Ancient Cultures: The Minoans

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Crete,Persia,Greece,Turkey,Italy,France,Britain..what do all they countries have in common? well they were all ruled by the Roman Empire and not only that but some of the biggest empires have come from these countries. In this day and age empires are of course seen as a bad thing.But I like to think that for all their bad points there were at least some good points. Some of which have shaped our world today. Crete was home to the Minoan civilization which flourished from 2700-1450bc .Knossos which was excavated by Sir Arthur Evans in the early 20th century discovered a substantial palace along with frescoes in amazing detail. The legend of the Minotaur can be seen in images of Men jumping over bulls not to dissimilar from the sport seen in Spain today. It was clear that an important civilization had been discovered at Knossos and more excavations around the island produced more palaces. This has thus been interpreted as a society based around palaces. Knossos is such a mystical place the striking beauty of the palace as the sun shines off it and the sound of the birds give this place an unmistakable aura. The island of Santorini contained a Minoan settlement. It was here that a massive volcanic eruption occurred in the late Bronze Age which caused a massive tidal wave to hit Crete and thus destroy or damage many of the communities on Crete. This would of had an impact on the soil of the island and would have effected crops. This has been one of the theories as to why the Minoan Civilization fell. However communities do seem to have continued occupying some of the palaces such as Knossos. However there is another common theory for the Minoans demise that of invasion. The Mycenaeans who emerged in Greece in the late Bronze age around 1500 bc. They seem to have comprised of several cities containing an acropolis and fortified by walls.The main city was probably Mycenae and it may have been this cities inhabitants who invaded Crete. However their is no evidence that it was. However their is evidence in Crete of several palaces being burnt during this period. Which may suggest that warfare played a part in its demise. This brief description of them does not go into detail about their language Linear A I will leave to more experience persons to describe. Whatever the cause the Minoans demise they are now recognised by many scholars to be the first Western civilization and are therefore very important.


Author: Jeremy Hallatt


Above: Knossos palace , Crete


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