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The banner of Messara

Messara was a Greek region on the island of Krete in the 5th century BCE.

Named after the illuvial plain ruling the southern swathes of the region, Messara was the site of some of the most important cities of the Minoan civilization. Gortyn, which at the time of the Peloponnesian War was still a thriving city, served as the capital of the Greek islands, while Knossos, the ancient capital of the Minoans, laid in ruins.[1] Heraklion, once a harbor of Knossos, was still a bustling port-town by the time of the Peloponnesian War, as was Kydonia. Meanwhile, the Phaistos Village on the southern reaches of the region was struggling under the attack of bandits and Followers of Ares, as well as the Cult of Kosmos.[2]



In Greek mythology, Messara was wherein the baby Zeus was hidden from Kronos, his Titan father who had devoured Zeus' siblings.[1]

The myths surrounding the Minotaur were also born in what, by the time of the Peloponnesian War, was Messara. There were the stories of king Minos, his wife Pasiphae, the Kretan Bull, and the labyrinth, which was said to lie under the ruined Knossos.[2]

Ancient history

The Minoans made their home within the region in ancient past, building their mightiest city, Knossos, atop an even older place.[2]

5th century BCE

In the 5th century BCE, Messara had become its own state, with a banner of its own. Though neighbor of Pephka, the two were largely amicable towards each other.[2]

During the Peloponnesian War, Messara was ruled by an ally of the Cult of Kosmos. The man was proud of both his alliance as well as the fact that his son was a rising member of one of the many branches of the Cult.[3] However, the man's rule came to an end following the plot by Ptolemaios, a statesman in Gortyn. He hired the visiting Spartan misthios Kassandra to weaken the leader, and ultimately kill him.[4]


Like Pephka, Messaran landscape was ruled by dust and struggling vegetation, with occasional spots of tough greenery, and rocky cliffs cracked by the blazing sun.[2]

Separated into five regions of Fertile Battleground, Little Egypt, Minos' Legacy, Octopus Bay, and Zeus' Playground, Messara was the largest plain on the island of Krete.[5]

Culture and economy

The banner of Messara reflected, like a number of other things in the region, their history. Featuring a stylized map of the fabled labyrinth designed by Daidalos, the image also adorned Messaran coins.[5]

Behind the scenes

The emblem of Messara, the stylized map of the labyrinth, also featured on the finery of the pirate ship Iapetos in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey.

Ubisoft has had trouble with the similarity between 'Messara' and 'Messenia'. All images of the Minotaur for example are tagged to be in Messenia instead of Messara in the Photo Mode. The Bandit Lord Helmet's description also confuses the two, claiming that Captain Diokles "won't be terrorizing Messenia anymore."

While in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, Messara is given the epithet "Triumph of Theseus", on Ubisoft's own site, the region's epithet is given as "Zeus' Playground".[1]