Ty Narada for Dr. Kosso
The Minoans were a peaceful society
that flourished from about 2050 BC to 1470 BC. They lived primarily on
the large isle of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. Their seat of
government was located at the town of Knossos and Men and women are
interpreted to have been equal without regard for race, sex, gender or
At some point in their cultural
development, the Myceneans adopted the Minoan goddesses and associated
these goddesses with their sky-god that the Greeks later called Zeus.
The Greeks believed that the female chthonic gods were older than their
Olympian gods and many speculate that the Greek god-system evolved from
the Minoan Earth goddess.
Many believe that the Mycenean
religion included offerings and sacrifices to the gods and some have
speculated that those offerings included human sacrifice based on
textual evidence and bones found outside tombs. [http://ancienthistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.wsu.edu:8080/%7Edee/MINOA/WOMEN.HTM]
Urbanization dramatically changed
social relationships. Where biological relationships remained paramount
in rural areas, urbanized cultures adopted more abstract, unstable and
unequal associations. Those associations created a "class" society that
prioritized economics over kinship.
Social inequality resulted when
administrators, kings and priests controlled the wealth and assumed
more influential roles. While there is no evident social nobility in
the ancient world, class was an inherently unstable means of social
organization. Urban areas were divided into public and domestic spheres
but did not affect surrounding smaller tribal
The Minoans on Crete did not conform
male-dominated norm found elsewhere. Not only was Crete society based
equality, but archaeological evidence suggests that women played an
role in urban public life: Women were priestesses, functionaries,
administrators and participated in sports that would otherwise be
dominated by males. Boxing
and bull-jumping were the two most popular sports in Crete.
was a common theme found in Minoan wall paintings and vase sculptures.
object was to test one’s courage and agility by grabbing the bull's
and either mounting it or vaulting over it. A successful vaulter landed
her feet behind the bull. Illustrations of the sport emphasize grace,
and gymnastic skill more than bravery and both men and women
Women were equally represented as
skilled craftswomen, entrepreneurs, priestesses and were found among
the highest echelons of political
life. Evidence suggests that the priesthood was dominated by women.
the palace kings were male, Minoan society was not necessarily
Images retrieved from Cretan
settlements (in Asia Minor) reveal that Cretan society determined
lineage through the mother. Although it is not fact, the artifacts
supported by their goddess religion cause many archeologists to believe
that Minoan society was matrilineal.
While Minoan culture contains no
writings, music, or religious texts – there does exist an impressive
quantity of Minoan art that the Minoans surrounded themselves with.
Minoan art was intrinsically connected to the archetypes that rendered
We assume that the Minoans were the
first ancient culture to create art purely for its beauty rather than
its function. That beauty did not contain the religious and symbolic
oversaturation found in Middle Eastern and Egyptian art. Minoan art
served aesthetic and decorative purposes where Mesopotamian and Persian
art were created for religious reasons. Wall-sized paintings decorated
every room in Minoan palaces and art was
used for enjoyment. Artistic themes included unimportant, trivial
of everyday life, such as a cat hunting, sea creatures or sporting
In later societies we would expect to find representations of battles,
figures and events; Crete was an exception. The Minoan artist was
to render everyday details; someone bearing a vase or simply walking
a street. Crete produced for the sake of the art and not for
or superstitious reasons.
The Minoan approach can be applied
developments in Western culture. Mathematics and philosophy were both
for the sake of advancing knowledge and ‘that knowledge’ remained
nameless until the Greeks later invented it.
Without writings to decisively mark
the conclusion of Minoan society, we assume that the invasion by the
original Greeks/Mycenaeans from the mainland to the north, ended Minoan
isolation. Theological evidence suggests that the violent Mycenaeans
probably assimilated Minoan culture into their own but the assumption
has no factual basis.
The Bronze Age beginnings are dated
2000 BC to 1000 BC and are associated with the rise of the Mycenaean
culture. With this transformation appears evidence of skillfully
crafted gold jewelry, bronze ornaments and weapons. Wealth propelled
early Greek lifestyles into venues that afforded magnificent palaces
fit for kings. Early Bronze Age Greece was composed of many independent
nation-states that archeologists theorize
resulted in a confederated Greek kingdom.
Sometime between 3000 BC and 2000
BC, Greece was settled by a metal-literate and agrarian people who
spoke a non-Indo-European language. The Greeks preserved some of the
original villages with names ending
in "-ssos." Almost nothing is known about their religion, history,
or daily life. The "Early Helladic" period was relatively peaceful
around 2000 BC when their villages were either destroyed by fire or
That demise was a result of Greek conquerors.
Greek settlement composes the Middle
Helladic period between 2000 BC and 1550 BC. In areas where the Greeks
peacefully cohabitate with the previous inhabitants – they annihilated
The Greek’s spoke Greek -- their native Indo-European language. Middle
society was based on warfare and their leaders were war-chiefs. The
of the terrain had a direct influence on Greek social organization; the
hot, dry and rocky mainland was not easy to settle. Agriculture was
limited to grapes and olives and coastal areas relied principally upon
fishing for both food and trade. The Greeks began trading with the
Minoans to the south and continued to develop into a bona fide
The transition between the Middle
and Late Helladic periods is indeterminable since rudimentary
construction had occurred earlier in the millenium. After 1550 BC the
Greek settlers entered their first major period of cultural creativity
in urbanized areas. Their cities grew larger, graves more opulent, art
more common, agriculture more efficient which impacted the surrounding
Aegean areas. This period is the Mycenean period called
Mycenean proper. Greek culture thrived for 400 years before it crumbled
abruptly into oblivion in 1150 BC, leaving a 2,000 year legacy of
and mythology. The most notable Mycenean spokesman was Homer whose
described the Greek war against Troy.
Ruins suggest that the Myceneans
derived from the Minoans, but with marked differences. Mycenean society
was monarchical, ruled by a Wanax who governed a large administration.
Unlike the Minoans, the Mycenean kings accumulated a vast concentration
of wealth that the rest of society did not share. The king was also a
warlord which meant that he was in a constant state of war readiness;
he lived in a fortress surrounded by thick perimeter walls. Where
Minoans art was carefree, apolitical and
unreligious, Mycenean art was about warfare and hunting: If there was
a local war in-progress, they were prone to attack Asia Minor, the
East and Egypt.
When Minoan civilization weakened
series of earthquakes, the Myceneans conquered them along with the rest
the Aegean civilizations which established them as Masters over the
culture(s) that had inherently influenced their own.
The Myceneans engaged commercial
shipping: Trading animal skins and oil for jewelry and products from
Crete, Asia Minor, and Egypt. Their practices were notorious in that
piracy was covertly engaged on the side. Both activities accumulated
vast amounts of wealth for each warlord and his pet officials. State
revenue was appropriated for defense with generous amounts spent on
jewelry, crafts and expensive burials. Wealthy kings were buried in
deep-shaft graves until around 1500 BC when tombs became extravagant
statements of power.
The epoch of Mycenean power
surrounds the destruction of Troy, after which, they disappeared.
Around 1200 BC, the economy collapsed and the population radically
decreased until the cities were completely abandoned
by 1100 BC. The Greeks believed that another Greek-speaking people, the
overran the Myceneans. The Dorians
did not like cities and preferred to
small tribal/agrarian groups. The debate on whether a literal invasion
occurred has not been resolved. Evidence suggests that Mycenean city
dwellers were forced to relocate because of the economic collapse and
that Greece reverted to a non-urbanized, tribal culture. The writing
stopped and the period that followed is known as the "Greek Dark Ages."
The assimilation of the Mycenean
religion appears in classical Greek pantheons but was transgendered and
separated into Greek gods. To what extent Mycenean religious beliefs
were assimilated is unknown because Mycenean ruins and fragments of
writing are insufficient for a complete theological diegesis.
All sources are cited where they
Hooker was a principal author.