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Highlights of the Minoan Civilization
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  2/14/12
By: Yona Williams

The Minoans are considered a highly sophisticated group of people that contributed a great deal to the rise and advancements of music, dance, games and entertainment that influenced other civilizations. In this article, you will encounter a collection of trivia and facts related to the Minoans that include notable figures, buildings, and history.

King Minos

The Minoan civilization was named after the legendary King Minos of Crete. In Greek mythology, King Minos was the son of Zeus (king of the gods) and Europa. In his myth, Minos was responsible for having King Aegeus pick seven men and seven women to go to the labyrinth of Daedalus to be eaten by the Minotaur. This event happened every nine years. When Minos died, he became a judge of the dead in Hades. At the time, the Minoan civilization did not call themselves this – this was the name given to the culture by an archeologist named Arthur Evans.

Knossos

Knossos is the largest archeological site on Crete that is associated with the Bronze Age. It is widely believed that Knossos served as the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization and culture. The palace was constructed in a maze-like design that included a variety of workrooms, living spaces, and storage rooms that were all located close to a centralized square. The walls of the palace were decorated with detailed imagery of life in Crete. The features shed light on the late Bronze Age as well. The archeologist Arthur Evans restored Knossos to the point that it is a popular tourist destination to this day. This site is also referred to as Cnossus, Knossus, the labyrinth, and the Knossos Palace.

Phaistos

Following Knossos as the second largest buildings on the island that served as a palace, the secrets of Phaistos were revealed after an Italian school conducted an excavation of the site. The ancient city is found in the south-central portion of the island – only about 6 kilometers away from the Mediterranean Sea. People called the city their home from around 4000 BC. The palace dates back to the Middle Bronze Age, which was toppled by an earthquake during the Late Bronze Age.

Phaistos used their own currency and enjoyed an alliance with other Cretan cities that operated on their own. The city was destroyed around the end of the 3rd century BC by the hands of the Gortynians. After that, the people there were no longer heard from in Crete. Phaistos is also called Phaestos, Festos and Phaestus.

Malia

The French excavated Malia, which was a palace that offered a glimpse into the development of buildings associated with construction during the protopalatial period. Today, Malia was a coastal town, but in the past, it was home to a palace that dated back to the Middle Bronze Age. The palace was rebuilt towards the end of the Late Bronze Age. Today, most of the ruins of the second palace are still visible. Some of its features include a giant centralized courtyard and a maze of very small rooms.


 

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