CRISA, or Crissa, in ancient geography, one of the oldest cities of Greece, situated in Phocis, on one of the spurs of Parnassus. Its name occurs both in the Iliad and in the Homeric Hymns, where it is described as a powerful place, with a rich and fertile territory, reaching to the sea, and including within its limits the sanctuary of Pytho. As the town of Delphi grew up around the shrine, and the seaport of Cirrha arose on the Crisean Gulf, Crisa gradually lost much of its importance. By the ancients themselves the name of Cirrha was so often substituted for that of Crisa, that it soon became doubtful whether these names indicated the same city or not. The question was practically settled by the investigations of H. N. Ulrichs. From its position Cirrha commanded the approach to Delphi, and its inhabitants became obnoxious to the Greeks from the heavy tolls which they exacted from the devotees who thronged to the shrine. The Amphictyonic Council declared war (the first Sacred War) against the Criseans in 595 B.C., and having taken the town, razed it to the ground, and consecrated its territory to the temple at Delphi. The plunder of the town was sold to defray the expenses of the Pythian games. In 339 the people of Amphissa began to rebuild the town of Cirrha and to cultivate the plain. This act brought on the second Sacred War, the conduct of which was entrusted by the Amphictyons to Philip of Macedon, who took Amphissa (mod. Salona) in the following year. The ruins of Crisa may be still seen where the ravine of the Pleistus joins the plain; its name is probably preserved by the modern Chryso.

See J. G. Frazer’s Pausanias, v. 459 (note on x. 37.5). (E. Gr.)