Minoan Palace of Knossos, Greece - The Traveller


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Monday, February 1, 2016

Minoan Palace of Knossos, Greece


Palace of Knossos Constructed by Minoans

The Palace of Knossos is placed south of modern day Heraklion towards the north coast of Crete. Constructed by a civilization known as the Minoans, it covers an area of 150,000 square feet which is the size of over two American football fields and was surrounded in ancient times by a town. Knossos is the ancient Minoan palace.

King Minos who was famous for his wisdom and later one of the three judges of the dead in the underworld would give his name to the people of Knossos and through addition, the ancient civilization of Crete – Minoan. The settlement had been established much before 2000 BCE but destroyed probably by fire. Some claim that it could be tsunami. Knossos has been recognized with Plato’s mythical Atlantis from his discussions of the Timaeus and Critias.

It is also known in myth as the most legendarily, through the story of Theseus and Minotaur. As per the myth adjoining the ancient city, King Minos had hired the Athenian architect, mathematician as well as inventor Daedelus to design the palace and the palace was constructed so smartly that no one who entered in could find their way back without a guide.

Knossos Flourished Through Maritime Trade/Overland Commerce

Other versions states that the palace itself had been redesigned in this way though the labyrinth in the palace which had been built to house the half-man/half-bull, the Minotaur. To keep Daedelus from disclosing the secrets of the palace, Minos had him and his son Icarus locked in a high tower at Knossos as prisoner. However, Daedelus had fashioned wings made of wax and bird’s feathers for him and his son and managed to escape from the prison.

But Icarus flew too close to the sun and his wings melted and he fell to his death.Minotaur, the monster-child of the wife of Minos flourished on human sacrifice with Minos making demands on the gallant youth of Athens to feed the beast. It was Theseus of Athens who with the help of Minos’s daughter Ariadne killed the Minotaur and freed the young people, returning triumphantly to his home city.

Under the rule of Minos, Knossos seemed to flourish through maritime trade and overland commerce together with the other great cities of Crete, Kato Sakro and Mallia. The city was destroyed and then re-built, twice.

Ceremonial & Political Centre of Minoan Civilization/Culture

The site gained importance when it had been excavated and restored by a team led by British archaeologist Arthur Evans, in the early 20th century. The palace of Knossos had been the ceremonial as well as the political centre of the Minoan civilization and culture.

 The palace had been abandoned at some unknown point of time towards the end of the late Bronze Age, ca. 1380-1100 BC. The abandoning inhabitants were possibly Mycenaean Greeks who could have earlier occupied the city-state and were utilising Linear B as its administrative script opposed to Linear A, the earlier administrative script.Based on the excavation at the site, the first palace had been massive in size having very thick walls.

The ancient pottery that were discovered throughout Crete at several sites, portray that the island was not united under a central culture at this time and hence the walls of the palace were probably constructed to this size and thickness for the purpose of defence.

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