Minoan and Mycenaean images for possible slide essays
New Palace Period
"marine style" because of the depictions of sea life
Seeming celebration of Minoan maritime proweress.
Woman or Goddess with Snakes
snakes seem to have been part of many ancient religious ceremonies. Ritual object. Faience figurine. Perhaps a protection figure or one depicting rebirth or resurrection. Not a fertility figure. One of the most intriguing archaeological finds in the remains of the Minoan palace at Knossos was the figure above which has been traditionally identified as the "Snake Goddess." Minoan culture flourished in the middle of the second millenium BCE. It was a palace culture that was focused on the Aegean islands, especially the island of Crete. The culture is named after the legendary King Minos who ruled Crete. The legend of King Minos and the Minotaur were very popular in the historical period of Greek history after the eighth century BCE. Like other legends there is a kernel of truth with its reference to the wealth of the Cretan king, but it is largely a fabrication of the later period. While the Minoans had writing, it was largely for book keeping and there is no literature that comes from this period. So when an object like this faience object was uncovered, we are left to speculate on its meaning. While traditionally called a Snake Goddess, we have no certainty that this is a god or a priestess. How do we understand this figure with its powerful hypnotic stare? While it is not certain that the feline creature on the head was original, the figure is shown brandishing snakes in her hands.
Entrance to a great walled complex. Guardian beasts flanking a single Minoan column.
Many, many suggestions as to what the creatures are - lions? gryphons? sphinxes?
The Lion-Gate. The principal entrance to the city is approached by a dromos, flanked on each side by the city wall and leading up to a gateway. Over the entrance is placed a triangular slab of stone on which are carved two lions in relief; they are rampant, facing one another, but separated by an upright column. The art of this relief shows no resemblance to archaic Greek art; in is foreign in character, the work of immigrant race, which brought with it a well-developed civilization.