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DIKTYNNAION Kisamos district, Crete.

Temple of Diktynna on E side of what was the Tityros peninsula in antiquity, 4 km SE of Cape Spatha (ancient Psakon). On N side of Menies Bay a sheer cliff provides a sheltered anchorage; on SW side is a small coastal plain at the mouth of two streams which join just above; on S side a short peninsula, 20 m high, projects N, with two descending flat terraces. On the lower N terrace is the main temple of Diktynna.

The site is clearly identified (Stad. 340-42 and inscriptions). Herodotos (3.59) ascribes the building of the temple to the Samians at Kydonia (ca. 524-519), but it was probably not the first temple. The site was probably controlled originally by Kydonia (but see Skylax 47), probably by Polyrrhenia in early 3d c. (cf. ICr II. 131-3 no. 1), certainly by Kydonia in the 2d-early 1st c., and by Polyrrhenia after the Roman conquest of Kydonia (69 B.C.). This was the scene of the miraculous passing of Apollonios of Tyana (1st c. A.D.: Philostr. VA 8.30). The site is otherwise mentioned only by geographers (Skylax 47; Strab. 10.4.12,13; Pompon. Mela, 2.113; Ptol. 3.15.5; Rav. Cosm. 5.21). Possible civic status (and issue of coins) in the Roman period is a matter of dispute.

The sanctuary seems to have flourished especially under Hadrian and his successors, when the road down the peninsula to the sanctuary was built or rebuilt (it can be traced still in places along the peninsula, 6 m wide, and winding down to Menies with concrete terrace walls). The work was financed from the temple treasury, as were other public works in Crete in the 2d c. (an indication of its wealth). To the Hadrianic period, and perhaps connected with an imperial visit to Crete, belongs the temple of which scanty remains have been found (1942): amphiprostyle (14 x less than 33.50 m: Welter & Jantzen; 9.17 x 27.80 m: Faure) and apparently of rather hurried workmanship, with an altar to the SW, it stood in a paved courtyard surrounded on the three seaward sides by stoas resting on the retaining walls of the terrace (55 x 50 m), and on the SW side by the higher terrace, approached by steps, on which lies a row of four massive cisterns (20.10 x 11.75 m overall). Pieces of a Doric peripteral temple, apparently planned in the Augustan period but not erected, were reused in the Hadrianic temple; the terrace probably goes back to the earlier period. By the entrance propylon at the W corner of the terrace is a Roman storage building. To the SW of this and W of the cisterns may lie the site of an earlier (late 7th c.) temple. Of this and of the late 6th c. temple only sima fragments have been found, but excavation was limited to Roman levels; the earliest find is a 9th c. sherd.

In the valley below to the W and by the bay are remains (Hadrianic or later) of buildings to accommodate pilgrims, smaller houses, an odeum (?), and an agora complex (?) with a room for the imperial cult. There are remains of an aqueduct.


R. Pococke, Description of the East II.1 (1745) 244-45M; T.A.B.Spratt, Travels and Researches in Crete II (1865) 196-200I; J.-N. Svoronos, Numismatique de la Crète ancienne (1890; repr. 1972) 121-24, 343; L. Savignoni, MonAnt 11 (1901) 295-304M; G. De Sanctis, ibid., 494-98; M. Guarducci, ICr II (1939) 128-40; G. Welter & U. Jantzen, “Das Diktynnaion,” in F. Matz (ed.) Forschungen auf Kreta, 1942 (1951) 106-17MPI; E. Kirsten, “Polyrrhenia,” RE XXI (1952) 2530-48; P. Faure, BCH 82 (1958) 498; R. F. Willetts, Cretan Cults and Festivals (1962); W. Fauth, “Diktynna,” Kleine Pauly 2 (1969) 27-29.


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