Exam #2 Notes
Minoan and Mycenaean Greece
Discovery of New Civilizations
Most people in Europe lived in villages.
A great forest covered most of Europe, which provided lots of timber, but wooden
structures did not survive.
Ireland, 3000 BC: stone tombs and dirt mounds survived.
Greece – first writing in Europe
A. Homer and Schliemann
Homer composed the Iliad
, an epic poem about the end of the Trojan War.
At the time it was written, the Iliad
was believed to have occurred in the distant
past. During the Enlightenment, people thought the city of Troy and the events of
the Trojan War were nothing but myth and fantasy, until…
Poor as a child, Schliemann was forced to drop out of school to work in
order to support his family. He taught himself Ancient Greek and had no
other formal education. In 1850, he traveled to California for the gold
rush, and by 1868, he was a millionaire. Obsessed with Homer’s Iliad
soon began to claim that he could find the city of Troy by using clues in
the epic poem. Believed to be insane by most people of the time, he
traveled to Ottoman Turkey and asked locals about the area and its history.
Eventually, he settled on a hill and began to dig. He discovered ruins of a
walled city, and later, gold treasure. While the treasure was later proven to
have been purchased by Schliemann and planted for him to “discover,” the
city he found is believed by scholars to be the city of Troy mentioned in
the works of Homer. His discovery also proved that the city goes back
much further than had previously been believed.
Soon after, Schliemann set off to find Mycenae. He found a small city
high in the hills, along with the graves of 19 people who were buried with
weapons, jewelry, gold, and ornate death masks. This civilization dates
back to even earlier than Troy.
B. Minoan Civilization (2600 – 1400 BC)
Sir Arthur Evans
An Oxford professor during the 1930s who discovered the Minoan
Civilization. During this time, British tourists were returning from Italy
and Greece with artifacts that intrigued Evans. He launched a scientific
investigation of Crete and of Knossos – the city in which the labyrinth of
the mythical Minotaur was supposedly built. There, he discovered a palace
with decorative walls containing pictures of bulls.
He also found Minoan clay tablets with a new form of writing on them.
Minoan wealth came from trade of wine and olive oil.
Wine and olive oil – fuel for lights
Minoan civilization was confined to Crete.