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Transcript of Minoan Religion
worshiped female goddesses
The Snake Goddess
The Goddess of
= the 'Great Mother' goddess?
Double Headed Axe
Rhyton (pl. Rhyta)
Believed deities controlled the weather and fertility of the earth
expressed through sacred rituals - seen in Minoan art
performed in houses and villas, palaces, sacred caves, and peak sanctuaries
criticised as too monotheistic
found by Evans in a temple of repositories at Knossos
c. 1600 BC
ritually buried with offering tables
'the household deity'
guardian of the house, representing the house snake
Christopher LCE Witcombe
symbol of fertility
snakes were symbols of rebirth
Chthonic associations - linked to the realm of the underworld
Symbols of divine and royal force of life
Myths of King Minos - Minotaur imprisoned in the labyrinth at Knossos
Scholar Brian Brennan
Labyrs orginating from the labyrinth of the Minotaur legend
Source: Incised gold votive double axe
from the Arkalochori cave c.1650-1600 BC.
Cave sanctuaries - Kamares cave and Psychro Cave
common ritual areas away from human settlements
votive offerings found in these caves
rituals performed (feasting, pouring of libations, cultic drinking)
cave grotto deep underground
worship of chthonic deities
Bull's Head Rhyton
extremely large and beautiful vessels
too heavy to be used in non-religious settings
from the Little Palace at Knossos
final palace period c. 1450-1400 BC
Liquid is poured from the bull's mouth in libation rituals
wine for feasts?
N. Marinatos - blood of sacrificed animals?
Agia Triada Sarchophagus
depicts a sacrifice at a funeral
women pouring what may be blood from the sacrificial bull
priestesses - matriarchal
features double axe/labrys and birds
birds - symbol of the deities that lived in the skies
Minoans believed deities were present in skies and high places - above the earth
Peak sanctuaries located on high areas to be closest to the heavens
Peak Shrine on Mt. Juktas
Mt. Juktas south of Knossos
Middle Minoan period
Huge gap in rocks where clay votive offerings were found