The mystery of what happened to the Minoan civilization has tormented archaeologists for over a century, and the tale has now taken a new twist.
Fascinating! I have long been interested in the Minoan civilization – and my folks got to visit Knossos during their tour of the Holy Land and Greek isles – but it has been a long time since I’ve taken a course in ancient Mediterranean archaeology, and much of this is new to me. As I say, most interesting!
“According to historians, Knossos was Europe’s oldest proper city, established between 2000 to 1900 B.C.E. Its palace had features considered very advanced for the time, for instance monumental architecture, stone-built storm drains and sewers, and lavatories” – nearly two millennia before the birth of Christ. There are places in the world that don’t have these yet, if they haven’t been brought in from other, more advanced areas!
Ancient Minoan Crete was, in fact, one of the Glories of the West in its time: “In the golden age of the Minoan civilization,” the linked article notes, “they traded with Egypt, the Levant, the Aegean, Asia Minor and less so beyond Italy and Sicily, and possibly as far as Spain and up the Atlantic coast. But,” it continues, “all things come to an end.” Nonetheless: “More than a thousand years later, the Greeks remained impressed by the Cretan achievement.” That is an accomplishment, by any standards!
Sad news, though, for those who think the Minoans came from lost Atlantis, or perhaps even the stars: “archaeologists had once thought the Minoans must have ‘come from somewhere else’ because of their advancement compared with the surroundings. But genetic analyses in 2017 concluded that both the Minoans and Mycenaeans descended from the stone-age farmers of western Anatolia and the Aegean, plus smidgens of heritage from the Caucasus and Iran.” Pesky darned genetics!