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Minoan Civilization by Mind Map: Minoan Civilization
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Minoan Civilization



Minoan Civilization was based mainly around the island of Crete, although it did spread to other places around the Mediterranean, such as the island of Thera, which contributed to its downfall.

Mediterranean island, ideal position for trade, 200 km from East to West, 12-58 km North to South, Still inhabited, largest town: Heraklion

Landscape, Mountains, Coastal plains, Plateaus, Lybian Sea to South, Aegean Sea to North

Climate, Short, mild winters, Dry, warm summers



Major trade center, due to location, Center of Aegean, Trade routes intersected at Crete, Asia Minor, Mainland Greece, Africa, Europe (such as it was)

Imports, precious stones, Precious metals, gold, silver, copper, Tin, Used tin and copper to make bronze, Were very influential in bronze trade, grain from around Black Sea

Mainly traded with Greece, Syria, Egypt, Spain, and Mesopotamia

Exports, agricultural products, Cypress, Olive oil and olives, wine, currants, wool, herbs, purple dye, man-made goods, bronze, raw, implements, cloth, ceramics


Supply-side economy, wealth came from palace and trickled down to the poor

Farming, products, grapes, chickpeas, vetch, barley, wheat, figs, some spices, olives, Most farmers were subsistence farmers, Grain had to be imported from Asia minor

livestock, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats


peaceful society

No military to speak of

One of the few societies of the time period without a standing army

Not built on conquest; did not expand into an empire

Naturally defended by Mediterranean



King and aristocracy controlled wealth of country

Country grew through leadership that stayed away from threats, No standing army to feed, No threat of territorial invasion, No military bureaucracy


One king ruled from central palace, employed an efficient bureaucracy, Controlled mercantile navy to a certain extent, taxed a percentage of the grain harvest to feed and pay the people of the palace, Also had control over rulers of other palaces (provincial lords)

Strict social heirarchy, Nobles, landowners, traders, etc, Peasants, farmers and laborers, Slaves, worked without pay, tied to the land and whoever ruled it


Two scripts

Linear A, Has not been deciphered, Complex symbols seem to represent words

Linear B, Has been deciphered, but was not used much by the Minoans, Some researchers believe that the Minoan writings in linear B were actually Mycenaean translations, Was later adapted by the Mycenaeans and formed the basis of Classical Greek


Polytheistic Goddess-Worship

Dieties, Snake Goddess, goddess of the house, Protector of families, Also took form of small bird, Lady of the Beasts, Portrayed as mistress of all animals, Later showed as "mountain mother", Lead Goddess, Much like Zeus, a "mother of the earth", Various demons, Demons were portrayed much like they are in other religions, Always shown as humans with the hands and feet of lions, Nymphs/Guardian spirits, Sacred places suggest guardian spirit-worship, Trees, Sacred stones, Springs

Priesthood, Mainly female priests, males mainly performed minor jobs, May have attained higher significance as the rest of Greece influenced the Minoans

Worship, hymns, sung in chorus and solo, accompanied by conches, flutes, drums, and lyres, rituals, planting and/or watering trees, priestesses shaking trees and gathering fruits, offering fruits and flowers to statues

Role in Daily Life

Not much known

Worshiped Snake Goddess in small shrines, Kept and fed small snakes, Had tiny shrines adorned with carvings and frescoes


Subject matter

Household things, Pets, posessions, etc., Not many pictures of unliving objects alone

Nature, Scenes, Example: cat chasing a bird, Items, Example: water lilies

People, All social classes, Not formally posed, Showed doing everyday tasks, Walking, Socializing, Carrying jugs, Playing sports


Houses, Most famous Minoan art, Huge, detailed wall paintings, murals: painted on a dry wall, Frescoes: painted on wet plaster, Walls were coated with pure lime, mosaics

Vases, Much like other Greek vases in construction, Showed scenes like those of the frescoes, Pottery was the only main form of sculpture

Jewelry, Males and Females, Females wore slightly more jewelry, Design, Not generally portraying something in particular, Meant to show off wealth, Only men wore large engraved rings with pictures of hunts, Many materials, Crystal, Quartz, metals, Silver, Bronze, Gold, Copper, gems, Amethyst, Carnelian, Agate, Steatite, Could be worn anywhere, Most were very large, Aside from modern styles, chest plaques, chains, etc. were also popular


highlights Minoan character

Disproves common assumptions of ancient civilizations

Shows skill of Minoan craftsmen


Public buildings

Palace at Knossos, inspired myth of Labyrinth, decoration, free standing, painted vases, statues, amphorae and urns, walls, frescoes, paintings, mosaics, carvings, architectural components, elaborately carved friezes, walls painted to look like marble, layout, up to four stories, Central court of 20,000 square feet, stone stairways led to other rooms, variety of rooms laid out in no particular order, reception rooms, anterooms, administrative offices, throne room, bedrooms, servants' quarters, Guardhouses, chapel, "hall of the double axe", workshops, wine presses, storerooms, dungeon, Complex near palace, theater, probably a marketplace, cemetery, Royal villa, building, little to no marble, built with wood, gypsum, and limestone, Blocks cut sharply and stacked without mortar, Heaviest materials used on lowest floors, Used columns to hold up roofs, square stone pillars on bottom floors, round tapering wood pillars on top floors

Other palaces built similarly to Knossos, just not as big, Malia, Zakros, Phaistos


very few temples, worship was instead conducted at sacred places, raised altars at them

raised altars in temples and public places

kept small, decorated shrines at home


number of stories signified wealth of occupant

building materials were the same as for public buildings, mud brick for the poor, limestone and gypsum for those who were wealthier, wealthy also could have multiple floors

decoration was not limited to upper class, frescoes were popular in all classes, urns, amphorae, and statuettes were also popular

Aside from palaces, villas served as vacation homes



plows, wooden, leather handles and fastenings, pulled by pairs of oxen or donkeys

Some irrigation used, along with wells


mainly reserved for rich

Water was collected and stored uphill from towns

Water flowed downhill in terra-cotta pipes, Pipes were tapered at one end to fit together

Sewage systems were also terra-cotta pipes, buried under streets and such, had traps to catch sediment, bound to other pipes with cement


Roads were paved with cobblestones

Some of the most intricate roads in ancient civilization