One of the most notable features of Minoan civilisation was and is their artwork. The skills of the Minoan artisans were extraordinary. From the finest jewellery fashioned to the large wall friezes painted that allows us a glimpse of their life and culture. If it wasn’t for the artefacts archaeologists uncover, we’d know very little about the ancient civilisations and it is the sculptures, pottery, figurines, paintings and monolithic tributes that enables us to peek back in time.
When I first saw the 6ft plus pithoi in situ at the Palace of Knossos, my need and desire to learn as much as I could about this civilisation was whetted. The palace was my ultimate dream place to visit and a feature in the trilogy I am writing. But seeing the chambers where the pithoi were situated, followed by the re-imagining of the bull-leaping wall frieze and the royal chamber, was amazing.
I then went to the Iraklion Archaeological Museum and that was fantastic! This was where I first saw the small icons of the Serpent Goddess and the inspiration for my story. The small exquisite bee jewellery and delicate rings with tiny images etched into the gold. Various bull rhyton jugs and vases used in rituals and possibly human sacrifices. Large and small labryses, the word that gives us labyrinth. And a wonderful wooden sculpture of a Minoan youth in the act of leaping over a bull.
There were also the small clay tags written in Linear A, still to be deciphered, though I have been informed they are close to decoding this language. Sir Arthur Evans believed these “tags” were attached to goods, to keep records of items sold and purchased. A blog I follow by Richard Vallance, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae is a great resource, especially if you are interested in Linear B. He is, as is Rita Roberts, another blog I follow, are translating this language.
I love art and studied it for five years at high school. My only regret is I didn’t follow through to university. However, I can still admire and visit the wonderful museums that house these incredible and important works. Without them, we would not know the history of our world.
What do you think? Is art a useful medium to learn about history?
Thank you for your continued support and as always, I look forward to your comments and will respond.
Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet. Subscribe and receive her free short story at http://eepurl.com/bhESs1