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War In Crete

At the same time the Cnossians sent an embassy to
War between Rhodes and Crete.
the Rhodians, and persuaded them to send them the ships that were under the command of Polemocles, and to launch three undecked vessels besides and send them also to Crete. The Rhodians having complied, and the vessels having arrived at Crete, the people of Eleutherna suspecting that one of their citizens named Timarchus had been put to death by Polemocles to please the Cnossians, first proclaimed a right of reprisal against the Rhodians, and then went to open war with them.

The people of Lyttos,1 too, a short time before this, met

The destruction of Lyttos.
with an irretrievable disaster. At that time the political state of Crete as a whole was this. The Cnossians, in league with the people of Gortyn, had a short time previously reduced the whole island under their power, with the exception of the city of Lyttos; and this being the only city which refused obedience, they resolved to go to war with it, being bent upon removing its inhabitants from their homes, as an example and terror to the rest of Crete. Accordingly at first the whole of the other Cretan cities were united in war against Lyttos: but presently when some jealousy arose from certain trifling causes, as is the way with the Cretans, they separated into hostile parties, the peoples of Polyrrhen, Cere, and Lappa, along with the Horii and Arcades,2 forming one party and separating themselves from connexion with the Cnossians, resolved to make common cause with the Lyttians. Among the people of Gortyn, again, the elder men espoused the side of Cnossus, the younger that of Lyttos, and so were in opposition to each other. Taken by surprise by this disintegration of their allies, the Cnossians fetched over a thousand men from Aetolia in virtue of their alliance: upon which the party of the elders in Gortyn immediately seized the citadel; introduced the Cnossians and Aetolians; and either expelled or put to death the young men, and delivered the city into the hands of the Cnossians. And at the same time, the Lyttians having gone out with their full forces on an expedition into the enemy's territory, the Cnossians got information of the fact, and seized Lyttos while thus denuded of its defenders. The children and women they sent to Cnossus; and having set fire to the town, thrown down its buildings, and damaged it in every possible way, returned. When the Lyttians reached home from their expedition, and saw what had happened, they were struck with such violent grief that not a man of the whole host had the heart to enter his native city; but one and all having marched round its walls, with frequent cries and lamentations over their misfortune and that of their country, turned back again towards the city of Lappa. The people of Lappa gave them a kind and entirely cordial reception; and having thus in one day become cityless and aliens, they joined these allies in their war against the Cnossians. Thus at one fell swoop was Lyttos, a colony of Sparta and allied with the Lacedaemonians in blood, the most ancient of the cities in Crete, and by common consent the mother of the bravest men in the island, utterly cut off.

1 Or Lyctos (Steph. Byz.)

2 Of Arcadia, a city of Crete (Steph. Byz.)

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Lyttos (7)
Crete (Greece) (7)
Lappa (3)
Gortyn (Greece) (3)
Cnossus (Greece) (2)
Rhodes (Greece) (1)
Eleutherna (1)
Cere (France) (1)
Arcadia (Greece) (1)
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hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (9):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SYLAE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CNOSUS or CNOSSUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CRETA or CRETE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ELEUTHERNA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LAPPA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LYCTUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), O´LERUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), POLYRRHE´NIA
    • Smith's Bio, Polemocles
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