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The Minoans

Updated on February 2, 2018
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

History is full of many different cultures,. They have risen up through the years and faded into the sands to be forgotten. Many have become legendary with the foundations of their rise ignored. Let's take the Greek Empire.

Where did the Greek civilization come from? We all know about it. We have studied it. We reference it in our everyday speech. It is legendary, but where did it start? It didn't just spring up overnight though the myths might suggest otherwise. The great civilization that gave us Aristotle and democracy had to come from somewhere. So where was the birthplace of Greece?

We can look to the island of Crete and the Minoans for the beginnings of the great Greek civilization as we know it. It is there where so much of the Greek world began along with that of mythology. We explore that area to discover more and know the foundation of the famous Greek culture. .

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Rise of Minoans

On the island of Crete, the Minoans rose up and created their own civilization based on trade. The location was ideal for it, and they developed expert sailors to maneuver through the uncharted waters. Their ships sailed throughout the Mediterranean and discovered treasures that could be traded with other civilizations. They used this to build up their own culture and enrich it. A civilization that showed advancements in the use of metals and the arts has been discovered at the site of where the Minoans lived.

Their rich art was the basis for future Greek great pieces. Their inspiration was strong and lasting. They helped establish Greek mythology and are featured in many of the myths. It was from the Minoans that we get the story of the Minotaur that ate the young men and women of Athens each year. It was on their island where the labyrinth was rumored to exist. Much of their artwork depicts bulls and other animals because of these legends.

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Rich Culture

From the Minoan civilization, we also have found tablets with writing on them that are slowly being deciphered. This information is shedding light on how extensive the trade of the culture was and how much wealth they had. The archaeological evidence shows a culture rich and thriving.

So what happened to this great civilization? They were impressive, yet they have disappeared from most of our thoughts. Were they conquered? Why did the Mycenaeans replace the Minoans and still carry many parts of their civilization forward into new generations? There are many questions and not enough answers to satisfy most.

This culture left us much while leaving us very little. There were many finds such as gold and building material. There were ornaments and battle gear, but there is nothing to give us concrete looks into their lives.

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Impact of Nature

Mother Nature has a way of disrupting history. Without her intervention how much of history could be completely rewritten. Due to a volcanic eruption at Thera tore the island of Crete apart. Many have said that this explosion was the largest ever in earth’s history. It destroyed the Minoan civilization and rearranged that area of the Mediterranean.

Buried under ash, the remains of the Minoans waited for archaeologists to uncover them and discover the earliest Greeks. Their secrets were hidden by nature. This has happened many times in the history of the world where nature dominates the world and removes cultures from the face of the earth. It wasn't any different here.

Immitation is Flattery

Due to their extensive trading, the Mycenaeans had long respected the Minoans. After the Minoans fell victim to nature’s wrath, the Mycenaeans took the architecture, art, trade practices, and overall culture to build another great empire that gave the world Greek heroes and myths. Their influence was so strong that even after their sudden disappearance in Greece, their art, myths, and practices continued for centuries.

It is from the Minoans that Classical Greece eventually emerged. It is from the Minoans that we are entertained with Greek mythology. It is from the Minoans that we have the birth of the Greek empire. In essence we can thank the Minoans for our very own culture that was so heavily influenced by the Greeks.

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    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      20 months ago from Chicago Area

      One of the more fascinating ancient cultures! So glad archaeologists were able to piece together their history. Thanks for sharing the information!

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      20 months ago from Ohio

      I'm glad the Mycenaeans kept the Minoan culture alive. I wonder where we would be if events turned out differently.

    • K S Lane profile image

      K S Lane 

      20 months ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Fascinating Hub. I've never pondered where the Greeks came from before; it always seems like their civilisation had no real beginning or origin, but obviously it did. Thanks for sharing!

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