Listed 4 sub titles with search on: Information about the place
for destination: "POLYRRINIA
Information about the place (4)
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
Hill-top site 5.5 km S of Kastelli Kisamou. It was more important
than surviving sources make clear. Literary references to the site are few except
by the geographers: e.g. Skylax 47; Strabo 10.4.13. Polybios (4.53, 55, 61) provides
details of several historical incidents. Inscriptions add a little.
According to tradition (Strabo, loc. cit.), Achaean and Laconian immigrants
settled in one city the existing population, which lived in villages. This could
refer to a foundation at the end of the 2d millennium or as late as the 8th c.
Apart from possible slight traces of LM III occupation (cf. the tradition of Agamemnon's
visit on his voyage home from Troy), the earliest pottery found so far is archaic.
In the Classical period the city was a major power in W Crete, a city of tough
mountain warriors, hunters, and herdsmen. It used the ports of Kisamos and Phalasarna,
30 and 60 stades away (Strabo, correctly). Phalasama remained independent throughout,
but Kisamos probably became independent only in the 3d c. A.D. Polyrrhenia allied
itself with Phalasarna in the early 3d c. B.C. with Spartan mediation, honored
a Spartan king ca. 273, and probably supported Sparta in the Chremonidean war
(267/6-261). It supported Lyttos against Knossos and Gortyn in 220-219 and after
the destruction of Lyttos continued the struggle with Macedonian and Achaean help,
successfully detaching other W Cretan cities from alliance with Knossos (Polyb.
loc. cit.). By 201 it seems to have ceased to support Macedon, and soon showed
pro-Roman feeling, honoring Scipio Hispallus (189), clearly as a result of a visit,
and joining the alliance with Eumenes (183). It remained prosperous in the 2d
c., but lost to Kydonia its preeminence in W Crete. It therefore supported the
Roman conquest of Crete and was favorably treated: it continued to strike coins
and gained (or perhaps regained) control of the Diktynnaion. In the Imperial period
it seems to have declined in importance; Kisamos seems to have been still dependent
in the 2d c. but independent from the 3d. Polyrrhenia is not heard of after the
3d c.; the site was reoccupied probably early in the second Byzantine period (late
10th c.). Coins were struck from the 4th c. B.C. to the Roman period; the most
distinctive feature is the city symbol--the bucranium. The city's territory was
extensive in W Crete, "from the north to the south (coast)" ([Scylax]
47), though it only certainly controlled the S part of the W coast and a stretch
of the N coast.
The city lay in a naturally fortified position--on an isolated steep
hill surrounded by ravines, dominating the valley approach from Kisamos. The ancient
city covered the whole lower (SW) part of the hill, which slopes up NE to a steep
summit, the ancient acropolis (418 m), with a lower spur beyond to the N. The
visible fortifications around the hill and acropolis have clearly been much repaired
and rebuilt in the second Byzantine and Venetian periods and the wall round the
N spur and that along the S side of the acropolis (facing the city) seem to be
entirely of those periods. But the ancient wall line can be traced on the N and
NW sides of the acropolis and the NW side (with two towers) and SE side (with
a gate) of the city; the line is totally lost on the SW side. These walls probably
date from Early Hellenistic times, with repairs and additions in antiquity (e.g.
the tower W of the village). The city was provided with water through at least
two rock-cut aqueducts terminating on the W side of the modern village, with a
cave nearby containing evidence of a cult of the Nymphs. A number of cisterns
(perhaps all Byzantine or later) are visible in the acropolis or lower city; apart
from these, few remains survive within the acropolis. On the N spur remains of
a sanctuary may lie under the later chapel.
In the city area the main concentration of ancient remains lies on
a terrace near the center, by the ruined chapel of the 99 Saints. Excavations
in 1938 revealed a building of good Early Hellenistic construction (60.65 x 6.73
m), a stoa or perhaps a monumental altar bordering on the N a structure that was
possibly a temple, not yet proved but indicated by the many inscribed blocks reused
in the chapel: these include some honorific inscriptions and statue bases, and
a large number of blocks bearing a mass of personal names, clearly inscribed by
individuals (almost all Polyrrhenians) coming to the temple (3d-1st c. B.C.).
Few remains have been found of houses: only some rock-cut foundations. Sherds
from the site cover the archaic to Roman periods, and the second Byzantine period
on (especially on the acropolis).
In the valley below to the E, at Sto Yero Kolymbo, are the poorly
preserved remains of a small two-roomed building, probably a temple of the 3d
c. B.C., with a bench across the rear wall of the cella. Inscribed blocks from
a round structure reportedly found at Kappadoki probably derive from another sanctuary.
None of the temples can be identified. The main necropolis lay on the lower W
slopes of the hill at Ston Kharaka, with built tombs, and rock-cut graves and
chamber tombs beyond. Another necropolis lay between the city and Kisamos. In
both necropoleis all the tombs have been looted: none appears to have been earlier
than 4th c. B.C.
J. D. Blackman, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites,
Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from
Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Educational institutions WebPages
The ruined walls and the acropolis of ancient Polirinia lie in a naturally fortified position, 49 km west of Chania, and 7km south of Kissamos.
Polirinia, an important ancient city of western Crete, was founded with the help of the Achaeans, who succeeded the Minoans as overlords of the island. The earliest findings date from the 6th century B.C..
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Polurrhenia, (Ptol. iii. 17. § 10); Polurrhen, Poluren (Steph. B.
s. v.), corrected by Meineke into Polurrhenia; Pollurrhena (Scylax, p. 18), corrected
by Gail; Polurrhenion, (Zenob. Prov. v. 50); Polyrrhenium, (Plin. iv. 12. s. 20):
Eth. Polurrhenios (Polyb. iv. 53, 55; Strab. x. p. 479).
A town in the NW. of Crete, whose territory occupied the whole western
extremity of the island, extending from N. to S. (Scylax, p. 18.) Strabo describes
it as lying W. of Cydonia, at the distance of 30 stadia from the sea, and 60 from
Phalasarna, and as containing a temple of Dictynna. He adds that the Polyrrhenians
formerly dwelt in villages, and that they were collected into one place by the
Achaeans and Lacedaemonians, who built a strong city looking towards the south.
(Strab. x. p. 479.) In the civil wars in Crete in the time of the Achaean League,
B . C. 219, the Polyrrhenians, who had been subject allies of Cnossus, deserted
the latter, and assisted the Lyctians against that city. They also sent auxiliary
troops to the assistance of the Achaeans, because the Gnossians had supported
the Aetolians. (Polyb. iv. 53, 55.) The ruins of Polyrrhenia, called Palaeokastro,
near Kisamo-Kasteli, exhibit the remains of the ancient walls, from 10 to 18 feet
high. (Pashley, Crete, vol. ii. p. 46, seq.)
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)