The Snake Goddess

Topics: Minoan civilization, Knossos, Crete Pages: 4 (1432 words) Published: February 11, 2013
The Snake Goddess
The Snake Goddess, a voluptuous, divine figure with bare breasts, and snakes in both hands, is one of the most well known female deity’s and faïence figurines in Minoan culture (Patron). The actual representation of the Snake Goddess is unknown; however, a majority of perceptions would all agree that the Snake Goddess is an important female deity in Minoan civilization. By analyzing the importance of symbolism, the role of women in Minoan civilization and The Snake Goddesses role in Minoan culture, it will become evident that The Snake Goddess plays a significant role in Minoan art, religion and society (Witcombe). Discovered in 1903, by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, at The Temple Repositories, The Snake Goddess dates back to approximately 1600 BCE (Evans 495). Today little is known about the actual representation of the faïence figurine, however evidence supports that The Snake Goddess symbolizes fertility, holiness, and life and death (Flamee). The most prominent way The Snake Goddess represents fertility is by her appearance. Standing at 13½ inches in the Herakleion Museum at Crete, The Snake Goddess holds a snake in each hand, wears a hat with a sitting cat on top and has exposed bare breasts (Witcombe). The fact that she is depicted partially nude, with her breasts uncovered is interpreted as a sign of fertility mostly relating to the growth of crops. The cat which sits on the hat is acknowledged as a symbol of sex or fertility which provides evidence that she is not only a fertility deity but also a mother deity (Joe). In Minoan religion, snakes often signify protection of the house and life, “To my own knowledge in Herzegovina and the Serbian lands, East of the Adriatic, it was not an uncommon thing for snakes, who had sought such human hospitality, to be fed with milk and treated as domestic pets. Such as household snake is known, indeed, as domachilsa or housemother” (Evans 509). This is because snakes are generally related...
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