Monday, March 28, 2011

Crete and the Libyan War

What was the first civilization in Europe? What European country had the first palace?

The answers to those questions are (1) Crete and (2) Crete at Knossos.

A prediction: The role of Crete in the Libyan war will cause her reappearance in the news in the coming months.

A French C160 Transall taxis as a Greek F16 fighter takes off at the Souda military base, on the Greek island of Crete. Greece has no direct involvement in the air and missile attacks on Libya that began on the Saturday after the UN resolution of March 17, 2011. Still it has sent a navy frigate to the region and has offered the use of its air bases to the countries involved. The United States has also used a navy base on the island to build up Libya-bound forces.

A Qatar Emiri Air Force Dassault Mirage 2000-5EDA fighter jet prepares for takeoff from Larnaca international airport, Cyprus, Tuesday, March 22, 2011. Two Qatar Air Force fighter jets and a C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft were heading to Crete in the first sign of military operations by Qatar so far to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, officials said. The planes made an unscheduled stop at the island's Larnaca airport, and government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said in a statement that the aircraft would depart after refueling.

Crete is a location not to be underestimated in history, especially ancient history. Look for more news from Crete in the near future.

Crete (Greek: Κρήτη) is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece; while it retains its own local cultural traits (such as its own dialect, poetry, and music). Crete was the center of the Minoan civilization (circa 2700–1420 BC).

Under Roman rule, in Classical Latin, the island was called Creta. Under Venetian rule, it was known as Candia (sometimes anglicized as 'Candy'), a Venetian adaptation of the earlier Greek name Chandax (Greek: Χάνδαξ, "moat") or Chandakas (Greek: Χάνδακας), which in turn came from the Arabic rabḍ al-ḫandaq 'castle of the moat'. Under Ottoman rule, in Turkish, it was called Girit.

Crete has a rich mythology mostly connected with the ancient Greek Gods but also connected with the Minoan civilization.

The Idaion cave at Mount Ida was the birthplace of the god Zeus. The Paximadia islands were the birthplace of the goddess Artemis and the god Apollo. Their mother, the goddess Leto, was worshipped at Phaistos. The goddess Athena bathed in Lake Voulismeni. The ancient Greek god Zeus launched a lightning bolt at a giant lizard that was threatening Crete. The lizard immediately turned to stone and became the island of Dia. The island can be seen from Knossos and it has the shape of a giant lizard. The islets of Lefkai were the result of a musical contest between the Sirens and the Muses. The Muses were so anguished to have lost that they plucked the feathers from the wings of their rivals; the Sirens turned white and fell into the sea at Aptera ("featherless") where they formed the islands in the bay that were called Lefkai (the islands of Souda andLeon). Hercules, in one of his labors, took the Cretan bull to the Peloponnese. Europa and Zeus made love at Gortys and conceived the Kings of the Minoan civilization.
The labyrinth of the palace of Knossos has the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur where the Minotaur was slayed by TheseusIcarus and Daedalus were captives of King Minos and crafted wings to escape. King Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades.

The Minoan eruption of Thera devastated the Minoan civilization.

Wall paintings in Crete, the center of the Minoan civilization, show what has been described as a bikini, apparently a woman performing in athletics. Similar depictions have been found in Sicily (Villa Romana del Casale, 4th Century). However, Minoan women on the island of Crete 3,000 years ago wore garments that partially supported yet revealed their bare breasts; the best known example of this style is the Snake Goddess.

They used corsets that were fitted and laced, or a smaller corselette that left the breasts exposed or even forced them upwards to make them more visible. However, this corset was outerwear, not underwear. Covering the breasts, or even wearing a bra-like garment, was not a usual part of Minoan life. The succeeding Mycenaean civilization also emphasized the breast, which had a special cultural and religious significance.


SJ Reidhead said...

Do you realize how sophisticated the women's clothing was in relationship to clothing that was to come - for years? I'm doing a book on American fashion, and have developed a new appreciation for what people wore. The technique and style on the flounced skirts and the actual blouse was something not to be duplicated in western civilization for thousands of years. It was the most sophisticated in the way of needlework and actual style in the ancient world.

You almost need to get into the 1300s to find anything comparable, and even then the styles are not all that sophisticated.

The women wore real skirts. Elsewhere they were draping, using pins, and tucking. The skirts have flounces! This is a style that will not even resurface until the anti-bellum fashion no earlier than 1840!

The bodice has sleeves. Try finding actual sleeves in the ancient world.

I'd never paid that much attention to Minoan fashion until I read your post.

Where did they get their technique and sophistication?

The Pink Flamingo

Anonymous said...

This is interesting, but I don't get the Libya connection?

Piotr Henryk Nowacki said...

Great post and also great comment from SJ Reidhead