Discussion Point

Topics: Mycenaean Greece, Odyssey, Greek language Pages: 13 (4373 words) Published: January 29, 2014
Hellas, Hellenes, Barbaros (Barbarian)

The Greeks of classical times called themselves “Hellenes” and their country “Hellas.” The first Hellenes, were an obscure Greek tribe, whose name by accidents of history, came to be applied to the whole race. Greeks regarded other races as distinctly inferior-they called them barbarians (barbaroi), because their languages seemed merely a succession of “barbar” noises. In a play by Euripides appear the words, ‘It is proper that Hellenes should rule over barbarians,’ and the philosopher Aristotle took the view that ‘barbarians are by nature more slave-like than Hellenes.’ Thucydides, Minos, Pasiphae, Daidalos, Ikaros

Thucydides-reminds us of modern historical scholars when he sweeps myth away from old stories. Resembles a writer of historical fiction, and the tragic poets who began that sort of work in Green probably taught him a great deal. Minos/Pasiphae- Poseidon, god of the sea, sent up a bull from the waves in answer to Minos’ prayer for a sign proving that the gods had given him his throne. When Minos failed to fulfil his promise to sacrifice the bull, Poseidon punished him by making Pasiphae, wife of Minos, fall in love with it: so she gave birth to the Minotaur. Daidalos/Ikaros- The Minotaur was placed in a labyrinth made by Daidalos (architect and craftsman), an Athenian in the service of Minos. After making the labyrinth, Minos did not let Daidalos and his son, Ikaros, leave, so they were imprisoned, until Daidalos invented wings, and they both flew away, until Ikaros fell and was killed by the sea. Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941)

Began to excavate on the site of Knossos, near the modern town of Heraklion in the north of Crete Over a period of many years, he brought to light an entire civilization, centered on Knossos, which was previously unknown to us, apart from the legends and other vague references in ancient authors. Dug without the aid of texts and ventured into a realm that was part of his own making Used archaeology to invent his own image of a culture, one that still floats between myth and reality We’ll be looking at Knossos, the type site of Minoan civilization, which reached its Zenith between 2200 and 1450 BC (conventional chronology)

Minotaur, labyrinth, Theseus, Ariadne

The Minotaur had the head of a bull, but a human body and was the child of Pasiphae, wife of Minos. The labyrinth was a maze so complicated that none who entered it could ever find the way out again, an example of the wonderful skill of Daidalos. Minos, after defeating the Athenians in a war, had ordered them to send annually seven youths and seven girls as food for the Minotaur. One day Theseus, son of the king of Athens, came as part of the annual offering to the Minotaur. Ariadne, Minos’ daughter fell in love with him and saved him by giving him a threat, which he tied to the door of the labyrinth and trailed after him as he went in. He then killed the Minotaur and found his way safely back by means of the thread. Thalassocracy (“command of the sea”)

Thera eruption, fresco

Mycenaean Greeks, growing steadily more powerful, took over Knossos and eliminated rival palaces in a Crete seriously weakened by damage from the Thera eruption. The most famous archaeological remains found in Akrotiri are wall paintings or frescoes, which have kept their original color very well, as they were preserved under many meters of volcanic ash.  Syllabary, Linear A (undeciphered)

Linear Scripts A and B, are of a type known as syllabic, since signs represent syllables of words rather than single letters. They have been discovered mostly engraved on clay tablets used for such purposes as listing the contents of store-rooms and recording the payment of dues. The tablets which survive have done so after being baked hard when buildings caught fire. Linear A has no yet been deciphered.

Mycenaean Greeks, Linear B

Linear B was eventually decoded by an Englishman, Michael Ventris, and...
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