What Ancient Civilization Lived on Crete?

Crete, the largest island in Greece, has a rich and fascinating history. It has been home to several ancient civilizations, each leaving their mark on the island. However, the most notable and influential civilization that lived on Crete was the Minoans.

The Minoan civilization flourished on Crete from approximately 2700 BCE to 1450 BCE. They were named after King Minos, who was believed to be the son of Zeus and Europa. The Minoans were renowned for their advanced culture, arts, architecture, and commerce.

One of the most significant archaeological discoveries that shed light on this remarkable civilization was made in 1900 by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans when he uncovered the palace of Knossos. The palace was massive, covering an area of around 15000 square meters and holding over 1300 rooms.

The Minoans had a complex political system with a central power based in Knossos. Their society was divided into classes based on occupation and wealth. They were excellent merchants and traders with other civilizations such as Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Their art is also noteworthy as they developed a unique style characterized by vibrant colors, intricate designs, and natural motifs such as dolphins or bulls. The famous frescoes at Knossos depict scenes from daily life such as bull-leaping ceremonies or religious rituals.

The Minoans also had a sophisticated writing system known as Linear A which is yet to be deciphered fully. However, it is believed that they used it for record-keeping purposes.

Unfortunately, like many ancient civilizations, the Minoans met their end through natural disasters or invasions. The eruption of Thera volcano in 1450 BCE led to widespread destruction across Crete’s coastal areas leading to significant damage to their cities’ infrastructure.

Moreover, around the same time period, invaders from mainland Greece known as Mycenaeans started occupying Crete’s eastern part, leading to the decline of the Minoan civilization.

In conclusion, the Minoan civilization was a remarkable and influential culture that thrived on Crete for centuries. Their legacy can still be seen today in the island’s art, architecture, and society.