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Thread: Ancient Minoan Art and Architecture2640 days old

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    Default Ancient Minoan Art and Architecture






    Minoan civilization was a bronze-aged civilization that arose on the island of Crete and came to dominate the shores and islands of the Aegean Sea. The civilization flourished as a maritime power from approximately the 27th century to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century by British archaeologist Arthur Evans. Will Durant referred to this civilization as "the first link in the European chain."[1] Hominids first appeared on Crete approximately 130,000 years ago, during the Middle Paleolithic age. Axes, of the type that has been attributed to Homo erectus in Africa and which comprised local quartz rather than flint, have been found at Preveli Gorge in southern Crete.[2] Archaeological evidence points to the island's settlement between the late 8th and early 7th millennia BC.[3] However, it was not until 5000 BC that the first signs of advanced agriculture appeared. Minoan civilization is considered to have begun with the palace complexes that appeared in the Bronze Age. The relationships of the Minoans with the more ancient peoples of Crete are unknown.


    Overview

    The self-name of the people did not survive. It is often incorrectly asserted that Arthur Evans coined the term, Minoan. More relevantly, it is necessary to distinguish between the legendary and the archaeological civilizations. In the Odyssey, Odysseus says that[4] "[a]mong their cities is the great city Cnosus, where Minos reigned when nine years old, he that held converse with great Zeus, and was father of my father, great-hearted Deucalion."
    From time immemorial, "Minoan" has been used to refer to the legendary life and times of King Minos, and all persons, places and things that were associated with him. Until Evans, the myth was still being taken seriously. Chronological problems were solved by presuming, on no evidence, that Minos was a title; therefore, any Cretan king could be King Minos. Evans did as much as anyone to debunk the myth as serious history. When Evans went to work at Knossos, classics was still under the spell of Heinrich Schliemann, who had insisted that the archaeological remains of the swineherd's hut in the Odyssey could be located and excavated. For example, in his 1839 work, translated as The History and Antiquities of the Dorian Race,[5] Karl Otfried Müller referred to "the Minoan town of Cnossus," which was in one of the "districts inhabited by the Eteocretans." Müller's reference was entirely literary; he had no idea about the discoveries that would follow his death.
    It has sometimes been argued that the Egyptian place name, "Keftiu" (*Káftiu kftiw), and the Semitic "Kaftor" or "Caphtor" and "Kaptara" in the Mari archives refer to the island of Crete; "On the other hand some acknowledged facts about Caphtor/Keftiu can only with difficulty be reconciled with Crete," observes John Strange.[6] In the Odyssey, composed centuries after the destruction of the Minoan civilization, Homer calls the natives of Crete Eteocretans ("true Cretans"); these may have been descendants of the Minoans.
    Minoan anaktora palaces are the best known building types to have been excavated on the island. They serve administrative purposes as evidenced by the large archives unearthed by archaeologists. Each of the excavated palaces has unique features, but they also share features which set them apart from other structures. The palaces were often multi-storeyed, with interior and exterior staircases, light wells, massive columns, storage magazines, and courtyards.
    Since the Neolithic era, Crete stood in the middle of two cultural streams that lead to the west: the West Asian and the North African. It has been suggested that the Minoan people were not Indo-European, and that they could be related to the Pelasgians--pre-Greek dwellers of the Greek mainland and Western Anatolia.[7] For many centuries, Minoan Crete remained free from any invaders and managed to develop a distinct independent civilization, which was probably the most advanced in the Mediterranean area during the Bronze Age.[8][9] The Minoan script (Linear A) has not yet been deciphered; it could represent an Aegean language, unrelated to any Indo-European language.

    Society and culture



    Fresco showing three women who were possibly Queens.
    The Minoans were primarily a mercantile people engaged in overseas trade. Their culture, from 1700 BC onward, shows a high degree of organization.
    Many historians and archaeologists believe[who?] that the Minoans were involved in the Bronze Age's important tin trade: tin, alloyed with copper apparently from Cyprus, was used to make bronze. The decline of Minoan civilization and the decline in use of bronze tools in favor of iron ones seem to be correlated.
    The Minoan trade in saffron, the stigma of a mutated crocus which originated in the Aegean basin as a natural chromosome mutation, has left fewer material remains: a fresco of saffron-gatherers at Santorini is well-known. This inherited trade pre-dated Minoan civilization: a sense of its rewards may be gained by comparing its value to frankincense, or later, to pepper. Archaeologists[who?] tend to emphasize the more durable items of trade: ceramics, copper, and tin, and dramatic luxury finds of gold and silver.
    Objects of Minoan manufacture suggest there was a network of trade with mainland Greece (notably Mycenae), Cyprus, Syria, Anatolia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and westward as far as the coast of Spain.
    Minoan men wore loincloths and kilts. Women wore robes that had short sleeves and layered flounced skirts. These were open to the navel allowing their breasts to be left exposed, perhaps during ceremonial occasions.[citation needed] Women also had the option of wearing a strapless fitted bodice. The patterns on emphasized symmetrical geometric designs. It must be remembered that other forms of dress may have been worn of which we have no record.
    The Minoan religion focused on female deities, with females officiating.[35] The statues of priestesses in Minoan culture and frescoes showing men and women participating in the same sports such as bull-leaping, lead some archaeologists to believe that men and women held equal social status. Inheritance is thought to have been matrilineal.[citation needed] The frescos include many depictions of people, with the genders distinguished by colour: the men's skin is reddish-brown, the women's white.

    Language and writing



    Unknown signs on the Phaistos Disc.
    Knowledge of the spoken and written language of the Minoans is scant, due to the small number of records found. Around 3000[36] clay tablets have been found with the various Cretan scripts. Clay tablets seem to have been used from around 3000 BC or earlier. Two clay cups from Knossos have been found with remnants of ink; and inkwells, similar to the animal-shaped inkstands from Mesopotamia, have also been found.[37]
    Sometimes, the Minoan language is referred to as Eteocretan, but this presents confusion between the language written in Linear A scripts and the language written in a Euboean-derived alphabet after the Greek Dark Ages. While the Eteocretan language is believed to be a descendant of Minoan, there is not enough source material in either language to allow conclusions.
    The earliest writing found on Crete is Cretan hieroglyphic system. It is not known whether this language is Minoan, and scholars often debate its origin. These hieroglyphs are often associated with the Egyptians but also appear related to several other writings from the Mesopotamian region.[37] The hieroglyphs came into use from MMI and were in parallel use with the emerging Linear A from the 18th century BC (MM II) and disappeared during the 17th century BCE (MM III).
    In the Mycenean period, Linear A was replaced by Linear B, recording a very archaic version of the Greek language. Linear B was successfully deciphered by Michael Ventris in 1952, but the earlier scripts remain a mystery. The overwhelming majority of tablets are written in the Linear B script, apparently being inventories of goods or resources. Others are inscriptions on religious objects. Because most of these inscriptions are concise economic records rather than dedicatory inscriptions, the translation of Minoan remains a challenge.
    Unless Eteocretan truly is its descendant, it is perhaps during the Greek Dark Ages, a time of economic and socio-political collapse, that the Minoan language became extinct.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_civilization












    Last edited by Mister G; 2012-07-29 at 14:06.

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    Pictures of Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Knossos - Bull-leaping Fresco, Court of the Stone Spout, Minoan art






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    Palace of Knossos ruins

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    Last edited by Mister G; 2012-08-04 at 17:12. Reason: multiple pictures

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    it's cool how most of there deities were female

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    Minoan art and culture is beautiful indeed





    Last edited by brainblaster456; 2014-03-05 at 20:32.

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