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The Minoans

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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 1000
Christopher Brown

Lecture 4- The Minoans Floor-plan of the Palace at Knossos  Complex structure, multi- level  Early period when most houses were basic and full of relatives, so surprising when this structure was built so intense with mazes and labyrinth Most periods later on in Greek civilization, houses are built with lead walls and stone foundations Therefore only the outline of the foundation is left today. Evans restored the levels and floors of the past houses, he was wrong but cannot fix them now The Minoans: Akroteri- less well known Bronze Age site  Modern reinforcement, elaborate, but less modern intervention  Used to be a farmer’s field, things kept turning up and started excavating in 16 and 17 hundreds (recent). They wanted to sell all the artifacts for money.  There are many pieces of art around Europe that they do not know where they came from because of the early excavations and selling for money Akroteri  Bronze age town located on the island of Santorini  Deserted before final eruption of the volcano ca 1600 BC o They may have escaped the volcano but likely did not escape the tsunami – gold, silver jewellery likely in the ocean but have not been recovered  Remarkable preservation of buildings o because of the hot ash that settled on top of the ground so not exposed to elements o damaged but the levels and floors and still shown (second stories) showing organisation of domestic space, storage vessels, stairs,  Provides unique insights into everyday life o Can see organisation of community  Arresting examples of Minoan wall-painting o Now in museums , very famous o Insight into art o No jewellery found in Akroteri, therefore people realized volcano was going to blow so they escaped and took all the jewellery and portable items but could not take homes Minoan Society  The word palace suggests a type of lifestyle and model of society o Classical period has many models of society, hierarchy, oligarchy, democracy, ect o Palaces began to emerge around 2000 BC  Pre-palatial (from word palace) or Early Minoan (3500-2000 BC) o Small farming communities o Arts and crafts established (ceramics, wood-working, textiles) o Communal tombs o Varied grave-goods suggested a hierarchical society  Human society typically moves in this direction, as we are established we end up with a structure of class- natural to humans  Beginnings of a stratified society, they begin developing elite societies  Middle Minoan ca 2000 BC o Palaces established  Likely bureaucratic centers o Knossos is the most famous, but there are other sites (Phaestus, Mallia) o Systems of writing (hieroglyphic)  Do not know what the texts say  Need some sort of key to understand  Believed to be associated with rise of bureaucracy  “Linear A” o Trade, wide range of products  Tra
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