Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Minoan Kingship by Nanno Marinatos ***

Superman or Batman? At first, this debate seems futile, as they are both fictional characters. But when you hear two experts present their cases, the detail is impressive. Ultimately, as an outsider, you are lost and lose interested.

Thus is was for me with Minoan Kingship by Nanno Marinatos. Did the Minoans have a king or a queen? No one can know, as the written record is recorded in Linear A, a language unknown and undeciphered. As I entered into this Alice in Wonderland world of interpretation and extrapolation, I thought I was interested. Ultimately, I understood this was a debate for those few academics who had studied the Aegean Bronze Age for years and years. Over my head and beyond my interest.

I did find some interesting details...

Gold. Apparently, Egypt had a monopoly on gold. Gold was traded among kings and used for self-glorification. "Consequently, it can be inferred that a king gave a gold ring only to a trusted and loyal emissary."

Libraries. "All kingdoms (small and large) of the region around Crete had libraries."
"The Minoans probably had literature written in the as yet undeciphered Linear A script. The fact that the only records that have survived were written on clay tablets...may well be an accident of history because leather and papyrus do not survive."
Vocabulary. The Kephtiu are the people of Crete. I'je're'u is a priest.

Axes. The meaning of the ubiquitous double-ax is still open to debate, while the oval-ax seems to be a scepter.

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