The term ‘Minoan’ was coined by Evans and derived from the King Minos of Greek mythology. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Ancient Crete. Agriculture and trade allowed the formation of large centralised centres at Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, Zakros, and other sites where grand palatial buildings were constructed and local trade was centralised. Crete definition, a Greek island in the Mediterranean, southeast of mainland Greece. It is relatively long and narrow, stretching for 160 miles (260 km) on its east-west axis and varying in width from 7.5 to 37 miles (12 to 60 km). Freelance writer and editor. Crete has six small rivers as well as springs, seasonal watercourses and ponds, one natural freshwater lake (Lake Kournás), and several artificial lakes. In addition to vegetables and fruits, the island produces nuts, herbs, and honey, and for decades Cretans have prospered by using plastic hothouses to grow vegetables and flowers for the winter market in Europe. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia - Ancient Crete, Official Tourism Site of the Island of Crete, Greece, PBS LearningMedia - The Minoan Legacy | The Greeks, Crete - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Crete Greece is the biggest island in Greece and one of the biggest islands in the Mediterranean. There are two international airports, one in Irákleio and the other in Chaniá, the cities where the island’s principal seaports are also located. However, this did not stop the continued civil war between rival cities which rumbled on throughout the 2nd century BCE. (8380 sq. They cultivated crops of grain, herbs, olives and fruit. The 3rd century CE saw several infamous persecutions of Christians including ten martyrs during a wild animal hunt in Gortyn's amphitheatre in 249 CE. From the 3rd to 1st century BCE, the formation of a Cretan Federation seems to have done little in arresting the island's general decline into relative obscurity. Stock breeding of sheep and goats is widespread, providing the island’s greatly esteemed yogurt as well as edible meat. Ritual celebrations usually took place in sacred caves, on sanctuaries on mountain peaks, and in the palaces and villas which all had their own sanctuaries. An early Christian community was established at Gortyn c. 60 CE whose first bishop was Titus, a disciple of Saint Paul. The surviving pieces of art can be found in museums throughout the world. W. M. Calder Bibliography Information Orr, James, M.A., D.D. 456,642; 3235 sq. Knossos, the famous Minoan Palace lies five kilometers southeast of Heraklion, in the valley of the river Kairatos, in Crete. Grab your travel hat and join us for a unique cultural journey to the dramatic landscapes of Greece, south Italy and Asia minor-to dazzling ancient cities, majestic empires, and magical treasures of history. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Since the 1970s—when the number of tourists visiting the island increased dramatically—much of the traffic has come in the form of package tours for people who prefer to enjoy the sunshine and amenities of hotels along the coast rather than trekking in the mountains and staying in the smaller towns and villages. Area 3,218 square miles (8,336 square km). Smaller ports are in Réthymno and Áyios Nikólaos. The Mesara (Messára) Plain extends along the south-central part of the island for about 18 miles (29 km) and is Crete’s major expanse of flatlands. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. English, German, or French are also spoken by many of the younger and urban Cretans. Grapes are used for both wines and raisins and as table grapes, and Crete’s olive trees provide more than one-third of the total national olive crop. A peace was finally established in 110 BCE when the Mediterranean's new superpower Rome stepped into local affairs. tion (sĭv′ə-lĭ-zā′shən) n. 1. The Minoan palaces show evidence of destruction by earthquake c. 1700 BCE, after which they were rebuilt. "Ancient Crete." (2001) 594,368; (2011) 623,065. definition: prominent ancient town on Crete where Bronze Age culture flourished from about 2000 BC to 1400 BCE significance: "capital" of Minoan society Sort out the facts about islands across the globe. Palm trees are intermittent along the coasts, and cedars can be found in the east. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership - Now 30% off. Winters were short and mild, and the summers long and temperate. 17,000 paratroopers under the command of General Kurt Student were dropped at three strategic locations with airfields: Maleme , Heraklion , and Rethymnon . The very fact that Crete is an island limited its role in Greek regional affairs during the Classical period (600-450 BCE), but Cretan towns did provide warriors – Cretan mercenary slingers and archers being especially highly esteemed – for such conflicts as the Peloponnesian Wars and the campaigns of Alexander the Great and his successors. This is a land of gods and heroes. The island's prosperity based on sea trade is attested not only by its monumental architecture but also a flourishing of the arts. Those mountains rise above the high upland plains of Nída, Omalós, and Lasíthi and are marked by several gorges, the best known of which is the Samariá Gorge. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. The island today has many archaeological sites of note which include Knossos, Phaistos, and Gortyn, all with significant architectural remains as compelling evidence of Crete's long and varied history. 2. There are no surviving written records of activities on the island between 1200 and 800 BCE but it is known that Dorian-speaking immigrants settled on Crete in that period. The agrími, or wild goat, is found in remote mountainous areas and on offshore islands, where it finds protection in wildlife reserves. The famed Cretan archers became an important fixture in the Roman army across the empire, but no Roman troops were stationed on Crete itself. Cruise ships also provide a large proportion of tourists, while large numbers of summer residents and retirees from northern Europe also add to the population. Crete is an island in the eastern Mediterranean which during the Bronze Age produced the influential Minoan civilization with its distinctive architecture and … What is the world’s largest archipelago? "Ancient Crete." What are the islands of the Maldives made of? Sandy and pebble-strewn beaches dot the coastline. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. A civil war erupted between the island's three main cities - Gortyn, Knossos, and Lyttos  - between c. 222 and 219 BCE. It is relatively long and narrow, stretching for 160 miles (260 km) on its east-west axis and varying in width from 7.5 to 37 miles (12 to 60 km). We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. (8,380 sq. https://www.ancient.eu/crete/. Apokries - Carnival History According to current thinking, carnival has its roots in ancient ceremonies meant to help the earth put forth shoots. A smaller airport in Siteía handles domestic flights. "Definition for 'crete'". The Third Reich launched an airborne invasion of Crete under the code name of "Operation Mercury". levied taxes on their hinterlands and appropriated a portion of their agricultural surplus to support the urban population. Most of the history of the ancient world has been collected by archaeologists, built, in part, by the use of fragmentary records, but also through myriad dating techniques. With the succession of Augustus, though, Crete was officially incorporated into the Roman empire. Gortyn, in particular, thrived with a population reaching 300,000 and its status confirmed as a major Roman town when the future emperor Trajan was appointed quaestor there in 81 CE. Crete has a good road network. The island continued to prosper throughout this period until the Byzantine era when it faced repeated Arab raids and, ultimately, full conquest c. 827 CE. Islanders raised flocks of oxen, sheep, pigs and goats and had donkeys. Chaniá (Khaniá), on the Gulf of Khaniá, Crete, Greece. The gradually sloping northern coast provides several natural harbours and coastal plains, where such major towns as Chaniá (Khaniá; historically Canea), Réthymno (Réthimnon; historically Rhithymna), and Irákleio are located. Earth put forth shoots you ’ ve ever seen, Crete beaches are out of this is! Functioned as the principal centers of Greek society, perhaps not coincidentally was... Notably flowers ) thrive in the moderate climate, many of them native to the ancient civilization! Ve ever seen, Crete beaches are out of this world s greatly esteemed yogurt as well as other in... Also spoken by many of them native to the so-called hieroglyphic Minoan script is.... 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