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date: 25 March 2023



  • Anthony James Whitley


Praisos (also spelled Πράσος in Strabo; sometimes Latinized as Praesus) is an ancient city in eastern Crete, one of forty-nine political communities (poleis or citizen-states) on that island.1 It is an inland site extending for about 28 ha over three hills (see Figure 1). The city and its territory were known to Herodotus (7.170–171), Theophrastus (Hist. pl. 3.3.4), Pseudo-Skylax (Periplous 47), Staphylus of Naucratis (FGrH 269 F 12), and Strabo (10.4.6), the last of whom located the sanctuary of Dictaean Zeus (now known to be at Palaikastro) within its territory (10.4.12).2 In Hellenistic times this territory extended from the northern to the southern coast of Crete; dependent communities included the Stalitai and Sitiatai (IC 3.6.7) in the 3rd century bce and the previously autonomous community of Dragmos by the early 2nd century bce (IC 3.4.9, line 58). Several inscriptions in Greek letters (but not in the Greek language) from Archaic through Hellenistic times have confirmed that this city was home to the Eteocretans (“True Cretans”), one of the five peoples of Crete mentioned in the Odyssey (19.


  • Greek Material Culture

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