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IDA (Ἴδη, Ptol. 3.17.9; Pomp. Mela, 2.7.12; Plin. Nat. 4.12, 16.33; Verg. A. 3.105; Solin. ii.; Avien. 676; Prisc. 528), the central and loftiest point of the mountain range which traverses the island of Crete throughout the whole length from W. to E. In the middle of the island, where it is broadest (Strab. x. pp. 472, 475, 478), Mt. Ida lifts its head covered with snow. (Theophrast. H. P. 4.1.) The lofty summits terminate in three peaks, and, like the main chain of which it is the nucleus, the offshoots to the N. slope gradually towards the sea, enclosing fertile plains and valleys, and form by their projections the numerous bays and gulfs with which the coast is indented. Mt. Ida, now called Psiloriti, sinks down rapidly towards the SE. into the extensive plain watered by the Lethaeus. This side of the mountain, which looks down upon the plain of Mesara, is covered with cypresses (comp. Theophrast. de Vent. p. 405; Dion. Perieg. 503; Eustath. ad . loc.), pines, and junipers. Mt. Ida was the locality assigned for the legends connected with the history of Zeus, and there was a cavern in its slopes sacred to that deity. (Diod. 5.70.)

The Cretan Ida, like its Trojan namesake, was connected with the working of iron, and the Idaean Dactyls, the legendary discoverers of metallurgy, are assigned sometimes to the one and sometimes to the other. Wood was essential to the operations of smelting and forging; and the word Ida, an appellative for any wood-covered mountain, was used perhaps, like the German berg, at once for a mountain and a mining work. (Kenrick, Aegypt of Herodotus, p. 278; Höck, Kreta, vol. i. p. 4.)


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