Archive | October, 2012
2 Oct

Minoans really are my favourite Western civilization. Egalitarian, matriarchal, pacifistic. A land of farmers and traders whose women were priestesses who walked around bare-breasted.

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Between 3500 and 1500 BC a very attractive and rather mysterious civilization developed and then vanished on the island of Crete in the southern Aegean Sea. In Greek myth the ruler of this realm was called Minos, and so we refer to Minoan Crete to describe what we know of this people.

1 A Semitic people

It is likely that the island was settled by Phoenicians, a great seafaring people of  Canaan, Syria and the Lebanon who also colonised Carthage (Phoenician for Newtown) in Tunisia in northern Africa, and Tartessos on the Atlantic coast of Spain, thus anticipating the achievement of the Muslims in the extent of their culture.  Crete may have been attractive as a trading depot with Egypt to these people. Phoenician innovations include the trireme, a ship which could weather the open sea, and the alphabet, which spread as far and wide as their settlements (and was…

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1 Oct

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