The Palace of Knossos would have to be one of the most amazing ancient sites I was fortunate to see. Built around 2000 BCE, and the largest of structures on Crete, it was the main power and pivotal centre of Minoan culture. The first palaces (Knossos, Mallia, Phaistos, Hagia Triada and Zakro) were destroyed by an earthquake circa 1730 BCE and rebuilt around 1650 BCE. The palaces withstood a series of earthquakes, and it wasn’t until the cataclysmic volcanic eruption at Thera and subsequent invasion of the Mycenaeans, that saw the demise of these extraordinary people and culture.
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.
The Minoans came from somewhere, the question was where? In 2013, examination of the DNA of skeletal remains answered the puzzling enigma that surrounded the origins of the Minoans. Prior to this discovery, Sir Arthur Evans, opined the Minoans had to have come from Egypt and who were exiled from their homeland.
According to legend, Atlantis was renowned for its buildings and unusual formation of the island. In his dialogue Critias, Plato goes to extreme lengths to describe features of the island and important buildings. Many of these mirror the island of Santorini and the palaces found on Crete. The skill of engineering and architecture of Atlantis and that on the two islands was superior. The palace at Knossos is an impressive site. Much bigger than I expected when I visited 11 years ago and walking along the old Royal roads that connected the many palaces on the island was an experience I’ll never forget.
Plato’s Atlantis was the precursor to his epic and quantifiable exposition The Republic, a discourse on the ideal society. How government should run, the election of public servants, the laws and the behaviour of its citizens—men. Women were mentioned but weren’t considered as major players in workings of the social order. So was Plato writing about a civilisation that once existed or did he make it all up to create a moralistic story? It is this driving quest that has stirred the imaginations of storytellers and historians for hundreds of years. Was Atlantis a real place?
Giving a name or title to something can either have you thinking about what it means or cloud one’s judgement. Doesn’t really matter as long as it makes sense to the person who named it. Regardless, I want to explain the title of my blog and what it means to me. I got the idea from Virginia at Poeta Officium in a comment she made in relation to her post.