The smaller of two Minoan snake goddess figurines The Minoans seem to have prominently worshiped a Great Goddess, which had previously led to the belief that their society was matriarchal.
The Minoan civilization of Middle to Late Bronze Age Crete, Minoan palaces after the legendary King Minos, presented a tantalizing mystery to the outside world even before Sir Arthur Evans began his excavations at Knossos just over years ago. The remains of this rich civilization include colossal labyrinthine structures which Evans originally called "palaces," and art works consisting of naturalistic, bold, and graceful depictions of lush landscapes, bull-leaping acrobatics, and bare-breasted women.
The fragmentary nature of the archaeological evidence, the selective emphasis on certain categories of evidence, several varieties of as yet undeciphered pictographic scripts, and various Greek legends that have filtered down to us over the past centuries, have heightened both fascination with and speculation about the Minoans.
Today, new discoveries, careful consideration of the existing evidence, and improved methods of analysis are giving scholars new insights into the function of the Minoan palaces. These current findings call into question the popular stereotypes of the so-called "peace-loving" Minoans and "warlike" Mycenaeans.
Recent research has determined that the Minoans did, in fact, build walls, and evidence for them has been found at Malia, Gournia, and at Petras. Because none of these walls forms a complete circuit, their Minoan palaces as a defensive feature has been questioned.
However, the labyrinthine architectural layout of the Minoan palaces and villas smaller elite residential structures may be seen as constituting an internal defense system.
Owing to this complexity, the outsider would have been confronted with a confusing and unwelcoming set of choices. What would the outsider have done if he saw seven doorways opening off of a single corridor or closed off the entire wing of a building just by closing a single door?
A scientific approach to studying Minoan architecture implies an explicit methodology Hitchcocksystematic observations, and quantifying specific types of architectural features.
Once a building has been analyzed, the problem becomes one of interpretation.
At this point, the study of anthropology becomes invaluable. Anthropological studies provide the archaeologist with many possibilities for trying to make sense of the Minoan past apart from imposing the cultural values of our modern, industrialized society on it.
The iconography from Minoan seals, sealings, and wall paintings provides another source of evidence for interpreting architectural remains. Themes and motifs depicted in Minoan art are both naturalistic and abstract. They include narratives, representations of ritual activity, landscapes, animal depictions, marine motifs, and geometric motifs.
Although Aegean frescoes are quite beautiful, it is generally agreed that they also had important symbolic significance. Frequently, Aegean frescoes work in tandem with the architecture to communicate meaning.
The meaning of such scenes is not always clear, and complex narratives, such as those found at Akrotiri in the West House or the house called Xeste 3 see belowhave engendered multiple readings accompanied by fierce debate.
The Emergence of the Palaces: The first palaces on Crete were built in the Middle Bronze Age ca. Their emergence, however, might be connected with the construction of well-built and visually impressive monumental tombs that preceded them.
Such tombs take various forms and have been located in eastern, southern, and central Crete. We can infer that the building of such tombs required an individual or small group of individuals to coordinate, oversee, and direct the actions of workers who constructed them. Amid the overall context of an emergent stratified society based presumably on trade wealth, these activities would have re-enforced the authority of the individuals in charge of the projects.
The daily repetition of the building and supervisory activities occurring throughout the construction process would have contributed to hierarchical relationships being considered routine.
The finished monument, in turn, became a highly visible and permanent symbol of authorities that were already in place.
In all likelihood, the elite groups in Minoan culture perhaps families were responsible for the construction of the first Minoan palaces.The early palaces were destroyed during Middle Minoan II, sometime before c, almost certainly by earthquakes to which Crete is prone.
By c, they had been rebuilt on a grander scale and the period of the second palaces (c–c) marks the height of Minoan prosperity. The Minoan civilization flourished in the Middle Bronze Age on the island of Crete located in the eastern Mediterranean from c.
BCE until c.
BCE. With their unique art and architecture, and the spread of their ideas through contact with other cultures across the Aegean, the Minoans made a significant contribution to the development of Western European civilization as it is known today.
The second palace, the remains of what we see today, was sophisticated by all means. It featured water and sanitation systems, painted plaster, beams to reinforce the masonry and even colorful wall art. / Photo by Suzy Guese, Wikimedia Commons As McEnroe astutely observes, the second palace at.
These palaces are the foremost accomplishments of Minoan architecture, unprecedented in their size and scale. The four major palaces we know of are Knossos (the largest), Malia, Phaistos, and.
The Minoan civilization was an Aegean Bronze Age civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands which flourished from about to BC, before a late period of decline, finally ending around It preceded the .
The most famous of all the Minoan Palaces is the Knossos Palace located in Heraklion on the island of Crete. For many people who visit Greece, this archaeological site is listed as a “must-see”.
However impressive it is, the castle is also in ruins because of a massive fire that destroyed its walls.