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, ancient city of Crete, on the north coast, near modern Iráklion. The site was occupied long before 3000 B.C., and it was the center of an important Bronze Age culture.
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(also Knossos), an ancient city in the central part of northern Crete, one of the most important centers of Aegean culture. The excavations conducted by the British archaeologist A. Evans from 1900 to 1930 revealed that the site of Cnossus was inhabited as early as Neolithic period. During the Early Minoan period (c. 3000–2800 to c. 2200–2000 B.C.) it grew considerably. At the beginning of the Middle Minoan period (c. 2200–2000 B.C.) Cnossus became the capital of a strong kingdom. The city reached its peak of development in the Late Minoan period (c. 1600 to c. 1470 B.C.), when its kings became the supreme rulers of Crete, a powerful early slaveholding state with a strongly centralized government and economy.
The palace of the rulers of Crete (its main part was built after 2000 B.C.; it was restored after the earthquake of c. 1470 B.C. but was again destroyed by a fire c. 1380 B.C.), the economic, administrative, and political center of Crete, was a colossal structure measuring about 16,000 sq m in area. Multistoried and with a complex layout, it comprised state apartments and residential quarters, a rectangular court, stairs, propylaea, the Hall of the Double Axes, a throne room with murals, spacious storerooms, workshops, paved courtyards, and drainage systems. Excavations unearthed tools, weapons, and household articles; the so-called archives of the Cnossus Palace were also found (tablets with Linear B, a syllabic form of writing). Other buildings excavated in Cnossus were the Little Palace, the Royal Villa, the caravansary, and the remains of dwellings of the first half of the second millennium B.C.
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Zlatkovskaia, T. D. U istokov evropeiskoi kul’tury. Moscow, 1961.
Evans, A.J. The Palace of Minos, vols. 1–4 and index. London, 1921–36.
Effenterre, H. La Crète et le monde grec de Platon à Polybe. Paris, 1948.
Pendlebury, J. A Handbook to the Palace of Minos, Knossos, 2nd ed. London, 1954.
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I. V. POZDEEVA