Ancient literary sources HERAKLIO (Prefecture) CRETE - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

Location information

Listed 15 sub titles with search on: Ancient literary sources  for wider area of: "HERAKLIO Prefecture CRETE" .


Ancient literary sources (15)

Diodorus Siculus

LYKTOS (Ancient city) KASTELI
(...)Then they gathered at the Malean promontory in Laconia and there found Cnossian envoys who had sailed in from Crete to enlist mercenaries. After these envoys had conversed with Phalaecus and the commanders and had offered rather high pay, they all sailed off with them. Having made port at Cnossus in Crete, they immediately took by storm the city called Lyctus. But to the Lyctians, who had been expelled from their native land, there appeared a miraculous and sudden reinforcement. For at about the same time the people of Tarentum were engaged in prosecuting a war against the Lucanians and had sent to the Lacedaemonians, who were the stock of their ancestors, envoys soliciting help, whereupon the Spartans, who were willing to join them because of their relationship, quickly assembled an army and navy and as general in command of it appointed King Archidamus. But as they were about to set sail for Italy, a request came from the Lyctians to help them first. Consenting to this, the Lacedaemonians sailed to Crete, defeated the mercenaries and restored to the Lyctians their native land.

This extract is from: Diodorus Siculus, Library (ed. C. H. Oldfather, 1989). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Links

GORTYS (Ancient city) HERAKLIO
...Our ancestors, when about to build a town or an army post, sacrificed some of the cattle that were wont to feed on the site proposed and examined their livers. If the livers of the first victims were dark-coloured or abnormal, they sacrificed others, to see whether the fault was due to disease or their food. They never began to build defensive works in a place until after they had made many such trials and satisfied themselves that good water and food had made the liver sound and firm. If they continued to find it abnormal, they argued from this that the food and water supply found in such a place would be just as unhealthy for man, and so they moved away and changed to another neighbourhood, healthfulness being their chief object.
  That pasturage and food may indicate the healthful qualities of a site is a fact which can be observed and investigated in the case of certain pastures in Crete, on each side of the river Pothereus, which separates the two Cretan states of Gnosus and Gortyna. There are cattle at pasture on the right and left banks of that river, but while the cattle that feed near Gnosus have the usual spleen, those on the other side near Gortyna have no perceptible spleen. On investigating the subject, physicians discovered on this side a kind of herb which the cattle chew and thus make their spleen small. The herb is therefore gathered and used as a medicine for the cure of splenetic people. The Cretans call it asplenon. From food and water, then, we may learn whether sites are naturally unhealthy or healthy.

Pausanias

LEVIN (Ancient city) GORTYNA
From the one (sanctuary of Asclepius) at Cyrene was founded the sanctuary of Asclepius at Lebene, in Crete.

Perseus Encyclopedia

Chersonesos, Cherronesus

CHERRONISSOS (Ancient city) CHERSONISSOS
In Crete (Paus. 6,16,5), the seaport of Lyctus (Paus. 10.4.14).

Gortyna

GORTYS (Ancient city) HERAKLIO
City of Crete, Gortynians helped by Philopoemen.

Polybius

RAFKOS (Ancient city) MALEVIZIO
At his time ( B. C. 165) the Cnosians, in alliance with the Gortynians, made war upon the Rhaucians, and swore a mutual oath that they would not end the war until they had taken Rhaucus.

Strabo

Amnisus

AMNISSOS (Ancient city) HERAKLIO
But Minos is said to have used as seaport Amnisus, where is the temple of Eileithuia (Strab. 10,4,8).

Cherronesus

CHERRONISSOS (Ancient city) CHERSONISSOS
Of Lyctus, which I have mentioned before, the seaport is Cherronesus, as it is called, where is the temple of Britomartis.

Phaestus

FESTOS (Minoan settlement) HERAKLIO
  Of the three cities that were united under one metropolis by Minos, the third, which was Phaestus, was razed to the ground by the Gortynians; it is sixty stadia distant from Gortyn, twenty from the sea, and forty from the seaport Matalum; and the country is held by those who razed it. Rhytium, also, together with Phaestus, belongs to the Gortynians: "and Phaestus and Rhytium" (Hom. Il. 2.648).
  Epimenides, who performed the purifications by means of his verses, is said to have been from Phaestus.
  And Lissen also is in the Phaestian territory.

Gortyna

GORTYS (Ancient city) HERAKLIO
  After Cnossus, the city of the Gortynians seems to have ranked second in power; for when these two cooperated they held in subjection all the rest of the inhabitants, and when they had a quarrel there was dissension throughout the island. But Cydonia was the greatest addition to whichever side it attached itself. The city of the Gortynians also lies in a plain; and in ancient times, perhaps, it was walled, as Homer states, "and well-walled Gortyn", but later it lost its walls from their very foundations, and has remained unwalled ever since; for although Ptolemy Philopator began to build a wall, he proceeded with it only about eighty stadia ("Eighty" seems to be an error for "eight") ; at any rate, it is worth mentioning that the settlement once filled out a circuit of about fifty stadia. It is ninety stadia distant from the Libyan Sea at Leben, which is its trading center; it also has another seaport, Matalum, from which it is a hundred and thirty stadia distant. The Lethaeus River flows through the whole of its territory.

This extract is from: The Geography of Strabo (ed. H. L. Jones, 1924), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


HERAKLION (Ancient city) CRETE
And Cnossus has Heracleium as its seaport.(10,4,7). Thera is a long island, being two hundred stadia in perimeter; it lies opposite Dia, an island near the Cnossian Heracleium, but it is seven hundred stadia distant from Crete (10,5,1)

Cnossus

KNOSSOS (Minoan settlement) CRETE
  There are several cities in Crete, but the greatest and most famous are three: Cnossus, Gortyna and Cydonia. The praises of Cnossus are hymned above the rest both by Homer, who calls it "great" and "the kingdom of Minos," and by the later poets. Furthermore, it continued for a long time to win the first honors; then it was humbled and deprived of many of its prerogatives, and its superior rank passed over to Gortyna and Lyctus; but later it again recovered its olden dignity as the metropolis. Cnossus is situated in a plain, its original circuit being thirty stadia, between the Lyctian and Gortynian territories, being two hundred stadia distant from Gortyna, and a hundred and twenty from Lyttus, which the poet named Lyctus. Cnossus is twenty-five stadia from the northern sea, Gortyna is ninety from the Libyan Sea, and Lyctus itself is eighty from the Libyan. And Cnossus has Heracleium as its seaport.
  But Minos is said to have used as seaport Amnisus, where is the temple of Eileithuia. In earlier times Cnossus was called Caeratus, bearing the same name as the river which flows past it. According to history, Minos was an excellent law-giver, and also the first to gain the mastery of the sea; and he divided the island into three parts and founded a city in each part, Cnossus in the . . .(Comm. 1) And it (Cydonia), too, lies to the north. As Ephorus states, Minos was an emulator of a certain Rhadamanthys of early times, a man most just and bearing the same name as Minos's brother, who is reputed to have been the first to civilize the island by establishing laws and by uniting cities under one city as metropolis and by setting up constitutions, alleging that he brought from Zeus the several decrees which he promulgated. So, in imitation of Rhadamanthys, Minos would go up every nine years, as it appears, to the cave of Zeus, tarry there, and come back with commandments drawn up in writing, which he alleged were ordinances of Zeus; and it was for this reason that the poet says, "there Minos reigned as king, who held converse with great Zeus every ninth year (Hom.Od. 19.178) (Comm. 2)
  Such is the statement of Ephorus; but again the early writers have given a different account of Minos, which is contrary to that of Ephorus, saying that he was tyrannical, harsh, and an exactor of tribute, representing in tragedy the story of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, and the adventures of Theseus and Daedalus.
  Now, as for these two accounts, it is hard to say which is true; and there is another subject that is not agreed upon by all, some saying that Minos was a foreigner, but others that he was a native of the island. The poet, however, seems rather to advocate the second view when he says, " Zeus first begot Minos, guardian o'er Crete (Hom.Il 13.450).
  In regard to Crete, writers agree that in ancient times it had good laws, and rendered the best of the Greeks its emulators, and in particular the Lacedaemonians, as is shown, for instance, by Plato and also by Ephorus, who in his Europe has described its constitution. But later it changed very much for the worse; for after the Tyrrhenians, who more than any other people ravaged Our Sea, the Cretans succeeded to the business of piracy; their piracy was later destroyed by the Cilicians; but all piracy was broken up by the Romans, who reduced Crete by war and also the piratical strongholds of the Cilicians. And at the present time Cnossus has even a colony of Romans.
  So much for Cnossus, a city to which I myself am not alien, although, on account of man's fortune and of the changes and issues therein, the bonds which at first connected me with the city have disappeared: Dorylaus was a military expert and one of the friends of Mithridates Euergetes. He, because of his experience in military affairs, was appointed to enlist mercenaries, and often visited not only Greece and Thrace, but also the mercenaries of Crete, that is, before the Romans were yet in possession of the island and while the number of mercenary soldiers in the island, from whom the piratical bands were also wont to be recruited, was large. Now when Dorylaus was sojourning there war happened to break out between the Cnossians and the Gortynians, and he was appointed general, finished the war successfully, and speedily won the greatest honors. But when, a little later, he learned that Euergetes, as the result of a plot, had been treacherously slain in Sinope by his closest associates, and heard that the succession had passed to his wife and young children, he despaired of the situation there and stayed on at Cnossus. There, by a Macetan woman, Sterope by name, he begot two sons, Lagetas and Stratarchas (the latter of whom l myself saw when he was an extremely old man), and also one daughter. Now Euergetes had two sons, one of whom, Mithridates, surnamed Eupator, succeeded to the rule when he was eleven years old. Dorylaus, the son of Philetaerus, was his foster brother; and Philotaerus was a brother of Dorylaus the military expert. And when the king Mithridates reached manhood, he was so infatuated with the companionship of his foster brother Dorylaus that he not only conferred upon him the greatest honors, but also cared for his kinsmen and summoned those who lived at Cnossus. These were the household of Lagetas and his brother, their father having already died, and they themselves having reached manhood; and they quit Cnossus and went home. My mother's mother was the sister of Lagetas. Now when Lagetas prospered, these others shared in his prosperity, but when he was ruined (for he was caught in the act of trying to cause the kingdom to revolt to the Romans, on the understanding that he was to be established at the head of the government), their fortunes were also ruined at the same time, and they were reduced to humility; and the bonds which connected them with the Cnossians, who themselves had undergone countless changes, fell into neglect. But enough for my account of Cnossus.
Commentary
1. The thought, if not the actual Greek words, of the passage here omitted from the Greek MSS. can be supplied from Diod. Sic. 5.78, who, like Strabo, depends much upon Ephorus for historical material: "(Cnossus in the) part of the island which inclines towards Asia, Phaestus on the sea, turned towards the south, and Cydonia in the region which lies towards the west, opposite the Peloponnesus".
2. Five different interpretations of this passage have been set forth, dependent on the meaning and syntax of enneoros: that Minos (1) reigned as king for nine years, (2) was nine years old when he became king, (3) for nine years held converse with Zeus, (4) every nine years held converse with Zeus, and (5) reigned as king when he had come to mature age. (Paus. 3.2.4 adopts the first. Heracleides of Pontus On the Cretan Constitutions seems to have adopted the third, saying that Minos spent nine years formulating his laws. But Plat. Minos 319c and Plat. Laws 624d says that Minos visited the cave of his father "every ninth year"; and Strabo (as 16. 2. 38 shows) expressly follows Plato. Hence the above rendering of the Homeric passage. Apart from the above interpretations, Eustathius (note on Odyssey 10.19, on a different passage) suggests that enneoros might pertain to "nine seasons, that is, two years and one month" (the "one month," however, instead of "one season," seems incongruous). This suggests that the present passage might mean that Minos held converse with Zeus during a period of one season every other year.

LEVIN (Ancient city) GORTYNA
  It is ninety stadia distant from the Libyan Sea at Leben, which is its trading center; it also has another seaport, Matalum, from which it is a hundred and thirty stadia distant. The Lethaeus River flows through the whole of its territory. From Leben came Leucocomas and his lover Euxynthetus, the story of whom is told by Theophrastus in his treatise On Love. Of the tasks which Leucocomas assigned to Euxynthetus, one, he says, was this--to bring back his dog from Prasus.

Lycastus

LYKASTOS (Ancient city) TEMENOS
The cities Miletus and Lycastus, which are catalogued along with Lyctus, no longer exist; and as for their territory, the Lyctians took one portion of it and the Cnossians the other, after they had razed the city to the ground.

Lyttus

LYKTOS (Ancient city) KASTELI
Furthermore, it (Cnossus) continued for a long time to win the first honors; then it was humbled and deprived of many of its prerogatives, and its superior rank passed over to Gortyna and Lyctus; but later it again recovered its olden dignity as the metropolis. Cnossus is situated in a plain, its original circuit being thirty stadia, between the Lyctian and Gortynian territories, being two hundred stadia distant from Gortyna, and a hundred and twenty from Lyttus, which the poet named Lyctus (Strab. 10,4,7).
Of Lyctus, which I have mentioned before, the seaport is Cherronesus, as it is called, where is the temple of Britomartis. But the Cities Miletus and Lycastus, which are catalogued along with Lyctus, no longer exist; and as for their territory, the Lyctians took one portion of it and the Cnossians the other, after they had razed the city to the ground (Strab. 10,4,14).

You are able to search for more information in greater and/or surrounding areas by choosing one of the titles below and clicking on "more".


GTP Headlines

Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.

Subscribe now!

Ferry Departures

Promotions