Mtvciravpos, from Mivws, and Taupos, bull), in Greek mythology, a fabulous Cretan monster with the body of a man and the head of a bull.
The story of Talos, the Cretan man of brass, who heated himself red-hot and clasped strangers in his embrace as soon as they landed on the island, is probably of similar origin.
An alphabet of fifty-two letters, some presenting ancient Phoenician and Cretan forms, was found by Hahn in partial use at Elbassan and Tirana; its antiquity, however, has not been established.
A third curve, from the south-easternmost promontory of the Peloponnese through Cerigo, Crete, Carpathos and Rhodes, marks off the outer deeps of the open Mediterranean from the shallow seas of the archipelago, but the Cretan Sea, in which depths occur over 1000 fathoms, intervenes, north of the line, between it and the Aegean proper.
Many of the islands are of volcanic formation; and a well-defined volcanic chain bounds the Cretan Sea on the north, including Milo and Kimolos, Santorin (Thera) and Therasia, and extends to Nisyros.
His chief publications are: Cretan Pictographs and Prae-Phoenician Script (1896); Further Discoveries of Cretan and Aegean Script (1898); The Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult (1901); Scripta Minoa (1909 et seq.); and reports on the excavations at Knossos.
Her name has been explained as (I) "grain-mother," from 8na1, the Cretan form of "ECai, " barley," or (2) " earth-mother," or rather " mother earth," 86, being regarded as the Doric form of AI).
It seems to point to the supersession of a primitive local Cretan divinity by Demeter, and the adoption of agriculture by the inhabitants, bringing wealth in its train in the form of the fruits of the earth, both vegetable and mineral.
Pears, apples, quinces, mulberries an d other fruit-trees flourish, as well as vines; the Cretan wines, however, no longer enjoy the reputation which they possessed in the time of the Venetians.
The expansion of Cretan commerce has been retarded by many drawbacks, such as the unsatisfactory condition of the harbours, the want of direct steamship lines to England and other countries, and the deficiency of internal communications.
The countries which accept the largest share of Cretan produce are Turkey, England, Egypt, Austria and Russia.
This unhappy state of affairs was aggravated and perpetuated by the intrigues set on foot at Constantinople against successive governors of the island, the conflicts between the Palace and the Porte, the duplicity of the Turkish authorities, the dissensions of the representatives of the great powers, the machinations of Greek agitators, the rivalry of Cretan politicians, and prolonged financial mismanagement.
A long series of insurrections - those of 1821, 1833, 1841, 1858, 1866-1868, 1878, 1889 and 1896 may be especially mentioned - culminated in the general rebellion of 1897, which led to the interference of Greece, the intervention of the great powers, the expulsion of the Turkish authorities, and the establishment of an autonomous Cretan government under the suzerainty of the sultan.
In general the Cretan constitution is characterized by a conservative spirit, and contrasts with the ultra-democratic systems. established in Greece and the Balkan States.
The Cretan Church is not, strictly speaking, autocephalous, being dependent on the patriarchate of Constantinople.
The comparative evidence afforded by the discovery of Egyptian relics shows that the Great Age of the Cretan palaces covers the close of the third and the first half of the second millennium before our era.
In this, as in so many other respects, the old Cretan tradition receives striking confirmation.
According to the Cretan version preserved by Diodorus (v.
In 1908 a remarkable discovery was made by the Italian Mission at Phaestus of a clay disk with imprinted hieroglyphic characters belonging to a non-Cretan system and probably from W.
The evidence supplied by this and other Cretan sites shows that the principal Minoan divinity was a kind of Magna Mater, a Great Mother or nature goddess, with whom was associated a male satellite.
Under her native name, Britomartis (= the sweet maiden) or Dictynna, she approaches Artemis and Leto, again associated with an infant god, and this Cretan virgin goddess was worshipped in Aegina under the name of Aphaea.
It is noteworthy that whereas, in Greece proper, Zeus attains a supreme position, the old superiority of the Mother Goddess is still visible in the Cretan traditions of Rhea and Dictynna and the infant Zeus.
The story of the baetylus, or stone swallowed by Saturn under the belief that it was his son, the Cretan Zeus, seems to cover the same idea and has been derived from the same Semitic word.
Shrines of the Double Axes have been found in the palace of Cnossus itself, at Hagia Triada, and in a small palace at Gournia, and many specimens of the sacred emblem occurred in the Cave Sanctuary of Dicte, the mythical birthplace of the Cretan Zeus.
Actual figures of a monster with a bull's head and man's body occurred on seals of Minoan fabric found on this and other Cretan sites.
His legendary presentation as the " Friend of God," like Abraham, to whom as to Cretan Moses the law was revealed on the holy mountain, calls myths.
Cretan enterprise in the days of the New Egyptian empire is illustrated by repeated finds of Late Minoan pottery on Egyptian sites.
Objects of typical Minoan forms. Farther to the east the recent excavations on the old Philistine sites like Gezer have brought to light swords and vases of Cretan manufacture in the later palace style.
The principal Philistine tribe is indeed known in the biblical records as the Cherethims or Cretans, and the Minoan name and the cult of the Cretan Zeus were preserved at Gaza to the latest classical days.
1n Melos, also attest a growing influence from the Cretan side, which, about the time of the later palace at Cnossus, becomes finally predominant.
The colder winter climate of mainland Greece dictated the use of fixed hearths, whereas in the Cretan palaces these seem to have been of a portable kind, and the different usage in this respect again reacted on the respective forms of the principal hall or " Megaron."
This circumstance deserves attention owing to the special connexion traditionally existing between the Minyans of Iolcus and those of Orchomenus, the point of all others on this side where the early Cretan influence seems most to have taken root.
His name is preserved in the Sicilian Minoa, and his tomb was pointed out in the neighbourhood of Agrigentum, with a shrine above dedicated to his native Aphrodite, the lady of the dove; and in this connexion it must be observed that the cult of Eryx perpetuates to much later times the characteristic features of the worship of the Cretan Nature goddess, as now revealed to us in the palace of Cnossus and elsewhere.
The abiding tradition of the Cretan aborigines, as preserved by Herodotus (vii.
It will be convenient here to give a general view of the more important Minoan remains recently excavated on various Cretan sites.
It contained a shrine of the Cretan snake goddess, and was rich in minor relics, chiefly in the shape of bronze implements and pottery for household use.
The remains supply detailed information as to the everyday life of a Cretan country town about the middle of the second millennium B.
- Near the village of Psychro on the Lassithi range, answering to the western Dicte, opens a large cave, identified with the legendary birthplace of the Cretan Zeus.
Milchhdfer (Anfdnge der Kunst) had called attention to certain remarkable examples of archaic Greek bronze-work, and the subsequent discovery of the votive bronzes in the cave of Zeus on Mount Ida, and notably the shields with their fine embossed designs, shows that by the 8th century B.C. Cretan technique in metal not only held its own beside imported Cypro-Phoenician work, but was distinctly ahead of that of the rest of Greece (Halbherr, Bronzi del antro di Zeus Ideo).
The Dorian dynasts in Crete seem in some sort to have claimed descent from Minos, and the Dorian legislators sought their sanction in the laws which Minos was said to have received from the hands of the Cretan Zeus.
Under the Pax Romana the Cretan cities again enjoyed a large measure of prosperity, illustrated by numerous edifices still existing at the time of the Venetian occupation.
The remarkable remains recently brought to light on Cretan soil tend to show that already some 2000 years before the Dorian conquest the island was exercising a dominant influence in the Aegean world.
It is certain that at a very early period the Cretan cities were celebrated for their laws and system of government, and the most extensive monument of early Greek law is the great Gortyna inscription, discovered in 1884.
The origin of the Cretan laws was of course attributed to Minos, but they had much in common with those of the other Dorian states, as well as with those of Lycurgus at Sparta, which were, indeed, according to one tradition, copied in great measure from those already existing in Crete.'
It is certain that whatever merits the Cretan laws may have possessed for the internal regulation of the different cities, they had the one glaring defect, that they made no provision for any federal bond or union among them, or for the government of the island as a whole.
Indeed, the Cretan system, like that of Sparta, appears to have aimed at training up the young, and controlling them, as well as the citizens of more mature age, in all their habits and relations of life.
These Cretan institutions were much extolled by some writers of antiquity, but receive only qualified praise from the judicious criticisms of Aristotle (Polit.
- Cretan constitutional history may be said to date from 1868, when, after the suppression of an insurrection which had extended over three years, the Turkish government consented to grant a certain measure of autonomy to the island.
Eventually the Cretan chiefs invoked the mediation of England, which Turkey, exhausted by her struggle with Russia, was ready to accept, and the convention known as the Pact of Halepa was drawn up in 1878 under the auspices of Mr Sandwith, the British consul, and Adossides Pasha, both of whom enjoyed the confidence of the Cretan population.
A new factor now became apparent in Cretan politics.
The aim of the society was a war with Turkey with a view to the acquisition of Macedonia, and it found a ready instrument for its designs in the growing discontent of the Cretan Christians.
The forces of the powers shortly afterwards occupied Candia and the other maritime towns, while the international fleet blockaded the Cretan coast.
After the departure of the Greek troops the Cretan leaders, who had hitherto demanded annexation to Greece, readily acquiesced in the decision of the powers, and the insurgent Assembly, under its president Dr Sphakianakis, a man of good sense and moderation, co-operated with the international commanders in the maintenance of order.
On the 27th of April 1899 a new autonomous constitution was voted by a constituent assembly, and in the following June the local administration was handed over to Cretan officials by the international authorities.
Zaimis, as high commissioner, took the oath to the new constitution elaborated after much debate by the Cretan national assembly.
The first withdrawal of the troops (July 27), hailed with enthusiasm by the Cretan Christians, led to rioting by the Mussulmans, who believed themselves abandoned to their fate.