Friday, January 27, 2017

Wondrous Realms of the Aegean from Time Life Books ****

Time Life Books has long ago stopped publishing, but for many years they published beautiful books through their subscription service. Wondrous Realms of the Aegean from TimeLife Books was in the Lost Civilization series.

These books were lavishly illustrated, and this volume contains large, full-color reproductions of many of the iconic images of Minoan life. These include several frescos from Akrotiri, House of Ladies, Prince of Lilies, and examples of bull jumpers.

In addition to the many pictures, the text is full of interesting gems.
"Minoan society may have been matrilineal... Such customs arise...where people do not comprehend a direct connection between a baby and its father."
"One that the pastoral and nautical imagery was deliberately created to reinforce the notion of a highly unified, satisfied society; in order words, that it was propaganda."
In summary, this is an excellent introduction of Minoan Crete.

Some other observations include:

The Minoans lived in harmony on Crete because of their isolated position. "The resulting unifromity of customs and speech no doubt stimulated sharing and cooperation."

Crete manufactured ceramics, jewelry, and other luxury goods. Much of the raw materials for this industry needed to be imported: copper, tin, gold, and silver came from far away. They also traded for obsidian, emery, ivory, ostrich eggs, alabaster, gems. Long distance trade has been verified by the discovery of Minoan products throughout the eastern Mediterranean and as far east as Mesopotamia.

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