Third Palace, Knossos, Late Minoan III (ca. 1450 BCE), general views from the net:

In this post and the next two, you can see several illustrations and paintings of the ancient palace and city of Knossos in its full glory in the Late Minoan III period (ca. 1450 BCE).

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Notice in this beautiful painting of ancient Knossos (population ca. 55,000, a huge city for the ancient world) the arches beneath the causeway leading to the city. And we thought arches were a Roman invention!

What is so remarkable about Middle and Late Minoan architecture is that it looks so modern, even to us in the twenty-first century. The architecture is simple and streamlined, no extravagant frills. This sets Knossos in stark contrast to practically every other ancient civilization, except Classical Athenian (the acropolis and Parthenon, ca. 430-400 BCE). Almost all other ancient civilizations went in for the extravagant and the excessive, much like Baroque architecture in the seventeenth century AD, all of which I cannot abide. In order to set the stark contrast between Minoan and Mycenaean architecture and that of Persepolis and ancient China, for instance, I am also including photos from the latter civilizations. The architecture of Persepolis is particularly gaudy and distasteful to me.

Persepolis:

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