Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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10.4.2

At present we are to speak first of Crete.

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According to Eudoxus, it is situated in the ægæan sea, but he ought not to have described its situation in that manner, but have said, that it lies between Cyrenaica and the part of Greece comprehended between Sunium and Laconia, [Note] extending in length in the direction from west to east, and parallel to these countries; [Note] that it is washed on the north by the ægæan and Cretan seas, and on the south by the African, which joins the Egyptian sea.

The western extremity of the island is near Phalasarna; [Note] its breadth is about 200 stadia, and divided into two promontories; of which the southern is called Criu-Metopon, (or Ram's head,) and that on the north, Cimarus. [Note] The eastern promontory is Samonium, [Note] which does not stretch much further towards the east than Sunium. [Note] 10.4.3

Sosicrates, who, according to Apollodorus, had an exact knowledge of this island, determines its length (not?) [Note] to exceed 2300 stadia, and its breadth (about 300), [Note] so that according to Sosicrates the circuit of the island is not more than 5000 stadia, but Artemidorus makes it 4100. Hieronymus

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says, that its length is 2000 stadia, and its breadth irregular, and that the circuit would exceed the number of stadia assigned by Artemidorus. Throughout one-third of its length, (beginning from the western parts, the island is of a tolerable width). [Note] Then there is an isthmus of about 100 stadia, on the northern shore of which is a settlement, called Amphimalla; [Note] on the southern shore is Phœnix, [Note] belonging to the Lampeis.

The greatest breadth is in the middle of the island.

Here again the shores approach, and form an isthmus narrower than the former, of about 60 stadia in extent, reckoning from Minoa, [Note] in the district of the Lyctii, [Note] to Therapytna, [Note] and the African sea. The city is on the bay. The shores then terminate in a pointed promontory, the Samonium, looking towards ægypt and the islands of the Rhodians. [Note] 10.4.4

The island is mountainous and woody, but has fertile valleys.

The mountains towards the west are called Leuca, or the White Mountains, [Note] not inferior in height to the Taygetum, [Note] and extending in length about 300 stadia. They form a ridge, which terminates at the narrow parts (the isthmus). In the middle of the island, in the widest part, is (Ida), [Note] the highest of the mountains there. Its compass is about 600 stadia. It is surrounded by the principal cities. There are other mountains equal in height to the White Mountains, some of which terminate on the south, others towards the east. 10.4.5

From the Cyrenæan [Note] territory to Criu-metopon [Note] is a

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voyage of two days and nights. From Cimarus [to Malea] are 700 stadia. [Note] In the midway is Cythera. [Note] From the promontory Samonium [Note] to ægypt a ship sails in four days and nights, but, according to other writers, in three. Some say that it is a voyage of 5000 stadia; others, of still less than this. According to Eratosthenes, the distance from Cyrenaica to Criu-Metopon is 2000 stadia, and thence to Peloponnesus less than [1000]. [Note] 10.4.6

One language is intermixed with another, says the poet; there are in Crete, Achæi, the brave Eteocretans, Cydones, Dorians divided into three bands, [Note] and the divine Pelasgi. [Note] Of these people, says Staphylus, the Dorians occupy the eastern parts of the island, Cydonians the western, Eteocretans the southern, to whom Prasus, a small town, belonged, where is the temple of the Dictæan Jupiter; the other nations, being more powerful, inhabited the plains. It is probable that the Eteocretans [Note] and Cydonians were aboriginal inhabitants, and that the others were foreigners, who Andron says came from Thessaly, formerly called Doris, but now Hestiæotis, from which country he says the Dorians, who were settled about Parnassus, migrated, and founded Erineum, Bœum, and Cytinium, whence they are called by the poet Trichaïces, or tripartite. But the account of Andron is not generally admitted, who represents the Tetrapolis Doris as composed of three cities, and the metropolis of the Dorians as a colony of Thessalians. The epithet Trichaïces [Note] is understood to be derived either from their wearing a triple crest, [Note] or from having crests of hair. [Note] 10.4.7

There are many cities in Crete, but the largest and most distinguished are Cnossus, [Note] Gortyna, [Note] Cydonia. [Note] Both Homer and later writers celebrate Cnossus [Note] above the rest,

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calling it vast, and the palace of Minos. It maintained its pre-eminence for a long period. It afterwards lost its ascend- ency, and was deprived of many of its customs and privi- leges. The superiority was transferred to Gortyna and Lyc- tus. [Note] [Note] [Note] [Note] [Note] [Note] [Note]

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Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.3.22 Str. 10.4.4 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.4.10

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