Bronze age offerings in the Minoan palace of Zominthos

Posted On: Oct 29th, 2018 at 15:46

Crete, Greece
The Minoans are a culture whereby the more we know about them the more mysterious they become.
A bizarre bull cult, which may have been an influence from ancient Egypt, although totally unlike its North African neighbour’s practices, is one of the most prevalent aspects of their culture. Many depictions show gymnasts leaping over bulls in a death-defying act that must have been as mesmerising as it was dangerous.
My favourite and most studied European culture is that of the Mycenaeans, and they were hugely influenced by the Minoans. In fact, there was probably an influx of Minoan people into the Peloponnese and other areas of mainland Greece after the eruption of Thera, which likely destroyed Knossos and other Minoan cities. Much of Mycenaean artworks, ceramics, and other artefacts are either Minoan imports, or hugely influenced by Cretan art.
Both the Linear A and Linear B scripts are so closely related we see a huge influence in the Mycenaean language from the Minoans. I have twice visited the ancient citadel of Mycenae and many of the other Mycenaean cities all over Greece, and their artefacts, priceless gold items, and rich grave goods point to the Minoans as the driving influence behind them. These lavish grave goods, mostly found at Mycenae itself, suggest a culture which had huge wealth and power. And thus we can glimpse through the window of the Mycenaeans and see clearly the Minoans.
The Minoans are without doubt the most important link between our own European cultures and the ages before it. Pre-Minoan sites are basic, and what we might perceive as the standard for most areas during that time period. We know about the Indus Valley culture, ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and even Persia, but in Europe, before civilisation existed there is a wall of silence. There is not a connection between the Minoans and what occurred before, it is as mysterious as the culture itself. The Minoans are the most important influence on western civilisation and we must always remember that without them life would not be as it is today. We owe everything to them, for their sudden advanced technology, artefacts, and their living standards, which seemingly came from nowhere, are the backbone of ancient Greece itself.