Universitätsbibliothek HeidelbergUniversitätsbibliothek Heidelberg

Evans, Arthur J.
The Palace of Minos: a comparative account of the successive stages of the early Cretan civilization as illustred by the discoveries at Knossos (Band 1): The Neolithic and Early and Middle Minoan Ages — London, 1921

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the Law-

reliefs within its sea-gate—visible, it would appear, to a much later date—repre-
senting bull-catching scenes and, still more, the fresco panels with feats of the
bull-ring in which girls as well as youths took part, go far to explain the myth.
It ma)T even be that captive children of both sexes were trained to take part
in the dangerous circus sports portrayed on the Palace walls.

Minos ' the destroyer ' may certainly have existed. That the yoke
of the more civilized ruler should at times have weighed heavily on subject
peoples is probable enough. But, in the main, the result of recent discovery
has been to confirm the more favourable side of Greek tradition.

Until a full interpretation of the inscribed tablets is forthcoming
it must remain impossible to obtain any actual excerpts from the ' Laws
of Minos ', or to ascertain how much of the later legislation of Greece
may go back to a far more ancient source. But the minute bureaucratic
precision revealed by these clay documents, the official sealings and docket-
ings, their signing and countersigning, are symptoms that speak for themselves
of a highly elaborated system of legislation. In view of such evidence
the legendary account of Minos, like another Moses or Hammurabi, receiving
the law from the hands of the divinity himself on the Sacred Mountain, may
well be taken to cover the actual existence of a code associated with the
name of one of the old priest-kings of Crete.

Patron of Qf ordered government we have the proof, and, in a not less striking

the Arts- , i -j r r i • • c 1 tu

degree, the evidence or extraordinary achievements in peaceiul arts. 1 he

Palace traditionally built for Minos by his great craftsman Daedalos has
proved to be no baseless fabric of the imagination. The marvellous works
brought to light at Knossos and on other sites show moreover that the
artistic skill associated with his name fell, if anything, short of the reality.
At the same time the multiplicity of technical processes already mastered, the
surprising advance in hydraulic and sanitary engineering—leaving Egypt far
behind—bear witness to a considerable measure of attainment in the domain
of science. Almost, we are tempted to believe in Talos ' the mechanical
man ', or that a Cretan headland was the scene of the first experiment
in aviation—the fatal flight of Ikaros !
Greek That the word ' Minoan ' was used by the Greeks themselves in an

ethnic or dynastic as well as a personal sense is shown by the constantly
recurring term Minoa applied to traditional settlements from prehistoric
Crete. In the neighbourhood of Gaza, the cult of the Cretan ' Zeus '
lived on into late classical times. The name attaches itself to towns,
islands, and promontories not only in Crete itself but throughout the Aegean
world. In Delos we find the ' Minoid Nymphs'. On the mainland of