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Cradle of Greek Civilization – Aegean Culture

  When people mention the origin of European civilization, they will think of two Greek civilizations—Greek and Hebrew. Understanding Hebrew civilization is a key to understanding Greek civilization. The source can be traced back to the star-moon area of ​​the Mesopotamia. Herodotus, the father of Western history, recorded the influence of the civilization of the Mesopotamia on the Greek civilization in his “History”. The Aegean civilization is a springboard between the Mesopotamia and Greece.
  More than once in ancient Greek mythology, it is mentioned that Crete in the Mediterranean once had a powerful state, the king named Minos. Legend has it that the palace of Minos was a labyrinth, and in the labyrinth there was a monster with a minotaur named Minotaur. Every year, Athens sends 7 pairs of virgins as tribute to it to eat. Later, the Athenian prince Theseus, with the help of Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos, killed the monster and eliminated the disaster for the Athenians. On the way back to Greece, Theseus forgot the agreement with his father and did not hang the white sails on the boat to represent victory. His father Aegeus fell to the cliff and died of sadness and despair, and the sea was named after him. The Aegean was named, which is today the Aegean Sea.
  Regarding the Aegean civilization, the earliest source is “Homer’s Epic”, which mentioned that there was a prosperous country on Crete. The epic tells the story of Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, when the Greek coalition crossed the Aegean Sea to attack the city of Troy, and after the capture of the city of Troy, the Greek hero Odyssey drifted at sea for ten years on his way home. According to the description of “Homer’s Epic”, in the era of the Trojan War, the Greek region had a very developed civilization. The ancient Greek historian Thucydides (460-400 BC) also mentioned Crete and King Minos in his History of the Peloponnesian War. However, these records of classical scholars have always been considered fictitious due to the lack of archaeological evidence. Before the 1870s, people did not know that there was a glorious Aegean culture before the Greek culture. The discovery of the Aegean civilization also made the history of Greece go back thousands of years.
  
  Unveiled Aegean The
  
  Aegean culture is distributed in the Aegean region and belongs to the Bronze Age culture. The center of the culture was initially Crete in the Mediterranean, and later moved to Mycenae in southern Greece.
  There are two figures who have made the greatest contribution to Crete-Mycenae archaeology, one is the German archaeologist Sheliman (1822-1890) and the other is the British archaeologist Evans (1851-1941).
  It was Sheliman who first lifted the veil of the Aegean. Sheliman is a legendary figure, his family was poor and his childhood was spent in misfortune. When he was 7 years old, his brother gave him a book about the Trojan War, and he was so fascinated by it that he set out to teach himself Greek. Sheliman went out to work because his family was poor at a very young age. Later, he succeeded in the oil business and became a wealthy businessman. The ups and downs of Shang Hai did not obliterate his childhood dream. So in 1868 he came to the place of his dreams. Find the city of Troy in his dreams. After obtaining permission from the Turkish government, the excavation was carried out according to the records of Homer’s epic. He unearthed a large amount of gold and silver utensils and gold jewelry. In 1873, Sheliman excavated the ruins of the ancient city of Troy on the Aegean Sea in western Asia Minor, Turkey. Since 1876, he has excavated some city ruins and tombs from the Mycenaean era, as well as many gold and silver utensils and weapons in the Greek peninsula. Sheliman originally thought of excavating in Crete, but the price was too high for the Turkish authorities to do so.
  From 1900 to 1905, British archaeologist Evans continued Sheliman’s excavations, believing that the story of the Minoan palace was true. He excavated the palace of Knossos and a large number of cultural relics on the island of Crete. Since then, archaeologists have further excavated and studied, and a large number of materials have proved that the Crete and Mycenaean civilizations mentioned in Greek mythology and “Homer’s epic” really existed.
  
  Crete
  
  As the excavations of Sheliman and Evans are widely recognized, a historical picture of the evolution of the early Greek civilization is presented to people: the early Cretan civilization was born around 2600 BC, and it is from the Neolithic Age. The period of transition to the Bronze Age. In the mid-Cretan civilization, from about 1900 BC to about 1600 BC, it was a period when bronze technology was relatively developed, cities such as Knossos had risen, and slavery countries had emerged. Late Cretan civilization from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC. Late Cretan civilization reached a period of economic and cultural prosperity.
  The main god worshiped by the Cretans is a goddess of fertility, and a statue of her has been unearthed in Crete. In addition, the cow held a particularly important place in the Cretan religious cult, as a symbol of reproduction, strength and harvest.
  The Cretan script is a linear script, inscribed on seals, clay tablets. Later, the Mycenaeans borrowed the Cretan linear script to spell the Mycenaean language, so the Cretan linear script was called Linear A, and the Mycenaean linear script was called Linear B. Due to the small number of Linear Script A remaining, and it seems that it does not belong to the same type as Indo-European script, it has not been interpreted so far; Linear Script B was interpreted by British scholar Ventris in 1952. But there is less text left, mainly seals, and no large epic.
  Several cities appeared during the Cretan civilization, the largest of which was the capital Knossos. The royal palace of Knossos is the most important relic of the Cretan civilization. The length of the palace from east to west and north to south is 150 meters, and there is a large courtyard about 60 meters long and 30 meters wide in the middle. Most of the palace is on the first and second floors, and there are also third and fourth floors in some parts. There are more than 300 rooms and a construction area of ​​more than 10,000 square meters. There are countless complicated passages and portals in the palace, which are connected by twists and turns. People who are not familiar with the structure of the palace can easily get lost and cannot find the exit. So in myths and legends it became a “labyrinth”.
  The Cretans had considerable hegemony in the Mediterranean at that time. This hegemony is reflected in the myth of Athenian tributes of virgins and virgins to King Minos. Crete’s frescoes and seals often show the pattern of the trident, the weapon used by the sea god, which was also a symbol of Crete’s maritime hegemony at that time. Judging from the figures on the surviving murals, these people have the characteristics of African and oriental races, with black curly hair and slender waists. People in gorgeous clothes on the frescoes talked in the spacious hall, and it was felt that their civilization had developed to a very high level at that time.
  From 1500 to 1400 BC, the palace of Knossos may have been destroyed one after another due to natural disasters, and then the Mycenaeans began to invade Crete and occupied the powerful city-state of Knossos. The Cretan civilization has since declined and has been forgotten.
  
  Mycenae
  
  The Mycenaean civilization was created by the Akayas and was comparable to the contemporary Cretan civilization, but with a rougher style. The Akayas are a branch of the Greek nation. Originally living in the plains along the Danube, they migrated south around 2200 BC, invaded Greece, and began to transition from a clan society to a slave society. The period from about 1600 BC to 1100 BC in Greek history is generally referred to as the period of Mycenaean civilization.
  The scope of the Mycenaean civilization included the southern and central parts of the Greek peninsula, as well as Crete and some other islands in the Aegean Sea. During the period of the Mycenaean civilization, many slave states appeared on the Greek peninsula, mainly Mycenae, Athens, Tirians, Pylos, etc. The Mycenaeans were once influenced by the Cretan civilization, but later the Mycenaeans gradually surpassed the Cretans in military power. They crossed the sea and occupied Crete and the city of Knossos around 1450 BC.
  The various countries of Mycenae once built many fortified castles, which were generally built on the top of hillsides and walled with boulders. Some of the walls of Mycenae and Tirins have been preserved to this day. The boulders that build these city walls are generally 3 meters long and 1 meter wide. Because of the huge stones, later generations believe that these city walls were built by the mythical Cyclops, and they are called “Cyclops Walls”. There is also a huge gate on the megalithic wall of Mycenae, and on the arch of the gate is a boulder inscribed with two lions standing on their hind feet, their front legs facing the pillars. The shape is sturdy and powerful, and it is the earliest monumental decorative carving in the West. This gate was later known as the “Lion’s Gate”.
  In the second half of the 13th century BC, various city-states on the Greek peninsula formed a coalition to cross the Aegean Sea to attack the rich city of Troy. The war dragged on for about 10 years, and although the city of Troy was finally broken, Greece was also devastated. Around 1100 BC, the Mycenaean civilization collapsed.
  From about the 12th century BC to the 11th century BC, the Dorians living in the north went south and destroyed the Mycenaean civilization. The remains of the Cretan and Mycenaean civilizations were gradually annihilated. Thereafter, from the 11th century BC to the 8th century BC, it is called the “Homeric Age”. Ancient Greek culture began here.
  There is actually a gap between the Aegean culture and the later ancient Greek culture. After the Dorians and Ionians, the main peoples who created the classical Greek civilization, arrived in Greece, they came from a country far lower than the Aegean civilization. developed in the state.
  Although the remains of Cretan civilization and Mycenaean civilization were gradually annihilated, although the classical Greek civilization established by the Greeks did not develop directly on the basis of the Aegean civilization, the Greeks liked to regard the Trojan War as their own history The first moment, because of that moment, the Greeks were united for a common purpose. This cohesion, fiction or justice or not, gave later Greeks a sense of national or cultural identity.

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