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Raven Shaw

Minoan pottery was covered in fun organic designs, with features that look like birds or flowers. Their rhytons were often shaped like animals as well, with the libation meant to be poured from the mouth of the animal. A Master of Animals is a popular image in Aegean art. A human man holds animals in a symmetrical pose, while surrounded by flowers. Jewelry was made in shapes of flowers, insects, and animals. Minoan religious art shows that they worshiped animal gods and sexy goddesses, and visited natural holy sites.

Mycenaean art featured hunting, death, and warriors, which looks like a big contrast to the Minoan scenes of kids leaping over bull horns. Mythology/history about Mycenaeans shows them to be warlike, as in the story of Helen of Troy. When they later moved into Crete and replaced the Minoans, they created legends of the previous Minoan ruler that may have made him out to be more like their own idea of a strong ruler. Some of the artifacts found in their major city do have similar motifs to Minoan art, such as the octopus on a jar, and little lady statues.

The palace Knossos was rebuilt with less defensive walls after it was destroyed. The architectural goal was to create a labyrinth, and I’d guess this meant the Minoans had a lot of time on their hands and a sense of having fun in life. The king that had the palace built went to war to create a peaceful nation that was safe to generate profit. The second build of the palace must not have needed thick walls after he unified the surrounding islands under his rule. After the Minoan fall, Mycenaeans moved into the palace and replaced a bunch of the groovy lady nature art with frescos of bulls and images of processions bearing tribute.

Mycenaeans built on hills, so that it was easier to defend themselves. Mycenae was built on a hill, and surrounded itself with thick walls.

The lack of signs of a male-dominated hierarchical society makes ancient Minoans look like hippy peacenics, but a lack of evidence isn’t necessarily evidence itself. If the Minoans abandoned their crumbling infrastructure and left, is it possible that they took some of their stuff with them? Maybe they sold artifacts that would give us further clues as to how they really lived. The Mycenaeans moved in and had already been adopting Minoan art through trade, is it possible the remaining Minoans quietly married into Mycenaean culture before it too collapsed? The real nature of the Mycenaeans is not known either. As the Khan Academy video said, we don’t know if all the fortification meant they were more offensive or more defensive. The evidence left behind by both cultures can only tell us they were both great at trading.