As is known, the Cretans preferred to fight not on land, but on the sea. Nevertheless, frescoes have survived, depicting Cretan warriors very accurately. And according to their weapons, it is clear that they fought with the phalanx formation. Otherwise, why did they need long spears and such rectangular shields? But they also knew the eight-shaped shields, the drawings of which were found even in the Palace of Knossos. Characteristic weapons Minoans were also double-sided laborers axes. Figure J. Rava.
Tombstones of Cretan Warriors of the Achaean Conquest Period.
For example, the total amount of archaeological evidence suggests that women in ancient Crete occupied a very important, if not dominant position, primarily in the practical religion of the Minoans. Their main goddess was Potnia ("lady" or "mistress"). It is possible that she was only the female form of the male god Potidas or Potidan, after whose name the god Poseidon was later named (the Greek god closely associated with Crete in later times). The female form of Poseidon is also found in the name Posidaia. Another goddess was apparently named Diktinna ("Sweet Maiden").
They are found on Crete and such helmets and cuirass boots with an embryo. On the left are figures of horsemen. But this equipment is typical already for a relatively late stories Crete. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
A beautiful helmet, isn't it?
Largely based on what may be considered cult shrines and shrines, it was found that there were other goddesses - the goddess of caves, the goddess of trees, the goddess of pigeons, the goddess of serpents, but it remains unclear whether the Minoans worshiped them as individual, specialized deities or These were the hypostasis of one Great Goddess.
As soon as the piercing "rapiers" replaced the chopping swords, so the ancient Minoan culture faded. The squads of professionals replaced the army of peasants, who were easier to chop than to prick. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
Umbon Shield. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
The predominance of goddesses (or Great Goddesses) is confirmed by the dominant role of the priestesses in religious ceremonies and the presence of women in ritual contexts. Women are far superior in their number of male priests and male servants, for example, in paintings on four sides of the sarcophagus of Agia Triadha.
Since women played a very important role in Minoan society, a lot of women's jewelry is found on the island. Pin. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
Moreover, men are rarely found depicted in command positions, despite attempts to identify them on such frescoes. Even the male figure in Knossos, which Evans called the “king-priest”, is now considered to be composed of fragments of several different figures, that is, it is a reconstruction. The only thing that seems relatively proven is that one or more of the figures, of which he “molded” her, were men.
Images of women are more common than images of men in Minoan archaeological sites, both in Crete and in later excavations on the island of Thera (Santorini). Everywhere women on the frescoes are depicted either as separate figures or shown in groups.
Golden plaques. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
One of the most vivid images of the status of women in Minoan society is the famous "Toreador Fresco", in which young women, shown with white skin and dark-skinned men, engage in a dangerous sport, simply saying somersaults on the back of a bull.
Golden heads of bulls. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
Although it is difficult to understand exactly what these figures do: the context and their proximity to the bull clearly signify a game or ritual that demonstrates courage, dexterity and skill - qualities that in any other modern Eastern Mediterranean culture would be considered as being exclusively in the sphere of prerogatives of men. The fact that they are displayed on the frescoes by young women also indicates that on the ancient island of Crete women occupied a significant place in society.
Curled cats. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
As for farming, the Minoans raised sheep (which the Cretans are now doing, by the way!), Pigs, goats, sowing wheat, barley, peas and chickpeas. They cultivated such crops as grapes, figs, olives and poppy seeds (for the sake of seeds for baking, perhaps, but perhaps for the sake of opium production, who knows?). The Minoans managed to domesticate the bees, while today's Cretans successfully continue the ancient tradition of honey harvest and do not add sugar to honey! But lettuce, celery, asparagus and carrots still remained wild crops. Pear, quince and olive trees on the island also grew, and their fruits were very popular. The Minoans brought a date palm from Egypt and ... cats (most likely for hunting). That is why today Abyssinian cats are common in Crete. They are tall, with long legs, narrow-faced and with large ears. Very unusual color - longitudinal and not transverse, as we have stripes that resemble the pattern on the moire ribbon. They also took pomegranates from the Middle East, not lemons and oranges, as is often believed.
Rings. Some smooth. Others are richly decorated in the technique of grain and filigree. That is, the Minoans have already owned this technique. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
The Minoans very skillfully used the practice of simultaneously growing several crops at once. Theoretically, this method of agronomy allowed the soil fertility to be preserved and to protect any crop from low yields. The decoded linear letter B speaks directly to the importance for the Minoans of orchards (i.e., the cultivation of figs, olives and grapes), the products of which were processed.
Peasants used for plowing wooden plows connected by leather straps with wooden arms, which were harnessed to pairs of donkeys or oxen.
A jug with an octopus. This is not Crete, but Cyprus. But culture is one. Left anchor stones. (Larnaca Archaeological Museum)
Marine resources for the Cretans also had a certain value. So, among the seafood eaten mollusks and, of course, fish were eaten. But scientists believe that these natural resources, compared with grains, olives and animal products, were still not so popular. They varied the Cretan table, but no more. However, as now. That is, the sea was near, but the Cretans preferred to eat the gifts of land, not water. This is indicated by the construction of agricultural terraces and dams on the island of Psira in the Late Caribbean era. Labor they demanded a lot, but they were built. So - they saw in them a benefit to society.
Cretan table also included game. Cretans hunted wild deer and wild boar and ate their meat along with domestic cattle meat. They also made helmets from boar tusks. But today there is no such game in Crete.
The head of some beast. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
Minoans also traded saffron, as evidenced by the insignificant remains of a well-known fresco depicting saffron collectors on the island of Santorini. Alas, archaeologists are lucky to find much more durable objects of antiquity: these are characteristic ceramics, copper, tin, and impressive findings of gold and silver jewelry that are impressive with their luxury. But from the reserves of the ancient saffron, however large they were, absolutely nothing was left.
Fish tank. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
Products of the Minoan production diverged through established trade relations with mainland Greece, as well as with Cyprus, Syria, Anatolia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and lands to the west as far as the coast of Spain.
Since Crete is warm all year round, the clothing of the Minoan men (even warriors!) Had loincloths and short skirts. Women - dresses, with short sleeves and layered skirts with ruffles. Dresses of this type, like those of the Cretans, have never been found anywhere else. They were open to the navel, and left their breasts naked. Women also wore a strapless bodice. In the patterns on clothes, the emphasis was on symmetrical geometric patterns. Given the fragility of such an organic material as cloth, it can be assumed that there were other forms of women's dresses, but this still has no archaeological evidence.
Altar stone for the house. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
The first palaces in Crete appeared at the end of the Early Minoan period in the third millennium BC (Malia). Although it was previously believed that the construction of the first palaces took place at the same time and they all dated to the Middle Minoan period - that is, around 2000 BC (the date of the construction of the first such palace in Knossos), it is now generally accepted that they were built over a much longer period and in different places at different times. The main palaces are located in Knossos, Malia and Fest. Some elements of their architecture characteristic of the Middle Minor period (Knossos, Festus, and Mallia, for example) also occurred in the structures of the early Renaissance time. These include the multi-level western courtyard and the special decoration of the western facades. We see an example in the “House on the Hill” in Vasiliki.
The palaces simultaneously performed several functions at once: they served as administrative centers, served as temples, workshops and even warehouses in which stocks of olive oil and grain were stored.
Ceramic chests. Original, isn't it? (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
The architecture of the palace was characterized by such architectural features as: laying with white stone, columns extending upwards, open courtyards, “light wells” instead of windows, stairs and the presence of various reservoirs. The Minoans had running water and sewage systems in the palaces, as well as using bathrooms and swimming pools, that is, their physical cleanliness and waste disposal were at their best.
The later palaces were multi-storey buildings. For some reason, the western facades were built from white sandstone and the Palace of Knossos presents a vivid example. The palace architecture of the first palace period is defined by the square-squared style, while the structures of the second palace period are characterized by a much larger number of different interior spaces and many corridors.
Stunning jug size, right? And imagine that it is all filled with olive oil! Height of the girl standing next to the scale - 176, see. (Larnaca Archeological Museum, Cyprus)
Experts note that the overall architectural appearance of the palaces of the Middle Minor’s period depended very heavily on the surrounding area. In fact, the Minoans inscribed their buildings in the relief. Thus, the buildings of the Festus of this time were built in accordance with the relief of Mount Ida, and Knossa - of Mount Yukta.
Cretan civilization also gave us boxing. Young "boxers", Acroliti, 1600 - 1500 BC er (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)
Among the most significant contributions of the Minoans to the art of construction were a unique type of column, which at the top was wider than at the bottom. They are called “inverted” because most of the Greek columns are just wider below, which was done to create the illusion of their greater height. The columns were wooden, and, as a rule, were painted in red. But there were also black columns. They were placed on a round stone base and crowned with a round, “cushion-shaped” detail as a capital.
On Crete, also found a lot of buildings, called "villas". In fact, these were many times smaller copies of large palaces. These villas were often richly decorated (as evidenced by the frescoes of the villa in Agia Triad).
I had an interest in the Cretan ships for a very long time. Here is a page from the book For those who like to make crafts, published by Enlightenment, 1990, on which projections of a Minoan ship reconstructed from the frescoes found on the island are given.
There are several versions of the death of the Minoan civilization. So, between 1935 and 1939 for years, the Greek archaeologist Spiridon Marinatos hypothesized a Minoan eruption. This eruption that occurred on the island of Tire (or Santorini) was one of the largest among similar cataclysms in the history of Earth civilizations. There was an emission of about 60 km³ of volcanic activity products. Under the pumice layer were whole islands. Therefore, the eruption is believed to have seriously affected the Minoan culture of Crete, although the extent of this disaster is still arguing. A careful examination of the territory gave reason to believe that no more than 5 mm (0,20 inches) of ash fell throughout Crete. That is, it seems a little. But the tsunami caused by the eruption of Tire, destroyed a large number of Minoan settlements on the north coast of the island. Nevertheless, the Minoans civilization, although it suffered a heavy blow, but did not die. In the Late Caribbean period, the wealth of the burials did not decrease, although the influence of Knossos on the island declined.
But then came the Mycenaean conquest. Mycenaeans were a military civilization. In the burials found in Crete, Mycenaean armor and weapons were found, which shows the influence of the Mycenaean military culture after the eruption.
Some authors hold the view that the Minoan civilization exceeded the threshold of the assimilative potential of the environment. Deforestation for firewood for ceramic and metallurgical furnaces led to a shortage of water, and then also volcanic ash. The result was famine, mass death of the population and the invasion of militant newcomers from the mainland.