Minoan Culture


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Minoan Culture

 

a highly developed Bronze Age culture that flourished on the island of Crete during the third and second millennia B.C., a variant of the Aegean culture.

The Minoan culture, named after the legendary King Minos, was discovered at the end of the 19th century by the British archaeologist A. Evans, who divided it into three periods: Early Minoan, Middle Minoan, and Late Minoan. Archaeological excavations unearthed cities, palaces (Cnossus, Hagia Triada, Phaistos, Mallia), harbors, farming settlements, and necropolises. The walls of the palaces and of some private dwellings were decorated with frescoes and reliefs. Among the objects found were pottery; copper and bronze tools and weapons; ornaments made of gold, precious stones, and faience; and figurines made of stone, clay, bronze, and ivory. The Minoan culture reached its zenith at about 1700 B.C. The population maintained close ties with ancient Egypt, Syria, Cyprus, Anatolia, and Greece. Both early hieroglyphs, dating from the beginning of the second millennium B.C., and the Linear A script, dating from 1600 B.C., have been found. Circa 1470 B.C., all the palaces of Crete were destroyed, most likely by an earthquake.

REFERENCES

Pendlebury, J. Arkheologiia Krita. Moscow, 1950. (Translated from English.)
Titov, V. S. “Voprosy khronologii srednego bronzogo veka Krita.” Arkheologiia Starogo i Novogo Sveta. Moscow, 1966.
Evans, A. J. The Palace of Minos, vols. 1–4. London, 1921–35.
Hutchinson, R. W. Prehistoric Crete. Harmondsworth, 1962.
Schachermeyr, F. Die minoische Kulturdes alien Kreta. Stuttgart, 1964. Hood, S. The Minoans: Crete in the Bronze Age. London, 1971.

V. S. TITOV

References in periodicals archive ?
With the elimination of the Santorini eruptions as the major culprit in the collapse of the Minoan culture, an alternative theory now gains support: The Minoans may have been conquered by members of the Mycenaen civilization that emerged on mainland Greece around 1600 B.
One of several forms of pottery which epitomises Minoan culture is the conical cup (Figure 2).
Excavations at Ayia Irini began in the 1960s and uncovered a major fortified Bronze Age town, strongly influenced by Minoan culture (Caskey 1971, 1972; Cummer & Schofield 1984; Davis 1986).
Buying into this lifestyle and participating in meaningful rituals may have fostered islanders' desire to create or possess a perfect copy of an item so closely associated with Minoan culture.
This woman-and-bull religion was also long-lived, the underpinning of Bronze Age religions across the Near East, as in Sumerian, Canaanite, Hittite and even Minoan cultures.