What Was Crete Called in Ancient Greece?

Crete is an island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, located south of Greece. In ancient times, this island played a significant role in the history of Greece and was known by different names.

During the Bronze Age, Crete was known as Keftiu or Caphtor. Ancient Egyptians referred to Crete as Keftiu and believed it to be one of the Aegean Islands. The Minoan civilization that flourished on the island during this time left behind many archaeological artifacts that give us insights into their way of life.

In ancient Greek mythology, Crete was known as Kourites or Aegaeon. The Kourites were mythical creatures who protected the infant Zeus from his father Cronus by clashing their swords together to create a loud noise that would drown out any cries from Zeus.

Later on, in classical Greek times, Crete was called Candia or Megalo Kastro. Candia was derived from the Latin word for “quince,” which grew abundantly on the island. Megalo Kastro means “Great Castle” and referred to the fortress built by the Venetians during their occupation of Crete in the 13th century.

During Ottoman rule, which lasted from 1669 to 1898, Crete was known as Girit or Kiridh. This name is still used by Greeks today when referring to the island.

In conclusion, Crete has had many names throughout history depending on who ruled the island at that time. From Keftiu and Kourites in ancient times to Candia and Megalo Kastro in classical times and Girit under Ottoman rule – each name reflects a different aspect of Crete’s rich history and cultural heritage.

  • Keftiu: Name given by ancient Egyptians during the Bronze Age
  • Kourites: Mythical creatures who protected infant Zeus in Greek mythology
  • Candia: Derived from the Latin word for “quince” during classical Greek times
  • Megalo Kastro: “Great Castle” built by Venetians in the 13th century
  • Girit: Name used during Ottoman rule and still used by Greeks today

Conclusion

In conclusion, Crete has had many names throughout history depending on who ruled the island at that time.