You cretans were a people who inhabited the island of crete, present-day Greece, and formed one of the great civilizations of Antiquity, the so-called Cretan civilization or Minoan civilization. Its first remains were found by an archaeologist in the beginning of the 20th century, and several studies have been developed since then.
The Cretans are believed to have started to develop around 3000 BC. a., although the human habitation in Crete is of nine thousand years ago. The height of the Cretans took place between 2000 BC. Ç. and 1500 BC C., and it is believed that various factors, such as natural disasters, have contributed to the disappearance of these people.
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Establishment of the Cretans
The first human groups that inhabited Crete date back to about 9,000 years, but the civilization developed by the Cretans only began to establish itself, in fact, around 3000 BC. Ç. The landmark used by historians to explain the temporal beginning of the Cretans is the
Another important milestone for Cretan civilization is the period of construction of the great palaces that existed on the island. This happened from 2000 a. a., and the period 2000-1400 a. Ç. it is the classic of this civilization. The previous period, and which extends from 3000-2000 a. a., was classified like Old Minoan or Pre-Palaceous Period.
The Cretans were a civilization formed by groups that had migrated from the region of Anatolia (present-day Turkey) and settled in the islands of the Aegean Sea. At first evidence about this civilization were discovered at the beginning of the 20th century by archaeologist ArthurEvans. Between 1900 and 1905, he conducted excavations that found the remains left by the Cretans.
Evans was also responsible for naming the Cretans as Minoans (the original nomenclature created by him in English was minoan), this name being a reference to Minos, supposed legendary king who ruled Crete.
As mentioned, from 2000 a. a., great palaces in different regions of Crete began to be constructed, and the historians point out that four great of them existed. Each was built in different places on the island, and they are believed to have served as important political centers. The palaces were built in the following locations: ours, festus, malia and catoZacro.
Around these buildings, villages inhabited by the Cretans developed. Historians point out that, in addition to probable centerspoliticians, the palaces were centersadministrative, zonesinbusiness and centersreligious. They also gathered resources important for survival, and roads built on the island led to them.
Around the palaces, there was no fortification of any kind, suggesting that the Cretans were a peaceful people. However, as weapons were found on the island, historians point out that they could defend themselves if attacked. Throughout the territory, there were watchtowers, suggesting that there was an effort to reduce the action of bandits.
These palaces were built between 2000 a. Ç. and 1700 BC Ç. and were destroyed around that last date by an earthquake, being rebuilt thereafter and standing until about 1400 BC. Ç. They were gigantic buildings decorated with horns (an important religious symbol). In addition, they contained frescoes, that is, paintings on the walls that depicted everyday situations and religious scenes and that were a typical artistic demonstration of this people.
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Characteristics of the Cretans
The Cretans survived from the items cultivated and from the animals created, especially the production of grains, figs and olives. The surplus of this production was commercialized by them, which became one of their great vocations, the businessmaritime. Cretans were also known for possessing refined art and architecture and technique developed in ceramic production.
Maritime navigation was one of the great skills of the Cretans, and there are records of them in different places in the Aegean Sea, in Mainland Greece, and even in coastal regions of the Black Sea. Historians say that, at one point, Knossos projected its power over the sea, forming a thalassocracy, that is, a form of government that depended on supremacy at sea. Cretan government is believed to be carried out by kings.
In the field of religion, evidence discovered by archaeologists and analyzed by historians indicates that the Cretans had a great deity, the so-called “mother goddess”, as there are a number of images of this goddess found all over the island. It is believed that the bull's horn it was a sacred symbol to them, as their grand palaces were adorned with this item and there are numerous representations of horns in their art. They also built altars and temples and made sacrifices and offerings for religious purposes.
Cretans knew how to write and had a script in hieroglyphics known as Linear A. We know that it was used for commercial and administrative purposes because tablets with inscriptions were located near the great palaces. This form of writing manifested a language that, it is believed, belonged to an Aegean language (typical of the peoples of the Aegean islands), but this is not certain, because Linear A still was not deciphered.
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Decline of the Cretans
It is estimated that around 1500 BC. C., the Cretans have started their phase of decadence until they went assimilated by the Mycenaeans, around 1400-1300 BC. Ç. This dating takes into account evidence of fires that affected the great palaces of the island, especially the palace of Knossos, the main one in Crete.
Such evidence suggests that natural disasters may have caused the destruction of the palaces, but another theory raises the question. question that it may have been the result of an uprising of the poorest strata of the Cretan population due to its condition. The Cretan weakening allowed Mycenaean assimilation and contributed to the emptying of many cities. Something close to 1200 a. a., diverse Cretan cities were already totally empty.
Among the great theories that explain the decay of the Cretans is that of the earthquake caused by the Tera volcano. This volcano is located on the island of Santorini and may have had great consequences in Crete, harming its farmers and maritime trade. Also, the soil depletion is one of the hypotheses raised to explain the Cretan disappearance.