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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

005 - Minoan Crete

In this episode, we discuss the myths and archaeological evidence for the Minoans on Crete, who were an early source of cultural inspiration for the Mycenaean Greeks; the palace complexes at Knossos (north), Phaistos (south), Mallia (northeast), and Zakros (east); the volcanic eruption that blew apart the island of Thera in the mid-17th century BC and was a catalyst for the decline of the Minoan civilization (the inspiration for Plato's infamous description of Atlantis?); the ultimate subordination of the Minoans by the Mycenaean Greeks in the 15th and 14th centuries BC; and the decipherment of Linear B (an early form of Greek) by Michael Ventris in the mid-20th century AD

ca. 3500 BC - the earliest traces of "civilization" can be seen on Crete
ca. 2700-2600 - "the Minoans" of Crete enter the Bronze Age, as they begin to communicate and trade with the Near East
ca. 2000-1700 BC - Proto-Palatial or "Old Palace" Period
ca. 1900 BC - Cretan Hieroglyphics developed (undeciphered, ex. Phaistos Disc)
ca. 1800 BC - Linear A developed (undeciphered)
ca. 1700 BC - earthquake destroyed the palaces at Knossos, Phaistos, Mallia, and Zakros
ca. 1700-1600 BC - Neo-Palatial or "New Palace" Period 
ca. 1650 BC - volcanic eruption on island of Thera (modern Santorini)
ca. 1450 BC - the royal palaces of Phaistos, Mallia, and Zakros, as well as numerous country villas and small towns, were sacked and burned by the Mycenaean Greeks
ca. 1450 BC - Linear B developed (deciphered, an early form of Greek)
ca. 1350 BC - Knossos was sacked and burned by the Mycenaean Greeks, marking the end of Minoan Crete and ascendancy of Mycenaean Crete (as part of Mycenaean Greece)

Greek terms: thalassa (sea), kratos (rule or power), pithoi (tall storage jars), labrys (double-headed axe)

Mythical Characters: Zeus, Europa, Minos, Rhadamanthys, Sarpedon, Asterion, Pasiphae, Aegeus, Theseus, Ariadne, Minotaur, Daedalus, Icarus, Cocalus

File:Map Minoan Crete-en.svg

Recommended Sources for Further Reading:
Article/A Life’s Work: The Excavation of Akrotiri in Santorini

Recommended Podcast Episodes for Further Listening: