Bettany Hughes explores the island of Crete and the world of the Minoans. It was a people who navigated nature through negotiation, rather than domination over nature.
Hughes introduces the Minoans by telling the story of the Labyrinth, and how the myths helped them explain their paths. Crete was home to the Minoans, a civilization just misplaced and not lost. They were rediscovered and given their name. Crete was a place of a thousand stories, such as the King, a Wife and a white bull.
Poseidon gave the king a beautiful white bull, expecting the king to sacrifice the bull. However, rather than sacrifice the bull, the king sacrificed another one. Poseidon, unhappy with the arrangement, allowed the queen to fall in love with the bull. The Minotaur was born out of this love and it was placed in the labyrinth. IT was here that the youths of Athens are sacrificed. What this born out of history or just fake news, it served to remind the Athenians of their history.
Archeologists slowly started making discoveries on Crete, and discovered Europe's first civilizations. British archeologist, Arthur Evans made his way to Knossos. It was a place that begged to be uncover. They started excavating and kept excavating, kept uncovering more and more fines. An unknown civilization was brought back to life through the archeology. Continued discoveries revealed a complex civilization. They documented everything and lived their lives until something happened. The contradictions of the civilization have been documented.
What happened, archeologists could only guess. A human sacrifice was made for some reason, it seems that there was a troubled times and that it was necessary to make the sacrifice. The sea may have triggered the times of troubles which seems to have made the people abandon their female priestesses. They were the ones who worked with nature in order to ensure plenty for all. Their people were heavily invested in their religion, however as the time of troubles continued, the people turned against their religion and attacked the shrines. Bettany Hughes eulogizes the end of the Minoans beautifully.
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