In Antiquity

Gurzufskoye Sedlo
"Ancient Chersonesos"of Strabo
"Another Harbor of the Chersonesites"
Kalos Limen
Roman strongholds
The Sanctuary on the Isthmus of the Saki Lake
Symbolon Limen

In the Middle Ages


"Ktenous" is an ancient name of what is now called the Bay of Sevastopol and a town on its coast. Ktenous was located not fare from another fortress, Eupatorion. In the late II century BC it became a place of a key-combat between the Hellenes and the Scythians, which episode was later described in the decree in honor of Diophantos and "Geography" by Strabo. "...There is a cape about fifteen stadia distant from the wall of the Chersonesites; it forms a very large bay that inclines towards the city. And above this gulf is situated a lagoon which has salt-works. And here, too, was the harbor of Ktenous… Besieged [there Greek] warriors... established a watch guard on the aforementioned cape: they fortified that place and filled up the entrance into the bay as far as the city, so that it was easy to go there by foot, and one city turned out from two somehow. From that moment it became easier to them to repulse the Scythians. When the Scythians attacked the wall built through the isthmus at Ktenous and started to fill the ditch up with straws... the warriors used to burn the built in the daytime part of the bridge at night, and they were withstanding the hostile pressure until they overcame..." (Strabo Geogr. 7. 4. 7).

There are several suggestions of where Ktenous was located. Sometime it is supposed to be at the source of the Bay of Sevastopol, near the emptying of Chyornaya ("Black") River. By the way, in the Middle Ages there was the fortress of Kalamita ("rushy") at this place, though according to Strabo the cunning Scythians tried to cover the ditch of Ktenous namely with rush ("straws"). As a matter of fact, this episode stood scholars in bad stead: sometimes the discussion on the location of the ancient Ktenous fluently turns to thinking of the most rushy place in the neighborhood of Sevastopol. In A. L. Berthier de Lagarde's opinion, Ktenous was the ancient name for the "whole northern coast of the Herakleian peninsula, from the lighthouse of Chersonesos to Inkerman". V. A. Anokhin hypothesized that Ktenous was located on a cape opposite to the modern Grafskaya ("Count's") Wharf in Sevastopol, which cape divides the Bay of Sevastopol into the Northern and Southern Bays.

However it might be, it is known that salt production was probably one of the professions of the dwellers of Ktenous. Strabo mentioned the neighboring estuary, where salt was mined. In the ancient period there were about a dozen salt lakes in the areas outlying to Chersonesos. In summer salt precipitated on the bottom of these ponds. They cut this accumulated salt, cleaned it of silt, washed it out, shovel it up in heaps, and took it out by boats. Mined this way salt was too dark. Supplementary cleaning was probably organized either in the town or in Chersonesos. Salt cost much on the Greece market, which is why it became one of the most important entries in the list of exports from Chersonesos.

© N. Khrapunov.

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