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CYDO´NIA (Κυδωνία, Κυδωνίς, Ptol. 4.17.8: Eth. and Adj. Κυδωνιάτης, Κύδων, Κυδώνιος, Κυδωναῖος, Κυδωνίς, Κυδωνιακός, Cydon, Cydoneus, Cydoniatae, Cydonites, Cydonius: Khaniá), one of the most ancient and important cities of Crete. (Strab. x. p.476.) Homer (Hom. Od. 3.292, 19.176) speaks of the Cydonians who dwelt about the river Iardanus, whom Strabo (p. 475) considers to be indigenous, but nowhere mentions a city Cydonia. The traditions, though differing among themselves, prove that it existed in very ancient times. (Diod. 5.78; Paus. 8.53.2; Schol. ad Theocrit. 7.12; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. 4.1492; Flor. 3.7 § 4.) Herodotus (3.44, 59) assigns its foundation to the Samians who established themselves there, and during their 5 years' residence in it built the temple of Dictynna, as well as those which still existed when the historian wrote. The city, however, as is plain from the legends, existed before the time of Polycrates, though adorned by the Samnians. In the Peloponneslan War it was engaged in hostilities with the Gortynians, who were assisted by an Athenian squadron. (Thuc. 2.35.) Cydonia, as Arnold (l.c.) remarks, would especially hate and be hated by the Athenians, as a considerable portion of its citizens were Aeginetan colonists. (Hdt. 3.59.) At a later period it formed an alliance with the Cnossians. (Plb. 4.55.4, 33.15.4.) After the termination of the Sacred War, Phalaecus, the Phocian general, attacked Cydonia, and was killed with most of his troops during the siege. (Diod. 16.61.) At one time she carried on hostilities single-handed against both Cnossus and Gortyna. (Liv. 37.40.) The first engagement between the Cretans, under Lasthenes and Panares, and the Roman legions, under Metellus, was fought in the Cydonian district. The Romans were victorious. Metellus was saluted imperator, and laid siege to Cydonia. (Appian, Cret. 6.2; Liv. Epit. xcviii.)

Strabo (p. 479) describes Cydonia as situated on the sea and looking towards Laconia, at a distance of 800 stadia from both Cnossus and Gortyna. Scylax (Geog. Graec. Min. vol. i. p. 18) mentions Cydonia as having a harbour which could be closed (λιμὴν κλειστός); the port of Khaniá exactly answers to this description. This identity of physical features with the notices of several ancient writers (Ptol. l.c.; Plin. Nat. 4.12. s. 20), coupled with the circumstance that maritime symbols are found on autonomous coins of Cydonia, has led Mr. Pashley (Trav. vol. i. p. 15) to fix the site in or near the modern Khaniá.

The quince-tree derived its name from the Cretan Cydonia, in the district of which city it was indigenous, and was thence transported into other countries. (Plin. Nat. 15.11.) The fruit was called κοδύμαλον in the ancient Cretan dialect.



hide References (13 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (13):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.61
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.44
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.59
    • Homer, Odyssey, 19.176
    • Homer, Odyssey, 3.292
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.53.2
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.35
    • Polybius, Histories, 33.15.4
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.55.4
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 15.11
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.12
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 37, 40
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 5.78
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