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Theran and Minoan Societies
Transcript of Theran and Minoan Societies
During the 20th Century, archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans excavated the site of the Palace of Knossus and found the most extravagant palace of all of Crete, housing various artifacts and frescoes that reveal valuable information to historians. During excavations of Akrotiri, the capital of Thera, and Knossus,capital of Crete, there has been many discoveries that link these two civilizations together. They include the evidence of similarities, differences and the influences of:
Architecture of housing and palaces
Frescoes in the buildings
Trades According to the excavations of the ancient town of Akrotiri in Thera, the Therans build buildings that tended to be two storeys high structured with designs such as clay piping for draining waste from domestic toilets. During the ancient times, that was a very impressive system they introduced in their society. The town also revealed narrow paved streets with occasional small town squares, several mills, workshops, stone or wooden staircases and polythyra in houses used for large gatherings. These houses also hid wall paintings that show something of life on Thera. Akrotiri - Thera Frescos are a major feature in constructing the features of the Bronze Age Theran society. They exemplify clothing, textiles, the people themselves and their social physical environment. These frescoes are normally found in the upper storeys of the houses.
Although many frescos found were damaged, 41 frescos have been uncovered and restored as well as they could. They depict everyday life to ceremonies the Therans once had but have also risen a few questions and debates as these murals can be interpreted in a number of ways.
In the frescos there are many different hairstyles that are believed to differentiate between status and maturity which also apply to the males.These hairstyles could have also been for religious rituals, especially the female hairstyles. Based on these frescoes, historians can see a possibility of classes within the society by judging the clothing worn by the people in the frescoes. During the excavations that occurred in Akrotiri, pottery of various sizes and shapes were excavated off the site. They reflected the uses of storage for food, clothing and liquids, cooking and display, bathing, lighting, eating and drinking, ritual activity, transportation of goods, bee keeping, plant growing and floral decorations. Knossos - Crete Like Thera, the pottery excavated in the Palace of Knossus shows that the Minoans used their pottery for the same reasons. The decorations on the pots are all that differs between the two islands The Therans portrayed their status in society by their dress and hairstyling. Within their buildings in Akrotiri, their frescoes symbolized their religious activities. Comparing the Minoan religion, the priestess in a fresco found in Thera wore something similar to that of Minoan Priestesses; flounced skirts, tight fitting, breast revealing bodices.
Pillars in Akrotiri were also similar to the designs within the Palace of Knossus, showing that the Therans lived similarly to the Minoans.
When Akrotiri was excavated, small seal stones, Kamares style cups, large numbers of tripod mortars and minoan disc-shaped lead weights were found. These items can link back to the Minoans and are physical evidence of trading with the Minoans According to the historians, one of the largest volcanic eruptions known to scientists of today occurred within this island with evidence of the black smoke extending all the way to Alaska and China. The west side of the island collapsed but their capital city along with the rest of their land was tragically lost beneath the ashes until a German archaeologist unearthed and rediscovered the ancient town. Theran Architecture Minoan Architecture Akrotiri http://www.mindrelief.net/bronze_age_theran.html Thera http://www.mindrelief.net/bronze_age_theran.html Crete The Minoans, like the Therans, used the same materials to construct their buildings with multiple storeys. The difference between the two societies are the colours applied to the buildings of the Minoans, creating patterns. It is well preserved compared to the Theran buildings that have been excavated.
Compared with other societies of the same era, the Minoans of Crete built palaces for public functions rather than to house the ruler and his family. The palaces were to serve the organizational, and administrative needs of their society and were also gathering places for exchanges, artistic production, religious acts, and storage of agricultural production.
The Palace of Knossus is known to be the most glorious and best known of all Minoan palaces. Built for the king Minos, the riches and the produce of the land were all concentrated on the palace. The palace outlines the Minoan lives that once occurred. It includes shrines, multiple jars for storage, workshops, scripts of ancient Crete and multiple famous frescoes. Unlike the Thera, the Minoan frescoes did not survive as well as the Theran frescoes which were preserved in volcanic ash. Many frescoes were discovered within the Palace of Knossus and multiple villas. These are some of the most important examples of Minoan art left that are known to the modern world. The frescoes depict a civilisation full of flora and fauna and everyday life, full of celebrations, competitions, processions and court ceremonials. The Minoan Crete frescoes also reveal status like the Theran frescoes. The frescoes of Thera are thought to be derived from the Minoan culture as many items and religion link back to Crete. http://www.ancient-greece.org/art/minoan-art.html Theran Fresco Minoan Fresco The Young Priestess Fresco Paghat's Garden Minoan Crete: Palace of Knossus Minoan Crete: The Palace of Knossus Understanding the Ancient World Theran Scripts Archaeologists have found Linear A scripts on pottery excavated in Akrotiri and is evidence to the similarities of the Therans and the Minoans. A large ewer found in a room alsohad Linear A inscriptions on the shoulder. Minoan Scripts There were two kinds of scripts found in Crete; Linear A and Linear B. Linear A is based on about one hundred syllabic characters and has yet to be deciphered. This form of writing was found on a slate called the Phaistos Disc, discovered by Luigi Pernier. The symbols were carved to be read from the outside, spiraling into the centre. Linear B was somehow evolved from Linear A and has been deciphered unlike Linear A. It is clear there are many connections between the Theran and Minoan Ancient societies and has been proven by various artefacts found on both locations during excavations such as:
Even though these two civilisations are similar and different in many ways, some scholars believe in the possibility of the Minoans establishing a colony on Thera and controlling this island in the Late Bronze Age. Other scholars argue that this is not the case, based on the lack of information they have to work with. These group of scholars believe that Thera and Crete were merely trading partners and that Thera was just an independent island with flourishing civilisation of its own. Arguments will always arise but in the long run, these two neighbouring islands were always influenced by one another one way or another. By Lynn Zhou
Year 11 Ancient History