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The Volcanic Destruction of Minoan Crete

  • Sp. Marinatos

In the long history of Minoan civilization two great catastrophes are discernible, of which the famous Cretan palaces themselves provide the chief source of our knowledge. Everywhere the catastrophes are seen to be contemporaneous. We can distinguish a period of the first palaces (MM) and a subsequent period of the second palaces (LM). There is no perceptible break in the development of the civilization as a result of these catastrophes. For this reason, the theories that the palaces were overthrown by invaders from abroad aroused opposition from the first. Usually the Achaeans—and even the Hyksos—were suggested as the destroyers. By this theory, however, it was not possible to explain two facts : the decorative arts continue on their way undisturbed, and the second palaces are built at once on the ruins of the first and are still unfortified. The Cretans would not have been so foolish as gratuitously to provide easy loot for fresh invaders.

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1 Edouard, Meyer Geschichte des Altertums, 22, I, pp.43–4.

2 Palace of Minos, 11, 313 ff.

3 op. cit. 11, 319.

4 For Arkalokhori see the preliminary reports in Arch. Anzezger, 1934, 251 ff, and 1935,248 ff.

5 Mallia (the correct orthography is Malia), 11 me. Rapport études Crétoises, IV), p. 50.

6 Palace of Minos II, 319 and cf. I, 258, 299, 315–16. Pernier (Festós, pp. 452–3), like N. Åberg, dates the destruction at the end of the Middle Minoan Period, i.e., about 1700 B.c., but it is noteworthy that Pernier seems not to distinguish the two separate catastrophes at Knossos, that of MM IIb and that of MM IIIb. We conclude from his passage on page 453 that he considers that the new palace at Phaestos was built buring the advanced MM III period.

7 Cf. the figures in Palace of Minos, I, 232 fig. 174–5.

8 For the jar from Pachyammos, P. of M., I, 608, fig. 447. Vases of the Kamares style decorated with floral motives are very common, especially from Phaestos : Pernier, Festós i, pis. xvi, xx, xxi-ii, etc. Marine motives, too, are common enough. Fish are already found on MM 1 vases from East Crete (P. of M., 1, 182, fig. 131). For an octopus on a vase from the cave at Kamares, op. cit. 1, 246, fig. 186 (f). Seashells in combination with rockwork are known, e.g. Festós 1, pi. xxx. Cf. the well known flying fish and sea creatures in faience from the Temple Repositories at Knossos, P. of M., 1, 520, fig. 379 and the gold goblet from the shaft graves at Mycenae, Karo, Schachtgräber von Mykenae, pl. cu, no. 73, which are works of the MM III period.

9 The mansion at Sklavokambos is still unpublished. For a preliminary report see Arch. Anzeiger, 1933, pp.288 ff. and cf. Karo, Altkretische Verwaltungskunst (Eíς Mνήήμην Σπ Λἀμπρον), pp. 569 f.

7 Paus. VII, 25, 8. Cf. Senec. Quest. nat. lib. 6, 25.

11 See the important book by Fouqué, Santorin et ses éruptions, Paris 1879. The geological processes of the great eruption are a little modified by Hans Reck, in Santorin.

12 The vases are now in the French School at Athens. They have been published by Renaudin, B.C.H., 1922, 46, 113ff.On the frescoes see Perrot and Chipiez, Histoire de l’Art, vi, 538–9 figs. 210–12. The flowers represented upon the stucco fragments are lilies of an already advanced LM I style.

13 Verbeek, R.D.M. Krakatau (Batavia, 1886) in Dutch and French editions.

14 op. cit., p. 400.

15 Imray, Laurie, Norie and Wilson (London), no. 149c.

16 Aρχαική ࠁEΦημερỉς1922, p. 1–25.

17 πρακτὰ1932, pp. 79 f.

18 One of these orthostatic blocks is two metres long and one metre high.Cf. πρακτικάEdouard, Meyer 1932 p.92 fig. 10.

19 Verbeek, Krakatau (French edition), p.46.

20 Philostratus, Vita Apollonii, 34.

21 Verbeek, op. cit., p. 463.

22 ‘Sur la sismicité des Cyclades et de la Crète ’, Annales de l’Observatoire d’Athènes, 1925, IX, 36; ‘Sur les phénomènes sismiques produits avant et depuis l’éruption du volcan de Santorin ’, I.e., 1926, vili, 2 ff. Cf. also I.e. 1928, x, 47 ff. and Comptes Rendus de l’Acad. des Sciences vol.181, p.923.

23 SeeFouqué, , op. cit. and B. ’Akúλας, Tá øαíσίστεα καί ἡ νἣσος θήρα Athens, 1925.

24 Verbeek, op. cit. 33–40.

25 Herod VII, 171.

26 Fick, A. Hattiden und Danubier, p.9.

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