Bronze Age Greece

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31 Jan 2013
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Sept, 27, 2012
Bronze Age Greece
Cycladic Culture:
-In a vary mountainous region that has not settled geologically and there are active volcanoes on Thera
-Once ships developed the smaller islands were populated but it also led to more challenges from outside people
-Around 1700 BC in the late Bronze Age they were swamped with forces from Crete
-After 1600 BC Mycenaeans encroached on the Cycladic islands and they occupied Crete and penetrated east to
Rhodes, Miletus, and Ephesus (Knossos and Phaestos were important centers on Crete)
-By 1250 BC there are Greeks throughout the Aegean and they traded and fought with small kingships along the
coast of Asia Minor and they got as far as Troy and they breached the citadel before their culture collapsed
-By 1100 BC the Aegean world ceased to be a world leader and it entered into the dark ages (400 years long)
-Included the Peloponnesian area and were settled before the Bronze Age and the first inhabitants probably came
from Anatolia in Asia Minor in modern day Western Turkey (some may have come from the Syria-Palestine area)
-There was trade with Egypt and trade was very important to them and we can prove it by the fact that Egyptian
objects have been found in Crete
-Main item of trade was obsidian which was a hard glassy volcanic rock and it was found in Milos primarily and it
had various uses like in the production of bowls but it was also used in war for arrow heads and spear tips
-By the middle of the 3rd millennium BC we have a lot of evidence of fighting with daggers and bronze swords being
used and we also see the development of fortifications like on Syros in the Cycladic chain of islands
-They were anticipating raids and boats had a lot to do with this
-In the later periods the inhabitants needed to come together for protection and some smaller areas were
forgotten as people moved in land to avoid piracy and Milos was the largest surviving settlement
-Limited agricultural land and it was hard for them to develop a surplus and thus a military was never developed
-Crete and areas in the Peloponnesian were much larger and had more development and this eventually
swallowed Cycladic culture
-Around 1700 BC their indigenous art works begin to disappear and Cretan influences dominate
Thera - c. 1628 BC (cf. Krakatoa AD 1883):
-In 1628 BC there was a massive eruption (the best date used radio-carbon dating and dendrochronology)
-The eruption came in the Minoan period and has very thick stratigraphy of ash over the sites that is meters thick
-This event was devastating to the Aegean and it caused total blackout, poison gas, and tidal waves and to this day
this area is quite volatile
-Despite the physical instability advanced cultures developed in the area
-Wall paintings from Thera from the “house of the sea captain” shows many ships in action with a city in the
background and it may show a small expedition being launched
-The third fresco shows many bodies along the bottom in a sea born attack and from the look of the people we can
judge that the Cycladic people were raiding North Africa
-About 2200 BC the number of Cycladic settlements is shrinking
Minoan Culture:
Early Minoan c. 3000-2000 BC:
-Origins are disputed because they too appear to have been incomers from Asia Minor and possibly from Syria
Palestine and we think the movement into Crete was happening in the Neolithic period
-The influx of new people happened between 3000-2600 BC perhaps from Asia Minor but there are other theories
that they were refugees from the Nile Delta (Narmer and Menes were causing unrest in Egypt)
-There are Libyan elements seen here and Arthur Evans discovered much of this around 1900
-The name Minoan come from the mythical king Minos from Crete and Evens gave the name but some say Minos
was not really a king but a title given to the king
Middle Minoan c. 2000-1700 BC:
-Culture grows to its peak and the palace of Knossos becomes the main centre and trade became more orientated
to the Aegean and the mainland
-Palace civilization is a term used for this period and in the area a pictographic form of writing develops and
around 1800 BC there was Linear A writing developed
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