Minoans and Mycenaeans of Ancient Greece

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology, Social Psychology
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Minoans and Mycenaeans of Ancient Greece

A Land Called Hellas  Peninsula and series of island in the Aegean Sea

 Rocky, mountainous peninsula with little natural running water

 Cyclades – Greek islands in the Aegean

 Crete – largest island in the Aegean

 Geographical fragmentation led to political fragmentation

 Communication weak b/c of rough travel between settlements

First Peoples of Greece  Neolithic villages and farming sites on Crete and mainland – but did not establish contact with each until 2000 B.C.E.

 Adoption of metallurgy increased prosperity – bronze tools and weapons

 Central location of Crete allowed for trade and contact with other civilizations – development of Aegean economy  Center of Mediterranean trade

 These factors led to the rise of Minoan culture on Crete

The Minoans  The name “Minoan” comes from the mythical King Minos (of Minotaur fame…)

 Understanding of Minoan culture is limited b/c their literature has not been deciphered – Linear A  Instead, we examine the art and archeology!

 Minoan culture centered around the palace – political and economic center of society  Ex: Palace at Knossos

 Ruled by a king and his nobles  Farmers, shepherds, artisans, merchants  Slaves

The Minoan Frescoes  Most prevalent form of Minoan art

 Depict a variety of scenes…  Women and men leading religious activities  Entertainment (i.e. bull jumping)  Sea life and natural world  People hunting, in court, daily activities

 Crete was possibly more egalitarian than other ancient cultures

Here come the Mycenaeans!  Arrival of Greek speaking peoples around 2000 B.C.E.  Three main groups – all considered themselves Greek  Aeolians – Thessaly and Boetia  Ionians – Attica and Euboea  Dorians – Argos and Laconia (Sparta)

 Founded powerful kingdom at Mycenae – became the Mycenaeans  Also founded kingdoms at Thebes, Athens, and other sites

 Center of economic and political life was the king and palace  Extensive division of labor controlled by the palace

 Written language known as Linear B  Used to record economic activity  Recorded offerings to familiar deities – Zeus, Apollo, Athena  Linear B deciphered in 1950s

 Study of Linear B tablets shows that Greeks brought their religion and deities with them when they migrated to Greece

Mycenaeans vs. Minoans  Contact between the two groups initially peaceful  1450 B.C.E. Mycenaeans attacked Crete  Destroyed many palaces – including Knossos  Mycenaneans benefitted from the collapse of the Minoans  Access to more Mediterranean trade – more money!  Imported luxury goods  Mycenaean ceramics widely distributed across Mediterranean  Mycenaeans adopted many aspects of Minoan culture (ex: Frescoes)  Frescoes suggest more militaristic society – lots of warriors and hunters

Fall of the Mycenaeans and Dark Age Greece  Between 1300 and 1000 B.C.E. Mycenaeans experienced attacks from outside invaders – Sea Peoples or Dorians?  Discord between kingdoms led to weak defense  Part of larger collapse of societies at end of Bronze Age

 Fall of Mycenaeans ushered in Dark Age, 1100-800 B.C.E.  Society was localized, poor, illiterate  Widespread depopulation and migration  Greek people spread to outlying parts of Greece, Asia Minor, and Cyclades

 However, the Greek people and culture survived when other empires collapsed  Greek religious cults and small scale social organization

Ways of Interpreting Myth  As a belief system  As disguised history  As disguised philosophy or allegory

 As fables illustrating moral truths

 As allegories of natural events  As pre-scientific explanation

 As charters for customs, institutions, or beliefs

 As religious power, or metaphors for the unknown

 As expressions of religious rituals

 As examples of psychological archetypes

 As stories

 As embodying irreconcilable structural conflicts in social systems

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