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There are many cities in Crete, but the largest and most distinguished are Cnossus,1 Gortyna,2 Cydonia.3 Both Homer and later writers celebrate Cnossus4 above the rest, 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.5 But it afterwards recovered its ancient rank of the capital city. Cnossus lies in a plain, with its ancient circum- ference of 30 stadia, between the Lyctian and Gortynian territory; [distant] 200 stadia from Gortyna, and from Lyt- tus 120, which the poet6 calls Lyctus. Cnossus is at the dis- tance of 25 stadia from the northern sea; Gortyna 90, and Lyctus 80, stadia from the African sea. Cnossus has a marine arsenal, Heracleium.7 8. Minos, it is said, used as an arsenal Amnisus,8 where is a temple of Eileithyia. Cnossus formerly had the name of Cæratus, which is the name of the river9 which runs beside it. Minos10 is regarded as an excellent legislator, and the first who possessed the sovereignty of the sea. He divided the island into three portions, in each of which he built a city; Cnossus * * * * * *,11 opposite to Peloponnesus, which lies toward the north.

According to Ephorus, Minos was an imitator of Rhada- manthus, an ancient personage, and a most just man. He had the same name as his brother, who appears to have been the first to civilize the island by laws and institutions, by founding cities, and by establishing forms of government. He pre- tended to receive from Jupiter the decrees which he promul- gated. It was probably in imitation of Rhadamanthus that Minos went up to the cave of Jupiter, at intervals of nine years, and brought from thence a set of ordinances, which he <*> the commands of Jove; for which reason the poet <*> Such is the statement of Ephorus; the ancients on the other hand give a different account, and say that he was tyrannical and violent, and an exactor of tribute, and speak in the strain of tragedy about the Minotaur, the Labyrinth, and the adventures of Theseus and Dædalus.

1 The ruins are situated at Makro Teikhos, to the south-east of Candia, the modern capital.

2 Il. ii. 646; Od. xix. 178. Hagius Dheka. Pashley.

3 Near Jerami, in the Austrian map. Pashley places it at Khani.

4 The ruins are situated at Makro Teikhos, to the south-east of Candia, the modern capital.








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