Knossos (pronounced Kuh-nuh-SOS) is the ancient Minoan palace and surrounding city on the island of Crete, sung of by Homer in his Odyssey: “Among their cities is the great city of Cnosus, where Minos reigned when nine years old, he that held converse with great Zeus.” King Minos, famous for his wisdom and, later, one of the three judges of the dead... [continue reading]
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The Minoan civilization flourished in the middle Bronze Age on the Mediterranean island of Crete from ca. 2000 BCE until ca. 1500 BCE and, with their unique art and architecture, the Minoans made a significant contribution to the development of Western European civilization as it is known today. The archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans was first alerted... [continue reading]
A fresco detail from a banquet scene (known as 'La Parisienne') from Knossos, 1400-1350 BCE. The figure, in a robe and with a sacral knot at her neck, is perhaps a priestess. (Archaeological Museum, Heraklion)
Frescoes are the source of some of the most striking imagery handed down to us from the Minoan civilization of Bronze Age Crete (2000-1500 BCE). Further, without written records, they are often the only source, along with decorated pottery, of just how the world appeared to the Minoans and give us tantalizing glimpses of their beliefs, cultural practices... [continue reading]
Bull horns were a common religious symbol in the Cretan Minoan culture (2000 BCE - 1450 BCE), represented in fresco, on pottery and as here from the palace of Knossos, in architectural stone decoration.
The jewellery of the Minoan civilization based on Bronze Age Crete demonstrates, as with other Minoan visual art forms, not only a sophisticated technological knowledge (in this case of metalwork) and an ingenuity of design but also a joy in vibrantly representing nature and a love of flowing, expressive, shapes and forms. Materials & Technology... [continue reading]
The ever evolving pottery from the Minoan civilization of Bronze Age Crete (2000-1500 BCE) demonstrates, perhaps better than any other medium, not only the Minoan joy in animal, sea and plant life but also their delight in flowing, naturalistic shapes and design. Kamares Style Following on from the pre-palatial styles of Vasiliki (with surfaces... [continue reading]
Stone rhyton (libation vase) in the form of a bull's head from the Minoan site of Knossos, New-Palace period (1600-1500 BCE), Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete.
Craftsmen of the Minoan civilization centred on the island of Crete produced stone vessels from the early Bronze Age (c. 2500 BCE) using a wide variety of stone types which were laboriously carved out to create vessels of all shapes, sizes and function. The craft continued for a millennium and vessels were of such quality that they found their way... [continue reading]
In Greek mythology, the Minotaur was a monster with the body of a man and the head and tail of a bull. The Minotaur was the offspring of the Cretan Queen Pasiphae and a majestic bull. Due to the Minotaur's monstrous form, King Minos ordered the craftsman, Daedalus, and his son, Icarus, to build a huge maze known as the Labyrinth to house the beast... [continue reading]
William R. Shepherd
published on 26 April 2012
Mycenean Greece and the Orient about 1450 BC. Inset: Reference Map of the Nile Delta.