Minoan Origins.

Midas

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,129
Scandinavia, Balkans, Anatolia, Hatay
#11
Although slightly off topic I have a question for some of our friends well versed on this topic.
Why Crete? Why did these people become a great civilization but not the ones in Cyprus for example?
Usually there are geographic reasons for such civilizations Tigris and Euphrates for Anatolia and Mesopotamia , Nile for egypt, the Yellow river and the Yangtze for china etc.What is the reason for Crete?
Crete was the centre of a greater complex of Islands. It is an island that can truly support itself with everything. Extremely fertile and rich in natural resources. It handled all trade between the Helladic area and Anatolia. Also, it grew rich by selling expensive products such as ointments, perfumes and other beauty care items to the aristocracy of the middle east. It was never seriously threated and could handle its internal issues successfully.

Cyprus, although not well known, had a great civilization as well. One of the oldest worldwide actually and that too originating from Anatolia (Cilicia). It did simply not expand and it probably suffered by invasions (including Minoan ones). Cyprus AKA Alasia was a very good trading friend of Sumer and Egypt.
 
Feb 2013
4,263
Coastal Florida
#12
Although slightly off topic I have a question for some of our friends well versed on this topic.
Why Crete? Why did these people become a great civilization but not the ones in Cyprus for example?
Usually there are geographic reasons for such civilizations Tigris and Euphrates for Anatolia and Mesopotamia , Nile for egypt, the Yellow river and the Yangtze for china etc.What is the reason for Crete?
I agree with Ariadne and Midas. The remoteness and lushness of the island were surely primary reasons to stay in the early period. I think the greatness of the civilization can also be attributed to the development of boat technology. While boats certainly long-predated the settlement of Crete, I'm not so sure they were at the level of sophistication needed to haul large loads of cargo all over the place. I think there's a good chance the Minoans advanced their civilization as boat technology got better. The photo below shows the ceremonial boat found in a pit beside the Great Pyramid @ Giza (circa 2566 BC). This one was used on the Nile but you get the idea of the type of thing the Cretans may have had. This one doesn't have sails but they were supposedly known by the Egyptians at the time. Amazingly, this particular boat was held together with rope but archaeologists do think it was actually used on the Nile during Khufu's burial ceremony. Cyprus was a primary source for copper, so perhaps that attracted a lot of attempts to control the island by outside groups.

 

Reis

Ad Honorem
Apr 2010
2,028
#13
Thank you guys for the replies. I appriciate it , I had suspected some of your answers but this gave a more detailed answer.

Perhaps a second follow up question if its not too offtopic.
Why then did this relative prosperity and advancedness shift to mainland greece and to the coast of Anatolia?Or did the island civilizations continue their prosperity?
I am aware that the demise of the Minoan civilization was due to some sort of natural disaster. Was this the reason?
 
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Midas

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,129
Scandinavia, Balkans, Anatolia, Hatay
#14
Cyprus was a primary source for copper, so perhaps that attracted a lot of attempts to control the island by outside groups.
In some royal letter between the King of Cyprus and the Pharaoh of Egypt, the Cypriot King claims that Nergal (a fearfull daemon of the middle east) layed hand upon the island and killed a large amount of the population. Apparetly, Cyprus was being attacked by the Lukka (Lycians) who were probably acting on behalf of the Hatti. In that sense, Cyprus was an ally of Egypt and Babylon, but not the Hittites. Price payed and in the end, the Minoans took over around 1600-1500 B.C.
 

Midas

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,129
Scandinavia, Balkans, Anatolia, Hatay
#15
Thank you guys for the replies. I appriciate it , I had suspected some of your answers but this gave a more detailed answer.

Perhaps a second follow up question if its not too offtopic.
Why then did this relative prosperity and advancedness shift to mainland greece and to the coast of Anatolia?Or did the island civilizations continue their prosperity?
I am aware that the Minoan civilization was due to some sort of natural disaster. Was this the reason?
The Minoans were living in the mainland Greece too and reached as far up as the northern Ionian islands. In Anatolia they had their cities too, especially Miletus which is originally a Minoan city.

The Mycenaeans, just like the Nesili (Indo-European Hittites who ruled the Hatti) entered the Minoan environment and adopted a lot. I think commerse was more important than conflicts and the Mycenaeans were probably not powerful enough to take away the power from their commercial alies King. When the natural dissaster occured (Thera erruption), an economic and social chaos took over the Aegean. The unaffected Mycenaean aristocracy, probably did the right moves and took over the administration of Crete, but by no means did not replace the population. Besides, the inland of Crete is mountainous, which means that except from the northern coastal Minoans, the rest survived.
 
Feb 2013
4,263
Coastal Florida
#16
In some royal letter between the King of Cyprus and the Pharaoh of Egypt, the Cypriot King claims that Nergal (a fearfull daemon of the middle east) layed hand upon the island and killed a large amount of the population. Apparetly, Cyprus was being attacked by the Lukka (Lycians) who were probably acting on behalf of the Hatti. In that sense, Cyprus was an ally of Egypt and Babylon, but not the Hittites. Price payed and in the end, the Minoans took over around 1600-1500 B.C.
Yep: EA 35.
 

Midas

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,129
Scandinavia, Balkans, Anatolia, Hatay
#17
Nice link!!! Thank you!
Yes, that is the correspondence!

off-topic...

I love how they greet each other on such letters back in the days. "I hope your wifes, children, sisters, brothers, horses, soldiers, servants, houses, chariots, etc... are well". And then the response is "Yes, my [list of wealth, children, possesions follows] are well". :lol:
 
Feb 2013
4,263
Coastal Florida
#18
Nice link!!! Thank you!
Yes, that is the correspondence!

off-topic...

I love how they greet each other on such letters back in the days. "I hope your wifes, children, sisters, brothers, horses, soldiers, servants, houses, chariots, etc... are well". And then the response is "Yes, my
[list of wealth, children, possesions follows] are well". :lol:
I know but you forgot "Please send me 500 pounds of gold" and my personal favorite, "You're not as nice to me as your father was!"

BTW, I posted about 15 other good research links for Ancient Egypt in the "Online resources for researching history" topic under the General History forum.

On the Minoan topic, there are also some mountain-top sanctuaries that might add to this discussion. I'm not sure if a consensus has formed around them but I know there has been quite a bit of argument over the periods they were in use and the purposes for which they were used at different times. I've seen a couple of documentaries where it was argued that they were used as refuges by some Cretans to hide from Mycenaean invasions following the Thera eruption/tsunami. Although, they were almost certainly built long before the eruption. I haven't done any searches on them lately. Additionally, there are other links to Egypt after the Thera eruption as well. Minoan wall murals were painted over a long term span in a couple of successively built palaces at Avaris. This would be after the Hyksos were expelled by the earlier part of the 18th Dynasty. If I remember correctly, one of the palaces belonged to Thutmose III. Perhaps some of the Minoans fled the island. The website for the Tell el-Daba (Avaris) archaeological dig has more information on the murals along with reconstructions from fragments.
 
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Midas

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,129
Scandinavia, Balkans, Anatolia, Hatay
#19
I know but you forgot "Please send me 500 pounds of gold" and my personal favorite, "You're not as nice to me as your father was!"
:lol:

Priceless!


On the Minoan topic, there are also some mountain-top sanctuaries that might add to this discussion. I'm not sure if a consensus has formed around them but I know there has been quite a bit of argument over the periods they were in use and the purposes for which they were used at different times. I've seen a couple of documentaries where it was argued that they were used as refuges by some Cretans to hide from Mycenaean invasions following the Thera eruption/tsunami. Although, they were almost certainly built long before the eruption. I haven't done any searches on them lately.
I didn't know about those. I know that there are a lot of seasonal sanctuaries, that were used in the summer in order to get a cooler climate. One should check the Zominthos excavasions for such an example.
 
Apr 2013
644
Palace of Knossos
#20
Thank you guys for the replies. I appriciate it , I had suspected some of your answers but this gave a more detailed answer.

Perhaps a second follow up question if its not too offtopic.
Why then did this relative prosperity and advancedness shift to mainland greece and to the coast of Anatolia?Or did the island civilizations continue their prosperity?
I am aware that the demise of the Minoan civilization was due to some sort of natural disaster. Was this the reason?
It shifted after the eruption of Thera (around 1600 BC) which didn't destroy the Minoan civilization but weakened it severely
 

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