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Minoan Crete

Wealthy Minoan women wore bodices laced at the waist, while men wore loincloths and feather headdresses. One of the greatest civilizations of the ancient world developed on the island of Crete (part of modern-day Greece), in the Mediterranean Sea. Little was known about it until the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (1851–1941) began digging on Crete in 1900 and uncovered the remains of a magnificent palace at Knossos. Four other palaces were also discovered on the island. Evans and other archaeologists found many treasures, including wall paintings and clay tablets which told them about the lifestyle of the people who had lived there.



Part of the remains of the palace at Knossos

A peaceful civilization

The first evidence for the Minoans living on Crete dates from around 6000 BC. By 2000 BC, they had begun to build their palaces. The Minoans made their wealth by trading around the Mediterranean. Large towns built up around the palaces. Knossos was the largest of these towns, and, at its peak, probably had a population of about 100,000 people.
The dangerous sport of bull-leaping was played by athletic young men and women, who grasped the bull’s horns and somersaulted...Read More >>The dangerous sport of bull-leaping was played by athletic young men and women, who grasped the bull’s horns and somersaulted over its back. Many Minoan people were craftworkers who produced exquisite pottery, jewellery and metalwork. Minoan nobles lived in country villas as well as in the towns, and seem to have enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle. There is no evidence of any wars or unrest on the island and the Minoans probably led peaceful lives. Many artworks of Minoan Crete show men leaping over bulls. Archaeologists believe that the bull was worshipped there, and bull-leaping may have been part of a religious ritual.
 
A bronze statue of the Minotaur  

King Minos

The oldest known bath tub comes from Minoan Crete. Shaped like a modern tub, it was found at Knossos and dated to around 1700 BC.

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