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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found in a space below, together with considerable remains of painted
amphoras in the later ' Palace Styleon some of which Double Axes form
a principal part of. the decoration.1

A windowed structure with these sacred emblems served in the Mycenae Asso-
wall-paintings described above as a kind of ' royal box' for lady spectators Frag-
of circus sports with trained bulls and acrobats. Anions the fragments nients re"

t5 t> latin0" to

associated with those showing the Knossian pillar shrine was one depicting Bull-grap-
dense crowds of spectators in a walled enclosure 2 and with it, on a larger
scale, the head of a swarthy bull and parts of the flowing locks of an
acrobatic figure/' We have here new proofs of the near connexion between
the cult of the Minoan Goddess of which the Double Axes are the
outward symbols and the bull-grappling sports.

The animal forms of the Minoan Goddess were manifold. Her visible central
presence is often indicated by perched doves, as in the early Columnar feature r
Sanctuary. On the painted Sarcophagus they are replaced by birds of raven- Minoan
like appearance. Lions and pards are also seen in close association, and, as ^°ddess'
we know from the contents of the Temple Repositories described below, Double
spotted snakes were her peculiar emblem in her chthonic aspect as Lady
of the Underworld.

But, taken in connexion with the traces of Minoan religion in its pre-
vailing aspect, not at Knossos alone, but throughout the length and
breadth of Crete, it is clear that the special aniconic form of the supreme
Minoan divinity, as of her male satellite, was the Double Axe. The
Palace Sanctuary itself was pre-eminently the House of the Double Axe,4 The
and the sacred symbol formed the centre of domestic cult in countless J}0^6
smaller dwellings. Even in the days of the last Minoan decadence, when Double

& . Axe.

the ruins of Knossos were in part made use of by humbler occupants, the
cult of the Lady of the Double Axe was perpetuated on the spot, and
the sacral weapons themselves found a place in her little shrine brought
to light in the South-East quarter of the site." The scene on the Sarco-
phagus of Hagia Triada, however, in which, by ritual offerings before the
sacred symbols, the deceased hero is restored awhile to the upper air, may
incline us to believe that the cult of deceased and heroized members
of the line of Minoan priest-kings was associated with that of their divine
Mistress in the Palace Sanctuary of Knossos.

1 See Vol. II place of the Labrys\ see above, p. 6.

2 See below, p. 527, Fig. 384. 5 See Knossos, Report, 1902, p. 93 seqq. and

3 See below, p. 529, Fig. 385. Fig. 55.

4 For the Carian parallel Labranda = 'the