Ancient Crete - The Minoans – 3000 – 1450 BC
Have you ever heard about King Minos and the Minotaur? They are from legends told thousands of years ago and come from the island of Crete, in the Mediterranean Sea. Around 2700 BC the people of Crete began to build up their cities in Knossos, Phaistos, and other places. They established themselves as merchants and crafters. They built palaces and luxurious homes. They sailed the seas and began to be know all around.
Sometime towards the end of 1700 BC there was a very big natural disaster in Crete, perhaps an earthquake or more likely a volcanic eruption, or maybe even an invasion. Their palaces and cities were destroyed, but they rebuilt them and made them even bigger. Then, around 1600 BC there was another natural disaster, which was most likely the eruption of the Thera Volcano. The Minoans rebuilt their cities again, and you guessed it, they were even bigger and better than before.
The Minoan cities were city states and were connected by an extensive paved road system. In the middle of each city was a palace with elaborate decorations, windows and seats made of stone. They also had a water system which had hot and cold running water. They got the hot water from the natural hot-springs that came from the volcano. It is sad to think, that the resourse that they used to make their lives more comfortable was linked to the thing that eventually destroyed them.
In Knossos was the largest and most beautiful of all the palaces. It was excavated by Arthur Evens in 1900 AD. Evans restored very big parts of the palace and they can still be seen today. The palace was built and added onto over many thousands of years and eventually covered 20,000 square meters. The buildings were multi-storied, and built out of wood, clay and stone. They were connected with extensive courtyards and hallways that makes one think that the myth of the Minotaur and his Labyrinth had their origins in the Palace of Knossos. The palace at Knossos, was the home to the legendary king Minos. His palace labyrinth was supposedly designed by Dedalos
History for Homeschool Review Questions:
1. Follow the link for the Volcano Thera. What did you find out?
2. Find Crete on a map. Why do you think the location of Crete made it such a good place for seafaring merchants?
3. How did the ancient people on Crete get hot water?
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- CFP: “Minoan Archaeology. Challenges and Perspectives for the 21st Century” (rogueclassicism.com)