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This page is part of the "tools" section of a site, Plato and his dialogues, dedicated to developing a new interpretation of Plato's dialogues. The "tools" section provides historical and geographical context (chronology, maps, entries on characters and locations) for Socrates, Plato and their time. By clicking on the minimap at the beginning of the entry, you can go to a full size map in which the city or location appears. For more information on the structure of entries and links available from them, read the notice at the beginning of the index of persons and locations.
City of southern Asia Minor, on a peninsula between the islands of Cos
and Rhodes (area 6).
Cnidus, a colony of Sparta (Herodotus, I, 174) founded in the XIIth century B. C., was one of six cities of Dorian origin in Caria (the province of southern Asia Minor in which they were located) that had gathered in a confederacy having its common sanctuary, a temple to Apollo, on the promontory on which Cnidus was located, named the Triopion. The members of the confederacy, aside from Cnidus, included three cities of the island of Rhodes : Lindus, Ialysus and Camirus, plus Cos on the island of the same name and Halicarnassus on the mainland north of Cos. Together they formed what used to be called the Hexapolis (in Greek, "the six cities"). Yet, Herodotus, who was born in Halicarnassus, tells us how, at some pont in time, his native city was excluded from the confederacy, which then became the Pentapolis (in Greek, "the five cities" : see Herodotus' Histories, I, 144). This group of Dorian colonies in Asia Minor was called Doris, in much the same way Ionian colonies in Asia Minor further north were called Ionia. But there wa also a province called Doris in mainland Greece, north of Delphi, and, in classical times, Dorians were primarily settled in most of Peloponnese.
After Harpagus, a general of Cyrus the Great, had subdued Ionia around 545B. C., he set about to invade Caria as well and the citizens of Cnidus tried to defend themselves by digging a channel at the narrowest part (less than a kilometer) of the isthmus leading to their city, but couldn't bring the work to completion and had to submit to the Persians (Herodotus, I, 174).
Cnidus was the location of a famed school of medicine that was surpassed only by that of Cos (birthplace of Hippocrates).
Cnidus was also the birthplace of Eudoxus, a pupil of Plato at the Academy who became one of the brightest mathematicians of ancient Greece.