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Maggie May

I think it is truly difficult to gain an accurate understanding of such rich and complex societies from so long ago. There could be many reasons as to why Minoan artwork seems to reflect a more laid back, leisurely life focused more on communal gathering, harvest, and events and why Mycenaean artwork seems to reflect a more defensive, war focused society.
First, we must consider that the Mycenaeans interacted with other societies frequently. With this comes a great potential for cultural exchange, but also a great potential to be attacked, which might explain why they appear to be engaged in conflict more frequently. The Lion’s Gate was intended to demonstrate the strength of their society to others and was easy to defend. The Warrior Krater also illustrates their focus on defense and war, as the soldiers which appear similar are all armed for battle.
The Mycenaean Warrior Krater contrasts with the Octopus Flask of the Minoans well. The Minoans depicted an animal usually seen as non-violent (or at least, not as violent as a lion) almost playfully. The Minoans were an island based people, which might also explain that they interacted with other societies (and were therefore threatened less frequently) than the Mycenaeans. The palace at Knossos was also less focused on aggressive defense and more focused on evasion, escape, and survival. From the artifacts we can observe, we can state that the Minoans appear to be a less assertive people from the Mycenaeans, and more focused on harvest and leisure. However, this is a broad generalization and must be recognized as such.