Our next port of call is the Cycladic island, Santorini. I’ve been fortunate to go there twice and I still remember how excited I was the first time I went. It was research for my series, Servant of the Gods, but it was so much more. I wanted to see Akrotiri, the Bronze Age city that was buried when the volcano erupted but unfortunately it was closed to the public. I was so disappointed. I had travelled from Australia specially to see it, and I never got to step a foot near the place. I did later hear when I returned to Perth that someone, a tourist, was injured at the site.
‘Empires inevitably fall, and when they do, history judges them for the legacies they leave behind.’ Noah Feldman
The Minoans left us with an enormous legacy, their extraordinary feats dazzle and confound us to this day. Yet in spite of their sea power, engineering marvels, sophisticated society and interactions with neighbouring and far-reaching civilisations, they could not prevent their eventual demise. Regardless of the multitude of times they rebuilt their mega cities, the Minoan race could not withstand the ultimate test of natural disasters and invasions.
Greece has over 3,000 islands, some inhabitable, most are not. Crete, the largest island of them all, had an advantage over the others with its vast cypress forest, most of which is gone today. Ship building began very early. There is evidence to suggest trade in the Aegean began as early as 6,800 BCE. Tools made from Melian obsidian (from the island of Melos) has been found on Crete and Cyprus. In prehistoric times, the islands were accessible by means of primitive boats due to the narrow sea passages and shallow gulfs (see article by Andrea Salimbeti). However, for the purpose of this article, I will be referring to ships most of us are familiar with, and those featured in the Akrotiri wall frieze.
Today I am posting something a little different from the usual articles.
As loyal followers of my blog, I want to share an exclusive preview with you for my book Search for the Golden Serpent. This is the first of a three part series.
Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to your comments on my book trailer.
Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet. Subscribe and receive a free PDF on how to survive 7th century BCE http://eepurl.com/brIbFf
Trade and economy is an essential part to all countries and especially for governments, even if they are mucking it up. The concept of trading is not new. Before currency was invented, people bartered. The problem with bartering was getting something of equal value. That was a skill that required making a person believe they really wanted the object or livestock. Does this ring any bells? The early forms of sales and marketing. The Minoans, like other ancient civilisations, were industrious and traded various goods.
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 social structure of the Minoans and evidence of, largely remained unexplored until later historians and archaeologists started to ask questions. Sir Arthur Evans didn’t delve into the functionality of Minoan society and left “gaps” in the historicity of the people. He did however provide enough fodder to satisfy the burgeoning interest at the time. His main attribution of information stemmed from the organisation of the Knossos Palace and those that were later discovered.
Determining a chronology for the Minoans was somewhat problematic as the script they left behind—Linear A—was and still is indecipherable. There was archaeological evidence to suggest Crete was occupied as early as the 7th millennium BC and bones of Neolithic inhabitation has been found. In order to establish a framework as to the development of the Minoans, Sir Arthur Evans, archaeologist and excavator of Knossos, used hand-made pottery to create a timeline. He divided the pottery into three eras based on the stylistic changes. This technique has enabled archaeologists and historians calculate the progress of all civilisations.
There were a number of distinctive symbols the Minoans cultivated that had significant importance in their rituals and way of life. These distinguishing elements were not unique to the Minoans, which distinguished historians have identified were more cross-cultural, much like the representation of the Mother or Earth Goddess. The origins and similar features are evident (see article by J. Alexander MacGillivray) yet the purpose of the Minoan symbols evolved according to their needs and religious tenets. The main icons were the labrys, the bull horns, bees, and snakes.
While researching for my series Servant of the Gods, I read articles and watched documentaries in reference to the origins of the Greek gods and goddesses. And while some originated in Ancient Greece, many of the divinities were “borrowed” from neighbouring countries such as Asia Minor, the Middle East and from the Minoans. But were the goddesses and gods of Minoan mythology a natural development or were they also taken from elsewhere?