Knossos, Crete

 

Knossos was the six acre site of an elaborate temple-governmental complex which thrived in Crete from about 2000 BCE - 1450 BCE.  Goddess statuary and symbols predominate here, as well as depictions of a sophisticated, playful lifestyle.  Cheerful looking women were often depicted bare-breasted, with elaborately flounced skirts and bodices; and images of athletic looking young men show them wearing decorative but scanty loincloths. 

Both sexes are shown engaging in the sport/dance of bull-leaping.  No imagery or implements of warfare have been found here, and indications show that the women and men lived in peace and equality from 3000 BCE to 1150 BCE, a period of almost two thousand years.  At the end of this period, the invading Greek military forced the people of Crete to develop a means of defense, leading to a warrior class and the tools of war.

Knossos' architecture was advanced enough to construct parts of the temple as high as five stories.  There were elaborate frescoes, as above, sanctuary rooms, a theater, food storage areas, workshops, rooms with large baths, indoor plumbing (aqueducts, pipes, fountains, spigots, sewers, even a flush toilet in the area called the Queens' Megaron), and other amenities not seen again for many hundreds of years.  Main entrance gates faced each of the four directions, and the temple had elements which were carefully aligned to the surrounding mountains. 

A huge volcanic eruption and earthquake is thought to have brought about the downfall of this and all the other temple-palaces of ancient Crete.  Attempts were made to survive, but Greek invasions prevented the temples from being rebuilt.

Poppy and bird crowned hieratic figures, either priestesses or Goddesses.  Such crowns may indicate an interest in shamanic-style flight or lucid dreaming.

 

 

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