Tag Archive: palaces



3 impressive photos of the Bull Fresco Portico Knossos, taken by Richard while he was there on May 1 2012:

bull-fresco-portico-knossos-b

bull-fresco-portico-knossos-c

bull-fresco-portico-knossos-a

Mycenaean palace administrative hierarchy (POST 1,300):

Mycenaean citadel

Although we will never know the exact details of the Mycenaean palace administrative hierarchy, the table above gives us a pretty good idea of the power-base hierarchy from the King or wanax on down to the higher administrative officials, the mid-level officers and lower-level administrators, followed by the subaltern freemen, craftsmen and farmers and finally by the slaves. The names of each of the positions top-down follow in Latinized Linear B:

Minoan and Mycenaean political structure diagram, by me

1. wanaka = King. The official residence of the King, or the Palace was called the wanakatero.
2. rawaketa = Leader of the Host, i.e. Commander-in-Chief. Sometimes, as in the case of Agamemnon, the General who lead the host (i.e. the army) into the Trojan War, the King and Commander-in-Chief are the selfsame person.
3. qasireu = prince potentate (slightly below the wanax & the rawaketa in the power hierarchy.
4. eqeta = the followers, professional foot soldiers and the personal guard of the wanax and the rawaketa. Cf. the Praetorian Guards of the Roman emperors.
5. teretai = aristocrats, called aristoi = the best people in later ancient Greek. These are the wealthy, upper class people protected by the wanax and rawaketa.
6. konosia rawaketa = (literally) the palace of Knossos for the Commander-in-Chief, i.e. his official residence, but in Knossos only. In Mycenae, his official residence would have been called the rawaketero.
7. konosia qasireu = (literally) the palace of Knossos for the prince potentate, but in Knossos only. In Mycenae, his official residence would have been called the qasireuo.
AT THE NEXT LEVEL, we find the mid-level administrators:
8. porokorete = the district governors, meaning the rulers of the districts in the Mycenaean Empire, such as the district of Mycenae itself, and the districts of Knossos, Phaistos, Pylos and the Hither Provinces (the closer provinces, such as Tiryns, Pylos, Argos, Lerna etc.) and of the Farther Provinces (Thebes, Orochomenos, Eutresis etc.)
9. korete = so-called mayors or chief administrators of cities or primary settlements, such as Knossos, and the centres of the Hither and Farther Provinces. These officials reported directly to the porokorete.
AT THE NEXT LEVEL, we find
10 the freemen or woko of the cities or primary settlements, such as craftsmen, artisans, farmers and tenant farmers, fishermen
and finally, AT THE LOWEST LEVEL
11. chattel (privately owned workers) doeroi = slaves, temple slaves = rawaiai or temenoio doeroi and nawoio doeroi = galley slaves.
       
P.S. This one is specially for you, Rita!


This is a beautifully illustrated Mycenaean Linear B tablet on 5 carpenters who owe the tax collector:

KN 826 A c 11 and tax collection

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:

Knossos, Third Palace, Late Minoan IIIb ca. 1450 BCE reinforced windows and doors

Knossos, Third Palace, Late Minoan IIIb ca. 1450 BCE fluted columns

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:

Pylos tablet PY TA Er 312 Linear B

Pylos tablet PY TA Er 312 Linear B Latinized and translation
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.  


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. 

Knossos second palace f 

Knossos second palace h

Knossos second palace g



Photo series of the Palaces of Knossos, first (1900 BCE), second (1700 BCE) & late Minoan III (1500 BCE)

For the next few months, at least twice a week, I shall be posting scores of the wonderful photos I took of the Palaces of Knossos, which I took the day I visited the site, May 1 2012.  Today, I am starting with 2 photos of the First Palace (ca. 1900 BCE), which was destroyed by earthquake.

The First Palace

Knossos first palace a

Knossos first palace a

Over its ruins the Second Palace( ca. 1700 BCE), of which you can also see a couple of photos here, was built. While the second palace also succumbed to major earthquakes, much of it still remains intact, as you will see in the next post as well.

The Second Palace

Knossos second palace c

Knossos second palace d

Some of the Third Palace, late Minoan II (ca. 1500-1425 BCE) was added onto the second. The rest of it was built over it. Even from the wasted ruins of the First Palace, you can see it was an advanced complex. Apparently, the population of Knossos was already around 18,000 by the time of the first palace, and had risen to at least 55,000 in the late Minoan III period. For antiquity, that is an extremely large city. 


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:

Map of Minoan settlements Minoan Empire

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,

MycenaeanPIN


Knossos & Mycenae Sister Civilizations


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