and Thenaia and Theneis” Stef. Byzantios.
According to previous description of the location where Thenes was located, the location might be the excavations of Galata, south to Samba, mountainous and near Arkades, the dominion of which was up to this area.
Therapnai. Between Eleftherna and Cydonia. Pliny says that it is one of the most important cities of Crete. It seems that it became important after the Doric installation in the island. We do not know the exact location of the city. It might be near Eleftherna. In the early medieval period the city was ruined or abandoned.
Tripodos. Diodorus the Sicilian says: “Because it is said that Plouton was born at Tripodos of Crete, by Demeter and Jason.” Hesiod, in Theogony, says that Demeter made love with Jason in field, cultivated for three times at Tripodos of Crete. Today, the name is preserved at Tripodo village, at Margarites Mylopotamou. The excavations unearthed very important elements.
Trita. Another name of Knossos.
Tylis(s)os. Tylisos Malevyziou. City of Crete that still preserves its name for more than 4000 years. Ancient Tylissos was built on the lower mountains of Ide (Philoritis). The area was very fertile and was the western part of the plain of northern central Crete. The city might have access to sea as well since the coast is only eight kilometres away. In the Minoan period, Gazi was the port of Tylisos. The earlier signs of inhabitation in Tylisos belong to the 3rd millennium BC. There are relics of protominoan houses. However, the first organised settlement seems to have been created in the 2nd millennium BC. The city flourished for 1000 years.
Xatzidakis excavated the area (1909-1913), and there were found three big structures, part of the city. The structures have all those characteristics of the Minoan palatial architecture. There were also found a bronze talanto, warehouses with three huge boilers, bath, or sink, objects of daily use, bronze idols, and frescos. There were also found coins with the image of Hera with flowery garland, and Apollo with the word TYLISION (of the Tylisians). Some other coins have the image of hunter who holds head of wild goat and bow. Earthen tubes of the water supply were watering the city from Agios Mamas spring.
The bronze idol from Tylissos is the bigger one of this type. A terracotta idol and jar have inscribed inscription of Linear A. On the idol we read the word “Naua”. According to Hesychius “nauein” means “to implore”. That means that the idol represents a suppliant. The name of Tylisos was read for the first time in inscription of Linear B from Knossos. We read “tu-ri-so”. The inscriptions testify economical intercourse between the two cities. There are few geometric artefacts from Tylisos. In the historic times, Tylisos was independent and autonomous, and ally of Knossos.
Yrsos (Yrtaioi). City or settlement was bound to Gortys. On the disc of Phaistos, the Orphics wrote in the alphabet of the Codes of Gortys the following text: “…When Solon, self-exiled, came to the city that suffered by continuous earthquakes, he swore, after he was initiated to the Orphics of the Phaistians, and to the gods of the local Stiaioi, he sacrificed hogs, like they do in Yrsos. And he swore that he would remain of the same mind for ever.” Based on that inscription, we may assume that Yrsos was city and the national adjective was Yrtaiaoi.
Yrtakos (or Yrtakinos or Yrtakina). Temenia Selinou. City of western Crete, known as Artakina and Yrtakina as well. The city was located near the village Papadiana. On Kastri hill, there are ruins of the city. Tthethox believes that Yrtakos was the capital city of the Achaians, and was destroyed by the Dorians. The area of the city was at Vlithia valley to the sea. There were two cyclopic walls, parts of which can be seen even today. It was city-castle, where the soldiers were living with their family.
The city was autonomy and had its own coins. The coins have the image of Cretan wild goat and bee with the name of Tarra. Some others had dolphin and eight-ray star. Elyros, Lisos, Tarra, and Yrtakina had established monetary union, when they joined the Republic of Cretans, in the 3rd century BC. It was also one of the Cretan cities that allied with Eumenes B’. At the acropolis, there was found headless marble statue of Pan. He has legs and feet of goat, and he wears mantle. The statue belongs to the roman period. In 1939, Theophanidis excavated the Temple of Pan.
Zakros. At Kato Zakros, Spratt, an English sailor, found in 1832, ruins of ancient city. In the end of the same century, the Italian archaeologists Halbherr and Mariani excavated the area and found many vessels with much beautiful decoration. Some of them belong to the best Mycenean period of Knossos. In this area, from Kato Zakros to Apano Zakros, big Minoan city existed even until the Roman period. There are ruins of Roman houses at Kali Strata. Mariani found Thermae with underground heating. The prehistoric city of Zakros was the biggest city of the Eteocretans after Praisos. In the surrounding area there have been found many tombs of the same period (at Traostalo hill, at the Gorge of Dead, where the cemetery was located). The name of Zakros is Minoan. It derives from Zakarou, Minoan nation that is cited in Egyptian texts.
This Cretan city is not cited by famous ancient writers. Another version is that the name of the city comes from the word Zakoros = the one who takes care of the Temple of Diktaian Zeus at Palaiokastro. Apart from this temple, there was the famous temple of the Great Mother at Sidero Cape, as it is cited in the first Eteocretan inscription of Praisos. In this way, we have Zakoros> Zak(o)ros> Zakros.
In 1901, the English archaeologist Hogarth excavated the slope of the hill, that is north by east, and unearthed part of the ancient settlement. He found great artefacts of the Mycenean period, terracotta jars, bronze tools, weapons, double axes, puncheons, knives, five hundred signets, and some signs of trading activity. Many of them have demonic images, which are the pre-Linear A writing. It is assumed that those texts are about trading of poisonous medicines extracted by marine or herbal organisms. Remarkable is the seal called “elafokefalos”(deer-head man), which is about trading of strychnine. The image of the seal represents the plant strychnon, with its roots, leaves and fruits. There are also found two hollows full of camaraic and Mycenaean vessels, and in cave tombs, protominoan vessels and lamps. The 2nd World War destroyed everything.
The excavations restarted when there was found a sword and a pillar base where the palace is located. In 1952, N.Platon excavated the slope of Agios Antonios hill. He observed limestone bricks in the orchards, at the western part of Kato Zakros plain. Those bricks testified the existence of building.In 1961, the fourth Minoan palace was unearthed. The careful structure of the building, the warehouses, the pottery, the large quantities of materials, and ivory and bronze in talanta, confirmed the fact that this was palace. The palace is more than 8000 square metres and in the middle, there is the central court. The palace of Zakros, although it is similar to the other palaces, has some architectonic peculiarities. The building is made of limestone that was imported in Zakros, since there is no limestone in the area. On those limestone bricks, there are some tectonic signs inscribed, such as double axe, trident Ø, star, and obelus. The facades of the rooms were built with those bricks. The palace had only two floors and was destroyed at one and utterly. It was not reconstructed. Based on pumice stone that was found in the palace, we may presume that the palace was destroyed by the earthquake that Thera volcano upheaval caused in 1450 BC. That sudden destruction and the fire that caused trapped everything under the ruins of the palace.
The artefacts from the area are very valuable. They are exhibited at the Archaeological Museums of Siteia, Agios Nikolaos, and Herakleion. Among those objects are thirteen terracotta tables of Linear A. Also, the Rhyta (jars) that were found in the palace are very important. The one of them is made of stone and has relief representation of temple on mountaintop. The other has the form of bullhead and is made of chlorites. There are only three other rhyta of this form, one from Knossos, one from Mycenae and one from Egypt.
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