Argos is a city in Argolis, Peloponnese and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is a bishopric and present Latin Catholic titular see. It is the biggest town in Argolis and a center for the area. Since the 2011 local government reform it has been part of the municipality of Argos-Mykines, the municipal unit has an area of 138.138 km2. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour, a settlement of great antiquity, Argos has been continuously inhabited as at least a substantial village for the past 7,000 years. The city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network, a resident of the city of Argos is known as an Argive. However, this term is used to refer to those ancient Greeks generally who assaulted the city of Troy during the Trojan War. Numerous ancient monuments can be found in the city today, the most famous of which is the Heraion of Argos, agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy. The name of the city is ancient and several etymological theories have been proposed as an explanation to its meaning.
The most popular one maintains that the name of the city is a remainder from the Pelasgian language, i. e. the one used by the people who first settled in the area, in which Argos meant plain. Alternatively, the name is associated with Argos, the king of the city in ancient times. It is believed that Argos is linked to the word αργός, which meant white, according to Strabo, the name could have even originated from the word αγρός by antimetathesis of the consonants. As a strategic location on the plain of Argolis, Argos was a major stronghold during the Mycenaean era. There is evidence of settlement in the area starting with a village about 7000 years ago in the late Neolithic. It was colonized in prehistoric times by the Pelasgian Greeks, since that time, Argos has been continually inhabited at the same geographical location. Its creation is attributed to Phoroneus, with its first name having been Phoronicon Asty, the city is located at a rather propitious area, among Nemea and Arcadia. It benefitted from its proximity to lake Lerna, during the Dorian invasion, c.1100 BC, Argos was divided into four neighbourhoods, each of them inhabited by a different phyle.
Argos experienced its greatest period of expansion and power under the energetic 7th century BC ruler King Pheidon, under Pheidon, Argos regained sway over the cities of the Argolid and challenged Sparta’s dominance of the Peloponnese
Ancient Greek warfare
Warfare occurred throughout the history of ancient Greece, from the Greek Dark Ages onward. The Greek Dark Age drew to a close as a significant increase in population allowed urbanized culture to be restored and these developments ushered in the period of Archaic Greece. They restored the capability of organized warfare between these Poleis, the fractious nature of Ancient Greek society seems to have made continuous conflict on this larger scale inevitable. Along with the rise of the city-state evolved a new style of warfare, Hoplites were armored infantryman, armed with spear and shield, and the phalanx was a formation of these soldiers with their shields locked together and spears pointed forward. The chigi vase, dated to around 650 BC, is the earliest depiction of a hoplite in full battle array, with this evolution in warfare, battles seem to have consisted mostly of the clash of hoplite phalanxes from the city-states in conflict. Since the soldiers were citizens with other occupations, warfare was limited in distance, neither side could afford heavy casualties or sustained campaigns, so conflicts seem to have been resolved by a single set-piece battle.
The scale and scope of warfare in Ancient Greece changed dramatically as a result of the Greco-Persian Wars, to fight the enormous armies of the Achaemenid Empire was effectively beyond the capabilities of a single city-state. The eventual triumph of the Greeks was achieved by alliances of many city-states, the rise of Athens and Sparta during this conflict led directly to the Peloponnesian War, which saw diversification of warfare. Emphasis shifted to naval battles and strategies of attrition such as blockades and sieges, following the defeat of the Athenians in 404 BC, and the disbandment of the Athenian-dominated Delian League, Ancient Greece fell under the Spartan hegemony. But this was unstable, and the Persian Empire sponsored a rebellion by the powers of Athens, Thebes and Argos. Persia switched sides, which ended the war, in return for the cities of Ionia, the Spartan hegemony would last another 16 years, until, at the Battle of Leuctra the Spartans were decisively defeated by the Theban general Epaminondas.
The Thebans acted with alacrity to establish a hegemony of their own over Greece, Thebes lacked sufficient manpower and resources, and became overstretched. Following the death of Epaminondas and loss of manpower at the Battle of Mantinea, the losses in the ten years of the Theban hegemony left all the Greek city-states weakened and divided. The city-states of southern Greece were too weak to resist the rise of the Macedonian kingdom in the north, with revolutionary tactics, King Phillip II brought most of Greece under his sway, paving the way for the conquest of the known world by his son Alexander the Great. The rise of the Macedonian Kingdom is generally taken to signal the beginning of the Hellenistic period, along with the rise of the city-state evolved a brand new style of warfare and the emergence of the hoplite. The hoplite was an infantryman, the element of warfare in Ancient Greece. The word hoplite derives from hoplon meaning an item of armor or equipment, Hoplites were the citizen-soldiers of the Ancient Greek City-states.
They were primarily armed as spear-men and fought in a phalanx, Hoplite armor was extremely expensive for the average citizen, so it was commonly passed down from the soldiers father or relative
Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th-9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and this was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedonia, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the end of the Mediterranean Sea. Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a influence on ancient Rome. For this reason Classical Greece is generally considered to be the culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture and is considered the cradle of Western civilization. Classical Antiquity in the Mediterranean region is considered to have begun in the 8th century BC. Classical Antiquity in Greece is preceded by the Greek Dark Ages and this period is succeeded, around the 8th century BC, by the Orientalizing Period during which a strong influence of Syro-Hittite, Assyrian and Egyptian cultures becomes apparent.
The end of the Dark Ages is dated to 776 BC. The Archaic period gives way to the Classical period around 500 BC, Ancient Periods Astronomical year numbering Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details The history of Greece during Classical Antiquity may be subdivided into five major periods. The earliest of these is the Archaic period, in which artists made larger free-standing sculptures in stiff, the Archaic period is often taken to end with the overthrow of the last tyrant of Athens and the start of Athenian Democracy in 508 BC. It was followed by the Classical period, characterized by a style which was considered by observers to be exemplary, i. e. classical, as shown in the Parthenon. This period saw the Greco-Persian Wars and the Rise of Macedon, following the Classical period was the Hellenistic period, during which Greek culture and power expanded into the Near and Middle East. This period begins with the death of Alexander and ends with the Roman conquest, Herodotus is widely known as the father of history, his Histories are eponymous of the entire field.
Herodotus was succeeded by authors such as Thucydides, Demosthenes, most of these authors were either Athenian or pro-Athenian, which is why far more is known about the history and politics of Athens than those of many other cities. Their scope is limited by a focus on political and diplomatic history, ignoring economic. In the 8th century BC, Greece began to emerge from the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization, literacy had been lost and Mycenaean script forgotten, but the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, modifying it to create the Greek alphabet. The Lelantine War is the earliest documented war of the ancient Greek period and it was fought between the important poleis of Chalcis and Eretria over the fertile Lelantine plain of Euboea. Both cities seem to have suffered a decline as result of the long war, a mercantile class arose in the first half of the 7th century BC, shown by the introduction of coinage in about 680 BC
Pliny the Elder
In the latter number will be my uncle, by virtue of his own and of your compositions. Pliny is referring to the fact that Tacitus relied on his uncles now missing work on the History of the German Wars. The wind caused by the sixth and largest pyroclastic surge of the eruption would not allow his ship to leave the shore, and Pliny probably died during this event. Plinys dates are pinned to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79 and a statement of his nephew that he died in his 56th year, Pliny was the son of an equestrian, Gaius Plinius Celer, and his wife, Marcella. Neither the younger nor the elder Pliny mention the names and their ultimate source is a fragmentary inscription found in a field in Verona and recorded by the 16th century Augustinian monk Onofrio Panvinio at Verona. The reading of the inscription depends on the reconstruction, but in all cases the names come through, whether he was an augur and whether she was named Grania Marcella are less certain. Jean Hardouin presents a statement from a source that he claims was ancient, that Pliny was from Verona.
Hardouin cites the conterraneity of Catullus, additional efforts to connect Celer and Marcella with other gentes are highly speculative. Hardouin is the scholar to use his unknown source. He kept statues of his ancestors there, a statue of Pliny on the facade of the Duomo of Como celebrates him as a native son. He had a sister, who married into the Caecilii and was the mother of his nephew, Pliny the Younger, whose letters describe his work and study regimen in detail. In one of his letters to Tacitus, Pliny the Younger details how his uncles breakfasts would be light and simple following the customs of our forefathers. This shows that Pliny the Younger wanted it to be conveyed that Pliny the Elder was a good Roman and this statement would have pleased Tacitus. Two inscriptions identifying the hometown of Pliny the Younger as Como take precedence over the Verona theory, one commemorates the youngers career as imperial magistrate and details his considerable charitable and municipal expenses on behalf of the people of Como.
Another identifies his father Lucius village as Fecchio near Como and it is likely therefore that Plinia was a local girl and Pliny the Elder, her brother, was from Como. Gaius was a member of the Plinii gens and he did not take his fathers cognomen, but assumed his own, Secundus. As his adopted son took the same cognomen, Pliny founded a branch, no earlier instances of the Plinii are known. In 59 BC, only about 82 years before Plinys birth, Julius Caesar founded Novum Comum as a colonia to secure the region against the Alpine tribes, whom he had been unable to defeat
Chalcis or Chalkida is the chief town of the island of Euboea in Greece, situated on the Euripus Strait at its narrowest point. The name is preserved from antiquity and is derived from the Greek χαλκός, in the late Middle Ages, it was known as Negropont, a name that was applied to the entire island of Euboea as well. The earliest recorded mention of Chalcis is in the Iliad, where it is mentioned in the line as its rival Eretria. It is documented that the set for the Trojan War gathered at Aulis. Chamber tombs at Trypa and Vromousa dated to the Mycenaean period were excavated by Papavasiliou in 1910. In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, colonists from Chalcis founded thirty townships on the peninsula of Chalcidice and several important cities in Magna Graecia, such as Naxos and Cumae. Its mineral produce, metal-work and pottery not only found markets among these settlements, early in the 6th century BC, its prosperity was broken by a disastrous war with the Athenians, who expelled the ruling aristocracy and settled a cleruchy on the site.
Chalcis subsequently became a member of both the Delian Leagues, in the Hellenistic period, it gained importance as a fortress by which the Macedonian rulers controlled central Greece. It was used by kings Antiochus III of Syria and Mithradates VI of Pontus as a base for invading Greece, under Roman rule, Chalcis retained a measure of commercial prosperity. The city is recorded as a city in the 6th-century Synecdemus and mentioned by the contemporary historian Procopius of Caesarea, the town survived an Arab naval raid in the 880s and its bishop is attested in the 869–70 Church council held at Constantinople. By the 12th century, the featured a Venetian trading station, being attacked by the Venetian fleet in 1171 and eventually seized by Venice in 1209. For Westerners, its name was Negropont or Negroponte. The town was a condominium between Venice and the Veronese barons of the rest of Euboea, known as the triarchs, who resided there. Chalcis or Negroponte became a Latin Church diocese, the first bishop being Theodorus, the Greek bishop of the see, a large hoard of late medieval jewellery dating from Venetian times was found in Chalcis Castle in the nineteenth century and is now in the British Museum.
The synagogue dated to around 1400 and that siege is the subject of the Rossini opera Maometto II. The Ottomans made it the seat of the Admiral of the Archipelago, in 1688, it was successfully held by the Ottomans against a strong Venetian attack. The modern town received an impetus in its trade from the establishment of railway connection with Athens. The old town, called the Castro, was surrounded by a circuit of defense walls until they were completely razed for urban development around the start of the 20th century
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in the Nevşehir, Kayseri, Kırşehir, and Niğde Provinces in Turkey. According to Herodotus, in the time of the Ionian Revolt, in these lists of countries, the Old Persian name is Haspaduya, which according to some researchers is derived from Iranian Huw-aspa-dahyu- the land/country of beautiful horses. Others proposed that Kat-patuka came from the Luwian language, meaning Low Country, subsequent research suggests that the adverb katta meaning down, below is exclusively Hittite, while its Luwian equivalent is zanta. Therefore the recent modification of this proposal operates with the Hittite katta peda-, Herodotus tells us that the name of the Cappadocians was applied to them by the Persians, while they were termed by the Greeks Syrians or White Syrians Leucosyri. Cappadocia appears in the account given in the book of Acts 2,9. The Cappadocians were named as one group hearing the Gospel account from Galileans in their own language on the day of Pentecost shortly after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Acts 2,5 seems to suggest that the Cappadocians in this account were God-fearing Jews.
The region is mentioned in the Jewish Mishnah, in Ketubot 13,11. This division had come about before the time of Xenophon. The kingdom of Cappadocia still existed in the time of Strabo as a independent state. Cilicia was the given to the district in which Caesarea. The only two cities of Cappadocia considered by Strabo to deserve that appellation were Caesarea and Tyana, not far from the foot of the Taurus, Cappadocia lies in central Anatolia, in the heartland of what is now Turkey. The relief consists of a plateau over 1000 m in altitude that is pierced by volcanic peaks. The boundaries of historical Cappadocia are vague, particularly towards the west, to the south, the Taurus Mountains form the boundary with Cilicia and separate Cappadocia from the Mediterranean Sea. To the west, Cappadocia is bounded by the regions of Lycaonia to the southwest. This results in an area approximately 400 km east–west and 250 km north–south, due to its inland location and high altitude, Cappadocia has a markedly continental climate, with hot dry summers and cold snowy winters.
Rainfall is sparse and the region is largely semi-arid, Cappadocia was known as Hatti in the late Bronze Age, and was the homeland of the Hittite power centred at Hattusa. After ending the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great tried to rule the area one of his military commanders. But Ariarathes, a Persian aristocrat, somehow became king of the Cappadocians, as Ariarathes I, he was a successful ruler, and he extended the borders of the Cappadocian Kingdom as far as to the Black Sea
Claudius Ptolemy was a Greek writer, known as a mathematician, geographer and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in the city of Alexandria in the Roman province of Egypt, wrote in Koine Greek, beyond that, few reliable details of his life are known. His birthplace has been given as Ptolemais Hermiou in the Thebaid in a statement by the 14th-century astronomer Theodore Meliteniotes. This is a very late attestation and there is no reason to suppose that he ever lived elsewhere than Alexandria. Ptolemy wrote several treatises, three of which were of importance to Byzantine and European science. The first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest, although it was entitled the Mathematical Treatise. The second is the Geography, which is a discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. The third is the treatise in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day. This is sometimes known as the Apotelesmatika but more known as the Tetrabiblos from the Greek meaning Four Books or by the Latin Quadripartitum.
The name Claudius is a Roman nomen, the fact that Ptolemy bore it indicates he lived under the Roman rule of Egypt with the privileges and political rights of Roman citizenship. It would have suited custom if the first of Ptolemys family to become a citizen took the nomen from a Roman called Claudius who was responsible for granting citizenship, if, as was common, this was the emperor, citizenship would have been granted between AD41 and 68. The astronomer would have had a praenomen, which remains unknown and it occurs once in Greek mythology, and is of Homeric form. All the kings after him, until Egypt became a Roman province in 30 BC, were Ptolemies, abu Mashar recorded a belief that a different member of this royal line composed the book on astrology and attributed it to Ptolemy. The correct answer is not known”, Ptolemy wrote in Greek and can be shown to have utilized Babylonian astronomical data. He was a Roman citizen, but most scholars conclude that Ptolemy was ethnically Greek and he was often known in Arabic sources as the Upper Egyptian, suggesting he may have had origins in southern Egypt.
Later Arabic astronomers and physicists referred to him by his name in Arabic, Ptolemys Almagest is the only surviving comprehensive ancient treatise on astronomy. Ptolemy presented his models in convenient tables, which could be used to compute the future or past position of the planets. The Almagest contains a catalogue, which is a version of a catalogue created by Hipparchus
Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, including its satellite islands. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality, the municipality has an area of 610.936 km2, the island proper 592.877 km2. The principal city of the island and seat of the municipality is named Corfu, Corfu is home to the Ionian University. The island is bound up with the history of Greece from the beginnings of Greek mythology and its history is full of battles and conquests. Castles punctuating strategic locations across the island are a legacy of these struggles, two of these castles enclose its capital, which is the only city in Greece to be surrounded in such a way. As a result, Corfus capital has been declared a Kastropolis by the Greek government. From medieval times and into the 17th century, the island was recognised as a bulwark of the European States against the Ottoman Empire, the fortifications of the island were used by the Venetians to defend against Ottoman intrusion into the Adriatic.
Corfu repulsed several Ottoman sieges, before falling under British rule following the Napoleonic Wars, in 2007, the citys old quarter was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, following a recommendation by ICOMOS. Corfu is a popular tourist destination. The island was the location of the 1994 European Union summit, the Greek name, Kerkyra or Korkyra, is related to two powerful water deities, god of the sea, and Asopos, an important Greek mainland river. According to myth, Poseidon fell in love with the beautiful nymph Korkyra, daughter of Asopos and river nymph Metope, Poseidon brought Korkyra to the hitherto unnamed island and, in marital bliss, offered her name to the place, which gradually evolved to Kerkyra. They had a child they called Phaiax, after whom the inhabitants of the island were named Phaiakes, Corfus nickname is the island of the Phaeacians. The name Corfù, an Italian version of the Byzantine Κορυφώ, meaning city of the peaks, derives from the Byzantine Greek Κορυφαί, the northeastern edge of Corfu lies off the coast of Sarandë, separated by straits varying in width from 3 to 23 km.
The southeast side of the island lies off the coast of Thesprotia and its shape resembles a sickle, to which it was compared by the ancients, the concave side, with the city and harbour of Corfu in the centre, lies toward the Albanian coast. With the islands area estimated at 592.9 square kilometres, it runs approximately 64 km long, two high and well-defined ranges divide the island into three districts, of which the northern is mountainous, the central undulating, and the southern low-lying. The more important of the two ranges, that of Pantokrator stretches east and west from Cape Falacro to Cape Psaromita, and attains its greatest elevation in the summit of the same name. The second range culminates in the mountain of Santi Jeca, or Santa Decca, as it is called by misinterpretation of the Greek designation Άγιοι Δέκα, or the Ten Saints
Eretria is a town in Euboea, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow South Euboean Gulf. It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC, mentioned by famous writers. Excavations of the ancient city began in the 1890s and have been conducted since 1964 by the Greek Archaeological Service and the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece. The first evidence for activity in the area of Eretria are pottery shards. No permanent structures have yet been found and it is therefore unclear whether a permanent settlement existed at that time. The first known settlement from the Early Helladic period was located in the plain, a granary and several other buildings as well as a pottery kiln have been found so far. This settlement was moved to the top of the Acropolis in the Middle Helladic period, in the Late Helladic period, the population dwindled and the remains found so far have been interpreted as an observation post. The site was abandoned during the Greek Dark Ages, the oldest archaeological finds date the foundation of the city to the 9th century BC.
It was probably founded as the harbour of Lefkandi, which is located 15 km to the west, the name comes from the Greek ἐρέτης, erétēs, and the verb ἐρέσσειν/ἐρέττειν, eréssein/eréttein, to row, which makes Eretria the City of the Rowers. Eretrias population and importance increased at the time as Lefkandi began to decline in importance from c.825 BC onwards. The natural superiority of Eretrias harbour and the importance of trade to the Euboeans is one explanation for this gradual population migration from Lefkandi to Eretria. The earliest surviving mention of Eretria was by Homer, who listed Eretria as one of the Greek cities which sent ships to the Trojan War, in the 8th century BC, Eretria and her near neighbour and rival, were both powerful and prosperous trading cities. Eretria controlled the Aegean islands of Andros and Ceos and they held territory in Boeotia on the Greek mainland. Eretria was involved in the Greek colonisation and founded the colonies of Pithekoussai, at the end of the 8th century BC, however and Chalcis fought a prolonged war for control of the fertile Lelantine plain.
Little is known of the details of war, but it is clear that Eretria was defeated. The city was destroyed and Eretria lost her lands in Boeotia, neither Eretria nor Chalcis ever again counted for much in Greek politics. As a result of defeat, Eretria turned to colonisation. She planted colonies in the northern Aegean, on the coast of Macedon, the Eretrians were Ionians and were thus natural allies of Athens
Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt, the earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC, Cyprus was placed under British administration based on Cyprus Convention in 1878 and formally annexed by Britain in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders, following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. On 15 July 1974, a coup détat was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis and these events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.
The Cyprus Republic has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus, as well as its territorial sea and exclusive economic area, another nearly 4% of the islands area is covered by the UN buffer zone. The international community considers the part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union. Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean, on 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone. The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th century BC Mycenaean Greek
According to Anthony Snodgrass, the Archaic period in ancient Greece was bounded by two revolutions in the Greek world. The Archaic period saw developments in Greek politics, international relations, warfare and it laid the groundwork for the Classical period, both politically and culturally. The word archaic derives from the Greek word archaios, which means old and it refers to the period in ancient Greek history before the classical. The Archaic period was considered to have been less important and historically interesting than the classical period. More recently, Archaic Greece has come to be studied for its own achievements, with this reassessment of the significance of the Archaic period, some scholars have objected to the term archaic, due to its connotations in English of being primitive and outdated. No term which has suggested to replace it has gained widespread currency, however. Much of our evidence about the period of ancient Greece comes from written histories. By contrast, we have no evidence from the Archaic period.
We have written accounts of life in the period in the form of poetry, and epigraphical evidence, including parts of law codes, inscriptions on votive offerings, none of this evidence is in the quantity for which we have it in the classical period. What is lacking in evidence, however, is made up for in the rich archaeological evidence from the Archaic Greek world. Indeed, where much of our knowledge of classical Greek art comes from Roman copies, other sources for the period are the traditions recorded by Greek writers such as Herodotus. However, these traditions are not part of any form of history as we would recognise it today, Herodotus does not even record any dates before 480 BC. Politically, the Archaic period saw the development of the polis as the predominant unit of political organisation, many cities throughout Greece came under the rule of autocratic leaders, called tyrants. The period saw the development of law and systems of communal decision-making, with the earliest evidence for law codes, by the end of the Archaic period, both the Athenian and Spartan constitutions seem to have developed into their classical forms.
The Archaic period saw significant urbanisation, and the development of the concept of the polis as it was used in classical Greece. The urbanisation process in Archaic Greece known as synoecism – the amalgamation of small settlements into a single urban centre – took place in much of Greece in the eighth century BC. Both Athens and Argos, for instance, began to coalesce into single settlements around the end of that century and these two factors created a need for a new form of political organisation, as the political systems in place at the beginning of the Archaic period quickly became unworkable. Though in the part of the classical period the city of Athens was both culturally and politically dominant, it was not until the late sixth century that it became a leading power in Greece
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, 88th-largest island in the world and the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete, the capital and the largest city is Heraklion. As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065, Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits. It was once the centre of the Minoan civilization, which is regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe. The island is first referred to as Kaptara in texts from the Syrian city of Mari dating from the 18th century BC, repeated in Neo-Assyrian records and it was known in ancient Egyptian as Keftiu, strongly suggesting a similar Minoan name for the island. The current name of Crete is thought to be first attested in Mycenaean Greek texts written in Linear B, through the words