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The Bronze Age

by: Michelle Miles

The Bronze Age CLAS 2040

Michelle Miles

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About this Document

These notes detail cultural evidence from three different locations/phases on the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece.
Greek Mythology
Bradford Hays
Class Notes
Broze Age, Greece, Greek Mythology, myths
25 ?




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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Michelle Miles on Wednesday February 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CLAS 2040 at University of Virginia taught by Bradford Hays in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see Greek Mythology in Classical Studies at University of Virginia.

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Date Created: 02/03/16
2/3/2016  The Bronze Age    Bronze Age I:   ● The Cyclades (c. 3000­2000 BC)  ○ Archeological evidence of culture, possibly religion, proto­civilization  ○ Cycladic figurines (c. 2500­2400 BC) ­ possibly female, characterized by long  necks, abstract head shapes, almost modern in style; possibly symbolize goddess  figures, definitely indicate art­making   ○ Cycladic Lyre Player (c. 2800­2700) ­ tells us that the people of this time and area  produced not only art but music and likely poetry   Bronze Age II:  ● Minoan Crete (c. 2000­1400 BC)  ○ Knossos and other sites ­ evidence of a consistent shared culture, the “Minoan”  culture; evidence of similar art styles, pottery, housing, etc. but nothing is known  about their political system/organization  ○ Sir Arthur Evans (1851­1941) ­ English archaeologist, coined the term “Minoan”  ○ “Palace” complex at Knossos, Crete ­ (1700­1400 BC) large organized settlement  built collectively, storage units likely for grain, wine, etc.  ○ Fresco paintings ­ paintings done on wet plaster of walls and dries with the  plaster, survives well, discoveries in Knossos depict a “priest­king” figure   ○ Minoan statuette ­ “Mistress of Snakes” ­ pre­Greek mother goddess/mother  nature figure with control over nature and animals   ○ Fresco paintings and pottery indicate a significance placed on bulls  ○ Fresco painting of “armada” ­ reminder that Minoans did have political conflict,  wasn’t solely a peaceful, artistic civilization  ○ Thera ­ also inhabited by the Minoans, fresco paintings discovered, site of major  volcanic eruption (c. 1600 BC), blew out the middle the island, connected with  the decline of Minoan civilization   ● Mythical echoes of the Minoans ­ King Minos and the Minotaur  ○ Pasiphae, Queen, attracted to a bull, becomes pregnant with bull’s child, gives  birth to a Minotaur, head of a bull and body of a man → problem child, shame of  the family, symbol of Pasiphae’s affair; the Minotaur is placed in a Labyrinth  (traces of Minoan palace complex?); Athenian hero Theseus uses a ball of yarn to  make his way through the labyrinth and slay the Minotaur   ○ Not necessarily a story that originated from the Minoans, but possibly took its  backdrop from their civilization   Bronze Age III:  ● The Mycenaeans (c. 1600­1200 BC)  ○ On Greek mainland (later also Crete)  ○ Less developed than Minoans ­ more crude pottery, fewer paintings  ○ Eventually gain political and military control over the Minoans   ○ Spoke primitive form of Greek  ○ Society reflected in the​liad & The Odyssey  ○ Heinrich Schliemann (1822­1890)  ■ German businessman, founder of modern archaeology, first excavator of  Mycenae, sought to discover more about Homer and his epics by  exploring the setting of his tales   ■ Citadel at Mycenae, Northern Peloponnese (1300­1200 BC)  ■ Discovered Greek written text  ● “Linear A” script (1400 BC) ­ Crete, Minoans, undecipherable  ● “Linear B” script (1200 BC) ­ Found on mainland and Crete  ○ Alice Kober and Michael Ventris (1950s)  ■ Deciphered “Linear B” script  ○ Distinction between language and written system   ○ Linear B tablets were discovered to be administrative records, storehouse  inventories, temple dedications, etc.  ○ Revealed Gods’ names in Linear B  ○ Iliad​ andOdyssey​ ­ “historical fiction set in Mycenaean time”  ■ So how did Homer know about their civilization years later?     


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