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Information about the place (3)
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
An extensive Graeco-Roman city 8 km W of Lebena. The earliest remains
in the vicinity are two Early Minoan tholos cemeteries and an Early Minoan settlement,
but there are no other remains earlier than the late 5th c., at which time the
city appears to have been founded. The site was then occupied continuously as
a harbor and city until at least the late Roman period, and was at its most prosperous
and extensive during the period of the Roman occupation.
The site is a small headland, opposite the offshore island of Nissos
Traphos, flanked by two small bays with sandy beaches. An ancient mole, possibly
of Roman date, which runs from the foot of the headland almost to Traphos ensured
calm water in either one of the bays, depending on the direction of the wind.
The late 5th and 4th c. occupation of the site seems to have been
concentrated on the slopes and the flat summit of the low hill which rises immediately
behind the headland. Buildings on the summit include one with foundations entirely
of white blocks, situated right on the seaward edge of the hilltop, overlooking
the whole site. In later periods occupation spread over the whole of the headland,
and along the steep slopes overlooking the bay to the W. Further buildings were
erected to the E of the headland. Over the whole of this area the remains of the
city are still clearly visible, both as a dense spread of broken pottery and as
a mass of stone walls, built of red, green, white, and brown blocks used haphazardly.
On the headland three buildings of some importance can be traced.
In the center of the headland are the remains of a substantial building whose
main feature is an oblong court measuring 27 x 10 m. On the N side it is flanked
by a long narrow hall or corridor 5 m wide, and on the S by a corridor 3 m wide,
which continues along the E and possibly the W sides of the court also. At either
end of the S corridor, against the courtyard wall, is a built altar or statue
base. Beyond the S corridor are suites of almost square rooms. The building seems
likely to have fulfilled a public rather than a private function but its precise
identity is uncertain.
Southwest of the building described the headland has been terraced
to form a natural podium for a temple. A flight of six steps, 10 m wide, survive,
flanked by massive side walls. Set back 3 m from the top of the steps are two
square altar bases, one on either side of the entrance to the cella. Two walls
of the cella survive and show it to have been approximately 5 x 8 m.
Toward the S tip of the headland are the remains of a Christian church,
one corner of which has been lost by erosion of the cliff edge. At the N end of
the building is an apse 8 m in diameter. The nave is of a similar width, and flanking
it are two narrow aisles. Beyond the nave and aisles there may have been a narrow
The city was supplied with water by a built aqueduct which ran across
the hill slopes to the E to reach a spring source about a km away. On the NE extremity
of the city the aqueduct appears to have emptied into a large built cistern with
plastered walls. The city's cemeteries lay to the W of the settlement. In the
late Classical and Hellenistic periods burials were in dug graves and cists on
a small headland. Roman burials were in built barrelvaulted tombs a little farther
K. Branigan, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites,
Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from
Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
(Lasaia). A town in the south of Crete, not far from the Promontorium Samonium mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Lasaia. A city in Crete, near the roadstead of the Fair Havens. (Acts,
xxvii. 8.) This place is not mentioned by any other writer, but is probably the
same as the Lisia of the Peutinger Tables, 16 M. P. to the E. of Gortyna. Some
MSS. have Lasea; others, Alassa. The Vulgate reads Thalassa, which Beza contended
was the true name.
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)
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