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The Minoans (Lost Civilization)

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Minoan Civilization Origins

The most punctual towns seem to have grown around thousand years B.C. with no inundation of remote migrants.

They were little groups yet effectively rehearsing such expressions as the weaving and coloring of material.

A percentage of the earthenware demonstrates a style of line, regardless of the fact that its painted creation is not recognized.

The principal castles were constructed around 2000 B.C., and to that period ought to be credited the first gathering of settlements into frivolous states.

The royal residences were broken by a noteworthy seismic tremor around 1700 B.C., however were instantly revamped on a more fabulous scale.

They kept on prospering until around 1450 B.C., when a sudden debacle overpowered everything except Knossos. In the consequent Late Minoan II and III periods (1450–1200B.C.), it is currently accepted, the leaders of Crete were Greeks.

Anyhow, there is probably the prior dialect of the island was not Greek, however its affinities have not yet been dependably decided.

Notwithstanding conceivable parallels somewhere else, the way of life gives the impression of being an extraordinary, indigenous development.

The royal residence of Knossos was smoldered around 1380 B.C., and it was most likely never reconstructed on a vast scale, however the site kept on being involved.

The Greek period is not generally perceived as more than a period of the Late Minoan, however the warrior tombs, the throne room, and different elements at Knossos double-cross territory impact.

source wikipedia
source wikipedia

Still questioned is whether a Greek-talking populace survived the fall of Knossos.

There may have been a neighborhood restoration of Minoan society, yet in chronicled times just little ranges of the island held hints of non-Greek discourse.

Minoan Civilization Religion

The endeavor to reproduce religious practices and thoughts from structures and pictures is laden with threat, however a few derivations can be securely drawn.

Minoan locales typically don’t have separate structures identifiable as sanctuaries, however an inquisitive special case to this tenet has been found at the Minoan “settlement” on Keos.

Extraordinary rooms and zones of castles and vital houses were situated aside as holy places for custom purposes. Huge faction pictures are not regularly found, but rather again Keos is an exemption.

The most trademark religious images are the twofold hatchet and the U-molded “horns of sancification.”

Faction dolls, on the other hand, are copious. Numerous are rough and generally made of earthenware. The most well-known sort is of a standing female figure with elevated hands. A few dolls of fine workmanship demonstrate the goddess wearing the stature of Minoan style, holding a snake in either hand. Snake cliques made due into traditional Greece, where they were connected with the divine force of mending.

Outside the royal residences, religion spots were situated up in two sorts of area. High on the mountains, frequently on a prominent crest, little asylums were manufactured.

They were presumably involved just once per year for a celebration, similar to the cutting edge Christian sanctuaries in comparable areas. Offering-tables and containers found on these locales demonstrate that rural produce was offered here to the god.

Buckles likewise were dealt with as holy. Some of these, as well, were high in the mountains, yet a more open one at Amnisos close Knossos had a long history, accepting offerings from the Middle Minoan down to the established period.

Amid the Late Minoan II period Greek chronicles of Knossos record offerings of nectar sent to this hole for the goddess referred to the later Greeks as Eileithyia, the benefactor of labor. This cavern is said by Homer in the Odyssey.

Later convention told unusual stories of Cretan gods, particularly of a Zeus who kicked the bucket and was intermittently reawakened.

How a lot of these conventions was established on Minoan convictions is difficult to say. Obviously, when the Greeks assumed control Crete they assimilated the nearby cliques into their own polytheistic religion, recognizing Cretan gods with their own.

A painted sarcophagus from the Greek (Late Minoan) period has been deciphered as portraying the spirit’s trip to the next world and religious customs regarding the dead. Of course, such pictures give an impression that is just tempting, inasmuch as they can’t be connected with a composed content.

Minoan Civilization
Social Structure, Government, and Trade

The existence of major palaces is evidence for states large enough to require administrative centers, but their number implies that government was largely decentralized.

Evans regarded the size of Knossos as proof that its king exercised suzerainty over the whole island.

This theory is reinforced by the marked similarity in plan and construction of all the palaces. Yet this implies no more than a common architectural and artistic tradition.

Evidence for overseas contacts comes from the Minoan pottery found in many parts of the eastern Mediterranean. Whether the pottery itself was traded, or only its contents, is not always clear.

Some of the decorated vessels can only have been exported for their own value, but trade in olive oil, wine, and perfumes was likely.

Crete has poor mineral resources, and metals must have been mainly imported.

On the other hand, timber, which is now scarce, may well have been plentiful. Luxury goods such as gold and ivory were imported.

It can be proved that the raw material for some of the stone vessels made in Crete was brought from the mainland.

The Minoan Civilization at Knossos

source washington.edu
source washington.edu

Knossos was the capital city of Minoan culture that centered on the island of Crete.

The Minoan civilization at Knossos represented a cultural high point in the Mediterranean Sea. According to Greek mythology, it was the capital of King Minos and the home of the labyrinth.

Many details about the Minoan culture in Knossos remain lost to history. What is known about Knossos comes mainly from archaeological findings, specifically those of Sir Arthur Evans. During the Bronze Age, Minoan culture arose on the island of Crete.

Many Minoan cities along the northern coast and the mountainous interior were constructed beginning around 2000 BCE. The Minoan cities were built with few defenses, which indicated that the Minoans controlled the sea and depended on their ability to keep raiders from reaching Crete.

Commerce flourished at Knossos, and goldsmiths, sculptors, painters, and seal makers were patronized by the royal court and provided high-quality products. Minoan pottery and other artifacts have been found as far away as Egypt and Asia Minor. Knossos was largely destroyed around 1700 BCE, possibly because of an earthquake or tidal wave. The Minoans rebuilt the city only to see it destroyed again, possibly by the Mycenaean invasion ain the mid-15th century BCE.

The central palace at Knossos was determined to be more than 226,000 square feet in area. Archaeologists found that the palace was the center of royal power but that it also had religious and administrative facilities. The complex included approximately 1,400 rooms, plus courtyards and corridors.

The walls were faced with plaster or gypsum sheets and decorated with mosaics that emphasized animals, fish, and plants.

The most famous examples include blue dolphins and scenes of young men and women leaping over the horns of charging bulls.

The bull theme of the frescoes was repeated on many of the pillars, which had a horn-like taper toward the bottom.

Other architectural features of the palace at Knossos included light wells to provide natural lighting in interior rooms and large stairways.

At least some rooms served as bathrooms with functioning toilets and running water; the water was carried through sun-baked clay pipes.

There was also a sanitation system that featured an elaborate scheme of drains, pipes, and conduits. Reflective pools installed into the floors provided extra elements.

The Minoans of Knossos also developed an alphabet, now known as Linear A, from their earlier hieroglyphics.

The Phoenicians used the Minoan alphabet, and the Mycenaeans later adopted it as their first written alphabet, which became known as Linear B. After the Mycenaean invasion in the mid-15th century BCE, Minoan civilization declined, and although the Mycenaeans withdrew from Crete after several centuries, a unique Minoan culture no longer existed. Knossos continued to exist, albeit as an ordinary Greek city until Roman occupation, which lasted through the fourth century CE.

Minoan Civilization Art and Architecture

Minoan craftsmanship is portrayed by a flawless expectation consolidated with a perplexing formalism.

The nonappearance of point of view in painting gives a level impact, yet the human figures, monsters, and plants are rendered in precise subtle element. Plants or rocks have a tendency to be dealt with as components of a formal example.

Anyhow, creatures are regularly demonstrated in incredibly normal postures, no place more adequately than in the frescoes from Thera, where swallows are charmingly portrayed in flight, and a couple of gazelles pass on the elegance and supple development of the species.

All the essential structures of the later Middle Minoan and prior Late Minoan periods appear to have been adorned with extensive divider painted creations. They are normally called frescoes, however not entirely executed by the fresco strategy. They were painted on mortar, however at most destinations this has rotted and broken, so that the reproduction of a photo is troublesome and frequently theoretical. New revelations in Thera, of the most elevated imaginative quality, have incredibly expanded the current information of and adoration for Minoan workmanship.

The subjects of the artistic creations are differed. There are life-sized human figures—some in extensive ensemble, others inadequately clad for game. A tradition directed that men are demonstrated profoundly bronzed, while ladies, notwithstanding when occupied with games, are painted unadulterated white. Different scenes, for example, observers at diversions, are much littler in scale. Scene is spoken to, however regularly in a formal manner, with exceptionally shaded rocks speaking to mountains or with palm trees and a wavy blue band making a waterway scene. Various creatures are demonstrated, including numerous, for example, monkeys, that can’t have been local to Crete.

Minoan architecture lacks a sense of grandeur and organization. Even such a large complex as the palace of Knossos is more an agglomeration of units than a carefully planned whole.Its size is nevertheless impressive, approximately 150 by 100 meters (500 by 325 feet).

The characteristic feature of all Minoan palaces, which distinguished them from the mainland type, is the way they are built around a large rectangular central courtyard, which at Knossos measures 60 by 29 meters (197 by 95 feet).

Thus they are inward-looking, though windows on upper stories will have afforded views of the surrounding countryside. Shallow sunken basins in the interior of the buildings may have been no more than light wells.

But certain features of their construction are puzzling, and many scholars regard them as serving for ceremonial ablutions.

Water was supplied to the palace by underground channels, and the toilet arrangements were superior to anything known in the West before the 19th century A.D.

The walls were constructed of courses of masonry bonded and tied together by vertical and horizontal wooden beams. It is thought that the purpose of the design was to provide resilience against earthquake shock. Seismic damage is in fact detectable in the history of most sites. The wooden members, however, had the major disadvantage of exposing the building to a high risk of fire. The freestanding wooden columns had a characteristic shape: their capitals were larger than their bases, so that the columns tapered downward. There is no agreed explanation for this custom.

Little is known about town plans, since at most sites no more than a limited area has been cleared. The small town of Gournia is an exception, and here clusters of irregular houses are separated by narrow lanes. The area excavated at Thera shows complexes of upper-class houses with narrow, winding streets and minute squares. The most remarkable feature of Minoan sites is the absence of town walls or any other defensive fortifications. It would appear that the Minoans lived so peacefully that they could trust for defense to their sea power.

source biblicalarchaeology.org
source biblicalarchaeology.org

Minoan Civilization Daily Life

In the heat of an Aegean summer little clothing was needed, and people are generally portrayed as lightly clad.

Men wore a kind of kilt or loincloth, often with a prominent codpiece.

Complete nudity was rare in minoan civilization, though it can be seen in frescoes of young fishermen from Thera.

Women of fashion wore a kind of bolero jacket, leaving the breasts bare, and a long flounced skirt with a narrow waist. Cold-weather costume included tunics and cloaks.

Fish was an important part of the diet, as it still is in the Aegean area. Domesticated animals included sheep, goats, pigs, and oxen, but probably little meat was eaten.

Wheat and barley were the staple grains. Fruits included figs, apples, pears, and pomegranates, and olives were used both as fruit and for oil. Wine was made from grapes. Many spices seem to have been grown, with saffron a special crop, probably used mainly as a dye. Honey was used for sweetening.

Textiles were mainly of wool, though there is evidence of flax production too. In the Greek period a large textile industry flourished, and some of the elaborate fabrics no doubt were intended for export.

Metalwork was produced, and the existence of other crafts can be deduced from the luxury goods found. Agriculture, however, must have been the major concern of the people.

The existence of large, paved open spaces surrounded by shallow stepped banks indicates the Minoan love of watching entertainments, and one fresco shows rows of spectators.

The main sport that is known appears to have been a form of bull-baiting.

Acrobats, both male and female, are depicted leaping over a charging bull, turning a somersault in the leap.

The acrobats are unarmed, and nothing suggests that the bull was killed. The participation of girls in this sport is eloquent testimony to the emancipation of women.

Minoan Civilization Languages and Scripts

In the Middle Minoan period the pictorial symbols employed on seals, and called hieroglyphic after the early Egyptian script, were systematized to form a regular script.

This developed at the end of the period and in the Late Minoan I into a system known as Minoan Linear A, in which pictorial elements are reduced to outline patterns.

More than 100 signs were in use, without counting the frequent ligatures of two signs. They occur mainly in groups separated by small strokes.

In view of their number and evident connection with the Linear B script of the Mycenaean civilization, it can be inferred that most signs had the values of simple syllables, usually consonant plus vowel.

Other signs represented the people, animals, and commodities listed on the documents, and these signs are frequently accompanied by numerals, which have a simple notation on a base of 10. The signs are written horizontally from left to right.

source archaeology.org
source archaeology.org

The records are of two classes. Most are earth tablets, which were engraved with a sharp stylus while the mud was still wet, and afterward sun-dried. These were utilized to keep normal records, and no tablets so far known seem to contain constant writings.

Different items principally of a religious nature, for example, offering-tables—were now and then engraved. Here the signs were engraved on stone or metal.

These writings seem, by all accounts, to be dedicatory, and rehashing gatherings found in them may be the names of gods.

Since most of the signs have close parallels in the Linear B script, their phonetic qualities are prone to be comparative.

Anyway, however the significance of a couple words can be found from their utilization, the hidden dialect has demonstrated difficult to recognize.

A few researchers view the dialect as of Semitic sort, others as Anatolian, a branch of Indo-European.

In any case, no steady example has developed, and these cases must be dealt with as untimely. Nonetheless, it can unquestionably be attested that the dialect is not Greek.

The Phaistos Disk, from a Middle Minoan connection, is an extraordinary illustration of a generally obscure script. Every sign was inspired from a different stamp. It is conceivable that the circle was imported into Crete.


The disastrous ejection of the abundance of Thera, nearly 60 miles (100 km) north of Crete, must have truly upset the serenity of Minoan life.

The emission occurred while the Late Minoan IA style still prospered around 1500 B.C. The uncommonly rich settlement on Thera itself appears to have been surrendered at the first indications of volcanic movement, and presumably the starting death toll was moderately little. On the other hand, the emission would have produced an overwhelming torrent, or ocean wave, and harbors on the north bank of Crete and any transportation in them probably endured harm.

The aftermath of powder downwind from the cloud, which was anticipated into the upper air, probably been harmful to vegetation.Oceanographic examination has shown that the wind was northwesterly, so that focal and eastern Crete, together with Rhodes, would have endured extensively.

Then again, endeavors to characteristic the Minoan fall exclusively to this reason experience the trouble that the fundamental devastations in Crete fall toward the end of Late Minoan IB, or around after 50 years. Potentially the common calamities so debilitated the Minoan kingdoms that they were not able to oppose an intrusion of Greeks from the territory.

Around 1380 B.C. the royal residence of Knossos, which alone of the considerable castles still survived, was devastated by flame. Along these lines, Crete would appear to have part up into little free units.

At any rate some of these appear to have stayed under Greek principle, for containers bearing Linear B engravings found on the territory have been demonstrated to be of Cretan birthplace.

The last decrease of the Minoan human advancement happened about the 12th century B.C.

The later Greeks held no exact data about the Minoans.

They accepted that King Minos of Knossos had been the first man to establish a realm on ocean force, and extraordinary specialized accomplishments were connected with the name of his designer, Daedalus.

The Labyrinth that he should have fabricated at Knossos to contain the Minotaur, an impressive beast half man and half bull, remained the image of the traditional Greek Knossos and shows up on its coinage. A few researchers have felt that the Labyrinth is a befuddled memory of the many-sided quality of the Minoan royal residence arrangement.

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