Minoan civilization was not a homogeneous political formation from the beginning

Minoan civilization was not a homogeneous political formation from the beginning

The powerful Minoan civilization, known for its monumental palaces dating back to more than 3,500 years ago. years erected in Crete m.in. at Knossos, was not at all a homogeneous political creation from the beginning, according to a multi-year study by prof. Krzysztof Nowicki of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The Minoan culture (its name comes from the mythical Cretan ruler Minos) developed on Crete between ca. 3000-1200 r. p.n.e., and its influence reached the eastern coasts of Sicily, mainland Greece and the western coasts of Anatolia. According to someór researchers, the beginning of its end was a powerful volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini. According to others, it was an invasion by the Greeksóin representing the so-called. Mycenaean culture.

Prof. Krzysztof Nowicki of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw has devoted most of his career to studying Minoan civilization. After three decades of studyingów, excavations and field expeditions have reviewed key moments in the history of theóin this one of the most powerful ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean Seaóchild.

– Scientists have long believed that the Minoans were a homogeneous group, whoóra from the beginning of its presence in Crete formed a single compact political organism. My research indicates that this was not the case – the city-states were independent of each other for many hundreds of years, and after about a thousand years of coólne duration they began openly fighting among themselves. It was won by the ruling group at Knossos, where the remains of Crete’s largest known palace are located, a prof tells PAP. Nowicki.

The archaeologist recalls that among theód scientistsóIn the prevailing consensus on the origin of the Minoanów. They came from the area of southwestern Anatolia (present-day southwestern Turkey). Along with them on Crete appeared in the 2. mid. The 4th millennium knowledge of the obróbkets of metals and more advanced techniques for firing ceramic vessels. The newcomers were a very organized population. Previously, there were smaller groups of people on the island, often living in seasonal settlements. Meanwhile, the migrants arrived with an advanced concept of settlement organization. They also built more permanent homes, póLater – huge stone palaces and villas decorated with paintings.

– About the origins of this civilization for many decades móThe Minoan civilization is based on only 10 known archaeological sites. Today their number reaches approx. 200, many of which I discovered during my field research, róAlso in the harsh Cretan regions gór – says the scientist.

Prof. Nowicki is the author of a hypothesis regarding the spread of the range of górskich sanctuariesówith a center located at Knossos. In his view, their expansion across the island marked the internal unification of Minoan civilization under the rulers of theóin Knossos. This happened from the end of the third millennium p.n.e. By the first centuries of the second millennium p.n.e. As mówi scholars, shrines were located on the tops of the peaks of theóIn clearly visible from neighboring settlements. Here votive offerings in the form of clay figurines and vessels were deposited. The figurines depicted men, women and animals, primarily bulls. Most often these sanctuaries did not have any buildings, the exception being a few of the largest including the oldest, on górivers of Juktas, near Knossos.

– The sanctuaries were symbolic places of power of Knossos, where they most likely worshipped bóThe state of the storm in the form of a bull – such symbolism of the animal is known from the areaóin the Middle East,” describes archaeologist.

With the conquest of new territoriesów by the rulersów from Knossos in the first centuries of the 2nd millennium p.n.e., Unification is evident in the form of system changesóIn the settlements – appeared, for example. villas being local centers of administration. This fact was preceded by armed struggles – visible traces of the destruction of the palaceóIn Malia and Phaistos ok. 1700 r. p.n.e. – It was once thought that an earthquake was responsible for them, adds Prof. Nowicki.

Before the unification of Crete by the rulers ofów of Knossos quite commonly throughout Crete were small stone outposts – located in border areas between conflicting territories. After subjugation by them – disappeared.

Minoan civilization declined gradually – first ca. 1450 r. p.n.e. there was an armed conflict with the Mycenaeans, i.e. the Greeks from the mainland. Evidence of the fighting are traces of massive destruction in Crete, above all the palaceóin and smaller centers ofóin the administrative. In several cases, skeletons were also found and hidden "treasures".

– From that point on, the Mycenaeans took over in Crete, says the conversationóPAP contributor. The final end of the Minoan-Mycenaean civilization occurred ca. 1200 r. p.n.e., and were probably associated with the breakup of the Mycenaean states on the Greek mainland.

– Minoan civilization wyróThe art and architecture on the level of the dorówn the Near Eastern civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt, but on a smaller scale. It can be described as an eastern civilization with many individual characteristics – mówi scientist. Nowicki points out that the Minoans were not obsessed with honoring their dead rulersów, such as. Egyptians. Also not known from the paintings are depictions of the rulers of theów.

– The distance separating the Minoan rulersów from their subjects was far less than in other parts of the Middle East. Perhaps they should be thought of as guardian rulers and priests rather than warriors? – wonders prof. Nowicki.

Sourceóbackground: PAP – Science in Poland , Szymon Zdzieb┼éowski, photo. Bernard Gagnon/ Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 3.0

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