3 impressive photos of the Bull Fresco Portico Knossos, taken by Richard while he was there on May 1 2012:
This is a beautifully illustrated Mycenaean Linear B tablet on 5 carpenters who owe the tax collector: The illustrations at the top are (left) several designs for Minoan houses (Knossos). Notice that many of them are 3 stories high, which is unusual for the ancient world, except for Rome, with its shabby multi-storied insulae (islands) or apartment buildings, which frequently collapsed. Such can scarcely be said of the Minoan houses, which were built to withstand earthquakes. You can see this for yourself from the top left picture, where the windows in the last 2 houses on the bottom display the heavy wooden beams, both vertical and horizontal, used to reinforce the windows. A cute clay model of a Minoan house at Knossos appears at the top right. The Minoans at Knossos were just as fussy about their typical beautifully fluted Minoan columns and sturdily reinforced doors, as can clearly be seen in these two photos I took when I was in Knossos on May 2, 2012: I am particularly impressed by the text in Mycenaean Greek, which is easily rendered into Archaic Greek.
The lengthy and highly informative Linear B tablet Pylos Py Er 312 from Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon: Linear B tablet Pylos Py Er 312 which Chris Tselentis deciphered in his superb Linear B Lexicon is presented above. This tablet runs the gamut from wheat and wheat seeds, to the measurement of olive oil to a number of references to the gods and sacred cults. Since Linear B tablets from Pylos tend to be significantly larger than those from Knossos, they are often a richer source of information applicable to the decipherment, not only of Linear B tablets, but of Minoan Linear A tablets as well. You can be sure that I shall rely a good deal lon this tablet in my efforts towards the further decipherment of Minoan Linear A. Since Chris Tselentis has done all the work for us, I have simply translated it into English, without troubling myself with appending the text in Archaic Greek.
Stunning frescoes from Knossos, Third Palace, Late Minoan III b (ca. 1450 BCE) Post 1 of 2
More photos from Knossos (stairs and foundations): Post 1 of 2
Columns from the Late Minoan IIIb Palace (ca 1450 BCE) Post 2 of 2:
Columns from the Late Minoan IIIb Palace (ca 1450 BCE) Post 1 of 2:
Knossos building with perfect circular rosettes on its frieze! More of the same!
Knossos building with perfect circular rosettes on its frieze! This building is remarkable for the typically Greek (or if you prefer, Minoan) simplicity of its architecture. What really struck me while I was visiting Knossos on the afternoon of May 2 2012 was that the circular rosettes on its frieze are perfectly circular, each one exactly identical to the next. It seems the Greeks inherited the mania for geometric simplicity fro their forbears, the Minoans. More photos follow in the next post.
Photo series of the Second Palace of Knossos (ca. 1700-1600 BCE) # 2 Here again you see a set of three photos of the rear stairwells of the Second Palace, which are very well preserved... indeed, so well preserved that even the ruins of Pompeii cannot boast of such restoration. The third photo shows that the interior wall structure of the Second Palace was pretty much identical with the Third, with door jambs in the same style and of the same colour. Unquestionably, the columns of the Second Palace must have looked pretty much identical to those of the Third. You can clearly see from the third and fourth photos that much of the structure of the retaining walls of the Second Palace was left intact by the Minoan engineers when they constructed the Third. The retaining walls of the Second Palace are distinct, insofar as they are rounded at the corners.
A Series of Maps of the Minoan & Mycenaean Empires, Some with New Toponyms Seen for the First Time Our first map is of the principal Minoan cities and settlements, with the locations of the major palaces in the Late Minoan Era (LM Ia – LMII, ca. 1550 -1450 BCE) Click to ENLARGE: It was over the last half of the sixteenth & the first half of the fifteenth century that the Minoan civilization made the swift switchover from using the as yet undeciphered Linear A syllabary to writing Mycenaean Greek in Linear B. Whether or not Knossos itself was conquered by the Mycenaeans around 1500 BCE is a question entirely open to conjecture. Many historians are quite convinced it was, but I personally am not so convinced. However, you should take my opinion with a large grain of salt, as I am a linguist and not a historian! The largest Minoan palaces after that of Knossos, the capital city of the Minoan Empire, with a population estimated to have been somewhere around 55,000 (a huge city for the Bronze age!) were those at Phaistos & Zakros. All of the palaces illustrated on this map have been thoroughly excavated, and they have yielded inestimable treasures of Linear A & B tablets, magnificent Minoan frescoes and art, bronze ware of all sorts (weaponry, utensils etc.), pottery and so on. If you have already had the opportunity to visit any of these magnificent sites (as I have, seeing Knossos in May 2012), you will know to what heights the Minoan Empire and their highly cultured civilization aspired. They (the Minoans) were so cultivated and refined that they virtually outclassed and outshone all other contemporary Bronze Age empires, and that includes, to my mind at least, Egypt! In fact, the Mycenaeans, shortly after arrival at Knossos, imitated lock-stock-and-barrel, the brilliant architecture and the entire repertoire of military expertise, the arts and crafts and every other area of the prosperous Minoan agri-economy. Their tribute to the Minoans could not have been more profound than that of the Romans to the Greeks some 1,000 years or more later on. It was that kind of phenomenon, nothing less. All of these maps, as well as all of the maps in the next few posts, also appear on the following PINTEREST Boards, Richard