The Minoans: The First Great European Civilization (Video)
The island of Crete, nestled on the edge of the Aegean Sea, harbored the extraordinary Minoan civilization, a beacon of sophistication during the Bronze Age. The credit for unveiling this forgotten legacy goes to Arthur Evans, an English archaeologist whose tireless efforts unearthed the legendary Palace of Knossos. The Minoans, named after King Minos of the Minotaur myth, showcased advanced maritime prowess, engaging in prolific sea trading with Anatolia, Phoenicia, Greece, Egypt, and Africa. Mastering agriculture around 3000 BC, the Minoans flourished, producing exquisite art that depicted the grace of women and the athleticism of men.
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Despite having warriors to safeguard against pirates, their society leaned towards the peaceful pursuits of sports and physical development. The discovery of a labyrinth beneath the palace added an enigmatic layer to their story, with depictions of the Minotaur on coins. Tragically, seismic upheavals, including the cataclysmic eruption of Santorini's volcano, brought about their downfall around 1750 BC. Plato, inspired by the Minoans' advanced civilization, later wove the tale of Atlantis. While Atlantis remains a myth, the Minoans' real impact as the first European civilization lingers, their cultural splendor influencing subsequent societies and facilitating cross-cultural exchanges in the Bronze Age.
Top image: Banner of Ancient Greece depicting Minoan civilization. Source: Matrioshka/Adobe Stock