Greece: Bronze Age Society – Minoan Society
(b) Explain what relevant evidence reveals about Minoan religious beliefs and practices.
Most of our sources about Minoan society come from Linear A and B together with depictions in frescoes and on coins and the discovery of evidence found in shrines, caves, palaces and villas. It is from this evidence that we learn about Minoan religious beliefs and practices, including places of religious worship and sacrifices, the gods and goddesses that the Minoans worshipped, religious symbols and their burial customs. Through understanding more about Minoan religion, we understand more about Minoan society. One of the biggest questions historians are faced with is what gods and goddesses the Minoans worshipped, and how they worshipped them. It is from the archaeological evidence of signet rings that historians have aimed to answer these questions. It is known, from Linear A evidence, that Demeter, a prominent Greek earth mother goddess, was also a prominent Minoan goddess, from several different depictions, it is thought that she represents several different goddesses. Gold signet rings that have been discovered portray a larger woman, believed to be a goddess, often being brought gifts by smaller women. There is one ring though, that shows two small men dancing joyously on either side of a larger woman, showing us that men also took part, in what seems to be, a female (including mainly female goddesses) dominated society. From this evidence, we could say that the female goddess was central in Minoan worship, although, it is not known whether this is the same goddess appearing in the rings and therefore, we also do not know what her name is. Several small statues have also been found, for example, the statue of a goddess from the shrine at Karphi, which shows a woman with upraised arms, most likely a presentation of praise. This figure wares slashed poppies in her crown, which indicates the use of opium. Also, pairs...
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