The Minoans who settled on Crete and the Mycenaean people who settled on several sites on the Grecian mainland were two civilizations that contributed to the cultural makeup of classical Greece. The two civilizations shared similarities in architecture as they both settled in their villages. The Minoan civilization is named after King Minos. The Mycenaean civilization takes its name from Mycenae, the largest but not the only citadel in a trading society that appears to have been led by warrior kings. The Minoan villages were influences of the polis, the Greek city-state. The village encompassed public buildings and institutions around a town center. The polis frequented an open assembly area where debates took place for decisions of the people.
The polis would influence the Mycenaean civilization as the palace was the integral piece of the polis. Built in different levels on uneven ground in the Mycenaean polis, the palace consisted of four buildings with walls decorated with depictions of animals, musicians, and other scenes. The palace was constructed of rubble throughout and strengthened by a large framework of horizontal and vertical timbers. Outside the palace, the main walls were faced with limestone.
Using stone a thin veneer for inferior walls may have come from the Minoans. The Minoans used alabaster to produce a sense of opulence amongst the village. One of the most notable
Mycenaean palaces is King Nestor’s palace complex which was built around a megaron. A megaron is a large, single-story, ancient Greek architectural form consisting of an open porch, a vestibule, and a large rectangular hall with a central hearth and a throne. Megarons were found in all Mycenaean palaces and houses and remained a central fixture throughout Mycenaean villages. In contrast to the advanced palaces of the Mycenaeans, the Minoan Crete palaces were built around a courtyard which was the emphasis of the palace. The four wings of the palace surrounded the courtyard. Minoan palaces were conventionally categorized because there is no evidence they were used as a residence for kings, queens, or any other political or religious official. There is the palace of Minos located on Kefala hill which seems to have been a multifunctional complex like a civic center. The complex housed commercial, manufacturing, warehousing, religious, political, social and ceremonial activity functions all in the considered palace. The palace of Minos is a large multistoried compound with one thousand rooms covering six acres of land. The buildings have flat roofs supported by tapered columns with the base being smaller than the top. The walls were made of rubble and mud brick with timber used to support the walls. The wood worked well for earthquakes but was very flammable. The floors were constructed of plaster or slabs of stone. The palace does not have a basic function as there is no single axis that runs through the complex. Likened to a labyrinth built for the Minotaur
who supposedly lived in the palace as Theseus entered and killed the Minotaur and could only find his way out with the help of thread given to him by the native princess Ariadne.
Among the numerous Minoan sites that have been excavated on Crete, Knossos is the largest and best-known archaeological started in 1900 BCE as a series of detached structures situated around a rectangular court site. The Mycenaean settlements, located on the mainland of
Greece, have a first layer that dates back to about 3000 BCE. After a major earthquake in 1700
BCE, the palace was rebuilt as a unified but complex structure featuring several stories of ceremonial rooms, storage areas, and residential areas with open cores to allow sunlight into the lower levels. The courtyard remained the central element of the complex during these times.
Another preserved Mycenaean…