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,"1
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.2
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.