April 22, 2013
p.197 #1-7FYK 1-7AYK
April 22, 2013
p.197 #1-7FYK 1-7AYK
Understanding the Past
Focus Your Knowledge
1. Crete is one of the largest Greek islands, around 200km in length. This island attracts so many people because of its beautiful environment, including tall mountain ranges, tropical climates, and a generally pleasant and peaceful atmosphere. To the early settlers, Crete was the perfect land for vegetation, building their houses, and raising animals. They also took advantage of this by trading their goods (which were plentiful on Crete) for the island of Melos’ volcanic glass (obsidian), to make knives, scrapers, and other tools. In a way, Crete is the link from the Near East to the Egypt. Not only were the inhabitants of Crete wealthy with agriculture, but they had several skills which include forms of writing, socialization (trade), art, and advanced metal work (used to form weapons and tools). So in addition to being a land of great agricultural potential, Crete was the perfect environment for the development of civilization.
2. As bronze was introduced into trade, there was a greater accumulation of wealth in certain individuals and the society had more defined classes. The wealthy had fine jewelry, clothing, art, and other luxuries. This includes the royal palaces of the Minoans. The largest, oldest, and most important palace at Crete were located in Knossos. Palaces, were areas of great political power, homes of kings and queens, and places for the trade of goods. They are large buildings constructed by the Minoans and had large storerooms for these goods. In the centre of the palace, this is an open courtyard, surrounded by several interconnecting rectangular rooms with a couple of levels. Palaces had different rooms for administrative, residential, religious, storage, and work purposes. The important rooms for royalty were designed with colourful artwork and painted frescos. These paintings showed a variety of scenes, including ceremonies, worshiping, gift bearing, and offerings. An example of the newly sophisticated architecture, are the wooden beams, built as a solid structure, circulation of light and air, and convenience for later plumbing. The Minoans learned from previous palaces (that were destroyed by earthquakes) to modify their designs and protect the palaces from natural disasters.
3. Mycenaeans were Greek speaking and the Minoans were non-Greek speaking. Because the Mycenaeans were descendants of Middle Helladic people, they did not have a fully unique culture developed, and therefore was easily influenced by the old Minoan civilization (to the south). The Minoan influence on Mycenaean culture is mostly evident in their artwork and writing. For example, the Mycenaeans adopted some similar wall painting styles, types of vases, and seal carving. The Minoans’ Linear A was later adopted into the Myceneans’ Linear B script. Although, when Crete was invaded and the villages were destroyed (including the palaces-locations of great political power), all traces of Minoan culture were greatly diminished.
4. Homer is a blind, Greek author of the Iliad and the Odyssey (both are ancient Greek poems). There are many theories as to when he was around, although it is commonly supposed that he was alive in early 12th century BC (around the time of the Trojan War). He is also known as the “Teacher of Greece” because he was skilled in speaking, writing, and was all around a very intelligent man. Because Homer’s Odyssey is one of the few pieces of early Greek literature that mentions the Trojan horse, it is very valuable. The Trojan horse is the most important symbol of the Trojan War, because it is what really changed the outcome of the war. Even though both sides had an incredible amount of losses, the Trojan horse symbolized the clever deceit of the Mycenaeans. Homer also described how the Greeks gained a sense of