THE PREHISTORIC AEGEAN AP ART HISTORY CHAPTER 4

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1 THE PREHISTORIC AEGEAN AP ART HISTORY CHAPTER 4

2 INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to understand the environmental, technological, political, and cultural factors that led societies in the Mediterranean and Middle East to develop their distinctive institutions and values. Students will be able to identify the geographical locations and the fundamental characteristics and historical development of these societies and understand the role of migrations in their development. Students will be able to compare the structure of the Assyrian and the Carthaginian empires. Students will be able to compare the goals of the Assyrian and the Carthaginian empires. Students will be able to explain why some of these societies were destroyed or assimilated, while others survived.

3 ANCIENT INFLUENCES The influences of Mesopotamia, Syria-Palestine, and Egypt are evident in the Aegean Sea regions. Two civilizations emerge in the Aegean: Minoans (on the island of Crete) Mycenaeans (on the Greek peninsula) These civilizations would create their own unique structures. What is a unique feature of this region? There were few metal deposits and very little timber on Crete. The Aegean peoples had to import these commodities. Food also had to be imported. Therefore, the rise, success, and eventual demise of this civilization will be closely tied to commercial and political relations with the other cultures of this region.

4 THE ANCIENT AEGEAN

5 MINOAN CRETE By 2000 BCE, the island of Crete was home to the first European civilization to have complex political and social structures and advanced technology. These structures were similar to those found in western Asia and northeastern Africa. What do we know about the Minoans? NOT MUCH! The ethnicity of this group remains uncertain. We are also unable to understand their writings (Linear A). Cretan pottery and artifacts found around the Mediterranean and the Middle East testify to the widespread trading connections of this group. Statuettes found in this region include the Snake Goddess: wearing an elaborate headdress with snakes around her limbs (could be a fertility goddess). Archaeologists named this civilizations the Minoans: Minoan civilization is known through legendary accounts of King Minos, the labyrinth beneath his palace, and the Minotaur. Archaeological evidence for Minoan civilization includes excavated palace sites at Knossus, Phaistos, and Mallia. The evidence does suggest that Minoan civilization was influenced by the civilizations of Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia! Minoan civilization was destroyed probably by Mycenae c BCE!

6 LINEAR A TABLET Chania Archaeological Museum Crete, Greece

7 BULL LEAPING FRESCO FROM KNOSSOS

8 MYCENAE What do we know about Mycenae? Around 2000 BCE, an Indo-European group migrated to the Greek peninsula. This group could be the ancestral group to the Greeks! The Mycenaean Greek people are thought to be descended from a combination of an indigenous population and Indo-European invaders. This civilization developed suddenly around 1600 BCE. Mycenae is first known from the accounts of The Iliad and The Odyssey. In 1876, Heinrich Schliemann discovered circle graves at Mycenae. Shaft graves were filled with gold jewelry, ornaments, weapons, and utensils. Large palace complexes were later found This evidence tells historians that the civilization was advanced and sophisticated. Funerary mask, from Grave Circle A, Mycenae, Greece. c BCE

9 How can the sudden rise of Mycenae and other centers in mainland Greece be explained? Early Greeks were influenced by the Minoan palaces, centralized economy, administrative bureaucracy and writings. Mycenae adopted Minoan architecture, pottery, and fresco and vase painting. The wealth may be direct evidence of the profits of trade and piracy! The first advanced civilization in Greece is called Mycenaean because Mycenae was the first site excavated. Other excavated centers reveal similar features: hilltop locations with thick fortification walls made of stones later Greeks would explain the large stones as being set in place by the one-eyed Cyclopes. There is NO archaeological evidence to back up any of these legendary accounts! The fortified citadel provided refuge in times of danger and contained the palace and administrative centers.

10 AERIAL VIEW OF THE CITADEL OF TIRYNS, GREECE ( BCE) In the Iliad, Homer called the fortified citadel of Tiryns the city of the great walls. Its huge, roughly cut stone blocks are examples of Cyclopean masonry, named after the mythical one-eyed giants.

11 Tombs were luxurious (think Egypt on a smaller scale!) Linear B writing was used form of Greek that used symbols to represent syllables. Where we cannot read Linear A, we have been able to decipher Linear B. This was used primarily for palace records. Surviving Linear B tablets provide substantial information about the economic organization of Mycenaean society and clues about political, social, and religious institutions. What the tablets do NOT reveal = historic figures! Documents from the Hittite capital refer to the king of the Ahhijawa (most likely a rendering of Achaeans which was a term used by Homer for the Greeks) The Mycenaean state controlled the economy, organizing grain agriculture and wool production!

12 LINEAR B TABLET

13 RUINS OF MYCENAE

14 WAS TROY A REAL PLACE? Homer = Historian? Epic Poet? Both? Until the late 1800s, most historians and art historians saw Homer as a fiction writer. In the 1820s, the present city of Hissarlik, Turkey was determined to be the most likely location of ancient Troy. Heinrich Schliemann took this hypothesis and began a search for ancient Troy. Schliemann found 9 cities built one on top of the other in and around Hissarlik, Turkey. Today, historians believe the 7 th of the 9 city settlements is the famed Troy. Sacked and burned in 1270 BCE Rebuilt and suffered the same fate in 1050 BCE Today, we believe Homer is a historic fiction writer.

15 PRESENT LOCATION OF ANCIENT TROY?!

16 These finds at Troy became known as the Priam s Treasures Named after the Homeric King Priam Schliemann continued excavations on Crete to prove the existence of Agamemnon, brother of Menelaus. Schliemann uncovered: Massive fortified palace structures Elaborate tombs & Gold jewelry Masks & Cups Inlaid weapons All of this revealed a MASSIVE civilization existed similar to the one described by Homer! More importantly, this civilization predated GREECE!!!

17 Heinrich Schliemann Sophia Schliemann Wearing the Jewels of Helen

18 After Schliemann, multiple archaeologists searched and excavated sites on Crete: Arthur Evans discoveries or excavations: Knossos Palace structures Hieroglyphs Linear A (Minoan) script Phaistos Hagia Triada Linear B script Found in multiple locations on the mainland and Crete May have evolved from Linear A Deciphered in 1952 Harriet Boyd Hawes: excavated Gournia

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