City on the S coast of W
Crete, near Loutro, Sphakia district, 9.6 km E of Tarrha
and 4.8 km W of Chora Sphakion; it was the port of
inland Anopolis and also of later Aradena. The name is
probably connected, not with the Phoenicians, but with
the palm trees common on this coast. On Paul's voyage
to Rome (A.D. 60) the majority wished to winter at
Phoinix. Ptolemy lists a city called Phoinix on this coast,
and a harbor called Phoinikous (3.15.3: probably the
city near Loutro and Phoinika Bay to the W); the Stadiasmus
(328-29) says Phoinix has a harbor and an island
(the offshore rock Loutronisi?); Steph. Byz. lists a Cretan
city called Phoinikous. Hierokles (651.1) mentions Phoinike with Aradena, and the two sites are linked in one
see in the early 9th c. Notitiae
(8.230; 9.139). The site
may have been unoccupied from the Arab conquest until
the Venetian period. A dedication to Iuppiter Sol Optimus
Maximus Sarapis, of the Trajanic period, was found here.
Cape Plaka, to the W, is probably Ptolemy's Cape Hermes
(3.15.3), where a sanctuary of Hermes is likely.
Loutro was identified as Phoinix in the 15th c. The
site is on a narrow enclosed bay on the E side of Cape
Mouri, the best all-season harbor on the S coast of Crete.
The city's prosperity must have depended almost entirely
on maritime trade; its disadvantages were the small size
of the harbor, the lack of good spring water, and the
difficulty of inland communications. There were many
remains in the 15th c., but those now visible are on the
peninsula between Loutro and Phoinika Bay W of the
promontory, and mainly on the plateau W of the Turkish
fort: a vaulted cistern, tombs, terrace walls, and house
foundations of the Roman and First Byzantine periods.
Coarse Minoan sherds found S of the fort attest a prehistoric settlement. The coast seems to have risen some 4 m since antiquity.
A second city named Phoinix probably existed on the
same coast some distance to the E, at Phoinikias near
Sellia, in the Agios Vasileios district. This would have
been the Phoinix in the territory of Lappa attested by
R. Pashley, Travels in Crete
repr. 1970) 241-43I
; T.A.B. Spratt, Travels and Researches in Crete
II (1865) 249-55; G. De Sanctis,
11 (1901) 521-24; M. Deffner, Odoiporikai
entiposeis apo tin Dhitikin Kritin
(n.d.) 62-63, 143-44;
A. Trevor-Battye, Camping in Crete
II (1939) 191-92, 226-29; E. Kirsten,
“Phoinix (17),” RE
XX (1941) 431-35; Id. in F. Matz
(ed.), Forschungen auf Kreta
(1951) 126-29; P. Faure,
13 (1959) 198, 203; S. Hood, BSA
113; id. & P. Warren, ibid. 61 (1966) 183-84; S. G.
II (n.d.) 250-52, 384-85M
; Brit. Adm.
D. J. BLACKMAN