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A´PTERA (Ἄπτερα, Steph. B. sub voce Ἀπτερία Ptol. 3.17. §. 10; Apteron, Plin. Nat. 4.20; Eth. Ἀπτεραῖος: Palaeókastron), a city of Crete situated to the E. of Polyrrhenia, and 80 stadia from Cydonia (Strab. x. p.479). Here was placed the scene of the legend of the contest between the Sirens and the Muses, when after the victory of the latter, the Sirens lost the feathers of their wings from their shoulders, and having thus become white cast themselves into the sea,--whence the name of the city Aptera, and of the neighbouring islands Leucae. (Steph. B. sub voce It was at one time in alliance with Cnossus, but was afterwards compelled by the Polyrrhenians to side with them against that city. (Pol. 4.55.) The port of Aptera according to Strabo was Cisamos (p. 479; comp. Hierocles, p. 650; and Peutinger Tab.). Mr. Pashley (Travels, vol. i. p. 48) supposes that the ruins of Palaeókastron belong to Aptera, and that its port is to be found at or near Kalyves. Diodorus (5.64) places Berecynthos in the district of the Apteraeans. (The old reading was emended by Meursius, Creta, p. 84.) This mountain has been identified with the modern Maláxa, which from its granitic and schistose basis complies with the requisite geological conditions for the existence of metallic veins; if we are to believe that bronze and iron were here first discovered, and bestowed on man by the Idaean Dactyls.



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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.20
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 5.64
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