An important Classical and Roman city ca. 25 km SE of Herakleion. Although said by Polybios to be the most ancient (Dorian) town of Crete, the earliest material from the site is of the archaic period. The city rose to prominence in the 4th c. and was occupied by Knossos in 343 B.C. When Lyttos resisted the Knossian conquest of the rest of the island in 221-219 B.C. it was captured and razed. Subsequently rebuilt, the city was again overwhelmed when it resisted the Roman occupation. The city is situated on a hill with three small peaks, the largest of which seems to have formed the acropolis. At the foot of this acropolis hill the theater probably stood, built into the slope of the hill. Fragmentary remains of houses have been noted on the S slopes of the remaining two hills, and on the peak of the W hill are traces of a substantial structure which might have been a temple. Traces of the aqueduct which brought its water supply from Kournia can still be found. The port for Lyttos was Chersonisos. Two marble statues from the site (of Marcus Aurelius and Trajan) are in the Herakleion museum.
K. Branigan, 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.
(Luktos) or Lyttus (Luttos). An important town in the east of Crete, situated on a height, eighty stadia from the coast. It is said to have been a Spartan colony.
The ancient city of Lyttos is located near Xidas, a short distance
from Kastelli, Pediada. The site is recognized by the two churches on the top
of the hill to the right of the road.
Luktos, Luttos: Eth. Luktios, Luttios. One of the most considerable cities in Crete, which appears in the Homeric catalogue. (Il. ii. 647, xvii. 611.) According to the Hesiodic Theogony (Theog. 477), Rhea gave birth to Zeus in a cave of Mt. Aegaeon, near Lyctus. The inhabitants of this ancient Doric city called themselves colonists of Sparta (Arist. Pol. ii. 7), and the worship of Apollo appears to have prevailed there. (Callim. Hymn. Apoll. 33; comp. Muller, Dorians, vol. i. pp. 141, 227, trans.) In B.C. 344, Phalaecus the Phocian assisted the Cnossians against their neighbours the Lyctians, and took the city of Lyctus, from which he was driven out by Archidamus, king of Sparta. (Diod. xvi. 62.) The Lyctians, at a still later period, were engaged in frequent hostilities with Cnossus, and succeeded in creating a formidable party in the island against that city. The Cnossians, taking advantage of their absence on a distant expedition, surprised Lyctus, and utterly destroyed it. The citizens, on their return, abandoned it, and found refuge at Lampa. Polybius (iv. 53, 54), on this occasion, bears testimony to the high character of the Lyctians, as compared with their countrymen. They afterwards recovered their city by the aid of the Gortynians, who gave them a place called Diatonium, which they had taken from the Cnossians. (Polyb. xxiii. 15, xxiv. 53.) Lyctus was sacked by Metellus at the Roman conquest (Liv. Epit. xcix.; Flor. iii. 7), but was existing in the time of Strabo (x. p. 479) at a distance of 80 stadia from the Libyan sea. (Strab. p. 476; comp. Steph. B. s. v.; Scyl. p. 18; Plin. iv. 12; Hesych. s. v. Karnessopolis; Hierocl.) The site still bears the name of Lytto, where ancient remains are now found. (Pashley, Trav. vol. i. p. 269.) In the 16th century, the Venetian MS. (Mus. Class. Ant. vol. ii. p. 274) describes the walls of the ancient city, with circular bastions, and other fortifications, as existing upon a lofty mountain, nearly in the centre of the island. Numerous vestiges of ancient structures, tombs, and broken marbles, are seen, as well as an immense arch of an aqueduct, by which the water was carried across a deep valley by means of a large marble channel. The town of Arsinoe and the harbour of Chersonesus are assigned to Lyctus. The type on its coins is usually an eagle flying, with the epigraph LUTTION.
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
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