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TARRHA Greece.

City in the Sphakia district on the S coast of W Crete, near modern Ag. Roumeli, at the mouth of the Samaria Gorge. It is first mentioned by Theophrastos (Hist.Pl. 2.2.2). In the early 3d c. B.C. it had a coinage alliance with neighboring Lisos, Elyros, and Hyrtakina, and may have been a member of the league of Oreioi; it was certainly in the Cretan League in the early 2d c. It was best known as the legendary home of the seer Karmanor (Plaus. 2.7.7; 2.30.3; 10.7.2; 10.16.5) and for its oracle and Sanctuary of Apollo Tarrhaios (Steph. Byz. s.v. Tarrha). It is mentioned by Ptolemy (3.15.3: wrongly listed W of Poikilasion) and the Stadiasmus (329-30: a small city with an anchorage).

Ancient remains attest occupation from the 5th c. B.C. to the 4th or 5th c. A.D. Tarrha was then apparently abandoned, probably because of pirate raids and consequent decline in communications by sea. The remains were described in the 15th c. and identified in the 19th, though epigraphic confirmation is not available. Remains W of the river bed include architectural members from a temple (probably that of Apollo Tarnhaios) reused in a later building over whose ruins now stands the chapel of the Panagia; below the building is a 1st c. B.C. mosaic, perhaps connected with the sanctuary. Farther W lay a cemetery. To the E of the riven are remains of Roman fortification walls and buildings, a few still standing to some height on the hill below the cliffs in back of the site. Excavation of some of these buildings revealed Greek walls at a considerable depth below them, and some tombs of the 5th-4th c. B.C. and of the Roman period.

The factory indicated by abundant glass fragments has not been found, but it remains likely that one existed here or nearby. The coast appears to have been lifted some 3.6 m since ancient times, so that the bay is now open and exposed, but the harbor may once have been better. Minoan occupation of the site is possible, if only for export of cypresses from the White Mountains; no certain Minoan finds are known, but some LM III vases may come from here rather than from near Sphakia.


R. Pashley, Travels in Crete II (1837; repr. 1970) 263-64I; T.A.B. Spratt, Travels and Researches in Crete II (1865) 247-49; G. De Sanctis, MonAnt 11 (1901) 515-17; M. Deffner, Odoiporikai entiposeis apo tin Dhitikin Kritin (n.d.) 179-89; Fiehn, “Tarra (2),” RE IV, A2 (1932) 2395; M. Guarducci, ICr II (1939) 305-9; E. Kirsten in F. Matz (ed.), Forschungen auf Kreta (1951) 130-31; G. D. Weinberg, “Excavations at Tarrha, 1959,” Hesperia 29 (1960) 90-108; T. S. Buechner, ibid. 109-17; R. F. Willetts, Cretan Cults and Festivals (1962) 270-71; S. G. Spanakis, Kriti II (n.d.) 32-34, 371-73; Deltion 25 (1970) Chronika 2, 473.


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