palace-at-knossos

Head of a girl, from the Palace of Knossos, Minoan, 1700-1400 BC (plaster).Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

Κεφαλή ενός κοριτσιού, από το ανάκτορο της Κνωσού, Μινωική, 1700-1400 π.Χ. (γύψος). Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο Ηρακλείου, Κρήτη.

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Greek Bronze and Gold Short Sword and Dagger, C. 1450-1300 BC

The daggers and early swords of the Aegean Bronze Age represent some of the most striking artifacts of the period in terms of their opulence, craftsmanship and display of technical virtuosity. Whilst some were used solely for ceremonial use, many were functional instruments of war, attested by the clear developments in form, according to fighting preferences and practices. The short sword, which developed from the dagger, is one of the most interesting innovations of the Bronze Age, often signifying social status in societies in which hierarchy and one-on-one combat were primary concerns. The present dagger and short sword probably originate from Crete, in the locality of the great palaces at Knossos, or from Mycenae. The Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations were renowned for their wealth, richness of culture, technical sophistication, and strong influence across the Greek world for centuries to come. These are the weapons of the fabled heroes of Troy, the great treasures of powerful kings like Agamemnon, who ruled over the kingdom of Mycenae.

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Minotaur & the Origin of the One-Eyed King

So, @kanekikenunot and I were talking a few days ago about the possible symbolism between the original OEK and the Minotaur of Crete, and I wanted to expand on their post about it.

**just a warning, the two stories don’t coincide perfectly because there’s a lot of holes due to possible deception and backstabbing between V and the Washuu, so take all of this with a grain of salt

As the story goes, King Minos was given an impressive bull to sacrifice to Poseidon, but decided to keep it for himself. When Poseidon found out, he forced Pasiphae, the wife of Minos, to fall madly in love with the bull. They consummated, and the Minotaur was born. Being an unnatural beast– half human and half bull– it grew to feast on human flesh.

Horrified, King Minos ordered the carpenter Daedelus to construct a massive labyrinth built beneath his palace at Knossos, and banished the Minotaur to it’s tunnels.

The Washuu Estate and the ruins of Knossos.


In the scope of Tokyo Ghoul, the story of the Minotaur offers a possible explanation of the One-Eyed King’s origin.

For one thing, the 24th ward is frequently described as a labyrinth. However, Nishiki revealed in ch128 that the OEK dug the 24th ward himself, making him King Minos, and Daedalus, and the Minotaur. 

This lines up with my theory that the original One Eyed King is actually a relative of V and the Washuu– one that was most likely the result of a shameful affair between noble families; a human and ghoul. Their shared offspring was miraculously born (possibly during a time when food was scarce, when alternatives were necessary), and with it’s single kakugan, was itself proof of their adultery. 

The poor half-ghoul child was most likely hidden away the same way Eto was.

And, like Eto, the future king most likely lashed out once it was old enough. A human parent could fear for their own life, or that their “monster” child would be targeted. A ghoul parent would would find that their half-ghoul offspring was eons stronger than themselves. Both sides would have to worry about their secret being revealed, and so eventually the Minotaur, who’s true lineage was that of nobility (a one-eyed “king”), needed to be quelled.


Now, King Minos in antiquity had been demanding young sacrifices from Athens as revenge for the death of his human son, which served convenient in keeping the Minotaur at bay. Eventually, the secret son of Athens, Theseus, offered to go along with the sacrifices and kill the monster. 

So here’s where things get super tricky. I’ll break it down like this:

  • King Minos = the founder of V, human
  • Minotaur = one-eyed half-ghoul, result of V and Washuu
  • Theseus = head of the Washuu clan

Theseus eventually defeated the Minotaur by decapitating it, and left for Crete to become king. 

That sounds like the end of things, but with Furuta’s statement about “sustenance for the throne” alongside the doppleganger motifs (two one-eyed owls, two rabbits), I believe that the Washuu and V wanted to create a new “Minotaur” in order to continuously gain support from the humans who believed that they were being protected from the One-Eyed King.

The Washuu were thrust into a position of political power among humans and ghouls alike– and they enjoyed it. So long as the masses didn’t discover that they were responsible for the initial creation of the first One-Eyed King, and so long as they played their cards right, they could continue to forever create enemies and acquire more wealth.

V and the Washuu may have come into power over a stupid secret: an affair which created a Minotaur.

V knew their secret, however, so they rung up a deal: they would share their power in secrecy, with knives at each other’s backs, and soon their efforts to create a new OEGhoul brought about the demi-human warriors like Arima, to be sicced on whatever “enemies” they could find until quinques were invented.


The original “Minotaur” may have survived “Theseus” (remember, if the Washuu are like Rize, they have some seriously powerful regeneration), or a new one-eyed ghoul may have been created or found. 

Either way, the original OEK was most likely a Washuu by blood who was driven into the ground by it’s own family, then used as a stepping stool to their power. It’s anger towards the CCG is something still harbored to this day, which is something shared between itself and the likes of other natural OEG’s like Eto. 

anonymous asked:

i noticed your tag, 'we always return to the past to rescue our humanity' and find it quite interesting. personally, humanity's distant past terrifies me. i remember visiting the ruins of the knossos palace in crete a few years ago and it was so scary.

Oh, why? It is based on my own experience, especially with literature. Personally, I find it beautiful how I still suffer because of the way Achilles reacted to Patroclus’ death even though I am not fond of him; how Shakespeare once rescued me; how I find joy in things that have existed for a long time, in languages that helped to give birth to other languages. How we still go back to the past to learn more about ourselves. How we still cling to it, to things that no longer exist - that are the rivers of our humanity (that never ceased to exist in that way). How we still go back to find little things that we once did and that we still do. How we tell stories (or stories about history) to reach out to other people. 

How I cling to what once happened (or words that other people wrote) to learn more about myself.

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Plan of the Palace at Knossos – 1550 – 1400 BC

Stairwells are open to sky, allow light to filter into space. Open air and light. Modern reconstructed paintings in places of original frescoes. Halls and various rooms – variety of size and subjects. Men carry offerings, aphoras in a procession. Also women, dolphins, gryphons, etc. Mix of wet and dry technique. Meso-fresco – pigment has binder (animal fat or egg) and is applied to mostly dry plaster. Yellow, black, white, blue, green, red. Decorative borders (not false window like Pompeii).

External image

Dolphin frescoed seascape decorates the queen’s rooms, and working bathroom. Badly damaged, most is reconstructed. Sea urchins prominent in Greece, shown in frescoes. Bathtub had drainage and running water – one of earliest function bathtubs. Many bathtubs reused later as sarcophagi – scholars suggest connection between water and death, cross the river Styx. Speaks to social status and luxury. Terra cotta pipes beneath the floors.

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The Dolphin mural at The Palace of Knossos~ Crete

The restoration of the frescoes in the Knossos Palace by E. Gillieron and Piet de Jong at the beginning of the last century received many critics for the excessively bright colours employed, but the truth is that the final result is probably not very far from the original aspect of the paintings, created at the heart of the Minoan splendour.

This fresco is a fabulous example of early Minoan Painting, very interesting for its precise representation of the natural world without any human presence. Located in the Bath Hall -where such aquatic motifs were very suitable-, the “Fresco of the Dolphins” is an authentic masterpiece, either for its undeniable decorative value and for its remarkable effect of movement.

Archaeological Museum of Heraklion:

Lioness-head rhyton of translucent limestone with a hole in the muzzle for pouring out the liquid offering. An exquisitely modeled work, a typical example of the stone-carvers skill in faithfully rendering the original.The nose and eyes were originally inlaid with materials that haven’t survived.  

Knossos, Palace, (1600-1500 B.C)

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A low roar makes me jump as I stare over the city. I look up to see the belly of an aeroplane soaring above us. The vibrations are pretty violent, and I almost fear for the ruins surrounding me. After nearly two hours on a coach, this is the Heraklion that greets us: hot, busy, eclectic. Just one of the stops on our tour of Eastern Crete.  

While I understand the need for an early pick up for this particular trip, it doesn’t mean I like it. Thankfully the air is cool at 6:30 am while we wait for our ride, and we are quick to doze off in its cushioned seats. Halfway to our destination we stop at a roadside café in the middle of nowhere. The driver grabs a much needed coffee, while the rest of us make the most of the fresh doughnuts and orange juice on offer. Tummies full and legs stretched, we quickly doze off again for an hour or so until our driver wakes us up by sharply breaking in a car park. This alerts us to our first: no trip to Crete would be complete without a visit to Knossos.

The last time I came here I was four years old. Now, after studying Classical Civilisation and ancient literature as part of my degree, it is a site I have been desperate to revisit. The Sunday morning heat is uncomfortable but the place isn’t manically busy yet; just a few guides marching groups through narrow spots like the ‘Room with the Copies’ and temporarily blocking them. The swallows that are perched and nesting above doorways do make for good entertainment though, especially when they begin dive-bomb unsuspecting tourists below. The place is certainly fascinating however. The grand staircase and royal apartments offer insight into the sheer scale of the site. My musical background draws me the ‘theatre’ where I take a snap with a well-known travel mag to try and get featured (it doesn’t work). The backdrop to the ancient palace is also stunning, rolling hills and lush green trees framing the site, adding to its grandeur. Yet I must confess myself a little disappointed: while the sheer age of the site certainly makes it impressive, there are elements that dim its raw legitimacy. Patches of red paint mark ‘re-creations’, and square windows have been added in during some points of its excavation. I may sound ungrateful, ignorant even to some; don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful for the preservation of the palace, along with other similar sites across the globe. The re-painted frescos across the palace, made to look suitably aged, are very well executed. I guess I just had an image of a palace whose original architecture had been almost completely preserved, or lay in near complete ruin with its age being the focal point, not some hybrid sitting in-between. Some of the more disparaging sights created by other tourists: a man has been employed to sit a particular spot and shout at people attempting to take pictures stood on top of one of many giant urns, and a gentleman is yelled at after wandering around with a cigarette in his mouth. It is a place that I need to come back to in the low season, I feel, away from the tours and masses of tourists that come stomping through the gate just as we are leaving. Away from those that come here just because it is on some list of places to visit or a hotel excursion. And away from the heat.  

Our next stop, however, fulfils any further questions I may have of the site itself; a short drive into the city centre of Héraklion leads us to the Archaeological Museum. The first three rooms immediately grab my attention, the bright lights making all the gold displayed in cabinets glitter. Our guide book states them as “luxury objects from the Neolithic settlement of Knossos and Prepalatial tholos tombs of the Mesara, as well the burial complexes of Malia, Mochlos, and Archanes”. Any grandeur the palace of Knossos may have lost is certainly compensated for within its safely stored treasures, the pinnacle object for me being the Malian golden bee pendant, displaying Minoan taste at its finest.           There is even a stunning replica of the Knossos palace, which can rival Leavesden Studios’ miniature Hogwarts in terms of detail. My favourite element of the museum, however, has to be the Phaistos disc. The earliest known example of Minoan text, the disc is believed of be of a religious nature, possibly a prayer to a Minoan Goddess (thanks to a 2014 study). In the museum though it sits isolated, both sides displayed in a glass cabinet while a single bright bulb shines above it, making the clay almost appear gold and shimmering. I manage to grab a quick snap of it (don’t worry, I’m allowed to), and smile as a little girl with a very expensive looking camera patiently waits for people to move out of the way so that she can get the perfect picture.

Walking beyond these sparkling treasures, I learn that the museum is very strict: some exhibits cannot be photographed since they have not been formally published yet, which is fair enough. It is also amusing to see grown men flinch at a woman’s bark of “be quiet!” when the level of noise in each room gets a little high, the echoing reprimand reminding me of being told off in a school assembly. Though I am glad to not be the subject of her shouts, it does not deter me from getting as close as I can to each exhibit, beautiful frescos such as the ‘Bull-Leaper’ and a stunning Gold Myrtle wreath proving yet more insight into life inside Knossos.              

By the time we’ve finished in the museum, we don’t really have time to explore the city. There is a chance, however, to grab a coffee and the first slice of ‘real’ baklava I’ve encountered since being in Greece. It should seem fitting then that it is the biggest slice I’ve ever seen. Savouring every crumb I can, I’m amazed by the juxtaposition of the city that surrounds me. We’re in the old part of tow, ruins and tired looking buildings dotted around us, while aeroplanes glide low into the nearby airport, vibrations making the air buzz, and giant ferries hum in the port, destined for Athens.  Settling back in our comfy seats for the long drive back, we expect to arrive at our hotel just before dinner. But just an hour into the journey we make an unexpected stop in Réthymno, Crete’s third and ‘middle’ city.                

“We stay here for a bit. No longer than 45 minutes. Go. Go wander.”

We obey our guide and step out into the surprisingly cooler air of the port of Réthymno, dark clouds above us signalling imminent rain, while a chilly breeze is a welcome breath of fresh air. We walk up a slight hill and are suddenly in the old part of town, the small harbour greeting us echoing Chania’s charm and character. We can see a maze of narrow streets ahead of us, but whether it is the early morning finally catching up with us, the extensive travelling, or the Sunday afternoon attitude in the air, suddenly the canopied bars lining the harbour are incredibly inviting. We pick one with comfy sofas right next the lapping water, old ships tethered up to our right, resting for the day before the tours of the coast begin again tomorrow. Orange juice is again the drink of choice, though the choice of food on the menu is extensive. The table next to us have opted for a fresh fish platter, which seems to contain a myriad of shellfish, squid, swordfish, and others that I don’t recognise. It looks fabulous, though the cats loitering next to the table seem to be getting the lion’s share, perhaps due to on being very clearly pregnant. The hum of a Harley accompanies our quiet drink, speeding away as we had back towards our own ride. We spot other restaurants making the most of the quiet time of day before the crowds roll in, setting up stunning displays of today’s offerings, live crab and lobster attempting to scuttle away before their claws are banded shut.  

Relaxing into the last leg of our journey, I try and remember everything I have seen today, all the treasures and artefacts, everything precious and ancient. Suddenly I become very thankful for the guide book we picked up in Héraklion. Yet it is this last stop that has proved to be the most curious, a place that I have seen signposted but never thought of visiting. As we leave Réthymno the heavens open, and I decide I definitely want to come back here, for a meal at least.  

Minoan Religion and the Ancient Near East: A Connection?

Leonine demon/spirit servants present libations to Goddess, queen, or high priestess.  On a ring from Tiryns, 14th century B.C.

VERY LONG POST!!!

           The Mediterranean Sea connected many cultures to each other, all throughout Southern Europe, North Africa, and the Near East.  Ancient cultures traded not only goods and supplies with each other but also stories, ideas, and religious beliefs.  This is evident in some of the gods and goddesses who had different names or diffusions in various Mediterranean religions.  One of the most obscure ancient Mediterranean religions was that of the Minoans a civilization that was situated primarily on the island of Crete but also on other islands of the Aegean Sea, an embayment of the Mediterranean.  Over the years since its discovery, there has been some thought among scholars that the religion and culture of the Minoans (and possibly their successors the Mycenaeans) was heavily influenced by its Near Eastern neighbors.

Before I continue I must stress that the archaeological evidence from Minoan Crete and the other islands is limited and from what artifacts that were recovered not many complete ideas or stories are able to formed, let alone verified.  Most of the sources that I cite are from scholars with their own interpretations but have done their best to make a solid argument; however I will provide criticism to these arguments if need be.  Also, the Minoan civilization was a part of the Bronze Age an era of prehistory meaning that the Minoans lived in a time before recorded written history.  To clarify, the Minoans and some other ancient civilizations did have a language and writing system but it has little decipherment and is considered by historians to be proto-writing.  The main writing system of the Minoans has been dubbed Linear A and is believed that have been based off symbols and images like all other proto-writings.  Due to the littler deciphering of the Linear A script, most of the suggested names of the Minoan deities comes from both later etymological versions in Linear B of the Mycenaeans and the Greek language, and also earlier versions of Indo-European as some the deities worshiped in these cultures may be the deities from the Minoan culture just with different names. 

One of the most notable aspects of Minoan religion, based on archaeological evidence, is presence of multiple female figures whether mortal or goddesses.  When Sir Arthur Evans original unearth and discovered the ruins and artifacts of Minoan Crete he believed that the constant presence of these female figures was evidence that the Minoans worshiped a Great Goddess of nature who was accompanied by a male god who was either her son or consort; an idea he based on James Frazer’s The Golden Bough (1).  This Goddess, her name, who she is, and who the supposed male god that aided her is, are all subject to debate.  This debate is based on the aforementioned limited archaeological evidence.  We don’t exactly know who the women and men are in the pots, frescoes, coins, and rings that remain; but that does not mean we cannot try to find out who they are.

The Goddess, or whomever the prominent female figure truly is, was believed to be a vegetation, fertility, nature deity primarily linked with symbol of the sacred tree, although she had a host of other symbols such as pillars, axes, stones, snakes, bees, birds, poppy flowers which may symbolize her multiple roles (2).  Due to these multiple symbols is has been theorized by some scholars that instead of multiple different goddesses there was one supreme goddess with multiple faces or roles.  It would not be wrong to think that the primary goddess of the Minoans was linked with plants and fertility as many important goddess from the Near East were sovereigns over such roles.  Furthermore this has led to scholars believed that the Minoan Goddess may just be the Minoan version of an important Near Eastern goddess.  One issue regarding all this is the Goddess’ name.

Debates rage on as to what the Goddess’ name is and also the name of the male god who is with her.  Robert Graves and Karl Kerényi put forth an interesting idea that the Goddess could really be Ariadne, a woman most notably from the myth of Theseus fighting the Minotaur.  Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos and Queen Pasiphaë of Crete and the granddaughter of the sun god Helios.  Minos, Ariadne’s father, took youths from Greece as sacrifices to appease the Minotaur who lived in the labyrinth under the palace at Knossos. When Theseus went to kill the Minotaur, Ariadne, who had fallen in love with Theseus, tied a thread to the hero so that he could find his way through the labyrinth.  Theseus succeeded in killing the Minotaur (who was actually Ariadne’s half-brother) however he left her behind in Crete unable to reciprocate her love and eventually became king of Athens.

 Kerényi bases part of his idea that Ariadne is the Minoan Goddess from an inscription found on a small clay tablet at Knossos. The inscription reads “da-pu-ri-to-jo / po-ti-ni-ja me-ri” which transliterates to “To the mistress of the labyrinth honey” (po-ti-ni-ja is a Mycenean Greek word that means “mistress” or “lady” and gave way to the more recent Greek potnia); and “mistress of the labyrinth” is title given to Ariadne based on her aid to Theseus (3).  Kerényi links the “mistress of the labyrinth” to a winding and unwinding ecstatic dance, often depicted by female figures on some Minoan rings and also believes that Ariadne’s name is a Cretan-Greek form for “Arihagne” meaning “utterly pure” with the adjective adnon from hagnon (4).  Ariadne was also associated with the god Dionysus who may have been the Minoan God who aided the Goddess as in the original Greek myth after Theseus leaves Crete Ariadne is eventually taken by Dionysus to Olympus.  In Argos, a part of mainland Greece, there was a tomb for Ariadne which gradually became an altar to her in which the people made her a subterranean (or chthonic, which is considered to be an aspect of the Minoan Goddess) deity; however, the site was also a sanctuary of Dionysus Kresios, or Dionysus the Cretan (5).

 The ancient writer Pausanias in his multi-volume work Description of Greece believed that this was where Dionysus buried Ariadne before her ascension to godhood thus linking Dionysus to the Goddess even more (6).  Most of this proposed evidence puts forth that Ariadne, whether she truly existed or not, was either deified as the Minoan Goddess or in the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur was a humanized incarnation of the Goddess.  In a much earlier post, Lady Xoc already mentioned as to how the Sumerian queen Kubaba may have been deified as the Hurrian goddess Hannahannah who was also closely identified with the goddess Hebat and how she eventually became the Phrygian god Kybele then the Greco-Roman goddess Cybele.  It was also said that Queen Kubaba was also given sovereign over the world by the god Marduk whom Kubaba ordered offerings to.  Kubaba’s devotion and relationship to Marduk is similar (but not necessarily connected) to Ariadne’s devotion and relationship to Dionysus.  However, Ariadne and Dionysus’ relationship mostly resembles the relationship between that of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar and her consort Dumuzi/Tammuz.

This is where the possible connection to the ancient Near East comes in.  The relationship between Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz is one of the most well-known and documented myths of the Near East.  Inanna/Ishtar is the goddess of love, war, sex, and fertility and her lover Dumuzi/Tammuz won her over after a contest.  Their sexual union has been called hieros gamos, which is Greek for “sacred marriage”, and is said to cause the vegetation and fertility of the world to grow. Eventually Sumer would adopt a symbolic version of the union between their kings and the high priestesses of Inanna.

The romantic and sexual relationship between Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz is strikingly similar to Dionysus, a very sexual god of ecstasy, wine, decadence, grape harvest, and fertility and Ariadne, if we are to assume that she is the Minoan Goddess associated with many different roles. However, as pointed out earlier, Ariadne is not the exact name given to the Minoan Goddess.  Based on Linear A tablets and votive stone libations, along with phonetics of Linear B, it was been suggested by some scholars that the Minoan Goddess’ name is A-sa-sa-ra or Asasara or Asasarame (7).  This name sounds similar to multiple Near Eastern goddesses including Asherah (Athirat), Ishtar, and Astarte/Ashtoreth.  I will continue on these possible connections but I have not completely ruled out Ariadne and will return to her.

 It’s not impossible for the Minoan Goddess and the Minoan God to be Cretan versions of goddesses and gods from the Near East. For example, it’s been highly speculated that Aphrodite and her lover Adonis are Greek versions of Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz (8).  Obviously, as Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz diffused through the Near East and the Mediterranean, aspects of their worship and duties changed.  Given the aforementioned name Asasara, it’s possible for the Goddess to have been the Cretan versions of either the goddess Asherah or the goddess Astarte/Ashtoreth.  Astarte/Ashtoreth is believed to be the immediate Canaanite version of Inanna/Ishtar (9). Asherah, also called Athirat, appears to be her own goddess.

What may connected the Minoan Goddess to either Asherah or Inanna/Ishtar (the later through Astarte/Ashtoreth) is the sacred tree symbol.  The sacred tree was one of the symbols of the Minoan Goddess which possibly links her to nature and fertility.  Bother Asherah and Inanna/Ishtar had some reverence to trees in their cults and myths.  What also connected them to her was their titles as Queen/Lady/Mistress of Heaven/the Gods, of which Nanno Mariantos believes the Minoan Goddess had this title believing the word po-ti-ni-ja to be the Mycenaean equivalent of the Ugarit rbt which meant “lady” (10).  The original Ugarit rbt pt meant “lady of heaven” and the like and was used by multiple powerful goddesses across the Near East (11).

Back to the tree, the first tree connection comes from the myth of Inanna and the huluppu tree.  In the myth the huluppu tree is planted on the banks of the Euphrates River and Inanna cares for it while it is attacked by the elements and various creatures take refuge in it.  Inanna laments to her brother Utu but he does nothing, she then turns to Gilgamesh who helps her by driving away the creatures and cutting the tree down and both he and Inanna make gifts for each other from it.  As for Asherah, there is no real myth or story that associates her with a tree, rather it is shown in her cult among the Canaanites and Israelites.  The asherim, or sacred poles, were symbols of Asherah made from trees and were place on both the lofty hills under trees and next to altars in the temple where she was worshiped alongside Yahweh (12).

Returning to Ariadne, she too was associated with a tree. One version of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur ends with Ariadne committing suicide by hanging before Dionysus comes for her.  Furthermore, in ancient Attica (Central Greece) the cult of Dionysus tied masks, representing young girls who committed suicide, to a pine tree in a vineyard and eventually dolls were added to represent Ariadne (13).  Both the tree and the aforementioned tomb-altar make Ariadne similar to the Minoan Goddess who was believed to reign over life and death. Another Ariadne tomb was at Amathus in Cyprus in the grove of Aphrodite-Ariadne (14).  And it is here that I believe there is further connection between Ariadne, the Minoan Goddess, and goddesses of the Near East.  

Given the name Aphrodite-Ariadne, it is most likely that at Cyprus that a goddess was worshiped who was a combination of these two.  Cyprus itself is the “birthplace” of Aphrodite and Adonis, whom most likely are Greek versions of Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz.  The first wave of settlers of Cyprus, confirmed by both the ancient historian Herodotus and modern historians and archaeologists, were Mycenaean Greeks around 1400 B.C. (15th century B.C.) from Argos the same place where the altar-tomb of the chthonic Ariadne associated with Dionysus Kresios was located.  In the 8th century B.C., Cyprus was colonized by the Phoenicians (Canaanites) and sometime after was conquered by the Assyrians.  And it was the Phoenicians who brought the goddess Astarte/Ashtoreth to Cyprus.  

Aphrodite and Adonis link back to Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz through the deities Baal and Astarte both of whom were worshiped by the ancient Cypriots after the Phoenicians brought them over, especially at Amathus; the location of both the syncretized Aphrodite-Ariadne and other Ariadne tomb (15).  It is most likely that the Greek Aphrodite came about through the Levantine Astarte who is a diffusion of the Mesopotamian Inanna/Ishtar.  There is some crossover of events and periodization between the Minoans and Mycenaeans in the years.  The Minoans themselves are believed to arrive on Crete from either mainland Greece or the Levant or Anatolia (modern day Israel, Lebanon, and Syria and Turkey respectively).  The former would go along with the original Ariadne tomb in Argos with the eventual Ariadne tomb in Cyprus theory, whereas the latter agrees that a Near Eastern goddess was imported to the Mediterranean.  

Knossos, the center of Minoan Cretan culture, was in power until roughly 1200 B.C. (13th century), about thirty years after Theseus supposedly killed the Minotaur and met Ariadne and the beginning of the Iron Age in the Mediterranean and Near East.  The myth and history of Ariadne with Theseus was written down physically by the Roman Plutarch in the 1st century A.D. with his work Lives, alternatively titled Parallel Lives or Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans.  The original legend was passed down orally for centuries and most of Plutarch’s sources for it are from the fourth and fifth centuries.  It’s possible that Ariadne’s story happened in the 13th century and then continued as oral tradition until Plutarch.  However, given the aforementioned periodization and dates it is safe to say that Ariadne, despite her connections to Near Eastern goddesses and the Minoan Goddess, was Mycenaean not Minoan.

What’s even more interesting is that the many statues and figurines of women found at Crete- whether they be goddesses, priestesses, or queens- are not as old as the Minoan period and are actually from the Mycenaean period (16).  Most archaeologists and historians of religion do believe that Aphrodite was imported from the Near East to Greece.  Pausanias agreed with this as well but claimed that Aphrodite originated among the Assyrians, then came to Cyprus, then to the Phoenicians who brought her to Cythera (17).  Some do believe she was connected to the Minoan Goddess as well.  It is most likely true that the Minoan Goddess was an import of a Near Eastern goddess, however, as to which goddess specifically and her connection to Ariadne both become mystified due to the dates of the Phoenician colonization of Cyprus, although it is possible that Astarte was brought to Cyprus before the official colonization.

Minoan Crete was a trade center and many other cultures went there to trade.  Minoan artwork, or artwork inspired by it, has been seen in mainland Greece, Egypt, and the Levant.  The Mycenaeans took over much of what the Minoans originally owned and possibly including their religion.  Cathy Gere claims that based on remaining Minoan archaeology, a cult involving Dionysus swept across Greece in the 6th century B.C. that incorporated the worship of Aphrodite-Ariadne (18).  Furthermore, certain traditions and rituals that originally revolved around Ariadne eventually passed to Dionysus, her consort, when his cult swept through 6th century Greece (19).            

So what does all this mean?  What we can definitely conclude is that the Minoan Goddess and God do definitely originate in the Near East.  Dionysus is the Minoan God and is definitely the successor of Adonis and Dumuzi/Tammuz (Baal is similar in some ways but not many).  The Goddess is possibly the successor of Aphrodite through Astarte/Ashtoreth who is the successor of Inanna/Ishtar.  Ariadne maybe a humanized version of the Goddess brought about through oral tradition and when she was “re-united” with Dionysus much of the cultic focus went to him. The Minoans are very difficult to study and I thank you all for reading this.  If you have questions please ask them through our ask box as this post is just too long to respond to reblogs.                        

1.      Lucy Goodison and Christine Morris, “Beyond the Great Mother: The Sacred World of the Minoan,” in Ancient Goddesses: The Myths and Evidence, ed. Lucy Goodison and Christine Morris (London: British Museum Press, 1998), 113.

2.      Pamela Berger, The Goddess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from Goddess to Saint (Boston: Beacon Press, 1985), 15.      

3.      Karl Kerényi, Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, trans. Ralph Manheim (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), 89-90.

4.      Ibid., 99.

5.      Ibid., 103.

6.      Pausanias, Description of Greece, Book II, chapter 23, section 8.

7.      Nanno Marinatos, Minoan Kingship and the Solar Goddess: A Near Eastern Koine (Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield: University of Illinois Press, 2013), 165.      

8.      Miroslav Marcovich, “From Ishtar to Aphrodite,” Journal of Aesthetic Education 30, no. 2 (1996): 45-46, (Found via JSTOR).  

9.      Eleanor Amico Wilson, Women of Canaan: The Status of Women at Ugarit (Whitewater: Heartwell Publications, 2013), 188-189.

10.  Nanno Marinato, Minoan Kingship, 166.

11.  Izak Cornelius, The Many Faces of the Goddess: The Iconography of the Syro-Palestinian Goddesses Anat, Astarte, Qedeshet, and Asherah c. 1500-1000 BCE, 2nd ed.  (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008), 80-83.

12.  Tikva Frymer-Kensky, In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth (New York: Free Press, 1992), 153-155.

13.  Robert Graves, The Greek Myths (New York: Penguin Books Inc., 1957), 263.

14.  Plutarch, Theseus, part 20.

15.  James Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (Ware: Wordsworth Editions, 1993), 329.

16.  For more details see Kenneth Lapatin, Mysteries of the Snake Goddess: Art, Desire, and the Forging of History (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002).

17.  Pausanias, Greece, Book I, chapter 14, section 7.

18.  Cathy Gere, Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 46.

19.  Ibid., 85.

~Hasmonean

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Grave of ‘Griffin Warrior’ at Pylos Could Be a Gateway to Civilizations

Source: New York Times

Archaeologists digging at Pylos, an ancient city on the southwest coast of Greece, have discovered the rich grave of a warrior who was buried at the dawn of European civilization.

He lies with a yardlong bronze sword and a remarkable collection of gold rings, precious jewels and beautifully carved seals. Archaeologists expressed astonishment at the richness of the find and its potential for shedding light on the emergence of the Mycenaean civilization, the lost world of Agamemnon, Nestor, Odysseus and other heroes described in the epics of Homer.

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