Ionian culture and art, though little known in their earlier phases, derive their inspiration on the one side from those of the old Aegean (Minoan) civilization, on the other from the Oriental (mainly Assyrian) models which penetrated to the coast through the Hittite civilization of Asia Minor.
-Minoan" Great " Minoan " palaces have been brought to periods.
" Minoan " towns, some of considerable extent, have been discovered at Cnossus itself, at Gournia, Palaikastro, and at Zakro.
This more primitive phase of the indigenous culture, of which several distinct stages are traceable, is known as the Early Minoan, and roughly corresponds with the first half of the third millennium B.C. The succeeding period, to which the first palaces are due and to which the name of Middle Minoan is appropriately given, roughly coincides with the Middle Empire of Egypt.
The beginnings of a school of wall painting also go back to the Middle Minoan period, and metal technique and such arts as gem engraving show great advance.
The succeeding Late Minoan period, best illustrated by the later palace at Cnossus and that at Hagia Triada, corresponds in Egypt with the Hyksos period and the earlier part of the New Empire.
In the first phase of this the Minoan civilization attains its acme, and the succeeding style already shows much that may be described as rococo.
Late Minoan art in its finest aspect is best illustrated by the animated ivory figures, wall paintings, and gesso duro reliefs at Cnossus, by the painted stucco designs at Hagia Triada, and the steatite vases found on the same site with zones in reliefs exhibiting life-like scenes of warriors, toreadors, gladiators, wrestlers and pugilists, and of a festal throng perhaps representing a kind of " harvest home."
Of the more conventional side of Late Minoan life a graphic illustration is supplied by the remains of miniature wall paintings found in the palace of Cnossus, showing groups of court ladies in curiously modern costumes, seated on the terraces and balustrades of a sanctuary.
In 1893, however, Arthur Evans observed some signs on scripMinot,an seal-stones from Crete which led him to believe that a hieroglyphic system of writing had existed in Minoan times.
It thus appears that a highly developed system of writing existed in Minoan Crete some two thousand years earlier than the first introduction under Phoenician influence of Greek letters.
There is evidence that the use in Crete of both linear and pictorial signs existed in the Early Minoan period, contemporary with the first Egyptian dynasties.
It is, however, during the Middle Minoan age, the centre point of which corresponds with the XIIth Egyptian dynasty, according to the Sothic system of dating, c. 2000-1850 B.C., that a systematized pictographic or hieroglyphic script makes its appearance which is common both to signets and clay tablets.
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.
The Minoan goddess is sometimes seen in her chthonic form with serpents, sometimes in a more celestial aspect with doves, at times with lions.
Although images of the divinities were certainly known, the principal objects of cult in the Minoan age were of the aniconic class; in many cases these were natural objects, such as rocks and mountain peaks, with their cave sanctuaries, like those of Ida or of Dicte.
A special form of this " baetylic " cult in Minoan Crete was the representation of the two principal divinities in their fetish form by double axes.
The discovery that the great Minoan foundation at Cnossus was at once a palace and a sanctuary of the Double Axe and its associated divinities has now supplied a striking and it may well be thought an overwhelming confirmation of this view.
It is difficult, moreover, not to connect the repeated wall-paintings and reliefs of the palace illustrating the cruel bull sports of the Minoan arena, in which girls as well as youths took part, with the legend of the Minotaur, or bull of Minos, for whose grisly meals Athens was forced to pay annual tribute of her sons and daughters.
It appears certain from the associations in which they are found at Cnossus, that these Minoan bull sports formed part of a religious ceremony.
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.
It is clear that the later traditions in many respects accurately summed up the performances of the " Minoan " dynast who carried out the great buildings now brought to light.
The appearance of ships on some of the most important seal-impressions is not needed, however, to show how widely Minoan influence made itself felt in the neighbouring Mediterranean regions.
Cretan enterprise in the days of the New Egyptian empire is illustrated by repeated finds of Late Minoan pottery on Egyptian sites.
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.
Similar evidence Early of Minoan contact, and indeed of wholesale colonization relations with from the Aegean side, recurs in Cyprus.
Turning to the mainland of Greece we see that the astonishing remains of a highly developed prehistoric civilization, which Schliemann first brought to light in 1876 at Mycenae, Minoan and which from those discoveries received the general influence on main= name of " Mycenaean," in the main represent a trans land of marine offshoot from the Minoan stock.
Remains both at Mycenae and Tiryns, still imperfectly investigated, show that this Cretan influence goes back to the Middle Minoan age, with its characteristic style of polychrome vase decoration.
The contents of the royal tombs, on the other hand, reveal a wholesale correspondence with the fabrics of the first, and, to a less degree, the second Late Minoan age, as illustrated by the relics belonging to the Middle Period of the later palace at Cnossus and by those of the royal villa at Hagia Triada.
In Crete, in the later period, when the rulers could trust to the " wooden walls " of the Minoan navy, there is no parallel for the massive fortifications that we see at Tiryns or Mycenae.
Minoan culture under its mainland aspect left its traces on the Acropolis at Athens, - a corroboration of the tradition which made the Athenians send their tribute children to Minoan influences Minos.
The Minoan remains at Orchomenus which are traceable to the latest period go far to substantiate the philological comparison between the name of Minyas, the traditional ancestor of this ancient race, and that of Minos.
Still farther to the north-west a distinct Minoan influence is perceptible in the old Illyrian lands east of the Adriatic, and its traces reappear in the neighbourhood of Venice.
These ancient indications of a Minoan connexion with Sicily have now received interesting confirmation in the numerous discoveries, principally due to the recent excavations of P. Orsi, of arms and painted vases of Late Minoan fabric in Bronze Age tombs of the provinces of Syracuse and Girgenti (Agrigentum) belonging to the late Bronze Age.
Some of these objects, such as certain forms of swords and vases, seem to be of local fabric, but derived from originals going back to the beginning of the Late Minoan age.
171), ascribes the eventual settlement of the Greeks in Crete to a widespread desolation that had Minoan fallen on the central regions.
It is certain that by crisis: the beginning of the 14th century B.C., when the signs c. 1400 of already decadent Minoan art are perceptible in the B.
The recent exploration of a cemetery belonging to the close of the great palace period, and in a greater degree to the age succeeding the catastrophe, has now conclusively shown that there was no real break in the continuity of Minoan culture.
This third Late Minoan period - the beginning of which may be fixed about 1400 - is an age of stagnation and decline, but the point of departure continued to be the models supplied by the age that had preceded it.
The third Late Minoan age corresponds generally with the Late Mycenaean stage in the Aegean world (see Aegean Civilization).
It is certain that towards the close of this third and concluding Late Minoan period in the island certain mainland types of swords and safety-pins make their appearance, which are symptomatic of the great invasion from that side that was now impending or had already begun.
It will be convenient here to give a general view of the more important Minoan remains recently excavated on various Cretan sites.
The successive " Minoan " strata, which go well back into the fourth millennium B.C., reach down to a depth of about 17 ft.
The palace was approached from the west by a paved Minoan Way communicating with a considerable building on the opposite hill.
Approached by the Minoan paved way has the appearance of a smaller palace (B.S.
Of the town, at a spot called Zafer Papoura, an extensive Late Minoan cemetery was excavated in 1904 (Evans, The Prehistoric Tombs of Knossus, 1906), and on a height about 2 m.
This monumental work seems to date from the close of the Middle Minoan age, but has been re-used for interments at successive periods (Evans, Archaeologic, 1906, p. 136 sqq.).
The Phaestian palace belongs to two distinct periods, and the earlier or " Middle Minoan " part is better preserved than at Cnossus.
It is evident that in this case also the palace was overtaken by a great catastrophe, followed by a partial reoccupation towards the close of the Late Minoan age (L.
On another a Minoan warrior prince appears before his retainers.