The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. Will Durant referred to it as "the first link in the European chain." The early inhabitants of Crete settled as early as 128,000 BC, during the Middle Paleolithic age. However it was not until 5000 BC that the first signs of advanced agriculture appeared, marking the beginning of the civilization.
What the Minoans called themselves is unknown. The term "Minoan" was coined by Arthur Evans after the ...view middle of the document...
However, as their script (Linear A) has not yet been deciphered, their nationality still remains an open question.
The oldest evidence of inhabitants on Crete are preceramic Neolithic farming community remains that date to approximately 7000 BCE. A comparative study of DNA haplogroups of modern Cretan men showed that a male founder group from Anatolia or the Levant, is shared with the Greeks. The neolithic population dwelt in open villages. On the shores, there were fishermen's huts, while the fertile Mesara Plain was used for agriculture.
The Bronze Age began in Crete around 2700 BCE. In the late 3rd Millenium BC, several localities on the island developed into centers of commerce and handwork. This enabled the upper classes to continuously practice leadership activities and to expand their influence. It is likely that the original hierarchies of the local elites were replaced by monarchist power structures - a precondition for the creation of the great palaces. From the Early Bronze Age (3500 BC to 2600 BC), the Minoan civilization on Crete showed a promise of greatness. At the end of the MMII period (1700 BC) there was a large disturbance in Crete, probably an earthquake, or possibly an invasion from Anatolia. The palaces at Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, and Kato Zakros were destroyed. But with the start of the Neopalatial period, population increased again, the palaces were rebuilt on a larger scale and new settlements were built all over the island. This period (the 17th and 16th centuries BC, MM III / Neopalatial) represents the apex of the Minoan civilization. There was another natural catastrophe around 1600 BC, possibly an eruption of the Thera volcano. Even this disaster didn't discourage the Minoans: the palaces were again rebuilt and were made even greater than before.
The influence of the Minoan civilization outside Crete manifests itself in the presence of valuable Minoan handicraft items on the Greek mainland. It is likely that the ruling house of Mycene was connected to the Minoan trade network. After around 1700 BC, the material culture on the Greek mainland achieved a new level due to Minoan influence. Connections between Egypt and Crete are prominent. Minoan ceramics are found in...