Roman period

Roman period


The Roman period of history in Crete begins in 67 BC, when the island was captured by the troops of Quintus Caecilius Metella. He managed to subjugate Crete with only three legions. Quintus was not just a talented commander, but also a brilliant diplomat. He skillfully took advantage of the internal disagreements between the cities of Crete, secured the support of the powerful Gortyna and quickly captured the island.


The Roman invasion of Crete was also no coincidence. He was led by a series of military clashes between Rome and the Kingdom of Pontus on the shores of the Black Sea in the first century BC. The Cretans actively supported the king of Pontus Mithridates VI Eupator, which was the reason for the invasion. In 74 BC The expedition to Crete was approved by the Roman Senate. However, the purpose of this expedition was not only the punishment of the Cretans, but also the eradication of piracy in the eastern Mediterranean. In those days there were numerous pirate bases on Crete, which had an extremely negative effect on the maritime trade of Rome.

Contrary to the expectations of the inhabitants of the island, the period of Roman rule had a very positive effect on Crete. Finally, internecine wars between independent city-states stopped. Many cities were rebuilt. Actively developed trade. The administrative center of Crete was the city of Gortyna, since it supported the Romans in the capture of the island. It was during this period that Gortina reached the peak of its power and development. Today, the archaeological zone of Gortyna is the largest in Greece.


In the middle of the first century A.D. (58 AD) the first Christian communities appear in Crete thanks to the Apostles Paul and Titus who visited the island. The first steps of the new Faith were difficult. The Romans persecuted Christians, organized public executions, the construction of temples was prohibited.


By the end of the 4th century A.D. The Roman Empire was in a state of deepest internal crisis, which ultimately led to the collapse of a huge state and the formation of two empires on its ruins: the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire, better known as Byzantium.


Since 395 A.D. Crete begins the first Byzantine period of history.


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