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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  Phoinix. City on the S coast of W Crete, near Loutro, Sphakia district, 9.6 km E of Tarrha and 4.8 km W of Chora Sphakion; it was the port of inland Anopolis and also of later Aradena. The name is probably connected, not with the Phoenicians, but with the palm trees common on this coast. On Paul's voyage to Rome (A.D. 60) the majority wished to winter at Phoinix. Ptolemy lists a city called Phoinix on this coast, and a harbor called Phoinikous (3.15.3: probably the city near Loutro and Phoinika Bay to the W); the Stadiasmus (328-29) says Phoinix has a harbor and an island (the offshore rock Loutronisi?); Steph. Byz. lists a Cretan city called Phoinikous. Hierokles (651.1) mentions Phoinike with Aradena, and the two sites are linked in one see in the early 9th c. Notitiae (8.230; 9.139). The site may have been unoccupied from the Arab conquest until the Venetian period. A dedication to Iuppiter Sol Optimus Maximus Sarapis, of the Trajanic period, was found here. Cape Plaka, to the W, is probably Ptolemy's Cape Hermes (3.15.3), where a sanctuary of Hermes is likely.
   Loutro was identified as Phoinix in the 15th c. The site is on a narrow enclosed bay on the E side of Cape Mouri, the best all-season harbor on the S coast of Crete. The city's prosperity must have depended almost entirely on maritime trade; its disadvantages were the small size of the harbor, the lack of good spring water, and the difficulty of inland communications. There were many remains in the 15th c., but those now visible are on the peninsula between Loutro and Phoinika Bay W of the promontory, and mainly on the plateau W of the Turkish fort: a vaulted cistern, tombs, terrace walls, and house foundations of the Roman and First Byzantine periods. Coarse Minoan sherds found S of the fort attest a prehistoric settlement. The coast seems to have risen some 4 m since antiquity.
   A second city named Phoinix probably existed on the same coast some distance to the E, at Phoinikias near Sellia, in the Agios Vasileios district. This would have been the Phoinix in the territory of Lappa attested by Strabo (10.475).

D. J. Blackman, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Sep 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

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