Greek: Αίθουσα του Θρόνου
The reconstructed Throne Room
|Formed||15th century BC/ 1899-1955|
|Built for||Ceremonial and religious purposes|
|Architect||Sir Arthur Evans ( reconstructor)|
The Throne Room was a chamber built for ceremonial purposes during the 15th century BC inside the palatial complex of Knossos, Crete, in Greece. It is found at the heart of the Bronze Age palace of Knossos, one of the main centers of the Minoan civilization and is considered the oldest throne room in Europe.
The throne room was unearthed in 1900 by British archaeologist Arthur Evans, during the first phase of his excavations in Knossos.It was found in the center of the palatial complex and west of the central court. This throne room is considered the oldest stone throne of the Aegean region, indeed the oldest in Europe. The chamber contains an alabaster seat on the north wall, identified by Evans as a "throne", while two Griffins rest on each side are staring at it. Moreover, on three sides it contains gypsum benches. It was part of a larger suite that also included an anteroom and an inner chamber with a ledge that was possibly a chapel. The throne room was accessed from the anteroom through two double doors. According to Evans's estimates, a total of thirty people could be accommodated both in the throne room and its anteroom. The room received its final form in Late Minoan IIIA period, since it was a latter addition to the palace that occurred during the last phase of occupation after 1450 BC.
Initially, Evans believed that this area was designed to serve a religious purpose,while he claimed that this was the priest-king's seat and that the presence of the griffins confirmed that this king was somehow beyond mortal realms. He also identified the stone throne as the seat of the mythical king of Crete, Minos, evidently applied Greek mythology. On the other hand, archaeologists Helga Reusch and Friedriech Matz suggested that the throne room was a sanctuary of a female divinity and that a priestess who sat there was her impersonator. The stone benches around the walls suggest a sitting council or perhaps a court, while a sunken area, called by Evans a "lustral basin", partially partitioned off at one side, was used for ritual bathing. In view of the civil and religious powers held by the king, there can be little argument against the notion that proceedings of an official character began with sacred ceremonials.
According to various views, the throne itself may have actually had more religious than political significance, functioning in the re-enactment of epiphany rituals involving a High Priestess, as suggested by the iconography of griffins, palms, and altars in the wall-paintings. More recently, it has been suggested that the room was only used at dawn at certain times of the year for specific ceremonies.
Various archaeologists claim that the room and its furniture most likely date to the time of the Mycenaean takeover circa after 1450 BC when political conditions in Crete were entirely different, as indicated by the concurrent appearance of elite tombs, individual burials and the presence of the Mycenaean Greek Linear B script.At that time, the palace at Knossos seems to have been modified in a minor way in order to include features such as the throne room. Especially, the stylized paintings of heraldically opposed griffins were popular in later era Mycenaean wall painting but not seen before in Crete. For instance, similar wall decoration was also found in the throne room of the Mycenaean palace of Pylos in the Peloponnese.
Linear A is a writing system, that was used by the Minoans (Cretans) from 1800 to 1450 BC to write the hypothesized Minoan language. Linear A was the primary script used in palace and religious writings of the Minoan civilization. It was discovered by archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. It was succeeded by Linear B, which was used by the Mycenaeans to write an early form of Greek. No texts in Linear A have been deciphered.
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet by several centuries. The oldest Mycenaean writing dates to about 1450 BC. It is descended from the older Linear A, an undeciphered earlier script used for writing the Minoan language, as is the later Cypriot syllabary, which also recorded Greek. Linear B, found mainly in the palace archives at Knossos, Cydonia, Pylos, Thebes and Mycenae, disappeared with the fall of Mycenaean civilization during the Late Bronze Age collapse. The succeeding period, known as the Greek Dark Ages, provides no evidence of the use of writing. It is also the only one of the Bronze Age Aegean scripts to have been deciphered, by English architect and self-taught linguist Michael Ventris.
Mycenae is an archaeological site near Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about 120 kilometres south-west of Athens; 11 kilometres north of Argos; and 48 kilometres south of Corinth. The site is 19 kilometres inland from the Saronic Gulf and built upon a hill rising 900 feet above sea level.
Sir Arthur John Evans was an English archaeologist and pioneer in the study of Aegean civilisation in the Bronze Age. He is most famous for unearthing the palace of Knossos on the Greek island of Crete. Based on the structures and artefacts found there and throughout the eastern Mediterranean, Evans found that he needed to distinguish the Minoan civilisation from Mycenaean Greece. Evans was also the first to define Cretan scripts Linear A and Linear B, as well as an earlier pictographic writing.
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands, flourishing from c. 3000 BC to c. 1450 BC until a late period of decline, finally ending around 1100 BC. It represents the first advanced civilization in Europe, leaving behind massive building complexes, tools, artwork, writing systems, and a massive network of trade. The civilization was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. The name "Minoan" derives from the mythical King Minos and was coined by Evans, who identified the site at Knossos with the labyrinth and the Minotaur. The Minoan civilization has been described as the earliest of its kind in Europe, and historian Will Durant called the Minoans "the first link in the European chain".
Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city.
Phaistos, also transliterated as Phaestos, Festos and Latin Phaestus, is a Bronze Age archaeological site at modern Faistos, a municipality in south central Crete. Ancient Phaistos was located about 5.6 km (3.5 mi) east of the Mediterranean Sea and 62 km (39 mi) south of Heraklio, the second largest city of Minoan Crete. The name Phaistos survives from ancient Greek references to a city in Crete of that name at or near the current ruins.
Mycenaean Greece was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, spanning the period from approximately 1600–1100 BC. It represents the first advanced and distinctively Greek civilization in mainland Greece with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art, and writing system. The most prominent site was Mycenae, in the Argolid, after which the culture of this era is named. Other centers of power that emerged included Pylos, Tiryns, Midea in the Peloponnese, Orchomenos, Thebes, Athens in Central Greece and Iolcos in Thessaly. Mycenaean and Mycenaean-influenced settlements also appeared in Epirus, Macedonia, on islands in the Aegean Sea, on the coast of Asia Minor, the Levant, Cyprus and Italy.
A palace economy or redistribution economy is a system of economic organization in which a substantial share of the wealth flows into the control of a centralized administration, the palace, and out from there to the general population, which may be allowed its own sources of income but relies heavily on the wealth redistributed by the palace. It was traditionally justified on the principle that the palace was most capable of distributing wealth efficiently for the benefit of society.
Minoan pottery has been used as a tool for dating the mute Minoan civilization. Its restless sequence of quirky maturing artistic styles reveals something of Minoan patrons' pleasure in novelty while they assist archaeologists in assigning relative dates to the strata of their sites. Pots that contained oils and ointments, exported from 18th century BC Crete, have been found at sites through the Aegean islands and mainland Greece, on Cyprus, along coastal Syria and in Egypt, showing the wide trading contacts of the Minoans.
The Minoan chronology dating system is a measure of the phases of the Minoan civilization. Initially established as a relative dating system by English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans between 1900 and 1903 via pottery and artifact analysis during his excavations at Knossos on Crete, new technologies including carbon dating and DNA analysis have led to significant revisions to the date ranges.
Minoan religion was the religion of the Bronze Age Minoan civilization of Crete. Modern scholars have reconstructed it almost totally on the basis of archaeological remains rather than texts. Minoan religion is considered to have been closely related to Near Eastern prehistoric religions, and its central deity is generally agreed to have been a goddess. Prominent Minoan sacred symbols include the bull and its horns of consecration, the labrys, the serpent, and to some extent, the Ankh.
Mycenaean pottery is an assemblage of terra cotta ceramics and ceramic styles originated, manufactured, or heavily used by the civilization termed Mycenaean in Greek history and prehistory. "Mycenaean" is a culture name rather than an archaeological one. It was originally a neologism of Heinrich Schliemann, a 19th-century archaeologist, who excavated at Mycenae, a geographic location in the northeast Peloponnesus. Believing in the factuality of the first known work of European literature, the Iliad, Schliemann assigned the geographic and cultural names of that work to his archaeological findings. The citadel at Mycenae thus became the capital and seat of the high king of the Achaeans, Agamemnon, who predominated over all the other kings of Hellas, or Greece. The language of the culture was not known at the time. Prophetically, he predicted that it would be Greek, which was finally substantiated long after his death.
Minoan art is the art produced by the Minoan civilization from about 2600 to 1100 BC.
The Prince of the Lilies, or the Lily prince, is a celebrated Minoan fresco on the Greek island of Crete; the fresco is dated to circa 1550 BC.
The Bull-Leaping Fresco, as it has come to be called, is the most completely restored of several stucco panels originally sited on the upper-story portion of the east wall of the palace at Knossos in Crete. Although they were frescos, they were painted on stucco relief scenes and therefore are classified as plastic art. They were difficult to produce. The artist had to manage not only the altitude of the panel but also the simultaneous molding and painting of fresh stucco. The panels, therefore, do not represent the formative stages of the technique. In Minoan chronology, their polychrome hues – white, pale red, dark red, blue, black – exclude them from the Early Minoan (EM) and early Middle Minoan (MM) Periods. They are, in other words, instances of the "mature art" created no earlier than MM III. The flakes of the destroyed panels fell to the ground from the upper story during the destruction of the palace, probably by earthquake, in Late Minoan (LM) II. By that time the east stairwell, near which they fell, was disused, being partly ruinous.
The Minoan wall paintings at Tell El-Dab'a are of particular interest to Egyptologists and archaeologists. They are of Minoan style, content, and technology, but there is uncertainty over the ethnic identity of the artists. The paintings depict images of bull-leaping, bull-grappling, griffins, and hunts. They were discovered by a team of archaeologists led by Manfred Bietak, in the palace district of the Thutmosid period at Tell el-Dab'a. The frescoes date to the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, most likely during the reigns of either the pharaohs Hatshepsut or Thutmose III, after being previously considered to belong to the late Second Intermediate Period. The paintings indicate an involvement of Egypt in international relations and cultural exchanges with the eastern Mediterranean either through marriage or exchange of gifts.
Grave Circle A is a 16th-century BC royal cemetery situated to the south of the Lion Gate, the main entrance of the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae in southern Greece. This burial complex was initially constructed outside the walls of Mycenae and ultimately enclosed in the acropolis when the fortification was extended during the 13th century BC. Grave Circle A and Grave Circle B, the latter found outside the walls of Mycenae, represents one of the significant characteristics of the early phase of the Mycenaean civilization.
Knossos, also romanized Cnossus, Gnossus, and Knossus, is the main Bronze Age archaeological site at Heraklion, a modern port city on the north central coast of Crete. The site was excavated and the palace complex found there partially restored under the direction of Arthur Evans in the earliest years of the 20th century. The palace complex is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete. It was undoubtedly the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilization and culture.
Eritha was a Mycenaean Greek priestess. She was one of the most significant priestesses in the Mycenaean state of Pylos, in southwestern Peloponnese. Eritha was in charge of a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Potnia. She was also involved in a dispute with the local authorities over the taxable assets of the sanctuary.
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