The Minoans play a critical role in the history of the world as they built the first-ever civilization that appeared rose and thrived on the soil of Europe.
The Minoan Civilization at a Glance
It was around 2,000 BCE when the Minoan civilization first emerged, and it lasted until 1,400 BCE. This was situated on Crete Island, which is part of Greece in the present-day. Any Minoan definition will surely tell you that the Minoans were renowned for building magnificent palaces.
Sir Arthur Evans, the English archaeologist, named this civilization after Minos, the legendary king of Crete who was believed to have a monster called the Minotaur. The monster was assumed to be in the Labyrinth, a complicated maze under the palace of Minos at Knossos.
The Way of Life of the Minoans
While the Minoans are not Greek, they have a big part in the history of Greece. With their trades with early Greek, the Minoan civilization was able to spread Minoan art and ideas to the Greek mainland.
With a surplus of olive oil, the Minoans traded it for tin from Afghanistan and Turkey, copper from the neighboring Cyprus Island, and gold from Egypt. Aside from being skilled farmers of olives, people of the Minoan civilization were also fine craftsmen who made pieces of jewelry, figurines, pottery, and seals. Their bronze work is what placed the Minoan civilization in the Bronze Age.
During the height of the Minoan civilization, the Minoans created a civilization centered on palaces. The Minoan cities of Phaistos and Knossos are the two perfect examples of these palace cities. These palaces served as the island’s centers of economy and religion.
These Minoan palaces were huge: 3 to 5 stories tall. What is interesting is that these palaces were not surrounded by defensive walls. The Minoans probably had a peaceful life on the island. They relied on a navy and the sea to protect them from outsiders.
Minoan Writing Systems
The Minoan civilization had two different systems of writing, at least. The earlier is the hieroglyphic that was not the same but similar to the writing system of Egypt. A surviving example of the system is the Phaistos Disc found in the remains of Phaistos City.
The later writing system is known as Linear A that was written on tablets made from clay along lines, similar to modern-day writing. To this day, no one managed to decipher the mysterious Linear A and Phaistos Disc, leaving the language of Minoans a secret.
With no written history, all the Minoan civilization came from the frescoes and artifacts that we’re able to survive through the centuries. Frescoes indicate men and women attending parties and meetings together. It suggests that men and women shared equal status in society. If it is true, it only means that the Minoan civilization was far ahead of its time. Minoan art also shows that the Minoans have a love for spectator sports. Men and women alike performed and attended such sporting events, with bull-leaping being the most intriguing and popular of them.