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Michael Pan PART A: SHORT ANSWERS

THE MINOANS]

(i) Name TWO (2) of the following: Palaces


Knossos Phaistos

Frescoes Priest King Bull-Leaping Resources Olives Figs Industries Textile industry Pottery industry Types of writing Linear A Linear B

PART B: PARAGRAPH RESPONSES (i) Briefly outline a legend (other than Theseus and the Minotaur) associated with the Minoans.

Icarus, the son of Daedalus who attempted to escape from Crete by flying to the sun with wings of feathers and wax. His father, Daedalus had been imprisoned by King Minos of Crete within the walls he created himself. Daedalus knew could not leave Crete by sea, as the king kept strict watch on all vessels, permitting none to sail without being carefully searched. Since Minos controlled the land and sea routes, Daedalus set to work to fabricate wings for himself and his young son Icarus. He tied feathers together, from smallest to largest so as to form an increasing surface. He secured the feathers at their midpoints with string and at their bases with wax, and gave the whole a gentle curvature like the wings of a bird. When the work was done, the artist, waving his wings, found him buoyed upward and hung suspended, poising himself on the beaten air. He next equipped his son in the same manner, and taught him how to fly. When both were prepared for flight, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high, because the heat of the sun would melt the wax, nor too low, because the sea foam would soak the feathers. But Icarus became ecstatic with the ability to fly and forgot his father's warning. The feathers came loose and Icarus plunged to his death in the sea.

ANCIENT HISTORY

Michael Pan

THE MINOANS]

(ii)

Describe the role of women in Minoan religion

It appears that in everyday society women and men were equal, in the art woman shown more frequently than men - believed that women were of higher importance in religion. Also evident that women had the roles of priestesses and took part in religious rituals and funerals. Frescoes show us that women dressed beautifully with makeup and jewellery, they attended the theatre, and partook in many of the same activities as men. Women were the main workers in the textile industry, they were nurses and grinders of corn,(such as those shown in the Agia Triada Sarcophagus),, and they had the right to marry, divorce and inherit property they also had control over the property that they owned. It appears that the Minoan women had more rights and freedom than women in any other ancient societies. Frequently a woman is shown with wild animals and fantastic creatures, thought to be a nature goddess and has been called Mistress of the Animals. Figures appear in house hold shrines; they wear crowns of various sorts and lift up their hands in a prayer position. Women were respected, highly fashion-conscious, and socially and religiously active, accompanied men to public festivals and took part in athletics, active in religious practice as men, and priestesses participated in religious ceremonies.

(iii)

Explain what art reveals about Minoan society

Minoan art was highly distinctive in style and took many forms. Much of it was architectural adornments for homes, shrines and palaces, and much were religious mural paintings, statuettes or ritual vases. Murals in palaces and fine homes were fragmentary. This reveals the lifestyle the Minoans pursued; the art portrays the Minoans as wealthy and extremely religious. There were two main subjects: Palace life ceremonies, processions, sporting activities and festivals many with religious significance Scenes from nature eg. Dolphins, cat striking pheasant-like bird and monkeys

Figurines were generally of animals and people and often came in the form of goddesses. One of the most well-known is the Goddess with the upraised arms found in Kharpi. She wears slashed poppies in her crown, indicative of opium use. Another is the Snake Goddess from Knossos made of multi-coloured faience. Other images included the larynx or double-headed axe, animal-headed gods/goddesses, buildings, religious icons, offerings and scenes of nature. The figurines and artwork reveal the Minoans devotion towards nature and how being depicted as animals was significant in their society.
ANCIENT HISTORY 2

Michael Pan

THE MINOANS]

(iv)

What was the significance of the palace economy in Minoan society?

Most of the goods sent abroad were made in the palace workshops. The Palace was the centre of economic life; It is in an ideal position in the Mediterranean for trade with Egypt, the Cyclades, Libya, Palestine, Asia Minor, and mainland Greece. This is clear from the large number of store-rooms and storage vessels discovered. Clay tablets for writing suggest highly organised administration. Thorough archival system records necessary to control suppliers and their quotas were kept. The tablets found show that many goods came in and out of the palaces, all of them carefully recorded. This material suggests that the palaces may have been central depots for taxation in a period that thrived without benefit of a monetary economy. Palaces can be found in various parts of Crete, most of them not far from the sea-this probably reflects their role in trade and exchange with foreign ports, also their function as protective custodians of the land. The Minoans soon built their civilization on the foundation of their trading wealth.

(v)

Describe how the Minoans buried their dead

The body was placed on the foetal position in the tomb. It was buried with personal objects such as cups, jewellery and eating utensils, possibility of a belief in life after death. Collective tombs were also built as a pathway to the next world; seals and pottery were left to assist the deceased. The Minoans also believed in the afterlife, this is reflected upon the most significant deity mother goddess of fertility, dressed fashionable and snake wounds around here, snakes were a symbol of protecting homes. Archaeologists suggest that the Minoans believed that the dead needed their objects until the flesh decayed from the bones. It was only then that the spirit would depart and the bones would be pushed aside to make room for other burials. The head, in particular, was always revered as they believed it was the source of a persons individuality. The Minoans would bury more than one body in a chamber of a tomb. Therefore rooms could have many burials in them. These tombs often had a small step altar outside of them. Bodies were not buried but placed on the floor of the tomb.

ANCIENT HISTORY

Michael Pan

THE MINOANS]

(vi)

Was Minoan society matriarchal or patriarchal?

Many societies in the ancient world were patriarchal. In the past it was commonly believed that the Minoans also lived in a patriarchal society. Historians assumed that a priest-king ruled the Palace of Knossos and the other palaces were run by lower status priest-kings who would have administered their local areas. Many historians also believed that lower status priest-kings were relatives of the priest-king of Knossos and that the role of priest king was hereditary. These assumptions have been challenged by people such as German archaeologist Helga Reusch who believed that the throne at Knossos wa s shaped for a female priestess, also challenged by the fact that women appear to have a much more prominent role in Minoan religion, which is shown in various frescoes, figurines and the Aghia Triadha sarcophagus. Also supporting theory of matriarchal society - main Minoan deities were goddesses. The Minoan society was believed to evolve from patriarchal to matriarchal over time although the evidence is very uncertain. Although John Pendlebury, whose knowledge of Minoan archaeology was enormous, said that: "It is impossible to say what kind of social order existed" in Minoan Crete. However, we do have the palaces and villas, town houses and remains of separate farms and simple huts, so we know that some members of the society must have been better off than others because they lived in better houses.

ANCIENT HISTORY

Michael Pan

THE MINOANS]

PART C: ESSAY (i) With reference to Source 1 and other evidence, explain the main features of Minoan religion. (See source on next page)

Minoan religion included worship of nature including trees, birds and bulls. Depictions on seals and vases show that some homes contained simple shrines, but usually worship took place in caves, in forests, and on mountain tops. Peak Sanctuaries are places where worshippers go to contact their gods and 25 known shrines scattered from the eastern edge of the island to the central west. Usually situated at the highest peak-idea of being closer to sky gods and these sanctuaries were the most popular Minoan religious centres. Most peak sanctuaries have an alter which lies in direct line of sight to the peak shrine. The purpose of the earliest peak shrines was to serve local pastoral communities. Found objects includes, figurines of humans, bulls and other animals made from clay, tablets containing linear a inscriptions and other items of peak sanctuaries. Peak sanctuaries vary in design from open spaces to religious areas being marked out by a temenos wall. Most votives were found in the ash revealing they had been burnt when offered. The caves became the dwelling places of gods, sacred places where bronze figurines, double headed axes, and swords were placed as offerings. Stone cut sanctuaries were built on mountain tops for cult practices. The appearance of Minoan tripartite shrines is derived from actual ruins, as well as on frescoes and gems, and was used as backdrops for ceremonies. Shrines were built within palaces and mansions, such as on the ground floor room at the place of Knossos. Minoans built collective tombs, some being roofed roundhouses and others were rectangular. Tombs were passage ways to the next world and objects like seals and pottery were often left to assist the dead in the next world. The most prominent deity was the mother goddess, a fertility/earth goddess, central to Minoan worship, frequently depicted with snakes symbols of immortality because of their ability to shed and renew their skin, thought to protect homes and was also associated with the underworld, this can be seen in Source 1. The mother goddess was also associated with a divine youth to whom Athenian youths were sacrificed. This was the Minotaur or bull man. He was variously represented as a bull or merely its horns, or in the double headed axe. The double headed axe on a pole represents a cult belief that was to acquire divine protection, and was associated with vegetation worship. Many offerings were found in a cave on Mt. Ida. It is believed that here Zeus was born, and that Minos came, every nine years, to consult about the future of Crete. The Minoans used huge Canopic jars and sarcophagi for burial. Tombs were cut into the side of hills and covered with false domes. The most popular ritual event on Crete was the sport bull leaping which was debatable, however the sport had leapers somersaulted over the bulls back, then landed on the ground
ANCIENT HISTORY 5

Michael Pan

THE MINOANS]

on their feet. Again, this was done in honour do the mother goddess. The bull used in the ritual was later sacrificed to appease this goddess of fertility, as well as to grant safe sailing, kind weather, and healthy crops. Evidence to support this is at arkhanes there is the ruin of a temple and cult statue and possible the remains of a sacrificial victim, although these remains could also suggest medical practice of some form.

ANCIENT HISTORY

Michael Pan

THE MINOANS]

BILBIOGRAPHY
WEB SITES
http://www.explorecrete.com/archaeology/minoan-palaces.html http://www.students.sbc.edu/drahman08/paper.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_Goddess http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icarus www.google.com.au www.wikipedia.com.au BOOKS The MINOANS GAE CALLENDER

ANCIENT HISTORY

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