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HERAKLEION (Iraklion) Temenos district, Crete.

A small city on N coast of Crete. The city is barely mentioned by ancient sources other than geographers. Together with and eventually superseding Amnisos, it served as the port of Knossos which lay 5 km inland (Strab. 10.4.7; 10.5.1; cf. Ptol. 3.15.3; Stad. 348-49). The location of ancient Herakleion has been much debated, but Platon has solved the main problem which lay in a reference in Pliny (HN 4.12.59): the name Matium results from a misunderstanding by Pliny, and ancient Herakleion does lie under modern Iraklion, once called Candia.

Slight epigraphic evidence shows that the city was a satellite of Knossos in the Hellenistic period. No coins are certainly known.

At Katsaba in E Iraklion by the mouth of the Katsaba (ancient Kairatos), which flows past Knossos, are Neolithic remains and a considerable Minoan site. The later city seems to have been under the modern city center, but little is known of its plan: scattered remains, mainly of tombs, have been found of the Geometric period to 7th c. A.D.


R. Pashley, Travels in Crete (1837; repr. 1970) 189-90; T.A.B. Spratt, Travels and Researches in Crete I (1865) 27ff, 66f; L. Mariani, MonAnt 6 (1895) 218-22M; Bürchner, “Herakleion (1),” RE VIII (1913) 499; M. Guarducci, Historia 7 (1933) 370-73; N. Platon, KretChron 1 (1947) 14-21; 5 (1951) 386-87; St. Alexiou, Praktika (1955) 311-20; id., Isterominoikoi taphoi limenos Knosou (Katsaba) (1967); S. G. Spanakis, Crete I (n.d.) 117ffM; Deltion 20 (1965) Chronika 3, 562; 21 (1966) Chronika 2, 408-9; 24 (1969) Chronika 2, 418-20.


hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Strabo, Geography, 10.4.7
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.12
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