19 October 2010


Palace at Knossos
 Oh, to be a Minoan!

Along with the Egyptians, the Minoan culture is one of my favorites. The architecture. The art. The lifestyle. They had it all! Let's start with the architecture.

The most well-known of Minoan architecture is the Palace at Knossos. It must have been quite the spectacle in its day. This was the home of King Minos and home to the legend of the minotaur (min-o-tower). The palace was ingeniously laid out and expertly engineered. Parts of it were 4 to 5 stories high, which is very impressive for 1700-1400 BCE. The columns that they produced were different than any other kind around. Underneath the columns is a bowl-shaped area to allow for movement ( movement like earthquake movement). The palace's storage areas could lift up to completely empty out. How cool is that?

Minoans were also great with recycling. Roofs were angled so that rain water would fall down into collection containers. Clay pipes ran throughout the palace, bringing heat from the kitchen area into living areas. They were very fancy for their time.

Bull Leaping Fresco
They were so advanced that they appear to have invented the true fresco. One of my very favorite fresco pieces is one of the very first fresco, as I learned in class the other day. The "Bull Leaping" piece is well-known but people (art historians) still aren't quite sure what is going on in it. What is for sure is, it is two females and one male bull jumping. The females are the lighter-skinned figures and the male darker. They are depicted in three stages of a bull jump: what is supposed to be a the prep, back contact, and a landing. The girl preparing to jump has found herself skewered by the bull's horns. My art history professor says the fact that her eyes are rolling back into her head signifies that she is dead or dying. Bummer. I like how stylized everything is in this fresco, and how vivid the colors are after all of these years.

Along with the Bull Leaping fresco are a ton of other great works. Minoans were known for their Kamares ware, which displayed stylistic approaches to everyday scenes along the sides of the pottery. They seem to have really loved art, because it was all over the Palace at Knossos and other dwellings. Murals everywhere I tell you! Minoans also were apparently well-traveled folk. Some of their artwork includes a material that was only found in Egypt in their day. So when they traveled, instead of bringing back a t-shirt, their kids got gems and mineral rocks! Some murals in their living spaces appear to be scenes from other countries. Sweet!

I wish I could visit them! Minoans were very peaceful people who enjoyed art, travel and nature. Also, good architecture. None of their cities that have been found today had walls or barriers around them, so it must have been easy for the Mycenaeans to take over their establishments. Sad day.


  1. Minoans are the best! The bulls, the colors, the Palace at Knossos!

  2. ooh...this gives me an idea for one of my novel sequels - thanks!

    So nice to meet you through the BlogHer ad network. Your confessions post makes me crave the solitude of living alone, although I never really liked being alone when I did.