Online Encyclopedia

GORTYNA, or GORTYN

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 262 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GORTYNA, or GORTYN, an important ancient city on the with. By the end of 1718 it seemed as if Gortz's system could not go on much longer, and the hatred of the Swedes towards him was so intense and universal that they blamed him for Charles XII.'s tyranny as well as for his own. GOrtz hoped, however, to conclude peace with at least some of Sweden's numerous enemies before the crash came and then, by means of fresh combinations, to restore Sweden to her rank as a great power. It must be admitted that, in pursuance of his " system," GOrtz displayed a genius for diplomacy which would have done honour to a Metternich or a Talleyrand. He desired peace with Russia first of all, and at the congress of Aland even obtained relatively favourable terms, only to have them rejected by his obstinately optimistic master. Simultaneously, Gortz was negotiating with Cardinal Alberoni and with the whigs in England; but all his ingenious combinations collapsed like a house of cards on the sudden death of Charles XII. The whole fury of the Swedish nation instantly fell upon Gortz. After a trial before a special commission which was a parody of justice—the accused was not permitted to have any legal assistance or the use of writing materials—he was condemned to decapitation and promptly executed. Perhaps Gortz deserved his fate for " unnecessarily making himself the tool of an unheard-of despotism," but his death was certainly a judicial murder, and some historians even regard him as a political martyr. See R. N. Bain, Charles XII. (London, 1895), and Scandinavia, chap. 12 (Cambridge, 19o5) ; B. von Beskow, Freherre Georg Heinrich von Gortz (Stockholm, 1868). (R. N. B.) southern side of the island of Crete. It stood on the banks of the small river Lethaeus (Mitropolipotamo), about three hours distant from the sea, with which it communicated by means of its two harbours, Metallum and Lebena. It had temples of Apollo Pythius, Artemis and Zeus. Near the town was the famous fountain of Sauros, inclosed by fruit-bearing poplars; and not far from this was another spring, overhung by an ever-green plane tree which in popular belief marked the scene of the amours of Zeus and Europa. Gortyna was, next to Cnossus, the largest and most powerful city of Crete. The two cities combined to subdue the rest of the island; but when they had gained their object they quarrelled with each other, and the history of both towns is from this time little more than a record of their feuds. Neither plays a conspicuous part in the history of Greece. Under the Romans Gortyna became the metropolis of the island. Extensive ruins may still be seen at the modern village of Hagii Deka, and here was discovered the great inscription containing chapters of its ancient laws. Though partly ruinous, the church of St Titus is a very interesting monument of early Christian architecture, dating from about the 4th century. See also CRETE, and for a full account of the laws see GREEK LAw.
End of Article: GORTYNA, or GORTYN
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