On several occasions I have examined, from the deck of an ocean steamer, the rugged southern slope of the ” White Mountains,” which form the western rampart of the Island of Crete. The 27th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles has made this cliff-bound coast more familiar than household words, yet scarcely any travellers have attempted to thread its mountain passes and mazy ravines. My interest was increased by the knowledge that this stronghold is the home of a sturdy race of mountaineers, who have held their own against all comers; and I judged, from the paucity of villages and the complexity of the ridges, that here, if anywhere, would be found the survivors of the wild goat, whose effigy is engraved on the most ancient coins found in the neighbourhood, as if to typify the untamable character of its inhabitants. The district is called Sphakia and Lakkoi, and the gallant Lakkiotes, from behind their natural ramparts, have many times in this century held at bay the organised forces of the Sultan.
As I write I fear the island is again stained with crimes which are worse than these. Thus it has ever been. It lies a tempting prize in the fair way of nations. The strongest seizes it, and holds his conquest by force, fear, and fraud; but revenge, if dormant, is never dead, and only awaits opportunity. Plenty is its heritage, but not peace.
Source: Edward North Buxton, Short stalks; second series, comprising trips in Somaliland, Sinai, the eastern desert of Egypt, Crete, the Carpathian Mountains, and Daghestan, 1895.
Featured Image: Baron Paul des Granges (French ?, active Greece 1860s), Canee [Canea, Crete], 1860s, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles