Home >> Cyclopedia Of Biblical Literature >> Parthia to Poet >> Phenice

Phenice

island, harbour, winds, crete and bay

PHENICE Phanice), or properly Phce nix, a town and harbour in the island of Crete, which the vessel in which the Apostle Paul sailed was attempting to reach when driven away by the euroclydon and wrecked (Acts xxvii. 12). The harbour or haven' (Xzwi)p) is described by Luke as looking down the south-west and north-west winds' (PX6rovra Kara X1(3a sal Kara that is, in the direction towards which these winds blow. This interpretation has been disputed. The A. V. has, and lieth toward the south-west and north west ;' but Mr. Smith has shown that Karci in con nection with winds means in the same direction as.' Hence f3Vrovra card Xipa does not mean, as is generally supposed, that the haven looked to the point from which the Libs blows, but to the point towards which it blows. Consequently, the haven looked towards the north-east and the south-east (Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul, p. 86, seq., 21.1. ed.) In this rendering Mr. Smith is sus tained by ancient authorities, and also by some of the best modern critics (Alford, ad loc. ; Cony beare and Howson, Life of St. Paul, ii. 334, note. See, however, for contrary opinion, Hacket on Acts, ad loc.) The site of the town and harbour of Phoenix is now satisfactorily identified. Strabo locates it on the southern coast, at the narrowest part of the island (x. 4, p. 475). Hierocles identifies it with A radena, and seems to place it opposite the island of Clauda (Vet. Rom. ltin., ed. Wessel., p. 650, 65r) ; and Stephen of Byzantium identifies Ara dena and Acropolis (s. v.) On the south coast of Crete, at the narrowest part of the island, and op posite the island of Clauda, is the harbour of Lutro.

It is open to the east ; but, as a little island lies almost in front of it, it has two entrances, one look ing to the north-east (Kara Xfpa), and the other to the south-east (Kara, 262y)ov). The harbour thus perfectly accords with the description of the sacred writer. It is thus described by Captain Spratt : Having in 1853 examined generally the south coast of Crete, I was fully convinced that Lutro was the Phenice of St. Paul, for it is the only bay to the westward of Fair Havens in which a vessel of any size could find any shelter during the winter months. By hauling inside the island, and securing to the south shore of the bay, a vessel is nearly land-locked. South-east and east winds only could endanger her ; but with the former, where the fetch is greatest, the wind would not blow home against such a mountain as the White Mountains, so im mediately over the bay, and rising to an elevation of 900o feet' (Smith, p. 89). Mr. Brown, who since visited it, adds : It is the only secure har bour, in all winds, on the south coast of Crete' (Id., p. 256, where a sketch-plan of the harbour is given. See also a plan in Conybeare and Howson, ii. 332). This identification is fully confirmed by the researches of Mr. Pashley in Crete, ii. 257), who discovered, a short distance above Lutro, a village called Acropolis (' upper city'), and another near it called Aradhena. These facts, taken in connection with the statements of Hiero cies and Stephen Byz., leave it beyond doubt that the bay of Lutro is identical with the ancient haven of Phenice.'—J. L. P.