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Old January 18th, 2013, 04:09 AM   #1

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Peaceful Minoans (breaking a myth)


I have read an article while lurking at Dienekes blog. It is quite interesting and breaks a long lasting myth that the Minoan Civilization from Crete was not-warlike and warriors didn't take a place in the shaping of the daily-life politics.

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Research from the University of Sheffield has discovered that the ancient civilisation of Crete, known as Minoan, had strong martial traditions, contradicting the commonly held view of Minoans as a peace-loving people.

The research, carried out by Dr Barry Molloy of the University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology, investigated the Bronze Age people of Crete, known by many as the Minoans, who created the very first complex urban civilisation in Europe.

"Their world was uncovered just over a century ago, and was deemed to be a largely peaceful society," explained Molloy. "In time, many took this to be a paradigm of a society that was devoid of war, where warriors and violence were shunned and played no significant role.

"That utopian view has not survived into modern scholarship, but it remains in the background unchallenged and still crops up in modern texts and popular culture with surprising frequency.
The Annual of the British School at Athens, 107, pp 87-142doi:10.1017/S0068245412000044

MARTIAL MINOANS? WAR AS SOCIAL PROCESS,PRACTICE AND EVENT IN BRONZE AGE CRETE


Barry P.C. Molloy

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Together with politics, economics and religion, war is one of the fundamental factors that canshape a society and group identities. In the prehistoric world, the sources for the study of war are disparate and their interpretation can be inconsistent and problematic. In the case of Cretein the Bronze Age, a systematic analysis of the evidence will be undertaken for the first time inthis paper, and this opportunity is used to critically evaluate the most effective ways of employing the widely agreed sets of physical correlates for ancient war in the archaeological record. A further objective in exploring the diachronic roles of war in these societies is to movethe discussion from a niche field to a more integrated, and systematic, social analysis. Theexistence and character of a warrior identity is examined, and it is proposed that it oftenconstituted a conspicuous element of male identity. The varying scales and time spans throughwhich war can influence a society are discussed, and a broad framework for understanding war in social process, practices and events is proposed.
P.S Sorry for not linking the article, i was told i am not supposed to do since i am a new member.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 11:11 AM   #2

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Well, Knossos seemed to be a fearless society because no major fortification was found. That is the main source of the myth. Now if we look at the images below, we can understand things were a bit different

Click the image to open in full size.

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Also, it is known that the Minoans cleared up the piracy in the Mediterranean. You can't really do that if you're that peaceful.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 11:32 AM   #3

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It was one of those pervasive beliefs, similar to the 'peaceful, non-violent Maya', that has been discarded with the maturing of the archeology. It's the kind of theory that develops from incomplete science but somehow gains traction even though it runs counter to what we know of similar, nearby societies and societies in general.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 01:27 PM   #4

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That's very interesting, I haven't really studied the Minoans and have had the idea that they were a "peaceful" civilization. I also heard that it was possible that they were ruled by their religious leaders, does the fact that they did have a definite military mean that this is unlikely?
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Old January 18th, 2013, 01:38 PM   #5

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I doubt any society that was totally peaceful would last long enough to become known to us , there seems always to have been someone that will come and take what you have , unless you stand up and fight for it .
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Old January 18th, 2013, 04:50 PM   #6

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The Mykenaeans seem to have had a well-developed warrior tradition; it only seems logical the Minoans would also to some extent.

I can't believe there has ever been any human community, let alone one that achieves the status of 'civilization' that did not see some degree of organized human violence.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 08:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midas View Post
Well, Knossos seemed to be a fearless society because no major fortification was found.
Rome at its height didn't even bother to have a city wall, some 400,000 to 1,000,000 people live in a city without any fortification and they felt safe, it is precisely because the military supremacy of the empire's army
However Minoans are different from other land-based civilizations because they are island based. The sea may offer them some protection therefore they can enjoy the relative luxury of peace in the major settlement centers. But this doesn't necessarily imply they are not prepared to go to war. The study of the Minoan culture is further complicated by the enigma of Linear A which is not yet cracked.

Last edited by h6wq9rjk; January 18th, 2013 at 08:57 PM.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 09:08 PM   #8

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But they were conquered by the Myceneans.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 07:43 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by emperor of seleucid View Post
But they were conquered by the Myceneans.
You mean the remnants were conquered after the volcanic destruction that diminished them.

Flashcards Table on Hoogleyboogley
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Old January 19th, 2013, 09:31 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by emperor of seleucid View Post
But they were conquered by the Myceneans.
Yes, but they were in a decline. I don't know how much they were "conquered". It is more like the ruling elite was conquered. The Mycenaeans were demographically natives, who were ruled by a proto-Greek speaking elite.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclefred View Post
You mean the remnants were conquered after the volcanic destruction that diminished them.

Flashcards Table on Hoogleyboogley
Actually, it is not like few Minoans survived. The coasts suffered a terrible loss, but Crete is separated by a high mountain chain. The southerners were not affected and the highlanders survived and thrived.
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