Search We know little about Minoan religion, but it is clear that religion was an important aspect of Minoan life. There were only minor male deities; the goddesses were supreme.
Locations of cult activity.
Representations of cult activity in Minoan art on such items as seals, signet rings, mural paintings, sarcophagi larnakesand pottery.
Garbled memories of Minoan cult practice preserved in later Greek myth and ritual. Since Linear A is as yet undeciphered, there is effectively no contemporary textual evidence regarding Minoan religion.
Even if Linear A were deciphered, it is unlikely that much information regarding Minoan cult practices, much less Minoan religious ideology, would be forthcoming above and beyond the names of the divinities which the Minoans worshipped.
Toward the end of the Neolithic, they also began to be used extensively as cemeteries, and such usage continued throughout the Early Minoan period and in some areas even longer.
Caves appear to have first been used as cult places early in the Middle Minoan Protopalatial period, at more or less the same time when the first Cretan palaces were being constructed.
There may very well be some connection between the establishment of powerful central authorities in the palaces and the institution of worship in caves. The evidence for the use of caves as cult places consists of pottery, animal figurines, and occasionally bronze objects.
Such objects are found not only in caves which had previously served habitation or funerary purposes but also in caves which had as their earliest known function the housing of some religious activity.
In addition to artifacts, some cult caves contain large quantities of animal bones, mostly from deer, oxen, and goats and no doubt derived from some form of animal sacrifice.
This cave is some 60 m. Near the middle of the cave is a cylindrical stalagmite ca. Within the enclosure and in front of the stalagmite is a roughly square stone, perhaps some form of altar. The caves that have furnished by far the richest assortments of votive objects are: Ida; and the Arkalochori Cave, not far south of the newly discovered palace at Galatas with which the cult at this cave must have been closely connected.
The Arkalochori Cave in particular has produced an astonishingly rich array of bronze votives, principally in the form of weapons such as swords, daggers, and double axes. Such sites are characterized by deep layers of ash without animal bones, hence interpreted as the remains of bonfires and not of blood sacrifices of some kind and by large quantities of clay human and animal figurines.
Like the cult caves discussed above, the earliest peak sanctuaries date from the MM I period and most of the two dozen or more confirmed examples of such cult locales have produced material of this date.
Many of the human figurines from peak sanctuaries are in fact individual human limbs or parts of the body, separately modelled and pierced by a hole for suspension. It has been suggested that these separate limbs are comparable to terracotta parts of the body found in Classical shrines dedicated to healing divinities, and that by analogy the peak sanctuaries are also to be understood as those of healing divinities.
However, the parts of the body represented in the Minoan sanctuaries arms, legs, and heads primarily are not exactly parallel to those found in Classical sanctuaries which include numerous eyes, breasts, and genitalia as well as major limbs. Moreover, the large numbers of animal figurines found at the peak sanctuaries obviously cannot be explained in the same way, although these may have served as substitutes for genuine sacrificial animals or as votive pledges that such animals would be sacrificed elsewhere at some other time, since blood sacrifice does not seem to have been an acceptable practice at peak sanctuaries.
Metal artifacts are found only exceptionally e. In both these respects, as well as with regard to animal bones, the finds from peak sanctuaries are quite different from those in cult caves.
The two major peak sanctuaries so far excavated and published are Petsofa in eastern Crete elevation m. At both these peak sanctuaries, the earliest period of certifiable cult use is dated to the beginning of the MM period. In the earliest levels, there are no architectural remains, merely the ashy deposits and the figurines already discussed.
Iuktas consisting of three parallel terraces, oriented north-south, of which the upper two at the west were approached by an east-west ramp at the south. On the west side of the uppermost terrace, a long stepped altar 4. The lowermost terrace at the east consists of a series of five or six roughly square rooms in a single row, all opening uphill toward the west.
On the downhill, exterior side of this lowermost terrace to the east, the junction of wall foundation and wall proper leave a narrow bench 0. Both the finds and the architecture at this particular peak sanctuary are of unparalleled magnificence among cult locales of this class, as one might perhaps have expected of the sanctuary which served the site of Knossos.
It is quite possible that these peak sanctuaries were visited only on special religious holidays, much as similar mountaintop chapels are today in Greece, since in many cases the sanctuaries are too remotely located to have served daily religious purposes. A peak sanctuary is portrayed in considerable detail on the famous Sanctuary Rhyton found in the LM IB destruction level of the palace at Zakro.
Rutkowski has argued, on the basis of various possible connections between peak sanctuary cult and pastoral farming e.
The appearance of permanent architecture at several peak sanctuaries other than Petsopha and Iuktas no earlier than MM III Gonies, Kophinas, Modhi, Pyrgos, Traostalos, Vrysinas has been connected with the appearance of villas throughout Neopalatial Crete and with what some feel to be the enhanced authority of Knossos at about the same time.
Rutkowski has suggested that peak sanctuary cult became more institutionalized in the Neopalatial period under Knossian royal authority, perhaps with permanent priests in residence at the sites now boasting architecture.
In this scenario, Iuktas is felt to have occupied the apex of a hierarchy of peak sanctuaries.
Peak sanctuaries appear to go into steep decline after the end of LM I, in contrast with cult caves which continue to be patronized frequently during the LM III period. The decline in peak sanctuaries, however, is probably limited to the east where in the period following LM IB there was a dramatic decline in population, whether due to the fallout from the Santorini eruption or to a Mycenaean invasion.
Domestic Shrines In her recent study of such cult places, Gesell distinguishes between three social contexts [town fully publicpalace semi-private? Only the bench sanctuary may be attested as early as the Prepalatial EM period e. Pillar crypts and lustral basins are forms which are restricted to the Protopalatial and Neopalatial periods.
Four of the best known Minoan sanctuaries of the domestic class are briefly described below:The history of the world is the history of humanity (or human history), as an analysis of an essay the art of fiction by henry james determined from an analysis of the reasons for inadequacy of the minoan religion archaeology, anthropology, an analysis of the topic of a search for meaning and the role of viktor frankl genetics, linguistics, and.
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