The Minoans and the Mycenaeans were two of the early civilizations that developed in Greece.
The Minoans lived on the Greek islands and built huge palaces on the island of Crete. The Minoans built a large civilization that flourished from 2600 BC to 1400 BC. They created a powerful civilization based on a strong navy and trade throughout the Mediterranean Sea. The Minoans had their own written language which archeologists call “Linear A.” Linear A has not been decifered yet.
The Minoans were unknown to the modern world until archaeologist Arthur Evans uncovered the city of Knossos in the early 1900s.
City of Knossos
At the center of the Minoan civilization was the city of Knossos. Knossos had a huge palace. Many beautiful pieces of art and pottery have been found within the palace.
An important symbol to the Minoans was the two-headed axe.
According to Greek Mythology, the city was once ruled by King Minos. In the myth, King Minos built a large labyrinth under the palace where a monster called the Minotaur lived.
Fall of Minoan civilization
The Minoan civilization began to weaken around 1450 BC. Archeologists think this might have been due to a natural disaster such as an earthquake
The Mycenaeans lived mostly on mainland Greece and were the first people to speak the Greek language.
The Mycenaeans developed a civilization in mainland Greece from 1600 BC to 1100 BC. They are sometimes called the first Greeks . Their largest city was Mycenae. There were other important Mycenaean citadels such as Tyrins and Thebes . All these cities were fortified and located on top of hills.
The Mycenaeans developed trade throughout the Mediterranean. They had a fleet of trade ships and traveled to Egypt and Mesopotamia where they exchanged olive oil and wine for metals and ivory.
Mycenaeans Conquer the Minoans
The Mycenaeans took over the islands of the Minoans and adopted much of the Minoan culture. They adapted the writing of the Minoans to their own language. Today this writing is called “Linear B.”
Collapse of the Mycenaeans
The Mycenaean civilization began to fade around 1250 BC when many of their cities were destroyed. Archeologists are unsure of what caused the collapse. It might have been foreign invaders such as the Dorians or it may also have been a natural disaster such as an earthquake.
Dark Ages of Greece
After the fall of the Mycenaeans, Greece entered into a dark age. The Greek Dark Age was a period of decline, famine, and lower population throughout the region. This period lasted from around 1100 BC to 800 BC.
Start of the Greek Archaic Period
The civilization that is often referred to as “Ancient Greece” began around 800 BC. The first part of this period is called the Greek Archaic Period. During this time, many Greek city-states began to form and gain power. Early Greek culture began to take shape including the development of Greek philosophy and theater.