The Aegean's: Mycenae and the Minoans


SOCIAL
Minoans- In 2000 B.C.E they developed into the first major civilization outside of Asia and Africa, and would eventually give way
for the emergence of the Mycenaean civilization
-Named by archeologists after King Minos, who in Greek myth ruled a vast navy and kept the Minotaur locked away in a labyrinth on his island
-Predecessors to the Mycenaeans, major political and cultural influences
-1450 B.C.E- most of the islands homes and villages were destroyed, Mycenaeans seen as culprits due to them taking over at
the city of Cnossus around the same time period
Mycenaeans- quick rise to prominence around 1600 B.C.E, after adopting many Minoan ways and technologies
-Palaces dotted the landscape, with huge stone walls and citadels that protected the inhabitants, also contained offices and store rooms
and could be likened to an ancient community center
-In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was the King of Mycenae and was very wealthy and powerful, which was accurate of the social elites of early Greek civilizations

aegean_map.jpg
Map of early Greek civilizations, with Mycenae on mainland Greece and the Minoan island of Crete at the bottom of the map

CULTURAL
Minoans- Frescoes have been found at many palace sites depicting citizens watching or partaking in jumping over the horns and
body of a bull, either as a sport or religious activity
-Vases also discovered had pictures of plants and creatures of the sea, showcasing the beauty of the island and a sense of order surrounding the island
Mycenaeans- Numerous shaft graves were discovered all around Mycenae, which held an individual along with gold, jewelry, weapons and other implements
-Were a warlike and powerful nation who only traded with those the deemed worthy and took what they wanted from the weak
-This lead to constant many engagements with the Hittites and their empire, and possibly resulted to their early demise at the hands of other warlike groups

HUMANS AND ENVIRONMENT
Mask of Agamemnon.JPG
Agamemnon's Burial Mask

Minoans- populated the island of Crete in the Mediterranean, relied on being expert sailors to maintain their civilization by trade ships as well as naval combat, e.g. bireme, trireme

ECONOMICAL
Minoans- while their writing has not been deciphered, Cretan clay pots in Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia
indicate that they had a vast network of trade routes
Mycenaean-government controlled most of the economy, regulating rations, controlling grain distribution and manufacturing of raw
materials into goods
-like the Minoans, were excellent sailors and as a result created a massive trading empire around the Mediterranean
-utilized light, wooden vessels that could run a ground at night and serve as homes for sailors to eat and rest before continuing on
the next day
-exported textiles, weapons, mercenaries and slaves, while possibly also trading the goods of other civilizations
-imports include amber and ivory as luxuries, as well as grain as a necessity for the people for southern Greece

Minoan_Miniature_Frieze_Admirals_Flotilla_Fresco_Art_Thera_Scene_500px.jpg
Minoan Frescoe


POLITICAL
Minoans- there is little in historical records that suggest they were ruled by a hierarchy of kings, suggesting
they had a different take on authority and government
Mycenaeans- before 1600 B.C.E, there was little structure in terms of government, just local farmers, but then it changed rapidly
as excavations showed a few had gained extreme wealth and began to lord over the lesser class citizens

Sources

Mask of Agamemnon, http://portal.bentonvillek12.org/kimwilliams/Aegean/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=4
Map of the Aegean,http://www.uncg.edu/cla/maps/aegean_map.htm
Minoan Frescoe,http://www.minoanatlantis.com/Fine_Art_Gallery.php
Bulliet, Richard W,The Earth And Its Peoples: A Global History (Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 20 Channel Center Street, Boston, MA 02210, USA, 2011)