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Γορτύν) or Gortȳna (Γόρτυνα). An ancient city in Crete on the southern shore of the island, and situated on the banks of the river Lethaeus. By its two harbours, Metallum and Lebena, it communicated with the sea. Here were temples to Zeus, Apollo, and Artemis; and near the fountain of Saurus was a spring overhung by a palm-tree, a spot which tradition declared to be the scene of the loves of Zeus and Europa (q.v.). Next to Cnossus, Gortyn was the most powerful town of Crete, and between these two cities there existed an almost continuous feud. Under the Romans, Gortyn became the capital of the island. In 1884, an archaic inscription was found on the site of Gortyn, by Halbherr, in the bed of a millstream. Two fragments of the same inscription had been previously found, the new discovery making a practically complete record of a collection of laws regulating the private relations of the people of the city, with regard to such subjects as inheritance, adoption, heiresses, marriage, and divorce. The inscription is regarded as a little earlier than the year B.C. 400. See Merriam, The Law Code of the Cretan Gortyna (1886) (text, translation, and commentary); and Simon, Zur Inschrift von Gortyn (Vienna, 1886).

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