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MYTHS OF CRETE & PRE-HELLENIC EUROPE

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Author Topic: MYTHS OF CRETE & PRE-HELLENIC EUROPE  (Read 5687 times)
Skinwalker
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« Reply #765 on: February 27, 2010, 12:20:15 pm »

It is uncertain whether the towns were plundered by piratical bands from the Cyclades and the Greek mainland, or were wiped out by the central Cretan power which was established at Knossos. The later Knossian palace was remodelled during Late Minoan II times, and did not therefore suffer from the depredations of invaders. It would seem that we now reach the age of the legendary Minos who struck down all rivals and became supreme ruler in Crete. "The first person known to us in history as having established a navy", writes Thucydides, "is Minos. He made himself master of what is now called the Hellenic Sea, and ruled over the Cyclades, into most of which he sent his first colonies, expelling the Carians

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« Reply #766 on: February 27, 2010, 12:20:32 pm »

and appointing his own sons governors; and thus did his best to put down piracy in those waters, a necessary step to secure the revenues for his own use. For in early times the Hellenes and the barbarians of the coast and islands, as communication by sea became more common, were tempted to turn pirates, under the conduct of their most powerful men; the motives being to serve their own cupidity and to support the needy. They would fall upon a town unprotected by walls, and consisting of a mere collection of villages, and
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« Reply #767 on: February 27, 2010, 12:20:50 pm »

would plunder it; indeed, this came to be the main source of their livelihood, no disgrace being yet attached to such an achievement, but even some glory. An illustration of this is furnished by the honour with which some of the inhabitants of the continent still regard a successful marauder, and by the question we find the old poets everywhere representing the people as asking the voyagers--'Are they pirates?'--as if those who are asked the question would have no idea of disclaiming the imputation, or their interrogators of reproaching them for it. The same rapine prevailed also by land." 1
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« Reply #768 on: February 27, 2010, 12:21:11 pm »

The Empire of Minos appears to have embraced part of the Greek mainland. Athens was compelled to send its annual tribute of youths and maidens to Knossos, and Tiryns, Mycenæ, Lakonia, Pylos, and Orchœmenos became important centres of Ægean culture. The tradition that the Cyclopes who erected the walls of Tiryns came from Lycia may be due to the tendency to foreshorten historical events. It is possible, however, that Minoan traders had already settled on the Anatolian coast and maintained commercial relations with the Peloponnese and Crete.

Thothmes III of Egypt, the great conqueror, flourished

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« Reply #769 on: February 27, 2010, 12:21:28 pm »

during the later part of the Late Minoan II Period. In the hymn addressed to him as from the god Amon, the priestly poet declares:

I have come giving thee to smite the western land,
Keftyew (Crete) and Cyprus are in terror. 1
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« Reply #770 on: February 27, 2010, 12:21:44 pm »

The activities of Thothmes did not extend to Crete, but there can be little doubt that his operations exercised a marked influence on the trade of the island kingdom. Probably it prospered greatly under the settled conditions which he brought about, as it had evidently prospered after the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt. A brisk demand for Cretan imports in the Nile valley may well have been one of the causes of the commercial "boom" which is suggested by the increasing wealth of Knossos during the Late Minoan II Period.
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« Reply #771 on: February 27, 2010, 12:22:01 pm »

The great Egyptian wars, however, were bound in time to affect Crete in another direction. The expulsion of the Hyksos brought about a pressure of peoples in Syria, Anatolia, and south-eastern Europe, which was to test the stability of existing States. Semitic hordes poured towards Babylonia and hampered trade; at the same time they reinforced the growing power of Assyria. The Mitannian area of control was being
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« Reply #772 on: February 27, 2010, 12:22:20 pm »

circumscribed and Hittite prestige seriously affected in Cappadocia. Ere the Hittites were able to profit by the weakening of the Syrians and Mitannians, against whom Thothmes III was battling constantly, they must have been forced to direct their expansion westward. The plain of Troy was probably at this period the scene of many conflicts. In the Danubian area there appears to have been much ethnic friction. Invasions from Anatolia and the constant pressure exercised by northern tribes directed a steady stream of pastoral

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« Reply #773 on: February 27, 2010, 12:22:35 pm »

fighting-folks southward through the Balkans and into the northern States of Greece. The mainland capitals, including Mycenæ and Tiryns, which had become centres of Ægean culture and trade, must have offered strong temptations to the hardy mountaineers of Thessaly, whence the Achæans are supposed to have come. Probably the migrations of the pastoralists were propelled by migrations from the north. The ultimate result of these migratory "folk-waves", which increased in volume as time went on, was the destruction not only of the Minoan Empire, but the complete overthrow of Knossian power in Crete itself. The Palace Period was the Golden Age of Cretan culture, which suffered steady decline after 1450 B.C.
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« Reply #774 on: February 27, 2010, 12:22:42 pm »

It was probably during this half-century of Minoan ascendancy that Crete's overseas commerce assumed its greatest dimensions. The organized navy ensured the safe passage in the Ægean Sea of ships which tapped the Danube valley trade, and penetrating the Dardanelles got into touch with caravans from the cast. It also helped to foster trade with western ports. The Rhone valley route running to Marseilles appears to have been, as has been indicated, one of the sources from which British tin was received.
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« Reply #775 on: February 27, 2010, 12:22:52 pm »

At what period this traffic had origin is at present wrapped in obscurity. It seems probable, however, that it was carried on as early as 1500 B.C. One of the reasons for this belief is the discovery of Egyptian relics in southern England. Among the relics taken from Bronze Age graves are numerous Egyptian beads of blue-glazed faience. "They are beads, moreover, which", writes Professor Sayce, "belong to one particular period in Egyptian history, the latter part of the age of the Eighteenth Dynasty and the earlier of that of the Nineteenth Dynasty. . . . There is a large number of them in the Devizes Museum,

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« Reply #776 on: February 27, 2010, 12:23:04 pm »

as they are met with plentifully in the Early Bronze Age tumuli of Wiltshire in association with amber beads and barrel-shaped beads of jet and lignite. Three of them come from Stonehenge itself. Similar beads of 'ivory' have been found in a Bronze Age cist near Warminster: if the material is really ivory it must have been derived from the East. The cylindrical faience beads, it may be added, have been discovered in Dorsetshire as well as Wiltshire." Mr. H. R. Hall, dealing with the same Egyptian relics, says: "My own
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« Reply #777 on: February 27, 2010, 12:23:18 pm »

interest in the matter is due to the fact that in the course of the excavations of the [Egyptian] Fund at Deir el Bahari, we discovered thousands of blue glaze beads of the exact particular type (already well known from other Egyptian diggings) of these found in Britain. Ours are, in all probability, mostly of the time of Hatshepsut, and so date to about 1500 B.C." 1 Similar beads have also been discovered in Crete and Western Europe. The British finds help to fix the age of Stonehenge, the inner circle of which, according to Professor Boyd Dawkins, is formed of stones taken from Brittany.
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« Reply #778 on: February 27, 2010, 12:23:28 pm »

By whom were these Egyptian beads carried to Britain between 1500 B.C. and 1400 B.C.? Certainly not the Phœnicians. The sea-traders of the Mediterranean were at the time the Cretans. Whether or not their merchants visited England we have no means of knowing. It is possible that they did. It is also possible, and even highly probable, that during the early Bronze Age in England, which may have been of greater antiquity than has hitherto been supposed, there existed a comparatively high degree of civilization, and communities of traders.
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« Reply #779 on: February 27, 2010, 12:23:39 pm »

According to Diodorus Siculus, tin was carried in wagons by the people of Belerium (Land's End) to the

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Island of Ictis, 1 which could be reached at low tide. The tin was purchased on Ictis by traders and then shipped to Gaul, being afterwards conveyed overland to the mouth of
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