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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

kret (Krete, ethnic Kretes, Acts 2:11 Titus 1:12): An island bounding the Aegean Sea on the South. It stretches from 34 degrees 50' to 35 degrees 40' North latitude and from 23 degrees 30' to 26 degrees 20' East long. With Cythera on the North and Carpathos and Rhodos on the Northeast, it forms a continuous bridge between Greece and Asia Minor. The center of the island is formed by a mountain chain rising to a height of 8,193 ft. in Mt. Ida, and fringed with low valleys beside the coast. There are no considerable rivers; the largest, the Metropole, on the South, is a tiny stream, fordable anywhere. An island of considerable extent (156 miles long, and from 7 to 30 miles broad), in several districts very fertile and possessing one or two good harbors, it seems marked out by its position for an important role in the history of the eastern Mediterranean. But never since an age which was already legendary when Greek history began has Crete occupied a dominating position among the powers of the surrounding continents. Internal dissensions, due in ancient times to the diversity of races inhabiting its soil (Eteocretans-the original inhabitants-Pelasgians, Acheans, Cydonians and Dorians), and in modern times to the fact that a large minority of the population has accepted the Ottoman religion along with Ottoman government, have kept Crete in a position of political inferiority throughout the historical period.

1. Early History:

Mt. Ida in Crete was famous in Greek legend as the birthplace of Zeus. The half-legendary, half-historical King Minos was said to be the son of Zeus, and to have derived from his father the wisdom to which, by a type of myth common in Greek lands, the constitution of the Cretan cities was ascribed. Minos was accepted as a historical personage by Thucydides and Aristotle, who say that he was the first dynast in Greece to establish dominion on the sea. One of his exploits was the suppression of piracy in Cretan waters, a feat which had to be repeated by the Roman Pompeius at a later period. Aristotle compares the Cretan institutions with those of Sparta; the island was said to have been colonized by Dorians from Peloponnesus (Politics ii.10). The most important cities in Crete were Knossos (whose palace has been excavated with fruitful results by Mr. Arthur Evans), Gortyna, near the Gulf of Messara, and Cydonia, with its river Iardanus. The excavations of Mr. Evans at Knossos and of the Italians at Phastos (near Fair Havens) prove that Crete was a center of Mediterranean civilization in an early age. In the Homeric poems, Crete is said to have contained an hundred cities; at that period the Cretans were still famed as daring sailors. In the classical age of Greek history they never held a leading position. They are mentioned chiefly as traders and mercenary soldiers, skilled especially in archery. During the Hellenistic period Crete remained free. Demetrius Nicator made the island his base of operations before his defeat at Azotus in 148.

2. The Jews in Crete:

In 141, the Cretan Jews were influential enough to secure the patronage of Rome. They were being oppressed by the people of Gortyna, and appealed to Rome, which granted them protection. In strengthening the position of the Jews, the Romans were copying the Seleucid policy in Asia Minor; both the Seleucids and the Romans found the Jews among their most devoted supporters in their subject states. This interference of Rome in the interest of her future partisans paved the way for her annexation of the island in the following century. From this date, there was a strong and prosperous body of Jews in Crete, and Cretans are mentioned among the strangers present at the Feast of Pentecost in Acts 2:11. Its alliance with Mithradates the Great, and the help it gave to the Cilician pirates gave Rome the pretext she desired for making war on Crete, and the island was annexed by. Metellus in 67 B.C. With Cyrene on the North coast of Africa, it was formed into a Roman province. When Augustus divided the Empire between the Senate and himself, Crete and Cyrene were sufficiently peaceful to be given to the Senate.

3. Later History:

They formed one province till the time of Constantine, who made Crete a separate province. The Saracens annexed Crete in 823 A.D., but it was recaptured for the Byzantine Empire by Nicephorus Phokas in the following century. From the 13th till the 17th century it was held by the Venetian Republic: from this period dates its modern name "Kandia," which the Venetians gave to the Saracen capital Khandax, and afterward to the whole island. After a desperate resistance, lasting from 1645 to 1669 A.D., Crete fell into the hands of the Turks, who still exercise a nominal suzerainty over the island.

4. Crete in the Old Testament:

In 1 Samuel 30:14 Ezekiel 25:16, and Ze 2:5, the Philistines are described as Cherethites, which is usually taken to mean Cretans. The name is connected with Caphtor and the Caphtorim (Deuteronomy 2:23 Jeremiah 47:4 Amos 9:7). The similarity between the river-names Jordan and Iardanos (Homer Odyssey iii. 292) "about whose streams the Kydones dwelt," has suggested that. Caphtor is to be identified with Cydonia; or possibly it was the name of the whole island. Tacitus believed in an ancient connection between Crete and Palestine; the Jews, he said, were fugitives from Crete, and derived their name Iudaei from Mt. Ida (Hist. v.2). Crete is mentioned in connection with the campaign of Demetrius Nicator, referred to above, in 1 Maccabees 10:67.


5. Crete in the New Testament:

Crete owes its connection with Pauline history to the accident of a gale which forced the ship carrying Paul to Rome to take shelter on the South coast of the island. In the harbor of Myra, on the coast of Lycia, the centurion in charge of Paul transferred him from the Adramyttian ship which had brought them from Caesarea, to a ship from Alexandria in Egypt, bound for Ostia with a cargo of grain. The fact that the centurion was in virtual command of the ship (Acts 27:11) proves that it was one of the vessels in the imperial transport service. Leaving Myra they came opposite Cnidus with difficulty, against a head-wind. The ordinary course from Cnidus in good weather was to steer straight for Cythera, but on this occasion the West or Northwest winds made this route impracticable, and they sailed under the lee of Crete, whose South coast would shelter them from a Northwest gale, and afford occasional protection from a West gale. They passed Salmone, the Northeast corner of Crete, with difficulty, and worked round the coast to Fair Havens, a harbor somewhat to the East of Cape Matala. The great Feast fell while they were at Fair Havens; in 59 A.D. it was On October 5, in the middle of the season when the equinoxes made sailing impossible. Paul advised the centurion to winter in Fair Havens, but the captain wished to reach Phoenix, a harbor farther to the West, where ships from Egypt were accustomed to put in during the stormy season. It was decided to follow the captain's advice; but on its way to Phoenix the ship was struck by a Northeast wind called Euraquilo, which rushed down from Mt. Ida. The ship was carried out to sea; it managed to run under the lee of Cauda, an island 23 miles West of Cape Matala, where the crew hauled in the boat, undergirded the ship, and slackened sail. On the fourteenth night they were driven on the coast of Malta, and wrecked.

The narrative does not state that Paul landed in Crete, but as the ship lay for some time at Fair Havens (Acts 27:8, 9) he had plenty of opportunity to land, but not to travel inland. The centurion gave him permission to land at Sidon. Paul left Titus in Crete (Titus 1:5); tradition made the latter its first bishop, and patron saint.

6. The Cretans:

Cretans were present, as noted above, at the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). Paul's estimate of the Cretan character (Titus 1:10-16) was the one current in antiquity. Paul quotes (Titus 1:12) a well-known line of the Cretan poet Epimenides (who lived about 600 B.C.) on the mendacity of the Cretans. The sentiment was repeated by Callimachus (Hymn to Zeus 8). Other ancient witnesses to the detestation in which the Cretan character was held are Livy xliv.45, and Plutarch Aemilius section 23.


Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of Paul; Ramsay, Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen, 320-30. On Crete in Greek and Roman times, consult e.g. Grote, Holm, and Mommsen. A succinct account of the prehistoric archaeology of the island is given in Burrows, The Discoveries in Crete, and Bailkie, The Sea Kings of Crete.

W. M. Calder

2914. Krete -- Crete, an island in the Mediterranean
... Crete, an island in the Mediterranean. Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration:
Krete Phonetic Spelling: (kray'-tay) Short Definition: Crete Definition ...
// - 6k

2996. Lasaia -- Lasea, a city of Crete
... Lasea, a city of Crete. Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration: Lasaia Phonetic
Spelling: (las-ah'-yah) Short Definition: Lasea Definition: Lasea, a ...
// - 6k

5405. Phoinix -- a Phoenician (an inhabitant of Phoenicia) ...
... a Phoenician (an inhabitant of Phoenicia), Phoenix (a city of Crete). Part of Speech:
Noun, Masculine Transliteration: Phoinix Phonetic Spelling: (foy'-nix ...
// - 6k

4534. Salmone -- Salmone, a promontory of Crete
... Salmone, a promontory of Crete. Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration:
Salmone Phonetic Spelling: (sal-mo'-nay) Short Definition: Salmone Definition ...
// - 6k

2802. Klauda -- Clauda, an island near Crete
... Clauda, an island near Crete. Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration: Klauda
Phonetic Spelling: (klow'-day) Short Definition: Cauda, Clauda Definition ...
// - 6k

2568. Kaloi Limenes -- Fair Havens, a harbor in Crete
... Kaloi Limenes. 2569 . Fair Havens, a harbor in Crete. Transliteration: Kaloi Limenes
Phonetic Spelling: (kal-oy' lee-men'-es) Short Definition: Havens. ...
// - 6k

2912. Kres -- a Cretan
... Cretan. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration: Kres Phonetic Spelling:
(krace) Short Definition: a Cretan Definition: a Cretan, an inhabitant of Crete ...
// - 6k

99. Adrias -- the Adriatic, the name of a sea
... Sea, to which it properly belonged, but also to the open Mediterranean to the
south-east of Italy, to the sea that lay between Malta, Italy, Greece, and Crete. ...
// - 6k

2957. Kurene -- Cyrene, a city in N. Africa
... Phonetic Spelling: (koo-ray'-nay) Short Definition: Cyrene Definition: Cyrene, a
district west of Egypt on the Mediterranean coast, forming with Crete a Roman ...
// - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
3731. Kaphtor -- probably a name for Crete
... 3730, 3731. Kaphtor or Kaphtor. 3732 . probably a name for Crete. Transliteration:
Kaphtor or Kaphtor Phonetic Spelling: (kaf-tore') Short Definition: Caphtor ...
/hebrew/3731.htm - 6k

Andrew of Crete
... Andrew of Crete. Andrew of Crete, so called because he was bishop of the island
of Crete, was born in Damascus in 660. He died about 732. ...
// writers of the church/andrew of crete.htm

St. Andrew of Crete
... St. Andrew of Crete. St. Andrew of Crete was born 660 AD, in the city
of Damascus. For the reason that he embraced the monastic ...
/.../brownlie/hymns of the apostolic church/st andrew of crete.htm

S. Andrew of Crete.
... S. Andrew of Crete. AD660 AD732. Andrew was born at Damascus, about the
year 660, and embraced the monastic life at Jerusalem, from ...
/...// of the eastern church/s andrew of crete.htm

Many of the Jews in Crete Embrace the Christian Faith.
... Book VII. Chapter XXXVIII."Many of the Jews in Crete embrace the Christian
Faith. About this period a great number of Jews who ...
/.../the ecclesiastical history of scholasticus/chapter xxxviii many of the jews.htm

The Epistle to Titus
... Instructing Titus to join him at Nicopolis after Artemus or Tychicus has come to
Crete, bringing with him Zenos and Apollos, the writer ends his letter with a ...
/.../drummond/introduction to the new testament/the epistle to titus.htm

He Next Says of Us, that "We Ridicule those who Worship Jupiter...
... He next says of us, that "we ridicule those who worship Jupiter, because his tomb
is pointed out in the island of Crete; and yet we worship him who rose from ...
/.../origen/origen against celsus/chapter xliii he next says.htm

... (7) "And having sailed slowly many days, we reached Cnidus with difficulty, the
wind not favoring us, and sailed under the lee of Crete, over against Salmone ...
/.../mcgarvey/a commentary on acts of the apostles/acts xxvii.htm

Additional Note on Apol. C. Arianos, 50.
... Cocras (2), Asapofebiae in Achaia (= Asopus), perhaps the Socrates' of (1); 25.
Cydonius (4), Cydon in Crete; 26. ... Eucissus (4), Cissamus in Crete; 35. ...
/.../athanasius/select works and letters or athanasius/additional note on apol c.htm

The First Successors of the Apostles.
... [606]. 6. Timothy, so it is recorded, was the first to receive the episcopate of
the parish in Ephesus, [607] Titus of the churches in Crete. [608]. ...
/.../pamphilius/church history/chapter iv the first successors of.htm

Pastoral and Personal
... He next probably visited Crete, where he left Titus (Titus 1:5). From Crete it is
thought that Paul went to Corinth (2:Tim.4:20) where he left Erastus and in ...
/.../sell/bible studies in the life of paul/study x pastoral and personal.htm

Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary

carnal; fleshly

Smith's Bible Dictionary

the modern Candia. This large island, which closes int he Greek Archipelago on the south, extends through a distance of 140 miles between its extreme points. Though exceedingly bold and mountainous, this island has very fruitful valleys, and in early times it was celebrated for its hundred cities. It seems likely that a very early acquaintances existed between the Cretans and the Jews. Cretans, (Acts 2:11) were among those who were at Jerusalem at the great Pentecost. In [Acts 27:7-12 We have an account of Paul's shipwreck near this island; and it is evident from (Titus 1:5) that the apostle himself was here at no long interval of time before he wrote the letter. The Cretans were proverbial liars. (Titus 1:12)

ATS Bible Dictionary

A large island, now called Candia, in the Mediterranean, originally people probably by a branch of the Caphtorim. It is celebrated by Homer for its hundred cities. Being surrounded by the sea, its inhabitants were excellent sailors, and its vessels visited all coasts. They were also famous for archery, which they practiced from their infancy. The Cretans were one of the three Grecian proverb cautioned-Kappadocia, Killicia, and Krete. In common speech, the expression, "to Cretanize," signified to tell lies; which helps to account for that detestable character which the apostle has given of the Cretans, that they were "always liars," brutes, and gormandizers, and Epimenides, and Cretan poet, described them, Titus 1:12,13.

Crete is famous as the birthplace of the legislator Minos; and in the Bible, for its connection with the voyage of Paul to Rome, Acts 27:1-44. The ship first made Salmone, the eastern promontory of the island, and took shelter at Fair Havens, a roadstead on the south side, east of cape Matala. After some time, and against Paul's warning, they set sail for Phenice, a more commodious harbor on the western part of the island; but were overtaken by a fierce wind from the east-north-east, which compelled them to lie to, and drifted them to Malta. Paul is supposed to have visited Crete afterwards, in connection with one of his visits to Asia Minor, 1 Timothy 1:3 Philemon 1:22. Here he established gospel institutions, and left Titus in the pastoral charge, Titus 1:5.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Now called Candia, one of the largest islands in the Meditterranean, about 140 miles long and 35 broad. It was at one time a very prosperous and populous island, having a "hundred cities." The character of the people is described in Paul's quotation from "one of their own poets" (Epimenides) in his epistle to Titus: "The Cretans are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies" (Titus 1:12). Jews from Crete were in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). The island was visited by Paul on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27). Here Paul subsequently left Titus (1:5) "to ordain elders." Some have supposed that it was the original home of the Caphtorim (q.v.) or Philistines.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
(n.) A Cretan
Crete (7 Occurrences)
... Jews from Crete were in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). The island
was visited by Paul on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27). ...CRETE. ...
/c/crete.htm - 19k

Phoenix (2 Occurrences)
... Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. PHOENIX. fe'-niks (Phoinix; the King James
Version Phenice): A harbor in Crete (Acts 27:12). The ...
/p/phoenix.htm - 12k

Caphtor (4 Occurrences)
... But the exact situation of Caphtor is unknown, though it is supposed to be Crete,
since the Philistines seem to be meant by the "Cherethites" in 1 Samuel 30:14 ...
/c/caphtor.htm - 11k

Titus (15 Occurrences)
... After this his name is not mentioned till after Paul's first imprisonment, when
we find him engaged in the organization of the church in Crete, where the ...
/t/titus.htm - 29k

Northeast (1 Occurrence)
... These words occur in Acts 27:12, "if by any means they could reach Phoenix, and
winter there; which is a haven of Crete, looking north-east and south-east ...
/n/northeast.htm - 8k

Caphtorim (3 Occurrences)
... 1. First Theory: Crete: The country and people whence came the Philistines (Genesis
10:14 = 1 Chronicles 1:12 (here the clause "whence went forth the ...
/c/caphtorim.htm - 10k

Adria (1 Occurrence)
... (Acts 27:27; RV, "the sea of Adria"), the Adriatic Sea, including in Paul's time
the whole of the Mediterranean lying between Crete and Sicily. ...
/a/adria.htm - 8k

Fair (147 Occurrences)
... A harbour in the south of Crete, some 5 miles to the east of which was the town
of Lasea (Acts 27:8). Here the ship of Alexandria in which Paul and his ...
/f/fair.htm - 40k

Sailed (28 Occurrences)
... had sailed slowly many days, and had come with difficulty opposite Cnidus, the wind
not allowing us further, we sailed under the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone ...
/s/sailed.htm - 14k

Havens (1 Occurrence)
... A harbour in the south of Crete, some 5 miles to the east of which was the town
of Lasea (Acts 27:8). Here the ship of Alexandria in which Paul and his ...
/h/havens.htm - 8k

Bible Concordance
Crete (7 Occurrences)

Acts 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

Acts 27:7 When we had sailed slowly many days, and had come with difficulty opposite Cnidus, the wind not allowing us further, we sailed under the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone.

Acts 27:12 Because the haven was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised going to sea from there, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, and winter there, which is a port of Crete, looking northeast and southeast.

Acts 27:13 When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to shore.

Acts 27:21 When they had been long without food, Paul stood up in the middle of them, and said, "Sirs, you should have listened to me, and not have set sail from Crete, and have gotten this injury and loss.

Titus 1:5 I left you in Crete for this reason, that you would set in order the things that were lacking, and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you;

Titus 1:12 One of their prophets has said, The men of Crete are ever false, evil beasts, lovers of food, hating work.



Crete: Character of the Inhabitants of

Crete: Visited by Paul

Crete: Visited by Titus

Related Terms

Phoenix (2 Occurrences)

Caphtor (4 Occurrences)

Titus (15 Occurrences)

Northeast (1 Occurrence)

Caphtorim (3 Occurrences)

Adria (1 Occurrence)

Fair (147 Occurrences)

Sailed (28 Occurrences)

Havens (1 Occurrence)

Shore (45 Occurrences)

Philistines (224 Occurrences)

Printed (2 Occurrences)

Phenice (3 Occurrences)


Southeast (2 Occurrences)

Salmone (1 Occurrence)

Sailing (23 Occurrences)

Haven (8 Occurrences)

Print (3 Occurrences)

Sail (32 Occurrences)

South (170 Occurrences)

Ordain (13 Occurrences)



Suffering (104 Occurrences)

Attention (236 Occurrences)

Wind (180 Occurrences)

Northwest (1 Occurrence)

North-east (2 Occurrences)

North-west (1 Occurrence)

North (164 Occurrences)

Unordered (1 Occurrence)

Unfinished (1 Occurrence)

Unsuitable (1 Occurrence)

Obtained (61 Occurrences)

Opposite (137 Occurrences)

Over-against (156 Occurrences)

Lieth (135 Occurrences)

Lasaea (1 Occurrence)

Lovers (57 Occurrences)


Lee (3 Occurrences)

Lacking (53 Occurrences)

Loosed (41 Occurrences)

Lasea (1 Occurrence)

Gained (66 Occurrences)


Gain (142 Occurrences)

Gotten (38 Occurrences)

Weighed (44 Occurrences)

Wintering (1 Occurrence)

Winter (22 Occurrences)

Wanting (27 Occurrences)

Incommodious (1 Occurrence)

Incurred (9 Occurrences)

Inconvenient (1 Occurrence)

Injury (21 Occurrences)

Isle (15 Occurrences)

Island (16 Occurrences)

Facing (79 Occurrences)

Favour (171 Occurrences)

Farther (33 Occurrences)

Tychicus (5 Occurrences)

Rhodes (2 Occurrences)

Reach (63 Occurrences)

Remains (118 Occurrences)

Require (46 Occurrences)

Escaped (94 Occurrences)

Establish (133 Occurrences)

Defective (2 Occurrences)

Disaster (131 Occurrences)

Different (87 Occurrences)

Direction (128 Occurrences)

Difficulty (12 Occurrences)

Direct (58 Occurrences)

Damage (57 Occurrences)

Mightest (21 Occurrences)

Majority (5 Occurrences)

Phoenice (1 Occurrence)

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