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FAH206H1 (19)
Chapter 19

Chapter 19 Susan Lupack: Minoan Religion

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Carl Knappett

Wednesday January 2512Prehistoric Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Art and ArchaeologyC KnappettChapter 19Susan Lupack Minoan ReligionFoundations of Minoan ReligionFoundations in rituals associated with funerary ritesEM I period Minoans of south central Crete built tholos tombsEM II period Minoans of north and east Crete built rectangular house tombsRooms located either within the tombs or before their entrances were used for ritual activities that were not associated with rites performed for the deadEvidence suggests that bulls and perhaps bull sacrificed were part of ceremoniesCult was concerned with human fertility and the seasonal cycleFigurines related to cult found in tombs and caves and at the settlement shrine of MyrtosPeak SanctuariesShrines located on mountains and are distinctive feature of Minoan religiontopographic and religious focal points for groups of settlementsGenerally appear in the EM IIIMM I periods and flourish throughout the Protopalatial periodMost common finds are clay figurines of animals human votaries and parts of human body such as fee eyes and genitaliaVotaries seem to memorialize the action of peak sanctuary ritual itself reflect concerns of the worshipers their own fertility and wellbeing and that of their animalsRicher Peak Sanctuaries also have stone vessels Linear A inscriptions Jewelry seals bronze blades figurines and double axesMore costly generally fate to Neopalatial periodRitual focus may consist of a flat rock a cairn of stones andor concentrations of white pebblesVariously debated inspirationsPalatial elite of the Neopalatial appropriated the already established cult to maintain its hierarchical position by taking on the social prestige associated with the Mountain Goddess PeatfieldEvidenced by iconographic references to peak sanctuaries found only in Neopalatial palacesNeopalatial peak sanctuaries associated with palatial and urban centers while those that served smaller settlements fell out of useCave SanctuariesFirst cave sanctuary contemporary with first peak sanctuaryGenerally visible from nearby settlementMain ritual areas in Proto and Neopalatial times were deep within the cave hence getting to them could be an intense sensory experienceStalagmites were often used to mark the most important area of the cave and in some cases the stalagmites were themselves markedPouring of libations and drinking rituals also scant evidence of feastingMale and female bronze figurines constitute one of the most common finds from the caves which may indicate that the elite played a key role in the rituals performed there
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