Ancient Rizinia, near Prinias

Ancient Rizinia was a city-state in Crete, near modern-day Prinias. It was a significant city in ancient Crete, as evidenced by its inclusion in the list of Cretan cities that signed a treaty with Eumenes II of Pergamon in 183 BC. Rizinia is also mentioned by Ptolemy in his “Geographia.”

The city flourished from the Geometric to the Hellenistic period, as indicated by the excavated monuments and epigraphic evidence. The city’s political system was unique, with the city being governed by the “kosmoi” and other officials appointed by the tribes and under the strict control of the people.

A large number of inscriptions have been found in Rizinia, including the famous “sacred law” of Dreros, the oldest legal code known to us. This code was compiled in the 7th century BC, a time when Greek cities were beginning to codify their laws into a kind of constitution.

In the 3rd century BC, Dreros was involved in the Cretan civil war, siding with Knossos against the neighboring cities of Lyttos and Milatos. The young men of Dreros swore an oath to fight Lyttos and Milatos while remaining on the side of Knossos. However, the Lyttians prevailed, and the city of Dreros was dissolved and is not mentioned afterward.

  • Construction Period: Geometric to Hellenistic period (900-323 BC)
  • Location: Near modern-day Prinias, Crete
  • Historical Significance: Significant city-state, member of the “Confederacy of the Oreioi,” unique political system
  • Current Status: Archaeological site with ruins from various historical periods
Dark ages
Classical period
Hellenistic period
Hike required

An easy hike from the paved road that connects Prinias to Ano Asites.


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