It is as yet difficult to determine the part which Rhodes played in prehistoric days during the naval predominance of the neighbouring island of Crete; but archaeological remains dating from the later Minoan age prove that the early Aegean culture maintained itself there comparatively unimpaired until the historic period.
-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.
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.
During the Third Middle Minoan period, the lower limits of which approach 1600 B.C., this pictographic script finally gives way to a still more developed linear system - which is itself divided into an earlier and a later class.
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.
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.
In a deposit at Kahun, belonging to Early the XIIth Dynasty, c. 2000 B.C., were already found E relations imported polychrome vases of " Middle Minoan " with fabric. In the same way the important part played by Egypt.
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.
Similar evidence Early of Minoan contact, and indeed of wholesale colonization relations with from the Aegean side, recurs in Cyprus.
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.
The leading characteristics of this mainland civilization are thus indistinguishable from the Minoan.
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.
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.
Principal Minoan Sites.
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.
The traces of an earlier " Middle Minoan " palace beneath the later floor-levels are most visible on the east side, with splendid ceramic remains.
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.).
Pernier have brought to light another Minoan palace, much resembling on a somewhat smaller scale that of Cnossus.
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.
In contrast to the palace of Phaestus, the contents of the royal villa proved exceptionally rich, and derive a special interest from the fact that the catastrophe which overwhelmed the building belongs to a somewhat earlier part of the Late Minoan age than that which overwhelmed Cnossus and Phaestus.
Both the signet types and the other objects of art here discovered display the fresh naturalism that characterizes in a special way the first Late Minoan period.
On another a Minoan warrior prince appears before his retainers.
The chest is of limestone coated with stucco, adorned with life-like paintings of offertory scenes in connexion with the sacred Double Axes of Minoan cult.
There halve also come to light remains of a great domed mortuary chamber of primitive construction containing relics of the Early Minoan period (Halbherr, Monumenti Antichi, xiii.
- Near this village, lying on the easternmost coast of Crete, the British School at Athens has excavated a section of a considerable Minoan town.
Among the more interesting relics found were ivory figures of Egyptian or strongly Egyptianizing fabric. On an adjacent hill were the remains of what seems to have been in later times a temple of the Dictaean Zeus, and from the occurrence of rich deposits of Minoan vases and sacrificial remains at a lower level, the religious tradition represented by the later temple seems to go back to prehistoric times.
On the neighbouring height of Petsofa, by a rock-shelter, remains of another interesting shrine were brought to light dating from the Middle Minoan period, and containing interesting votive offerings of terra-cotta, many of them apparently relating to cures or to the warding off of disea..es (R.
Near this hamlet on the coast of the Gulf of Mirabello in east Crete,t he American archaeologist MissHarriet Boyd hasexcavated a great part of another Minoan town.
Seager, an American explorer, has found striking remains of flourishing Minoan settlements.
The contents of a series of tombs at Mochlos throw an entirely new light on the civilization of the Early Minoan age.
The above summary gives, indeed, a very imperfect idea of the extent to which the remains of the great Minoan civilization are spread throughout the island.
The period of decline referred to above (Late Minoan III.), which begins about the beginning of the 14th century before our era, must, from the abundance of its remains, have been of considerable duration.
The Keftiu who represented Minoan culture in Egypt in the concluding period of the Cnossian palace (Late Minoan II.) cease to appear on Egyptian monuments towards the end of the XVIIIth Dynasty (c. 1350 B.C.), and their place is taken by the "Peoples of the Sea."
Greek About the same time the evidences of imports of settle- Late Minoan or " Mycenaean " fabrics in Egypt ments in definitely cease.
A new geometrical style of decoration like that of contemporary Greece largely supplants the Minoan models.
Coin Catalogue, Crete, &c.; P. Gardner, The Types of Greek Coins), which during the good period display a peculiarly picturesque artistic style distinct from that of the rest of the Greek world, and sometimes indicative of a revival of Minoan types.
To this civilization as a whole it is convenient to give the name "Minoan," and the name of Minos itself may be reasonably thought to cover a dynastic even more than a personal significance in much the same way as such historic terms as "Pharaoh" or "Caesar."
The archaeological evidence outside Crete points to the actual existence of Minoan plantations as far afield on one side as Sicily and on the other as the coast of Canaan.
Industrial relations with Egypt are also marked by the occurrence of a series of finds of pottery and other objects of Minoan fabric among the remains of the XVIIIth, XIIth and even earlier dynasties, while the same seafaring enterprise brought Egyptian fabrics to Crete from the times of the first Pharaohs.
Even in the Homeric poems, which belong to an age when the great Minoan civilization was already decadent, the Cretans appear as the only Greek people who attempted to compete with the Phoenicians as bold and adventurous navigators.
4.-Middle Minoan Vase, Cnossus.
(4) Commerce was practised to some extent in very early times, as is proved by the distribution of Melian obsidian over all the Aegean area and by the Nilotic influence on early Minoan art.
We are now in the beginning of the Bronze Age, and the first of Evans's "Minoan" periods (see Crete).
The important point is this, that throughout the nine Cnossian periods, following the Neolithic Age (named by Evans, "Minoan I.
These northern "megara" are all of late date, none being prior to Minoan III.
The most that can be said to he capable of proof is the infiltration of some northern influence into Crete at the end of Minoan Period II.; but it probably brought about no change of dynasty and certainly no change in the prevailing race.
From the skullforms studied, it would appear, as we should expect, that the Aegean race was by no means pure even in the earlier Minoan periods.
He goes so far as to pronounce the latter to be Cretan importations, their fabric and forms being unlike anything Nilotic. If that be so, the period at which stone implements were beginning to be superseded by bronze in Crete must be dated before 4000 B.C. But it will be remembered that below all Evans's "Minoan" strata lies the immensely thick Neolithic deposit.
Passing by certain fragments of stone vessels, found at Cnossus, and coincident with forms characteristic of the IVth Pharaonic Dynasty, we reach another fairly certain date in the synchronism of remains belonging to the XIIth Dynasty (c. 2500 B.C. according to Petrie, but later according to the Berlin School) with products of Minoan Period II.
He is usually dated about 1900 B.C. This brings us to the next and most certain synchronism, that of Minoan Periods III.
Actual vases of late Minoan style have been found with remains of Dynasty XVIII., especially in the town of Amenophis IV.
In the Minoan epoch Athens is proved by the archaeological remains to have been a petty kingdom scarcely more important than many other Attic communities, yet enjoying a more unbroken course of development than the leading states of that period.
These new probabilities open up considerable possibilities in research with regard to the relations of the early Minoans and other Aegeans with Syria and Egypt and the undoubted fact of the resemblances of Minoan on the one hand to Syrian and Egyptian religions and funerary practices, and on the other hand to those of the Etruscans.
Equally interesting are the relation of the Syro-Hittite with the Minoan, and we seem to find in certain objects found in Egypt and Cyprus and dating probably from the 14th to the Toth centuries, proof of the existence of a mixed art of Syrian origin, probably in Cilicia (Alashiya) at that time.
The essential feature both of male and female dress during the "Minoan " and " Mycenaean " periods was the loin-cloth, which is best represented by the votive terra-cotta statuettes from Petsofa in Crete discovered by Professor J.
The skirts were held in place by a thick rolled belt, and the upper part of the body remained quite nude in the earliest times; but from the middle Minoan period onward we often find an important addition in the shape of a low-cut bodice, which sometimes has sleeves, either tight-fitting or puffed, and ultimately develops into a laced corsage.
The whole plan bears more than a superficial resemblance to those of Cretan palaces in the later Minoan period.
They are inscribed in an alphabet which has many points of similarity with the western Greek alphabets, and some with the Punic alphabet; but which seems to retain a few characters from an older script akin to those of Minoan Crete and Roman Libya.
Evans, in the Minoan palace of Cnossus.
For the theory that Atlantis is to be identified with Crete in the Minoan period, see "The Lost Continent" in The Times (London) for the 19th of February 1909.
Recent discoveries in Crete have brought to light the existence of a Cretan or " Minoan " sea-power of remote antiquity, and it is clear that a great deal of what used to be described as Phoenician must receive quite a different designation.
The Minoan sea-power was at last broken up by invaders from the north, and a Carian rule became dominant in the Aegean (Herod.
Where much is still obscure, all that seems certain is that the antiquity of Phoenicia as a sea and trading power has been greatly exaggerated both in ancient and in modern times; the Minoan power of Cnossus preceded it by many centuries; the influence of Phoenicia in the Aegean cannot be carried back much earlier than the 12th century B.C., and, comparatively speaking, it was " foreign, late, sporadic."' A vivid description of the Phoenicians' trade at the time of Tyre's prosperity is given by Ezekiel (xxvii.
This cavity was filled with rubbish, sherds, &c., the latest of which was found to date as far back as the beginning of the Middle Minoan age, and the later work of 1908 only proved (by means of a small shaft sunk through the debris) that the rock floor was 52 ft.
It is practically certain, however, that the cavity must date from an Early Minoan period prior to that of the great palace.
Greek Mainland.-Exploration of 'the Mycenaean sites of the Greek mainland have shown that beneath the characteristic painted pottery which is so plainly derived from the late Minoan wares, there is no unbroken sequence of development such as is found at Cnossos and elsewhere in Crete: that is to say, the Mycenaean civilization was not native to Greece proper, but was imposed there in a mature form upon a more backward culture.
The earliest Cretan settlements in Greece belong to the end of the third Middle Minoan period, about 1800 s.c. Pre-Mycenaean civilization in Greece varied in different localities.
For the mainland cultures a new term " Helladic " has lately been invented, and three chronological divisions, Early, Middle and Late Helladic, are proposed to correspond with the parallel Cycladic and Minoan periods.
The word usage examples above have been gathered from various sources to reflect current and historial usage. They do not represent the opinions of YourDictionary.com.