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date: 14 July 2024

Minoan civilizationlocked

Minoan civilizationlocked

  • John Bennet


The distinctive Minoan civilization of Crete emerges some time after Crete’s first permanent settlement c. 7000 bce. The Early Minoan period (c. 3100–2000 bce) demonstrates increasingly sophisticated material culture and emergent social complexity. The Palatial period (c. 2000–1300 bce)—so called after the “palaces” constructed at Cnossus, Phaestus, and Malia—saw the appearance of writing, strong links with the East Mediterranean, and a uniquely vibrant material culture that spread throughout the southern Aegean. Cnossus was one of the largest Mediterranean urban centres of its day. The Thera eruption in late LM IA indirectly ushered in instability marked by destructions c. 1470 bce, after which Cnossus established administrative control, using the Linear B script, recording the Greek language, over most of the island until c. 1300 bce. Following Cnossus’ destruction, Crete fragmented politically, before succumbing to the general collapse of civilization in the Mediterranean c. 1200 bce.


  • Greek Material Culture: Bronze Age

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Article revised and expanded to reflect current scholarship.

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