The Classical and Roman Periods (500 BC-395 AD)

  During the Classical period (480 -330 BC) Rithymna (as it was then known) reached its height as an autonomous city state.  It was of sufficient importance to produce its own coinage.  Rithymna coins almost always depict Apollo or Athena on one side and symbols of the sea - such as tridents or dolphins - on the other.  Modern-day Rethymnon has retained the ancient motif depicting two leaping dolphins as a symbol of the town. - ElefthernaDuring the Hellenistic period (330 - 69 BC) Rithymna's significance as a city state apparently started to wane, probably due in part to the emergence of neighbouring centres in the region.  However, Rithymna still remained important enough to be mentioned by writers of the period.  The writer Claudius Aelianos (3rd Century BC) describes the temple of Rokkaia Artemis on Palaiokastro hill, Claudius Prolemos (2nd Century BC) and Plinios (1st Century BC) also describe the town.

The decline that had started during the Hellenistic period continued during the Roman period (69 BC - 395 AD).  By the end of the Roman period Rithymna was a small and insignificant village, being completely superseded by the flourishing centres of Eleftherna, Lappa, Sivritos and Axos.