Middle and Late Bronze Age (2000-1100 BC)

Between 2000-1900 BC an Indo-European herding people descended into Thessaly from the north and brought with them the worship of sky gods, chief of whom was Zeus, and an early form of spoken Greek, encountering the old Earth Mother Goddess relgion.

The Palace Cultures

Minoan civilization

knosos from the airDuring this period the Minoans extended their influence over the Cyclades, and in Crete, the focus of power moved farther west on the island, with the foundation of three palaces at Knossos, Phaestos, and Mallia.

The three were similar in layout, and largely unfortified, and represented ta supreme sea power. Though periodically destroyed by earthquakes, the palaces were rebuilt, and reached their peak in terms of advanced from in the 16th century BC.

The basic plan was a vast complex of room grouped around a central court, but asymmetrically, and often as much at three storeys high.

A fourth palace was built at Kato Zakro around 1600 BC, on the east coast of the island, this on a smaller scale, as were villas of the local artistocracy scattered around the eastern and central eastern part of the island.

minoan art The monarchy that ruled these palaces was both theocratic and bureaucratic, with all authority concentrated within the walls of the palace complexes, including political,, commercial and religious power.

There were private apartments for heads of state, workshops for artisans (whose craft was commissioned by those heads), storerooms in which oil, wine, grain and other commodities were stored in the large earthware jars known as pithi.

Writing developed around the need for management of these commodities, utilizing a system of hieroglyphs at first (c. 2000- 1600 BC), which was slowly superceded by the Linear A syllabic script (c. 1900-1450 BC)., though neither has yet been deciphered.

Small shrines and areas for purification rites were also present in the palaces, the Throne Room believed to be an inner sanctum for royal communion with the deity. Sanctuaries were also found in caves and mountain peaks.