Wiki by:
Akua Acheampong
Zaklina Dimoska
Dana Naidas
Michael D.

1st Hour World History

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The Minoans were some of the most distinctive and mysterious Bronze Age civilizations of ancient times. The Minoan civilization was located on the island of Crete in Ancient Greece. "Minoans" was not the name Minoans had for themselves; Sir Arthur Evans, a British archaeologist, gave them that name. Much of Minoan history remains a mystery, as the Civilization was destroyed a few times; however, each time the Minoans rebuilt their civilization. Nevertheless, the Minoans created a prosperous and noteworthy civilization based on sea trade.

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The island of Crete (Where the Minoans were located) (Google images)




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The Minoans were ruled by a king, who lived in Knossos. The most famous king of the Minoans was King Minos. The power was not completely in the hands of the King. He was more like a leader of a group than a dictator. Many decisions were made by groups of priests. There were also bureaucrats who played similar roles in the government. (G.Stolyarov II 2007).

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The throne room of King Minos in Knossos (Google images)



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Unlike many other ancient civilizations, there was not much of a social hierarchy in the Minoan culture. Women had much greater rights than their equals in other cultures. Women and men had equal power to men in the Minoan culture, partly due to the fact that the Minoans worshiped many female gods. (Wikipedia no date specified) It can also be due to the fact that the Minoans had no need for heavy defenses because the Minoans lived on the island of Crete. Defense would put men over women in society, and since they did not need much, inequalities failed to exist. (G Stolyarov II 2007).

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The coastline of Crete provided defense (Google images)



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Although there is little narrative text from the Minoans that validates the existence of any supreme deity in the Minoan culture, researchers and archaeologists have come to some valid conclusions about Minoan religion. Most notable of these researchers is Sir Arthur Evans, a student of the ancient remains of the Minoan culture. Sir Evans uncovered earthenware statues of bare-breasted women holding snakes in each hand. Sir Evans, with these findings, concluded that that Minoans had a belief in a “Great Mother Nature Goddess.” According to Sir Evans, the Minoans believed that the goddess was the sovereign ruler of the earth, sky, nature, the underworld, and even over male deities. The goddess personified fertility and motherhood. Another archaeologist named Martin P. Nilsson uncovered evidence of Minoan belief in Polytheism; indeed, evidence was found that gave validity to his research. A golden ring was dug up from a grave in the island of Crete (where the Minoans resided) and it showed three gods together; a male god and two female goddesses. The third female goddess seemed to be the sovereign of the other two gods. As a religious ritual, Minoans participated in feasting in sanctuaries and cemeteries as a form of offering to their gods. At the religious feast, animals were sacrificed as a way of invoking the presence of gods. (Pelon and Marinatos, 2005)

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This image illustrates the bull-leaping ceremony that took place in the Minoan culture (Google images)





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The Minoans had one of the most distinctive and greatest civilizations of ancient history. Minoans built cities around palaces, which stored surplus wealth. The largest of most distinctive of these palaces was Knossos. The palace at Knossos was so big and imposing that it confused many of its guests. The palaces were akin to modern-day city halls; various activities, such as arts, crafts, trade, and government, were conducted in these palaces. Minoan cities were more widespread that its ancient counterparts of other civilizations due to Crete being an island; Minoans had little need of fortification, so they were free to move around as they liked. (Butler, 2007)

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Seen here is an excavation of Minoan remains (Google images)





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The Minoans' written language began around the 1500BC. They had several written languages. The language is referred as the as Etectcretanand written in Euboean.The alphabet was derived after the Greek Dark Age. At first they used hieroglyphic signs(syllable, word, or number); they had 135 signs that no one could understand only the people in the group. Around the 3000BC they started to use clay tablets, and craver into stone. Two tables from Knossos have been found to have remnants of ink. (Dr. Cassini 2004, Wiki Book Creative Commons Attribution 2011)
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This is a hieroglyphic that had 45 signs in it. (google, 2005:)




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The Minoans did not really have public works; everyone did his or her own thing. During an earthquake cities were destroyed, and had to be rebuild. Public work was often considered as sculptures, paintings, and stone carvings. The roads were formed with blocks cut with bronze saws. The upper classes usually had streets that had drained and water and sewage facilities through clay pipes Minoan housing often had flat tiled roofs, and flagstone floors. Buildings that they had made were usually two to three stories high. (GNU, no year found)

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One of the bulidings that the Minoans had. (Bastion, 1989:)




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Minoans' success was mainly based on trade rather than conquest. The people were a business type of civilization; they were sea traders, and were highly organized. They also had a healthy shipping industry, they exported food, wine, wool, cloth, herds, purple dye, etc. Some Minoans raised cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats, and domesticated bees. They even grew wheat, barley, vetch, and chickpeas. When the potter’s wheel was invented, pottery making became a job too. (No Author, wikipedia 2005)
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This is what they used to get place to place to trade with other countries.(2007)
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Pottery was the dominant art form among the Minoans. Many of the designs back then were naturalistic, or involving nature. The art of Minoans speak of a joyous society and that they keep in touch with the environment. Whole artifacts of Minoan art have not survived through the years, mostly fragments of their work. Minoans also painted, sculpted, and worked with metal. Minoans sculpted small artifacts of their gods or kings. (No Author, wikipedia)
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This is an example of pottery that shows what Minoans love to do their art about: scenes from nature. (Google images)

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Many of the walls of palaces in Minoans are covered in Minoan art that shows life back then and art of nature, like dolphins jumping out of the waters in the Aegean sea . Minoan palaces were designed to let in light and air. Palaces had rooms for royal families, religious shrines, banquet halls, and work places for artisans. Minoan palaces were held up by Red-painted columns. Instead of the columns made of stone, it is made of wood. Minoan buildings were made of stone and rubble, and the upper part of the house was made of mudbrick. The cites were connected by stone-paved roads. (No Author, wikipedia)
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This picture is an example of one of the palace designs before they were destroyed. (Google images)


Works Cited:
1.Ii, G. Stolyarov. "History of the Minoan Civilization of Ancient Crete: The Minoan Economy and Government, Page 2 of 2." Associated Content from Yahoo! - Associatedcontent.com. Associated Content. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/306454/history_of_the_minoan_civilization_pg2.html?cat=37.
2. Throne Room: http://www.sights-and-culture.com/Crete/Knossos-throne-hall-2602.jpg
3. Pelon, Olivier, and Nanno Marinatos. "Aegean Religions." Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Lindsay Jones. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 37-44. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 21 Sep. 2011.
4. Butler, Chris. "FC17: Bronze Age Greece: the Minoans & Mycenaeans (c.2500-1100 BCE) - The Flow of History." Welcome - The Flow of History. 2007. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. http://www.flowofhistory.com/units/birth/3/FC17.
5. No Author. "Minoan Art." Ancient Greece. Ancient.Greece.org, 2003. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. http://www.ancient-greece.org/art/minoan-art.html.
6. No Author. "Minoan Civilization." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_civilization
7. Ellis, Elisabeth Gaynor., Anthony Esler, and Burton F. Beers. World History Connections to Today. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997. Print.