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Crete in Ancient Times

Part 3: Religion and the Arts

The religion of Crete remains unknowable, for the most part. We do know that the Cretans liked to worship symbols, like uncut stones and shields and double-sided axes. This last symbol, for example, can be found many places in carvings and art still existing from the period and also in the most famous legend ever to come out of Crete--the story of the Minotaur.

One part of the Minoan religion that we do know about is their belief in an afterlife. Like the ancient Egyptians, the Minoans placed many things alongside the dead in tombs--clothes, weapons, lamps, etc.

Historians still aren't sure whether the Minoans had written literature. So much of what we know of ancient Crete comes from the Greek writers anyway that it is difficult to see a difference between the two.

The art of this ancient society was realistic. Vases resembled birds, and jewelry looked like frogs or insects.

Again, most of what we know of ancient Crete comes from Greek sources. The Minoans might have been more organized first and certainly more advanced, but natural disasters and military conquests served to put the Greeks ahead in the end. 

First page > From the Beginning > Page 1, 2, 3

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday

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