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Thoroughly researched, Rodney Castleden's Minoans: Life in Bronze Age Crete here sues the results of recent research to produce a comprehensive new vision of the peoples of Minoan Crete. Since Sir Arthur Evans rediscovered the Minoans in the early 1900s, we have defined a series of cultural traits that make the ‘Minoan personality’: elegant, graceful and sophisticated, these nature lovers lived in harmony with their neighbours, while their fleets ruled the seas around Crete. This, at least, is the popular view of the Minoans. But how far does the later work of archaeologists in Crete support this view? Drawing on his experience of being actively involved in research on landscapes processes and prehistory for the last twenty years, Castleden writes clearly and accessibly to provide a text essential to the study of this fascinating subject.
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Thoroughly researched, Rodney Castleden's Minoans: Life in Bronze Age Crete here sues the results of recent research to produce a comprehensive new vision of the peoples of Minoan Crete. Since Sir Arthur Evans rediscovered the Minoans in the early 1900s, we have defined a series of cultural traits that make the 'Minoan personality': elegant, graceful and sophisticated, these nature lovers lived in harmony with their neighbours, while their fleets ruled the seas around Crete. This, at least, is the popular view of the Minoans. But how far does the later work of archaeologists in Crete support this view? Drawing on his experience of being actively involved in research on landscapes processes and prehistory for the last twenty years, Castleden writes clearly and accessibly to provide a text essential to the study of this fascinating subject.
Awakening the Wonders of the Ancient Minoans in our Modern Lives
Author: Laura Perry
Publisher: Moon Books
Category: Body, Mind & Spirit
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The myths of ancient Crete, her people, and their gods twine through our minds like the snakes around the priestess's arms in those ancient temples. They call to us across the millennia, asking us to remember. In answer to that call, Ariadne’s Thread provides a window into the spirituality, culture and daily life of the Minoan people, and commemorates the richness of a world in which women and men worked and worshiped as equals. In these pages, the glory of Crete once again springs to life; the history, the culture, and most of all, the intense spirituality of these fascinating people and their gods can inspire and transform our modern ways of thinking, worshiping and being. The ruined temples and mansions of ancient Crete may crumble along the coastline of this tiny island, but Ariadne’s thread still leads us into the labyrinth and safely back out again.
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Plato's legend of Atlantis has become notorious among scholars as the absurdest lie in literature. Atlantis Destroyed explores the possibility that the account given by Plato is historically true. Rodney Castleden first considers the location of Atlantis re-examining two suggestions put forward in the early twentieth century; Minoan Crete and Minoan Thera. He outlines the latest research findings on Knossos and Bronze Age Thera, discussing the material culture, trade empire and agricultural system, writing and wall paintings, art, religion and society of the Minoan civilization. Castleden demonstrates the many parallels between Plato's narrative and the Minoan Civilization in the Aegean. Fired by the imagination a new vision of Atlantis has arisen over the last one hundred and fifty years as a lost utopia. Rodney Castleden discusses why this picture arose and xplains how it has become confused with Plato's genuine account.
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The Greek Bronze Age, roughly 3000 to 1000 BCE, witnessed the flourishing of the Minoan and Mycenean civilizations, the earliest expansion of trade in the Aegean and wider Mediterranean Sea, the development of artistic techniques in a variety of media, and the evolution of early Greek religious practices and mythology. The period also witnessed a violent conflict in Asia Minor between warring peoples in the region, a conflict commonly believed to be the historical basis for Homer's Trojan War. The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean provides a detailed survey of these fascinating aspects of the period, and many others, in sixty-six newly commissioned articles. Divided into four sections, the handbook begins with Background and Definitions, which contains articles establishing the discipline in its historical, geographical, and chronological settings and in its relation to other disciplines. The second section, Chronology and Geography, contains articles examining the Bronze Age Aegean by chronological period (Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age). Each of the periods are further subdivided geographically, so that individual articles are concerned with Mainland Greece during the Early Bronze Age, Crete during the Early Bronze Age, the Cycladic Islands during the Early Bronze Age, and the same for the Middle Bronze Age, followed by the Late Bronze Age. The third section, Thematic and Specific Topics, includes articles examining thematic topics that cannot be done justice in a strictly chronological/geographical treatment, including religion, state and society, trade, warfare, pottery, writing, and burial customs, as well as specific events, such as the eruption of Santorini and the Trojan War. The fourth section, Specific Sites and Areas, contains articles examining the most important regions and sites in the Bronze Age Aegean, including Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos, Knossos, Kommos, Rhodes, the northern Aegean, and the Uluburun shipwreck, as well as adjacent areas such as the Levant, Egypt, and the western Mediterranean. Containing new work by an international team of experts, The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean represents the most comprehensive, authoritative, and up-to-date single-volume survey of the field. It will be indispensable for scholars and advanced students alike.
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The magnificent works of ancient Crete, Mycenae, and the Cycladic Islands are awe-inspiring in their richness and variety. Frescoes, jewelry, sculpture, gold funeral masks, ivories, and countless other beautiful artifacts--all the significant works of art and architecture that are our legacy from those great civilizations in the third and second millennia BC are described and illustrated in Dr. Higgins's distinguished survey. This fully revised and updated edition includes greater coverage of the breathtaking frescoes from Akrotiri on the island of Thera. Other recent findings are also illustrated and described in detail, such as the unique ivory figure from Palaikastro, objects from the palace of Mallia, and the intriguing discovery of Minoan frescoes in Egypt.
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Introduction; Historical outline; Myth and tradition; History of the excavations;Minoans and Knossos; The archaeological site; Route from Herakleion to Knossos; Tour of the palace; The main features; West court - west façade; West porch - corridor of the procession - central court; South propylaeum - west magazines - piano nobile; Throne room - tripartite shrine - pillar crypts; Grand staircase - hall of the double axes - queen's hall; Upper floor of the domestic quarter - shrine of the double axes; Royal workshops and magazines - east hall; North entrance - north lustral area - theatral area; The dependencies of the palace; Art treasures from Knossos.
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Ever since Sir Arthur Evans first excavated at the site of the Palace at Knossos in the early twentieth century, scholars and visitors have been drawn to the architecture of Bronze Age Crete. Much of the attraction comes from the geographical and historical uniqueness of the island. Equidistant from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Minoan Crete is on the shifting conceptual border between East and West, and chronologically suspended between history and prehistory. In this culturally dynamic context, architecture provided more than physical shelter; it embodied meaning. Architecture was a medium through which Minoans constructed their notions of social, ethnic, and historical identity: the buildings tell us about how the Minoans saw themselves, and how they wanted to be seen by others. Architecture of Minoan Crete is the first comprehensive study of the entire range of Minoan architecture—including houses, palaces, tombs, and cities—from 7000 BC to 1100 BC. John C. McEnroe synthesizes the vast literature on Minoan Crete, with particular emphasis on the important discoveries of the past twenty years, to provide an up-to-date account of Minoan architecture. His accessible writing style, skillful architectural drawings of houses and palaces, site maps, and color photographs make this book inviting for general readers and visitors to Crete, as well as scholars.
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Knossos, like the Acropolis or Stonehenge, is a symbol for an entire culture. The Knossos Labyrinth was first built in the reign of a Middle Kingdom Egyptian pharaoh, and was from the start the focus of a glittering and exotic culture. Homer left elusive clues about the Knossian court and when the lost site of Knossos gradually re-emerged from obscurity in the nineteenth century, the first excavators - Minos Kalokairinos, Heinrich Schliemann, and Arthur Evans - were predisposed to see the site through the eyes of the classical authors. Rodney Castleden argues that this line of thought was a false trail and gives an alternative insight into the labyrinth which is every bit as exciting as the traditional explanations, and one which he believes is much closer to the truth. Rejecting Evans' view of Knossos as a bronze age royal palace, Castleden puts forward alternative interpretations - that the building was a necropolis or a temple - and argues that the temple interpretation is the most satisfactory in the light of modern archaeological knowledge about Minoan Crete.
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A general introduction to the art and architecture of Greece, the Cycladic islands and Crete, from c.3300 - 1000 BC. The authors have been highly selective in their choice of sites and objects, providing key examples which illustrate the clearly written text. They emphasize the importance of context and the complexities of meaning and function of objects within different environments and situations, and through time. A book geared more to the interested reader and students embarking on Aegean courses, than serious scholars who will already be familiar with the content.
Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth
Author: J. A. MacGillivray
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At the turn of the century, the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans claimed that he had discovered the labyrinth constructed by Daedalus at Knossos - the lair of the Minotaur. This is the first biography of this flamboyant, strong-headed and immensely influential man, written by scholar with unparalleled expertise in the archaeology of Crete.When Evans went to Greece after a mediocre career as a journalist in the Balkans, Heinrich Schliemann had recently uncovered what he claimed were Troy and Mycenae, the famed cities of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Similarly Evans wanted to verify the factual basis for the myths that meant most to him, and he found just what he was looking for in Crete.In a radical departure from the common view that archaeologists simply uncover what they find and then work out what the artefacts mean, Professor MacGillivray shows that Evans in fact anticipated what he found, having decided before he began his excavations at Knossos what his discoveries would mean. Evans's Minoans were perfect Victorians: a peaceful, literate, aesthetic and just society where wise men held political office and powerful women ruled the people's hearts. Though MacGillivray makes clear that Knossos was not simply a lucky find, he also shows Evans as a heroic, larger-than-life figure struggling with themes concerning the origins of civilization that we still regard as vital.
The History of the Civilizations That First Developed Ancient Greek Culture
Author: Charles River Charles River Editors
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*Includes pictures *Examines the archaeology, history, and culture of both groups *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading Nearly 2,500 years after the Golden Age of Athens, people across the world today continue to be fascinated by the Ancient Greeks. But who did the Ancient Greeks look up to? The answer to that question can be found in Homer's The Odyssey, in which Odysseus makes note of "a great town there, Cnossus, where Minos reigned." It was perhaps the earliest reference to the Minoan civilization, a mysterious ancient civilization that historians and archaeologists still puzzle over, but a civilization that renowned historian Will Durant described as "the first link in the European chain." Nearly 2,000 years before Homer wrote his epic poems, the Minoan civilization was centered on the island of Crete, a location that required the Minoans to be a regional sea power. And indeed they were, stretching across the Aegean Sea from about 2700-1500 BCE with trade routes extending all the way to Egypt. The Minoans may have been the first link in the "European chain," leading to the Ancient Greeks and beyond, but questions persist over the origins of the civilization, the end of the civilization, and substantial parts of their history inbetween, including their religion and buildings. In the wake of the Minoans, a Greek culture flourished and spread its tentacles throughout the western Mediterranean region via trade and warfare. Scholars have termed this pre-Classical Greek culture the Mycenaean culture, which existed from about 2000-1200 BCE, when Greece, along with much of the eastern Mediterranean, was thrust into a centuries long dark age. However, before the Mycenaean culture collapsed, it was a vital part of the late Bronze Age Mediterranean system and stood on equal footing with some of the great powers of the region, such as the Egyptians and Hittites. Despite being ethnic Greeks and speaking a language that was the direct predecessor of classical Greek, the Mycenaeans had more in common with their neighbors from the island of Crete, who are known today as the Minoans. Due to their cultural affinities with the Minoans and the fact that they conquered Crete yet still carried on many Minoan traditions, the Mycenaeans are viewed by some scholars as the later torchbearers of a greater Aegean civilization, much the way the Romans carried on Hellenic civilization after the Greeks. Given that the Mycenaeans played such a vital role on the history in the late Bronze Age, it would be natural to assume there are countless studies and accurate chronologies on the subject, but the opposite is true. Although the Mycenaeans were literate, the corpus of written texts from the period is minimal, so modern scholars are left to use a variety of methods in order to reconstruct a proper history of Mycenaean culture. In fact, even the name "Mycenaean" can be a bit misleading since it refers only to one locale in Greece. However, since the city was the first Bronze Age site discovered, it became a reference point for archeologists and historians to use to refer to any Bronze Age discoveries in Greece. Archeology provides the base for any study of the ancient Mycenaeans; since many of their cities were replaced and built over in classical, medieval, and modern times, excavations of the Bronze Age cities can tell modern scholars how these people lived and died. Closely related to archaeology is art history, which can be the study of any material culture including pottery, sculptures, reliefs, and jewelry. The Homeric epics also provide some information about Mycenaean culture, though Homer was a poet who lived hundreds of years after the collapse of the Mycenaean culture. Classical Greek historians and geographers also wrote about the Mycenaeans, but their works should be consulted with caution as some of their statements have proved false.
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Neopalatial Crete - the 'Golden Age' of the Minoan Civilization - possessed palaces, exquisite artefacts, and iconography with pre-eminent females. While lacking in fortifications, ritual symbolism cloaked the island, an elaborate bureaucracy logged transactions, and massive storage areas enabled the redistribution of goods. We cannot read the Linear A script, but the libation formulae suggest an island-wide koine. Within this cultural identity, there is considerable variation in how the Minoan elites organized themselves and others on an intra-site and regional basis. This book explores and celebrates this rich, diverse and dynamic culture through analyses of important sites, as well as Minoan administration, writing, economy and ritual. Key themes include the role of Knossos in wider Minoan culture and politics, the variable modes of centralization and power relations detectable across the island, and the role of ritual and cult in defining and articulating elite control.
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*Includes pictures depicting important people, places, and events. *Includes a bibliography for further reading. The Toltec are one of the most famous Mesoamerican groups in South America, but they are also the most controversial and mysterious. The Toltec have been identified as the group that established a strong state centered in Tula (in present-day Mexico), and the Aztec claimed the Toltec as their cultural predecessors, so much so that the word Toltec comes from the Aztec's word Toltecatl, translated as artisan. The Aztec also kept track of the Toltec's history, including keeping a list of important rulers and events, that suggest the peak of the Toltec occurred from about 900-1100 A.D. From the moment Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes first found and confronted them, the Aztecs have fascinated the world, and they continue to hold a unique place both culturally and in pop culture. Nearly 500 years after the Spanish conquered their mighty empire, the Aztecs are often remembered today for their major capital, Tenochtitlan, as well as being fierce conquerors of the Valley of Mexico who often engaged in human sacrifice rituals. Ironically, and unlike the Mayans, the Aztecs are not widely viewed or remembered with nuance, in part because their own leader burned extant Aztec writings and rewrote a mythologized history explaining his empire's dominance less than a century before the Spanish arrived. Thus, even as historians have had to rely on Aztec accounts to trace the history and culture of the Toltec, they have had to deal with the fact that the evidence is fragmentary and incomplete. Given the fact that the Aztec leaders engaged in revisionist history, it becomes even more difficult to be sure that the Aztec accounts of the Toltec are accurate, with some scholars going so far as to call the Toltec culture nothing but myth. While scholars continue to debate whether the Toltec were an actual historical group, there is an added layer of mystery to the fact that the settlement at Tula has a lot in common with the famous Mayan settlement at Chich�n Itz�. The architecture and art at both sites are so similar that archaeologists and anthropologists have assumed they had the same cultural influences, even as historians struggle to determine the historical timelines, and thus whether Tula influenced Chich�n Itz� or vice versa. The World's Greatest Civilizations: The History and Culture of the Toltec comprehensively covers the history, culture, and controversy behind the Toltec, profiling their origins and their lasting legacy. Along with pictures depicting important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Toltec like you never have before, in no time at all.