Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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10.4.11

After Cnossus, the city Gortyna seems to have held the second place in rank and power. For when these cities acted in concert they held in subjection all the rest of the inhabitants, and when they were at variance there was discord throughout the island; and whichever party Cydonia espoused, to them she was a most important accession.

The city of the Gortynians lies in a plain, and was perhaps anciently protected by a wall, as Homer also intimates,

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and Gortyna, a walled city; [Note]
Il. ii. 646.
it lost afterwards its walls, which were destroyed from their foundation, and it has remained ever since without walls; for Ptolemy Philopator, who began to build a wall, proceeded with it to the distance only of about 8 stadia. Formerly the building occupied a considerable compass, extending nearly 50 stadia It is distant from the African sea, and from Leben its mart, 90 stadia. It has also another arsenal, Matalum. [Note] It is distant from that 130 stadia. The river Lethæus [Note] flows through the whole of the city. 10.4.12

Leucocomas and Euxynthetus his erastes (or lover), whom Theophrastus mentions in his discourse on Love, were natives of Leben. [Note] One of the tasks enjoined Euxynthetus by Leucocomas was this, according to Theophrastus, to bring him his dog from Prasus. [Note] The Prasii border upon the Lebenii at the distance of 60 stadia from the sea, and from Gortyn 180. We have said that Prasus was subject to the Eteocretans, and that the temple of the Dictæan Jupiter was there. For Dicte [Note] is near; not, as Aratus [Note] alleges, near Ida; since Dicte is distant 1000 stadia from Mount Ida, and situated at that distance from it towards the rising sun; and 100 stadia from the promontory Samonium. Prasus was situated between the promontory Samonium, and the Cherrhonesus, at the distance of 60 stadia from the sea. It was razed by the Hierapytnii. He says, too, that Callimachus [Note] is not right in asserting that Britomartis, in her escape from the violence offered by Minos,leaped from Dicte among the nets of the fishermen (δίκτυα), and that hence she had the name of Dictynna from the Cydoniatæ, and the mountain that of

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Dicte. For Cydonia is not at all situated in the neighbour hood of these places, but lies at the western extremity of the island. The mountain Tityrus [Note] belongs to the Cydonian territory; upon it is situated a temple, not called Dictæan, but Dictynnsean. 10.4.13

Cydonia is situated on the sea, fronting Laconia, at an equal distance from both Cnossus and Gortyn, about 800 stadia, and from Aptera 80, and from the sea in this quarter 40 stadia. Cisamus [Note] is the naval arsenal of Aptera. [Note] The Polyrrhenii border upon the Cydoniatæ towards the west; in their territory is the temple of Dictynna. They are at the distance of about 30 stadia from the sea, and 60 from Phalasarna. Formerly they lived in villages; then Achæans and Laconians settled there together, and fortified with a wall a strong site fronting the south. 10.4.14

Of the three cities founded by Minos, the last, which was Phæstus, [Note] was razed by the Gortynians; it was at the distance of 60 stadia from Gortyn, 20 from the sea, and from Matalum, the arsenal, 40 stadia. They who razed the city possess the territory. Rhytium also together with Phæstus belongs to the Gortynians, both Phæstus and Rhytium. [Note]
Il. ii. 648.
Epimenides, who performed lustrations by the means of his poetry, is said to have been a native of Phæstus. Olyssa (Lisses?) also belonged to the territory of Phæstus.

Cherrhonesus, [Note] as it is called, is the arsenal of Lyttus or (Lyctus), which we have before mentioned; on the former is the temple of Britomartis.

Miletus and Lycastus, the cities which were enumerated together with Lyctus, no longer exist; but the territory, after they had razed the city (Lyctus), was partitioned among Lyctians and Cnossians. 10.4.15

As the poet in one place speaks of Crete as having a hundred, and in another ninety, cities, Ephorus says, that ten were founded in later times after the Trojan war by the Dori-

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ans, who accompanied Alhæmenes the Argive, and that hence Ulysses speaks of its ninety cities. This account is probable. But others say, that the ten were razed by the enemies of Idomeneus; but the poet does not say that Crete had a hundred cities at the time of the Trojan war, but in his own age, for he speaks in his own person; but if the words had been those of some person then living, as those in the Odyssey, where Ulysses says, Crete had ninety cities, they might have been properly understood in this manner. But even if we admit this, the subsequent verses will not be exempt from objection. For neither at the time of the expedition, nor after the return of Idomeneus, is it probable that these cities were destroyed by his enemies, for the poet says, but Idomeneus brought back all his companions who had survived the war to Crete; the sea had not deprived him of any of them; [Note] for he would have mentioned such a misfortune. Ulysses indeed might not have been acquainted with the destruction of these cities, for he had not had any intercourse with any of the Greeks either during or after his wanderings; but (Nestor), who had been the companion of Idomeneus in the expedition and in his escape from shipwreck, could not be ignorant of what had happened at home during the expedition and before his return. But he must certainly have been aware of what occurred after his return. For if he and all his companions escaped, he returned so powerful that their enemies were not in a position to deprive them of ten cities.

Such then is the general description of the country of Crete.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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