By Rodney Castleden
For the reason that Sir Arthur Evans first introduced recognition to the Minoans within the early Eighteen Nineties, the folks of Bronze Age Crete became a fixture within the examine of ecu prehistory in addition to a resource of romance and fable within the well known mind's eye. In his newest paintings, Castleden contests the standard depiction of this humans, delivering a extra educated description of the Minoan means of life.
Expanding at the interpretation he started to formulate in his hugely acclaimed paintings, The Knossos Labyrinth, Castleden makes use of the newest proof to debate the character of the Minoan empire, the issues of studying the Mycenean conquest of Crete, and the impression in their society on Cretan prehistory.
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Additional resources for Minoan Life in Bronze Age Crete
On Crete itself, only a few stragglers managed to keep the Minoan way of life going, and then only in remote mountain refuges such as Karfi, high up in Lasithi, only in a decadent form, and only for a short time. A dark, barbaric period enveloped the close of the Minoan age as a new culture slowly crystallized out of the long struggle for supremacy, the severe and martial civilization of the Dorian cities. Ovid writes of the Minoan age as a time lost in legend, full of wisdom and wealth, fantasy and romance, but he also infers a period of fear and waning power towards the end: When Minos was in his prime, his very name had terrified great nations: but now he was weak and very much afraid of Miletus, the son of Deione and Apollo, for the latter was young and strong (Metamorphoses, 9).
There was a shift of emphasis, with many of the new settlements located inland and some of the old settlements abandoned. It was as if, with the rise of the Mycenean trading empire, the Minoans started to turn away from the sea, 36 Minoans narrowing their horizons to the shores of their own island. At the same time the culture flourished, though without the large and spectacular range of artefacts produced in the great days of the temples. Homer tells us that King Idomeneus of Crete sent a fleet of 80 ships to join those of Nestor king of Pylos and Agamemnon king of Mycenae at the siege of Troy, which may have happened towards 1250 BC.
Conversely, an official called the ra-wa-ke-ja was regarded as a person of high status at Pylos, whereas at Knossos he was treated as merely the equal of the Guasileus (Hooker 1987). Clearly, we need to be cautious in drawing too close a parallel between the two social structures. In the Early Minoan Period, to judge from burial practices, society was structured mainly round clans or extended families. It may be that as the urban centres evolved and became foci of wealth, certain families emerged as wealthier and more successful commercially than others and that the Guasileus emerged from these rich families.
Minoan Life in Bronze Age Crete by Rodney Castleden