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

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