Greece: The Bronze Age – Society in Minoan Crete
Everyday Life (1)
By Emily Gold
Entertainment and leisure activities:
Acrobatics was used in most leisure activities that the Minoan people used to keep themselves entertained, as running and leaping supplied to success in warfare ad hunting. Bull-leaping was the most famed and controversial of all Minoan sports, this sport consists of an athlete who would sprint head-long at a charging bull, grab the bulls horns and jump onto its back, then the athlete would descend of the animal from its behind. Many scholars argue whether bull-leaping was a true sport in the Minoan Society as some believe it would have been extremely dangerous to have participated in this sport, yet other scholars state that many frescoes and paintings have been found with the depiction of bull-leaping, so this must have been a popular and real sport in the Ancient Greek era. Boxing in the Minoan society was a sport that involved skill, force and strategy. The sport was that one man verses the other in a contest in which they fight. There would have been an audience that would gather and watch the contestants box. The boxing matches were also used to show male dominance over the other male. Most of the boxers were depicted as young adolescents, and also the boys drinking out of a cup from Aghia Triada have been interpreted as ‘bouts between young boys that were part of an initiation’ ritual that showed a stage on the path to manhood. The clothes for protection that these men or boys would wear were protective headgear and boxing gloves. They also wore necklaces and bracelets that suggest a high position. Another leisure and activity was hunting, this was a sport that was exclusively male, hunting was depicted on daggers, seal-stones, cups and ivory objects that were found by archaeologists. The Minoans hunted animals such as lions, bulls, wild goats, wild boars and deer. This was a favourite pastime of the Minoan men who were members of the elite; it also provided the people with extra food. Hunting was not only entertainment it also tested their skills, courage and also required group co-ordination. It also contributed to the developing of military-related skills. This activity bonded the males and linked to the ‘blooding’ of the young males, which gave them the ‘rite of passage’ to manhood. Board games was a popular entertainment to the Minoans, different games showed different social classes from the top to the bottom. When the board was made out of exotic and rich materials it suggests that members of the elite only played this game. Dancing was usually gay and exciting, and many times a feeling of ecstasy accompanied the rhythm of the dance. The Minoans played the lyre, the sistrum (to mark time with) as well as the flute. This shows that in the Minoan society, the people had many ways to keep themselves entertained; they were not extremely serious people. They took their pleasure seriously. Evidence of entertainment in the Ancient Greek society was the fresco of the Adolescent boxers from Akrotiri on Thera, 1500 BC, this shows two young boys fighting for dominance.
Food and Clothing:
Archaeological evidence shows that many of the Minoans enjoyed a broad selection of seafood, young Squid was the most favoured of the Minoans. Yet honey, goat cheese, barley bread and olives were of great importance. They had rich, fertile valleys where a large variety of crops could be grown, the vegetables that were grown include: olives, lemons, mulberries, pears, grapes and other fruits, peas, lentils, fava beans, broad beans, field beans, chick peas and wild vegetables such as wild artichoke, asparagus, chicories, endives, radish, wild leeks, wild mustard, saw thistles, purslane, vetches, okra and bulbs. The Minoans grew three kinds of wheat and barley and rye. They ate meat from native sheep, goats, pigs and cattle, which were cultivated, deer, wild water and land birds, rabbits, boar and other wild...
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