Talk:Minoan civilization/Archive 1

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let's discuss the politics section. I don't think it is appropriate to state it as fact. The evidence given is subjective. The conclusions also are based off of a lot of assumptions. Novium 19:57, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

The heading is not required. It's difficult enough to get some picture of Minoan culture without imagining "Minoan politics", an anachronous term anyway. --Wetman 20:07, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

(I moved the following paragraph by Athana from the bottom of the page to this section, since it's dealing with the same material.) Akhilleus 21:24, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

I've added a section on politics, one of the most important aspects of any sociocultural system, as any anthropological text will indicate. I added it yesterday and came back today to find it deleted, so I inserted it again. Hopefully it will remain this time, even though the content might change through time. As can be seen, almost every statement has been documented. And not just documented, but documented by direct quotations from sterling sources: professional archaeologists who have worked with and written about the Minoans -- something Wikipedia has specifically asked for in its articles. Athana 15:55, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
As it stands, the section on politics is mostly about gender. What's more, it doesn't contain any evidence about politics per se--it's conjectures about social structure based on art historical evidence. I'd rather see this (and other material on the page) combined into a women in Minoan society section, or something similar. Akhilleus 21:24, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Also, on a similar note, would it not be appropriate to put up some sort of "Controversial" tag thingy, not because of the article per se, but just because it is true of the subject. There really is no general consensus in academia about many of the big issues. Novium 01:38, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Warfare or lack therof

Look- as far as I can tell, no one used "your" source, and perhaps you would find "Minoan Flower Lovers" if you searched for the correct title. And instead of merely reasserting your version as the absolute truth, you could merely ADD to the debate so that someone who doesn't know anything about Minoan Crete would at least get an idea that there IS a debate. Interpretation versus facts. Finally, don't be so condescending. Practically everything about Minoan Crete is conjecture. With no literary sources, the Minoans can't "speak" to us, so how foolish is it to try and interpret their ENTIRE social, religious, and political structure based off of vague, untitled pictures. One could think up a thousand stories to explain them. Given the tricky ground the study of Minoan Crete is on with this sort of thing, and given how gungho people have been for the century since the discovery of Knossos to fit Crete into their various ideological agendas, do you think perhaps we might be better off to contrast what we ACTUALLY know with what we THINK we might be able to glean from the 'ruins of ruins'? Sure, what we know reads like a dry, dry, dry site report, but then at least people would be able to differentiate between the editorializing and the actual finds and thus be better equipped to judge the interpretations. Perhaps a little history of Minoan Crete (i.e. the civilization that has existed in our minds since it was discovered in contrast to the bronze age civilization on Crete) wouldn't be such a bad idea. And while were at it, I don't believe I saw any mention or discussion of kernoi. Novium 10:02, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Novium, You're right, I shouldn't have deleted the entry that already existed under "Warfare." It's just that, last time I was here, there was no such section, and it was a shock to find it. The subtitle itself implies that the Minoans were warlike.
But whoever wrote this section did not give good sources. There were only two sources mentioned, but they weren't described so that anyone could check them! The first source was listed simply as Chester Starr's "Minoan Flower Lovers." I sell books, and I know where to find them if they exist. I could find no mention anywhere of this source, even in WorldCat. Now I see today that it was an article in a book. But how could anyone find it to check it, if the book it's in is not revealed?
The second source was listed simply as "Kretologia 8." I looked down in the Source list at the bottom of the Minoan article to see if it was listed there. It wasn't. There was no date listed, no article title.
So "information" was given, but neither I nor anyone else knew where it came from. Or how old it was.
And then there was the fact that the entire section spoke only of fortifications as evidence for or against Minoan warfare. There's so much more! There's the lack of war or violence in the art. There's the location of most settlements (most of them in indefensible areas). There's the lack of violence showing up on skeletal remains. There's the lack of any evidence of a Minoan army. There's the lack of evidence that the Minoans tried to dominate others outside Crete.
There was nothing mentioned about the other side. About those who still maintain that there's almost no evidence for war.
Given all that, I decided just to start over again. I really did try to think how I could integrate what was already there into the other stuff, but it didn't seem there was enough there to work with. Nevertheless, you are still right. I should have tried harder.
I'm glad to see you've included more and more complete sources in what you rewrote (I assume, at least, that you are the writer). However, could you put them in the Source List, and spell them out more completely so that people know that AJA for example stands for the American Journal of Archaeology (?)? And give dates so people can see how current your info is? And give publishers?
I'm going to put my stuff that you deleted back into this section. All of it was clearly sourced. Furthermore, most of my sources are impeccable. They are as good as it gets: Professional archaeologists who are, today, actually working in the field of Minoan archaeology. I give complete titles, dates, page numbers etc. for each citation. Furthermore, I am giving readers direct quotes from these impeccable sources. Go to the opening page of Wikipedia: this is what the managers of the site say they desperately want. Athana 16:39, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Kretologia is a journal. If you looked up the 8th one, you would merely have to look up the article by that author. The thing with crete is, you can't prove anything with "lack of". It's a logical fallacy, although the name escapes me at this moment.Being a "professional archaeologist" does not mean much by itself, given how shoddy archaeology can be, especially in places like Crete. Hell. Look at the, gah, name escapes me at the moment, the place where they discovered the three people in the temple? They STILL haven't published.

As to more detail on the sources, those were merely given as the basic info...I can't completely look them up until I return to UCSC and once again have access to the fabulous article database.

I think the new article is much better. I'm still a little iffy about the part about they could definitely not been weapons. Why bury people with weapons? And if those are what are not functional, that is quite common with grave goods. However, this is once again drifting into "if, if, if" which is why bronze age greece drives me insane. :) There is so little we can actually say (short of just listing finds, and even then, in describing them, we would be interpreting them) that we can be sure of.

I've been trying to drag the handful of other people that were in the seminar into taking a look at this page, as we all ended up focusing on different things. My focus was mainly on the...history of the last hundred years of Minoan Crete. I don't know who did the edit between my first one and yours. I don't think it was one of them. Novium

Lol, you can't ever really prove much of anything in any part of archaeology. You almost always have vastly too little evidence. On top of that, next year new information may be uncovered that makes last year's theory even less steady. But that doesn't mean you can't say "the evidence supports x more than it does y."
You're right -- archaeologists certainly aren't saints or gods. But as a society we've given them the final say in all things archaeological. For an encyclopedia, they're the most acceptable voices.
What seminar were you in? How are you defining "Minoan Crete"? I think there's a lot of confusion over what's late Minoan and what's early Mycenaean. Athana 21:18, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Well, the archaeology of, say, Imperial Rome is going to be a lot more clear cut and a lot more definite than anything to do with Bronze Age greece. The seminar was a 'senior seminar'- it's a requirement, take either that or write a thesis- and various ones are offered for various concentrations. All of the ancient history classes are basically taught by my advisor, including the 'ancient history' seminar. This year, he decided to do it on Bronze Age greece, as no one had taught a course on that in ages. However, we basically spent two classes on EC-LC, and the rest was Crete. We never did get around to focusing on the Helladic Bronze Age in any great and meaningful way.

My point with the archaeologists was not that all are insuitable sources; just that one can't take what they say as gospel just on the basis of being an archaeologist. For example, anyone treating the stuff said by Arthur Evans as gostpel....well.....let's not get into that, too many people have. And, there is a great amount of debate in archaeology. And suchy a thing would not confuse me, I know the difference. Plus, by the end of it all, the myceneans were only there for a short period of time, relatively speaking. Novium 20:24, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Hi there.
This is my first time commenting on wiki, so I apologize in advance if this is done wrong.
I just wanted to say that I don't feel the section on Warfare is very well written. While I understand that there are different archaeological interpretations of Minoan civilization, the article's tone captures less of this uncertainty, instead oscillating between views so quickly that it reads like it's arguing with itself.
One section says (paraphrased) that the Minoans probably weren't warlike because many weapons have not been found, but some have been found, but they were worthless for fighting, but actually they could be used to fight, but murals only depict ritual and festive weapon uses. The section then ends with the somewhat snippy observation that soldiers stabbing each other in the throat isn't festive. Would it not be possible to synthesize these points together?
Also, one of the quotes has a pair of [sic]s in it that, but if they actually mean what [sic] means, it seems they would totally invalidate the quote. Should it be removed?
I hope the article writer finds these comments helpful.
luke 11:18, 12 February 2006
The "article writer" is anyone who wants to contribute. That's why the section seems so self-contrdictory: there are a number of ways to interpret the evidence, and the contributors to the section in many cases have opposing views, that are hammered out through repeated edits into something that no one likes, but everyone "accepts".
You can be an author, too, and perhaps your perspectives could make sense of the section. (My inclination would be to present evidence for warfare, evidence against warfare, and a summary of the controversy.) Others will make edits to your edits, of course, but the article will likely be better for your contribution.
You might want to create an account; as you've seen, it's not required for editing, but others will usually take you more seriously if you have one.--Curtis Clark 04:42, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Did the Empire of Minoa exist?

The Empire of Minoa is a figment of Lir's imagination.

Perhaps, but the Minoan civilization is not.

Eastern Roman Empire map or one from User:Lir?

Vote to have the map linked by Lir, which is of Crete, replace the current one, which essentially only shows the position of Crete in the Eastern Roman Empire a long time after the Minoans had collapsed. If no complaints, will make the change myself in a little time.

Redundant phrasing?

"Around 1700 BC there is a large disturbance in Crete, probably by an earthquake, although an invasion from Turkey has also been suggested. After that the population rose again, and the palaces were rebuilt, even larger than before.

Around 1650 BC, the eruption of the volcanic island Thera caused tsunami which destroyed installations near the coasts. The sulphur dioxide emitted by the volcano also caused a decline in temperature, which resulted in poor harvests for several years. Some archeologists think that the Minoans lost their religious faith in the ability of the priests to control nature.

Around 1450, the palaces were again disturbed. Some time later, around 1420 BC, the island was conquered by the Mycenaeans. After this, most Cretan cities and palaces went into decline; Knossos remained until 1200 BC."

seems to have some redundancy, but I don't want to tackle it now. Maybe someone with more knowledge in this area can clean it up. Niteowlneils 06:01, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

What? Redundancy? The first sentence is poetic genius! --Rmalloy 01:37, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Bronze age grain trade??

"The Minoans' grain supply is believed to have come from farms on the shore of the Black Sea." I would love to see a source for this remarkable claim! --Yak 11:20, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

removed paragraph

The Minoans had a strong influence on Mycenaean culture and this influence would have spread to the Philistines who appear in the Bible. The Philistines were settlers who arrived in Philistia prior to 1150 BC as one of the "Sea Peoples" alluded to in Jewish and Egyptian writings. Their knowledge of bronze workings made them formidable enemies to the Canaanites and Israelites settled in Israel.

The above paragraph seemed off-topic for the section on religion, where it was, and it doesn't seem to fit in any of the other sections either. I took it out for now because I couldn't figure out where to put it. —Charles P. (Mirv) 13:15, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Goddess and Peace

Someone seems to have gone very gung-ho on writing enthusiastic bits on the Minoans' goddess-worship and peace. Could it not be toned down? Chris Martin 01:38, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I agree. Someone advocating a goddess-worship->peace view. I don't know enough about the Minoans to change this, but somebody should. Josh Cherry 16:15, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
If no one comes to disagree in the next seven days, I drop the whole "the Minoans worshipped a goddess not a god" for the simple reason that this probably false in essence, as they were most probably Polytheistic (for the one who seems very intent on claiming exclusive goddess-worship, you should learn that polytheism was not only common to the extreme, of the three or four polytheist mystery cults I (in my limited experience) know about in the Roman area, two were of goddesses, and one was mostly celebrated by women. If I may, I'd also add that the rest of the paragraph smacks of someone who apparently shows no aptitude to think of divinity in terms other than mono- and bitheism; my Canadian and slightly misanthropic self would be prompted to phrase this question: Wiccan or Abrahamic, eh?); the whole sentence would be replaced by "the Minoans were probably polytheists" (note: it was on July 2nd)
A goddess does seem to be the chief deity. When male figures accompany her in the seals and seal-impressions they take attitudes of adoration. Walter Burkert in Greek Religion has a section on Minoan-Mycenaean religion. Shall we recast tise section along Burkert's lines? --Wetman 2 July 2005 18:16 (UTC)
Then instead of polytheistic, "probably pantheistic, with a goddess at the head of the pantheon", or henotheist, I may be a lone voice, but if there are representations of other divinities, even if they are mostly of one gender or the other, I don't buy the Wiccan (and Jungian) explanation that all goddesses are facets of the same goddess and that all gods are facets of the same. As for Burkett, I have, sadly, not read the book, but if it adds to the article...

I did some quick npoving. But it still needs quite a cleanup effort. E.g. the detailed sources should of course not be cited in the intro, but in the relevant section. dab () 3 July 2005 13:48 (UTC)

Boys, a while ago, you removed some of my writing from this article and replaced it with information from older, less authoritative sources. My sources are Minoan experts (Marinatos, Laffineur, Branigan) and archaeologists (Goodison, Morris). Their work is recent.

I'd like to replace what you removed: "The Minoans worshipped a Goddess, not a God (see Rodney Castleden, Minoans, 1994; Goodison and Morris, Ancient Goddesses, 1998; Nanno Marinatos, Minoan Religion, 1993; etc.). Although there is evidence for male gods, depictions of Minoan goddesses vastly outnumber depictions of anything that could be considered a god."

Now I know you mentioned something about my promotion of monotheism here, but for the life of me I can't see what it was I said that gave you that impression. The word "monotheism" appears nowhere in the paragraph above. Instead you see the words "gods" and "goddesses."

And there was this: "...for the one who seems very intent on claiming exclusive goddess-worship, you should learn..."

Gee, I wonder where I claimed "exclusive goddess-worship"? Was it when I said "there is evidence for male gods..."?

And I consider "you should learn" to be rather insulting.

So I would like my paragraph replaced: "The Minoans worshipped a Goddess, not a God (see Rodney Castleden, Minoans, 1994; Goodison and Morris, Ancient Goddesses, 1998; Nanno Marinatos, Minoan Religion, 1993; etc.). Although there is evidence for male gods, depictions of Minoan goddesses vastly outnumber depictions of anything that could be considered a god."

As I was the one who commented on Monotheism, then explain this: "The Minoans worshipped a Goddess, not a God". This starts badly for not affirming exclusive goddess worship and even this "there is evidence for male gods..." added in a paragraph near the bottom; this only tends to make you self-contradictory.
This "Although there is some indication of male gods", preceded a long while by this "One of the outstanding features of Minoan civilization was their apparent worship of female, not male deities." is also self-contradictory. Although their chief deity being a Goddess might indeed be outstanding, the fact that they had goddesses is far from being so.
As for the arrogant "you should learn", this was something like my first or second day of editing and I was still surfing through the policies. In our heavily "monotheized" world, I've seen more than a few people who found it counter-intuitive to adapt to this kind of thinking (that and not assuming perfect, omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent beings as said divinities).
Otherwise, I don't care if any society is peaceful or not, as long as it is proven beyond most doubt, which it is not. Crete happens to be an island with a fairly mountainous landscape, and the presence of weapons would probably be enough to bring doubt, even if they are votive; building fortifications would be a ridiculous waste of energy and resources in such a landscape. From what I remember, most Egyptian cities are very lightly defended, if they even are, but that doesn't make Pharaonic Egypt peaceful. Your tone suggests some hard POV to begin with. And this kind of believer POV (I've got the truth, hear me) is particularly inappropriate when you consider that Minoan remains ones of the Holy Grails of Linguistics and Cryptography Snapdragonfly 13:25, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

And I would like added to it, the following: "Futhermore, few depictions of 'gods' exists that all agree are, indeed, gods. This is not the case with goddesses; absolutely no scholar disagrees, for example, that the so-called "Goddess of the Mountain" is anything other than a goddess (the alternative would make her ruler, and scholars seem more comfortable deifying her than crowning her king of one of the most delightful civilizations the world has ever seen)."

Also, I would like the entire paragraph placed in at least the middle of the introduction to the Minoan article. Why did you move it to the bottom? What reason did you have for doing that? And you replaced it with what I consider relatively unimportant -- not to mention questionable -- information: "It is possible, though unsure, that Minos was a term for a Minoan ruler." First, there's almost no evidence for a Minoan king, let alone a name for one. And even if we did know that the Minoans had kings, why would the name of one be more important than the highly unusual religion and peace records of these people?

Are you frightened of the fact that one of the only peaceful societies we know also worshipped female deity? Unfortunately, that's what the evidence points to, and I am unwilling to sit by and watch you hide this important information. Please -- read an up-to-date source on Minoan religion that's also written by an expert on the Minoans. It's called Minoan Religion (University of North Carolina Press), and the author is Nanno Marinatos. Marinatos also came out with another in 2000: The Goddess and the Warrior, published by Routledge, which is, in part, about what happened when the Gods and their attendant warriors wiped out the peaceful Minoans and their Goddesses.

The fact is, the evidence indicates that the Minoans worshipped goddesses, not gods, and they also had a long history of non-violence. I can't help it that those two things are paired in the same fantastic people. But why is it that you don't want people to know this? Why are you trying to hide it? Two of the most fascinating and unusual aspects of the Minoans is that they worshipped female deity, and that they had the longest peace record of any civilization we know.

Oh -- I just saw something else. YOU REPLACED MY WRITING WITH YOUR OWN, AND THEN USED MY REFERENCES AS THE SUPPOSED SOURCE MATERIAL!!! ("The Minoans were probably polytheists, with a goddess at the head of their pantheon (see Rodney Castleden, Minoans, 1994; Goodison and Morris, Ancient Goddesses, 1998; Nanno Marinatos, Minoan Religion, 1993). ")

If you were in academia, you'd be out of jobs by now, boys. This is not kosher. This is outright deceoption, and if wikipedia allows it, then it (wiki) can't hope to last long. Athana 01:21, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Why not direct quote some of your sources? Especially when you come across a sentence or so that are succinct and nuanced and say it about as well as you could yourself? Quotes from the "Sources" are a handy way of presenting thoughts that jibe with your own. Why not cite the sources (Name date, page) at any point that might seem contentious without a citation? Protected by this aegis, Athana, you'll be invincible! --Wetman 02:16, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Wetman, I'll work on it. Athana

I do have to say, though, that I've lost a bit of confidence in Wikipedia after seeing my set of sources used verbatim to "support" someone else's -- opposite! -- conclusion. If someone writes "The Romans were polytheistic," followed by Sources A, B and C for support, and then someone changes this to "The Romans were monotheistic" -- followed by the same three sources -- who's going to trust the entity that allows this to happen?! Do the men who did this just get away with it? Nothing's done to them? No consequences?

Worse, these men were obviously non-informed. Not ill-informed -- non-informed. Their attitude was, "Well, I don't know what the answer is, but she can't be right, so we'll just reverse what she's said. And we'll use her sources to justify our new 'truth.'"

If people aren't taken to task for this kind of behavior, then I really can't trust any of what I read on this site. And I will certainly pass the word far and wide about what happened to me, here. Others need to be aware of what kind of misinformation they're likely to get trapped into at Wikipedia.

Please tell me I'm wrong about this. Athana

A user at, I'm guessing Athana, added this note to the article page:
[NOTE: When I tried in the past to begin this article with information about the extraordinary fact that these advanced ancient peoples worshipped primarily -- if not exclusively -- female divinity, I was told I was wrong, and that if I persisted in inserting "erroneous" information, I must support it with a quote. Thus the reference by the well-known and highly respected Minoan archaeologist Nanno Marinatos; and thus the plight of modern woman in a male-dominated world]).
I don't know much about the academic discussion here, but I do know that this sort of comment belongs on the talk page instead of the article page. I've left it in hidden text in the article, so other editors can still see it. I also formatted an in-text reference into a footnote; the article needs some more formatting.
I'm not sure whether the comment about goddess-worship, no matter how accurate, needs to be in the second paragraph of the article (before the explanation of Evans, even). But I'm not going to get involved in that aspect of the debate. I hope that all the editors involved can discuss the content issue in a civil manner here instead of starting an edit war on the page. It's what the Minoans would do. :-) —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 16:07, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
"One of the outstanding features of Minoan Civilization was their worship of female, not male divinity. "That a powerful goddess of nature was the chief deity of the Minoans was recognized already by Evans [the original excavator of Minoan culture] and has never been seriously questioned" <<<I think this is an extremely questionable. Especially the bit about evans. Practically everything evans said is now questioned. The truth of the matter is that almost every interpretation is conjecture, and is more a reflection of *us* than of them.

I don't know who the last commenter was, but is he or she questioning the expertise of one of the best known Minoan archaeologists alive, Nanno Marinatos? Marinatos was the author of the statement ("That a powerful goddess of nature was the chief deity of the Minoans was recognized already by Evans and has never been seriously questioned").

She is a highly respected archaeologist, writer, and professor of archaeology. She's written the only recent work on Minoan religion. Her father was the original excavator of Akrotiri on Santorini. If we can't accept the statements of our most talented experts, who can we trust to provide information for Wikipedia?

This is not to say that the commenter shouldn't look for other viewpoints, from others as well respected as Marinatos. But to outright negate her knowledge is -- not helpful in the least.

Also, it's very fashionable to put Evans down. He wasn't always right, but then he wasn't privy to what we know now. And we aren't privy, either, to what our grandchildren will come to know. That's the nature of knowledge -- we often have to revise on the basis of new info coming in. But that doesn't necessarily mean that everything Evans thought or said was wrong. It'd be very interesting to see just how much of what he came up with is still accepted. You might be surprised. Athana 21:38, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

N. Marinatos is a well-known Bronze Age archaeologist, but that doesn't mean her arguments are universally accepted. Bronze Age archaeologists have an extremely broad range of views on all things Minoan, and Marinatos represents only one viewpoint--and there are archaeologists who disagree deeply with most of what she has to say about bronze age religion. Neither Marinatos nor any other archaeologist should be portrayed as what a post farther up the page calls an "impeccable authority"--these are experts, yes, but they make arguments based on evidence, and we need to assess the arguments themselves, rather than accepting them because someone's a professor at Harvard or because their father ran an important archaeological dig.
Nanno Marinatos is indeed an "impeccable authority" -- especially for an encyclopedic article on the Minoans. We're not writing a book, here. Marinatos has degrees in archaeology, Minoan archaeology, and archaeological field experience at Minoan sites. Wikipedia's asked for direct quotes from "experts." No one complained about Walter Burkert when he was quoted here -- and he's a classics professor who's not even focused on the Minoans. But he spouts the conventional wisdom, wisdom that confirms the power structure, so he's just peachy. No problem with Burkert. Furthermore, I could name dozens of so-called experts who've published well-known, widely circulated books on the Minoans -- with absolutely no background in archaeology at all -- or classics. Castledon, Willetts and Higgins to name only three -- none of them have appropriate background for writing on the Minoans. I repeat, Marinatos in an "impeccable authority." If you have another impeccable authority who disagrees that the Minoans worshipped goddesses and had female rulers, let me hear their arguments here. And source your statements, please. Here's an interesting question: if the Minoans are so hard to understand, why is that only female deity, female rulership, and Pax Minoica are so hotly contested on this site? Athana 14:52, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
In fact, I think that one very useful thing this article could do is show how much archaeologists argue with each other, and how subjective the interpretation of ancient socities can be--especially in the case of a society where there are no literary sources, and all we're left with is archaeological remains. Akhilleus 21:16, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Someone has added a paragraph to the end of this section that makes little sense:

"This Victorian picture of Arthur Evans has willingly been adopted by interested groups with little critical understanding of the material record that they are dealing with, and this prejudicial agenda continues to silence an important aspect of a powerful civilisation through basic self-interest. It is unfortunate as this vision of Minoan peace is exploited in the modern world for modern purposes, which essentially denies the Minoan civilisation the right to dynamic investigation, and perpetuates antiquated modes of thinking to the detriment of seeing the human reality of this great civilisation. In complex civilisations there are ambiguities, contradictions and anomalies and we should therefore be cautious about dogmatically denying any aspect of their world, and therefore the arguments for the role of warfare or peace in Minoan society should not be seen as mutually contradictory."

First, the paragraph presumes that the section has been all about Evans. In fact, this is not so. The entire section is about other later academics, half of whom support the idea of the Minoan peace, and the other half of whom don't. Furthermore, the paragraph is polemic, and Wikipedia has very wisely asked us to avoid polemics, which do not belong in encyclopedic writing. I am going to remove this paragraph. Athana 17:18, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

I just thought I would add my two cents about Arthur Evans, and that is that it is not about knowledge, it is about methods. And as important as Arthur Evans was, by modern standards of archaeological methods and interpretation, his were extremely questionable. Novium 01:43, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Well, here we go again: the poison that's slowly going to kill Wikipedia. Someone took my sources and used them to support something that's a total 360-degree turn from what these sources actually say. I'm speaking of the first paragraph in the Warfare section. I say the sun is yellow and cite source A to show it, and some jerk comes along and erases "yellow," inserts "black," and uses my source A to support his black sun. Knowing of course, that few people are going to go check the source. My university had to order this source, and I had to wait for it, then read it, then digest it. This jerk comes along and tries to fake the world by using a source he's never even looked at.

This has happened on this site before. Wiki needs to get a grip on this, because I'm going back to my blog page and report again that this has happened a second time, and that people really need to look at Wikipedia with a jaundiced eye.

My two sources suggest warfare was absent; this jerk "uses" them to say that warfare was present. What a farce this is. What a joke.

What's the point of a knowledge base, if it's built on lies, cheating and non-knowledge? What kinda kicks does this guy get out of wrecking things for everyone else?

As you might guess, I'm returning the original (opposite) meaning of the paragraph that goes correctly with the sources cited. Athana 16:40, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

I removed these two paragraphs from the Peace section. The first contains highly specific information that is undocumented. The meaning of the second is indecipherable:

"However more recent experimental testing of accurate replicas has shown this to be incorrect as these weapons were capable of cutting flesh down to the bone (and scoring the bone's surface) without any damage to the weapons themselves.
"However, warriors armed with spears and shields being stabbed in the throat with swords may not entirely fit this festive interpretation. --Athana 17:32, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
I Believe Athena means 180 degrees turn.

Nanno Marinatos, Goddess, and goddesses


A response to the comment you inserted in one of my comments above: when you call N. Marinatos an "impeccable" source it sounds like you're saying it's impossible to disagree with her. Here's one definition I found of "impeccable": "having no flaws, perfect." Marinatos is an expert and a major figure in Minoan studies, which means that she should definitely be cited in this article. But it's certainly possible to disagree with her, which means that her position should not be the only one presented here.

I don't think any of the editors doubt that the Minoans worshipped female divinities. The problem is that the article has at various points stated that the Minoans worshipped a Goddess, or a female divinity. The distinction between singular and plural is fairly important here. If we say that the Minoans worshipped a singular goddess, or feminine divinity, we imply that the several different female divinities (or types of divinities) that we see represented in Minoan art are all aspects of the same Goddess--which is certainly a controversial idea. If you'd like a source, there are relevant papers in this volume: POTNIA. Deities and Religion in the Aegean Bronze Age (Aegaeum 22). Liège/Austin 2001.

It's not hard to find experts who are skeptical about the idea that the Minoans had primarily or exclusively female rulers. There's a lot of recent work on state formation and social structure: Renfrew, Cherry, Driessen, etc. As far as I'm aware, none of these writers endorse the idea of female rule.

Finally, you asked: "if the Minoans are so hard to understand, why is that only female deity, female rulership, and Pax Minoica are so hotly contested on this site?" I'd say it's because the whole matriarchy=peaceful society drives a lot of popular interest in the Minoans, especially since the discussion is centered around really appealing visual art. But, you know, if we were a bit more archaeologically/anthopologically oriented, we might be discussing, and contesting other subjects: why palace-centered states emerge so suddenly in the 2nd millenium, the function of the palaces, the role of elite competition in Minoan society and economy, settlement patterns, and so on.

Or we could try to decipher the Phaistos Disc... Akhilleus 21:16, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Oranges and lemons?

No, not Minoan, though now it's all over the Web from this very source. Lemons, a citrus hybrid probably originating near Assam, were still a rarity in the Roman Empire, imported from the province of Africa, and oranges came even later, with Islam, not before. Quinces and pomegranates were essential for cult, and I better to back to add poppyseed and honey. Apples made a surpisingly late appearance: not every Greek melos is what we'd call an apple. --Wetman 6 July 2005 21:45 (UTC)


A civilization is a state by police and justice. But have Minoans that?

Actually, it is not. Rome had no effective police Force, for most of the Republican Era.

Skin Tones

Taken from the article

However, many 'scholars' fail to explain why skin tones vary in color as opposed to just two colors. There are frescoes of Minoans with even darker almost Sudanese skin tones also. This is clearly suggestive of Egyptian/African beginings. This is not unusual given the location of the island of Crete, plus the fact that the Egyptians used to rule the island.

Hindic and Etruscan frescoes also use varying skin tones in a non-representative way, and this article contains already too much certainty for what we really know about them, so please discuss. The writing is also a bit clunky. Snapdragonfly 06:56, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

The "References" section

I removed this from the "sources" section, largely because the article doesn't appear to cite it:

However, upon looking at that article, there are good reasons not to cite it: it's a newspaper article, not a scholarly article. Also, it is in error on at least one point: the Phaistos Disc is not in Linear A, but rather in an oddball script all its own (though it has some similarities to Cretan Hieroglyphic). Also, the author is Yannis Samatas, not Gareth Owens.

There is a larger problem with the "sources" section: it's a mess. I think it ought to look more like a bibliography, with sources alphabetized by author. Is it really necessary to cite all of these sources? It seems a bit excessive.

Update: I forgot to sign the comment, sorry! Anyway, I've alphabetized the references, and re-removed the article for the reasons noted above. If it's really necessary to have an article about the Minoan language in there, let's find a scholarly article, not a newspaper article--a good place to start might be John Younger's webpage on Linear A. Akhilleus 19:15, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

human sacrifice

This (now) sub-section, like the rest of the article, is a mess. I tried to clean it up a bit, but it still could use some work.

The Anemospilia section seems to be using Rutter's Dartmouth website to argue against Marinatos and Hughes' arguments against the original excavation. Yet Rutter is only relying on the original articles by the excavators, and shows no awareness of Marinatos or Hughes, so I don't think this is a valid procedure. Marinatos and Hughes are the most recent original research I've been able to locate on Anemospilia.

The reference to Geraldine Gessell is a bit cryptic at the moment. Why is the skull evidence of sacrifice? Akhilleus 08:18, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Because it was found in a sanctuary-complex, which makes it a bit suggestive when you consider the other evidence. As to Marinatos and Hughes, I think relying on the original excavators is the best, as they never officially published their excavation reports, so at this point, they are really the only ones that have access to all the information.Novium 03:03, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the clarification on the Gesell, I guess I wasn't reading very carefully. Re: Anemospilia, in case I wasn't clear, the previous version of the article made it look like Rutter was presenting new information (and arguing against Marinatos/Hughes), but as far as I see he was only presenting the account of the original excavators. So I've consolidated the information from the excavators into one paragraph, and then Marinatos' and Hughes' objections in the next. Hopefully everyone's views are presented fairly. I actually trust the original excavators *less* because they haven't gotten an official publication out in ... what, 25 years? That's not really important for this article, though. Akhilleus 07:15, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Oh no, I agree. Should be a crime. And yet no matter how questionable their practices are, they are the only ones with the first hand information. Everyone else is having to work off what little they've let out, so no matter how credible someone else is, they're still working off a lesser basis. Unfortunately. Novium 07:34, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Removed merge request

An IP user put up a request to merge this article with Aegean civilization. In case someone seriously intended this, it's a bad idea. "Aegean civilization" probably shouldn't be an article at all, but it's a catch-all term for three different civilizations: Minoan, Mycenaean, and Cycladic.

The article at Aegean civilization is not very good, and I notice that there's no Cycladic civilization article. Changes need to be made, but a merge is definitely not a solution. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:46, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

The only things I've come across on Cycladic Civilization is the article I threw together on Frying Pans and a reference on a Santorini page...which says that it is a Minoan city, and goes with the old interpretation that "eruption induced a short period of decay in Minoan civilization, which allowed the Mycenaeans to conquer them." Anyway... I think the problem is that there is not an awful lot to (accurately, as in, make how vague it really is clear)) say without it reading like a site report. Novium 06:21, 10 April 2006 (UTC)