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Knossos

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Author Topic: Knossos  (Read 2824 times)
Angelina Demarco
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« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2007, 01:20:21 pm »

The centerpiece of the "Mycenaean" palace was the so-called Throne Room or Little Throne Room, dated to LM II. This chamber has an alabaster seat identified by Evans as a "throne" built into the north wall. On three sides of the room are gypsum benches. A sort of tub area is opposite the throne, behind the benches, termed a lustral basin, meaning that Evans and his team saw it as a place for ceremonial purification.

The room was accessed from an anteroom through two double doors. The anteroom in turn connected to the central court, which was four broad steps up through four doors. The anteroom had gypsum benches also, with carbonized remains between two of them thought to be a possible wooden throne. Both rooms are located in the ceremonial complex on the west of the central court.

The throne is flanked by the Griffin Fresco, with two griffins couchant (lying down) facing the throne, one on either side. Griffins were important mythological creatures, also appearing on seal rings, which were used to stamp the identity of the bearer into pliable material, such as clay or wax.

The actual use of the room and the throne is unclear. The two main theories are:

The seat of a priest-king or his consort, the queen. This is the older theory, originating with Evans. In that regard Matz speaks of the "heraldic arrangement" of the griffins, meaning that they are more formal and monumental than previous Minoan decorative styles. In this theory, the Mycenaean Greeks would have held court in this room, as they came to power in Knossos at about 1450. The "lustral basin" and the location of the room in a sanctuary complex cannot be ignored; hence, "priest-king." Because Evans was limited by personal experience to the view that any head of state must have been male, the strong possibility that the peaceful people of Crete were led by a priestess-queen would not have occurred to him.
A room reserved for the epiphany of a goddess, who would have sat in the throne, either in effigy, or in the person of a priestess, or in imagination only. In that case the griffins would have been purely a symbol of divinity rather than a heraldic motif.

The lustral basin was originally thought to have had a ritual washing use, but the lack of drainage has more recently brought some scholars to doubt this theory. It is now speculated that the tank was used as an aquarium.

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