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Reading Between the Lines: Decrypting the Scripts of the Minoans and Mycenaeans (Read the article on one page)

Linear A, the "Minoan" language. - Ancient Scripts

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A Comparison of the Palaces of Three Ancient Greek Societies: Trojan, Minoan, and Mycenaean
c) Emphasis on ceremonial and cult areas: The numerous ceremonial and cultareas, which have been recognized in a Minoan palace, suggest a great dependenceof the Minoan society on religion, especially in times hit by tremendousupheavals of the forces of nature.

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b) The palatial features in architecture: Adyta or "lustral basins", MinoanHalls with pier-and-door partition systems (polythyra), light wells, ashlarfaçades, fresco paintings, columns, pillars, well-organized storagerooms, well-developed drainage systems, and paved floors with red-paintedplaster in the joints of the slabs, i.e.


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Recently, in a meeting on Minoan palaces in Louvain-La Neuve,Khania has been mentioned as one of the five main Minoan palaces, togetherwith Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, and Zakros.

The modern town of Khania lies just above the ruins of theClassical city of Kydonia and the Minoan settlement of the same name, atleast during the Creto-Mycenaean times (1400-1100 BC) (fig.1).

By Vern Crisler Copyright 2005 Rough Draft 1

Now while some of the earlier periods shade into one another, like the colours of a rainbow, so that it is difficult to tell where the one ends and the next begins, this is not the case of the latest periods, the changes in which have evidently been produced by violence. The chief manifestation is the destruction of Knossos, which took place, apparently as a result of invasion from the mainland, at the very end of the period known as Late Minoan II: that is to say about 1400 B.C. The inferior style called Late Minoan III—the style which till recent years we had been accustomed to call Mycenaean—succeeded at once and without any intermediate transition to the style of Late Minoan II immediately after this raid. It was evidently the degraded style that had developed in the mainland among the successful invaders, founded upon (or, rather, degenerated from) works of art which had spread by way of trade to the adjacent lands, in the flourishing days of Cretan civilization.

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shows a continuation of the taste for realism. Its pottery is distinguished from that of the preceding period by the convention that its designs as a rule are painted dark on a light background: in they are painted light on a dark background. Linear writing is now developed. The palace of Phaestos is rebuilt. Fine frescoes and admirable sculptured vases in steatite are found in this period, to which also belong the oldest remains at Mycenae, namely the famous gold deposits in the shaft tombs. In the naturalistic figures become conventionalized, and a degeneration in art sets in which continues into . The foreign imports found at Tell el-Amarna and thus of the time of Ikhnaton, are all of this affords a valuable hint for dating this phase of development.

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the 'palace' styles come to light. But the early specimens of Cretan art found in these regions are all exotic, just as (to quote a parallel often cited in illustration) the specimens of Chinese or Japanese porcelain exhibited in London drawing-rooms are exotic; and they affect but little the inferior native arts of the places where they are found. It is not till we reach the beginning of Late Minoan III, after the sack of Knossos, that we find Minoan culture actually taking root in the eastern lands of the Mediterranean, such as Cyprus and the adjacent coasts of Asia Minor and Syria. We can hardly dissociate this phenomenon from the sack of Knossos. The very limitations of the area over which the 'Mycenaean' art has been found are enough to show that its distribution was not a result of peaceful trade. Thus, the Hittite domination of Central and Western Asia Minor was still strong enough to prevent foreign settlers from establishing themselves in those provinces: in consequence Mycenaean civilization is there absent. The spread of the debased Cretan culture over Southern Asia Minor, Cyprus, and North Syria, between 1400 and 1200 B.C. must have been due to the movements of peoples, one incident in which was the sack of Knossos : and this is true, whether those who carried the Cretan art were refugees from Crete, or were the conquerors of Crete seeking yet further lands to spoil.