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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 - earliest traces of "civilization" appear 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 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 as early Greek)
ca. 1350 BC - Knossos was sacked and burned by the Mycenaean Greeks, marking the end of Minoan Crete and ascendancy of Mycenaean Crete

Greek termsthalassa (sea), kratos (rule or power), thalassokratia (thalassocracy or sea 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

Supplementary Resources (Videos, Photos, Other Podcasts)

The Heritage Podcast Episode 19 Minoans & Mycenaeans - "Before the Greeks came to inhabit the Mediterranean, the Aegean was home to two Bronze Age Civilizations: the Minoans and the Mycenaeans. We'll learn how myth and archaeology have shaped our understanding of these civilizations along with the rest of Mediterranean history."

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Ancient Crete

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Maritime History Podcast Ep 08 The Middle Kingdom Mariners - "Covering the maritime connections of Egypt during the Middle Kingdom period. An inscription left by an explorer named Hannu will help us get a grasp on the reopening of trade in the Red Sea, and a literary narrative called The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor will help us understand the Middle Kingdom mindset as related to the sea. Other topics include the debate about when the Canal of the Pharaohs was finished, the physical evidence of funerary boats found outside a pyramid at Dashur, and a few other scattered topics of note."

Photo/Egyptian Hieroglyph for Keftiu (Caphtor, i.e. Crete)

Myths and Legends Episode 17B Icarus and Daedalus - "The story of Daedalus and Icarus is much more than just Icarus flying too close to the sun. Daedalus, the inventor, is directly responsible for the labyrinth and the Minotaur. He's a man whose will to survive and desire for significance drives him to make magnificent things, which only bring death, destruction, and tragedy for him and everyone around him."


Myths and Legends Episode 17C Theseus: I Volunteer as Tribute - "The final chapter in the story of Theseus, the Minotaur, and all the other people that have gotten swept up in this drama spanning decades. We'll learn exactly what the Delphic Oracle meant by her prophecy, and how you can use a spool of thread to kill a giant monster."


Our Fake History Episode 03 Was There a Real Labyrinth? - "Is the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur just a bedtime story for morbid children or does it contain the kernels of real history? This week we dive into this classic myth and discover how it might hold clues about a real conflict between ancient bronze-age civilizations."

Maritime History Podcast Ep 12 Minoan Thalassocracy - "Looking at the evidence from early Minoan history, beginning with pre-history and working up to the Neo-Palatial period. While the items we'll discuss are beautiful and tell us a lot about the artistic focus of Minoan culture, we'll also try to discern the line between fact and fiction when it comes to theories of a Minoan thalassocracy, or, the so-called Minoan 'empire of the sea.'"

Article/Conservation vs. restoration: the Palace at Knossos

Photo/Artistic Reconstruction of Knossos

Photo/Wooden Reconstruction of Knossos

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File:Knossos Großes Treppenhaus 04.jpg

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File:Throne Hall Knossos.jpg

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Wonders of the World Episode 11 Santorini - "We go to the Greek island of Santorini to learn about the eruption that devastated the Minoan civilization of nearby Crete. Plus minotaurs, donkeys, Atlantis and Cretan cuisine!"


File:Map Akrotiri 1600 BC-en.png

Maritime History Podcast Ep 13 Akrotiri, Atlantis, and the Thera Eruption - "Focuses on three main topics, all related to the Minoan Civilization in the Aegean. First, we'll talk in detail about the exquisite Fleet Fresco found in the West House at Akrotiri. Then we'll consider the volcanic eruption that buried Akrotiri, destroyed much of Thera, and effected large swaths of the Bronze Age Aegean. We’ll finish up by looking at the arguments of those who claim that the Minoan Civilization was Plato's basis for Atlantis in Timaeus and Critias."

Video/Atlantis: The Lost Continent?


Our Fake History Episode 38 Was There a Real Atlantis? (Part I) - "In 360 BCE the Greek philosopher Plato wrote of a powerful island nation that had been sunk to the bottom of the ocean by wrathful gods. Plato called this lost city Atlantis. Little did he know that this story would go on to launch an entire genre of pseudo-historical speculation. The myth of the dazzling lost civilization would inspire countless amateur theorists and would-be archaeologists. Was a there a real city that inspired Plato’s story, or was Atlantis just a figment of the philosopher’s imagination? Find out how Graham Hancock, Charles Darwin, and the OFH drinking game all play a role in the story."

Our Fake History Episode 39 Was There a Real Atlantis? (Part II) - "The world of Atlantis research can be a very strange place. Some researchers believe that Atlantis was a real Bronze Age city whose ruins might one day be found near the rock of Gibraltar. Others believe that the true “lost civilization” is actually far more ancient. Perhaps the real Atlantis was a sophisticated maritime society that existed during the last ice age. Could it have been that the climate change that accompanied the end of the ice age also wiped away this amazing civilization? Tune in and find out how sleeping prophets, Noah’s Arc, a brave muskrat, and our buddy Graham Hancock all play a role in the story."

Our Fake History Episode 40 Was There a Real Atlantis? (Part III) - "In the world of Atlantis research there are many who believe that ruins of the lost city can, and will, be found. By carefully considering the details in Plato’s dialogues some researchers believe that fabled sunken city can be accurately located. Is there anything to the many theories about Atlantis’ real location? Tune in and find out how the largest volcanic eruption in human history, math jokes, and Gotham City all play a role in the story."


Ancient Greece Declassified Ep 13 Decoding Atlantis - "No other story from ancient Greece has fueled so many controversies, theories, investigations, novels, movies, and documentaries as the story of Atlantis - that grand civilization that supposedly flourished thousands of years before the pyramids were built, and was completely wiped off the face of the earth by a major cataclysm. Interestingly, all of the written "evidence" for Atlantis from ancient times is contained in the work of a single author - the philosopher Plato, who wrote about Atlantis towards the end of his life in two works called the Timaeus, and the Critics, which are meant to be sequels of his earlier blockbuster, The Republic."

The History of Egypt Podcast Ep 102b Colourful Keftiu (Twilight on Crete) - "In 1370 BCE an Egyptian embassy visited the Aegean. They came to see the Keftiu, aka the Minoans, who led a charmed life. They built enormous palace and temple cities, worshipped in sacred spaces and created beautiful art pieces. For a thousand years the Keftiu ruled Crete and enjoyed security. Until now…"

Suggested Readings:
Castleden. 1993. Minoans: Life in Bronze Age Crete.
Dickinson. 1994. The Aegean Bronze Age.
Preziosi. 2000. Aegean Art and Architecture.
Doumas. 2003. Santorini: A Guide to the Island and its Archaeological Treasures.
Sakellarakis. 2003. Herakleion Museum: Illustrated Guide.
* Michailidou. 2004. Knossos - A Complete Guide to the Palace of Minos.
Shelmerdine. 2008. The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age.
Cline. 2010. The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean.
D'Amato and Salimbeti. 2013. Early Aegean Warrior 5000–1450 BC

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