Flowering of Minoan Civilization (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: The flowering of the Minoan civilization established the foundations of Mediterranean mythologies, religious practices, and social organization that influenced classical Greek societies.
Summary of Event
The ancient Greeks of the fourth and fifth centuries b.c.e. inherited legendary accounts of a wealthy, powerful civilization located on the Mediterranean island of Crete. Minos was supposedly the ruler of a thalassocracy (sea-empire) that controlled much of Aegean and mainland Greece in prehistoric times. According to Greek mythology, Minos was semidivine: He was the son of Zeus, ruler of the gods, and Europa, a Phoenician princess. Minos was remarkable for his justice as well as his power.
The Minos legend suggested deep historical roots to classical Greek civilization; but the Minoan civilization named after him remained legendary until 1900. Inspired by the discoveries of Heinrich Schliemann at Troy in the late 1800’s and Mycenae, Sir Arthur Evans began to excavate at Knossos. His findings were astonishing and revolutionary. They initiated an ongoing process of revision and reevaluation of classical, Western, and finally world history.
Evans was deeply impressed by the Minos legend. An important part of that legend said that there was a vast labyrinth at Knossos, built...
(The entire section is 1689 words.)
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