Reconstruction by Ancient
Knossos was the capital city
of Minoan culture that centered on the island
civilization at Knossos represented a cultural
high point in the Mediterranean Sea.
According to Greek
mythology, it was the capital of King Minos
and the home of the labyrinth.
details about the Minoan culture in Knossos
remain lost to history. What is known about
Knossos comes mainly from archaeological
findings, specifically those of Sir Arthur
Evans. During the
Bronze Age, Minoan culture arose on the island
Many Minoan cities along the northern
coast and the mountainous interior were constructed beginning around 2000 BCE.
The Minoan cities were built with few defenses, which indicated that the Minoans
controlled the sea and depended on their ability to keep raiders from reaching
Commerce flourished at Knossos, and
goldsmiths, sculptors, painters, and seal makers were patronized by the royal court
and provided high-quality products. Minoan pottery and other artifacts have been
found as far away as Egypt and Asia Minor. Knossos was largely destroyed around
1700 BCE, possibly because of an earthquake or tidal wave. The Minoans rebuilt the
city only to see it destroyed again, possibly by the Mycenaean invasion ain the
mid-15th century BCE.
The central palace at Knossos was
determined to be more than 226,000 square feet in area. Archaeologists found that
the palace was the center of royal power but that it also had religious and
administrative facilities. The complex included approximately 1,400 rooms, plus
courtyards and corridors.
The walls were faced with
plaster or gypsum sheets and decorated with
mosaics that emphasized animals, fish, and
most famous examples include blue dolphins and
scenes of young men and women leaping over the
horns of charging bulls.
bull theme of the frescoes was repeated on many
of the pillars, which had a horn-like taper
toward the bottom.
architectural features of the palace at Knossos
included light wells to provide natural
lighting in interior rooms and large
Frequent doorways provided partitions and
easy access to different rooms.
At least some rooms served as bathrooms
with functioning toilets and running water; the water was carried through sun-baked
There was also a sanitation system that
featured an elaborate scheme of drains, pipes, and conduits. Reflective pools
installed into the floors provided extra elements.
The Minoans of Knossos also developed an
alphabet, now known as Linear A, from their earlier hieroglyphics.
The Phoenicians used the Minoan alphabet,
and the Mycenaeans later adopted it as their first written alphabet, which became
known as Linear B. After the Mycenaean invasion in the mid-15th century BCE, Minoan
civilization declined, and although the Mycenaeans withdrew from Crete after
several centuries, a unique Minoan culture no longer existed. Knossos continued to
exist, albeit as an ordinary Greek city until Roman occupation, which lasted
through the fourth century CE.