Friday, January 13, 2017

The Destruction of Knossos by HEL Mellersh *

The Destruction of Knossos by HEL Mellersh is primarily interesting as a sociological/anthropological study in changing assumptions and attitudes over the last 50 years.

For example, when praising the Mycenaeans, who conquered the Minoans, as a superior Aryan race, the author characterizes them as "horsey" people.
Horsey people are indisputably a different and recognizable kind of people, now and always throughout the ages. They are self-confident, they do not seek to be over-intelligent but they do seek to be active and forceful and heroic.
Later in defending the Minoans...
One other find of this period shows a man with a dagger...there is therefore no need to impute effeminateness to the Minoan.
Later, explaining why Minoan cultural influence continued after the Mycenaeans took control.
[Mycenaeans] were, it is repeated, a horsey and warlike people. In any age the hunting squire or army general is not likely to have bee a connoisseur of the arts. This is not to say, however, that the squire's or the general's lady would not be interested in fashion...
In explaining the classical Greek period that evolved almost a thousand years later, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is invoked.
And whence came...this power of intellectualism?...In the first place, Greek, like its cousin Latin, is a highly inflected language...
In support of this book, between these social anachronisms, there are many interesting facts and details about the culture around the Aegean Sea during the millennium prior the classical Greek period.

Some interesting details gleaned...

During the Minoan time, the palace at Knossos was probably decorated by pennants.

The "small army of artisans, slaves, clerks, storemen, and workman" commuted to the palace across a ravine and river using a great viaduct ("a major engineering and architectural feat" wide enough for flocks of sheep).

"The designs on the seal-stones, now becoming so neat and clever, as give intimations of prosperity. They show for instance the pithos or giant storage jar, and the ship. Each of these could serve as a trademark for Crete--perhaps they did."

Variations of the Minoan Earth Mother includes dove for power, snake for domestic protection, bull for potency and strength, and a pillar. The bull also represented earthquakes.

Thera eruption: "The seismic destruction of the palaces, ...the failure of vegetation due to tephra fall, and the annihilation of the Minoan fleet [by tsunami]."

The Mycenaeans brought weapons, armor, and chariots to Crete. For centuries after Thera the Mycenaeans ruler Crete from a rebuilt Knossos.

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