or Sybritos (Thronos) Amari district,
On a hill (Kephala, 618 m) dominating
the watershed at the NW end of the enclosed and
fertile Asomatos valley. Although remote, the city controlled the main route W of Mt. Ida from the S coast
and Mesara plain to the N coast. First settled before
the end of the Minoan period, it survived into the first
Byzantine period. It was more important than the sparse
literary and epigraphic references (mostly ca. 200
B.C.) indicate. Little is known of its history, but it
was one of the early Cretan cities to strike coins (5th
c. on), and was prosperous in the late archaic-Classical
period; archaeological evidence shows that it flourished
in the Hellenistic period and the 3d c. A.D. (in each case
because of its position, during periods of flourishing
trade). The city had a port on the S coast only (Soulia).
Its fine coins portray Dionysos and Hermes (apparently
the main deities), also Zeus and Apollo (?). To the
city may belong the cult of Hermes Kranaios in a cave
near Patsos to the W (dedications of LM III to the
Roman period, but not all periods represented). Coins
show that it was then, as now, a wine-producing area.
The summit of Kephala formed the acropolis, and
its lower terraces (mainly on the SW) the city area;
some stretches of fine isodomic ashlar and a gate belonging to the city wall circuit (probably Hellenistic) have
been found on the E side, but the line on the W is not
certain though the location of an ancient necropolis at
Yenna defines its maximum extent. Geometric sherds,
archaic sherds and figurines, and Classical bronzeware
and figurines have been found, but no related structures.
On the slopes of Kephala are a number of terrace walls
of uncertain date, and on the main SW terrace (Sta
Marmara) are houses of the 3d-2d c. B.C. and a Late
Roman house with mosaic. A number of large Roman
buildings lie under the village of Thronos on the S terrace of Kephala, and the Early Christian basilica (probably 5th c.) with mosaics lies under the modern church and square. The temple of Dionysos may have been just
SW of the summit of Kephala; on its W slope a terrace
(Ellinika) has remains of houses, and higher up is the
only spring on the acropolis slope itself. There was apparently a sanctuary at Ayia Photini near the watershed.
The ancient necropoleis lay at Yenna to the SW, where
most of the surviving gravestones were found, and at
Sta Pelekita near Klisidi to the NE. In the Roman period
settlement was less concentrated within the city area,
and by late antiquity some of that area was no longer
occupied for graves have been found inside the E wall.
Besides the basilica, a number of remains of late brick
and stone buildings survive W of Thronos.
T.A.B. Spratt, Travels and Researches
II (1865) 102-9; J.-N. Svoronos, Numismatique
de la Crète ancienne
(1890; repr. 1972) 313-16 & Suppl.
p. 375; L. Mariani, MonAnt
6 (1895) 215-17I
; F. Halbherr, AJA
1st ser. 11 (1896) 589ff; R. Paribeni, MonAnt
(1907) 374-76; Honigmann, “Sybrita,” RE
IV A1 (1931)
1012; M. Guarducci, ICr
II (1939) 289-98; T. J. Dunbabin, “Antiquities of Amari,” BSA
42 (1947) 184-90; E.
Kirsten, “Siedlungsgeschichtliche Forschungen in West-Kreta,” in F. Matz (ed.), Forschungen auf Kreta, 1942
; K. D. Kalokyris, KretChron
; S. Hood et al., BSA
59 (1964) 71-72; G. Le
Rider, Monnaies Crétoises
D. J. BLACKMAN