Our first civilization of interest is the ancient, Bronze Age, Minoan civilization which was located mainly on the island of Crete in Greece. The Minoans thrived roughly 4 to 5 THOUSAND years ago. The most significant Minoan site of interest is Knossos, which was discovered by the archaeologist Arthur Evans in the year 1900 CE.
The Minoans were a seafaring people who partook in extensive trading with far off lands such as Spain, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. They are also assumed to have lived in a relatively peaceful society based on the images portrayed in their art, as well as them not having any defensive walls around their cities.
Their society was quite advanced for the time. Minoans are noted for being the first recorded European civilization to develop writing. We’re still trying to decipher their writing to this day. Aside from the development of writing they are also known to be the first Europeans to build paved roads, doing so over 1000 years before the Romans.
The Minoans even boasted such modern amenities as indoor plumbing, an underground sewage system, and indoor heating under their floors through a method known as a hypocaust system. My personal favorite is that of the first known FLUSHING TOILET that was discovered in Knossos. Talk about bronze age luxury, the Minoans get my vote for the best throne of the ancient world!
What about some of the people privileged enough to sit upon this throne? The most notable inhabitants of Knossos were King Minos and his mythical children; the noble Prince Androgeus, the devious Princess Ariadne, and their younger brother the Minotaur. The Minotaur was lucky enough to get his own labyrinth (sweet bachelor pad) under the palace complete with room service (delicious sacrificial guy imported from Athens)!
In case you haven’t guessed it yet, King Minos and his labyrinth are the inspiration for the classical Greek tale of Theseus and the Minotaur. While the Minotaur may not have been real, King Minos and his labyrinth were quite real. Couple this with the ritual worship of bulls that has been indicated in Minoan art then you can see how this tale may have been born. I’ll include a link to it here if anyone is interested in reading the story.
Another interesting point about the Minoans is that 70 miles north of Crete is the Minoan island of Santorini. There was a very wealthy seaport known as Akrotiri on this island. It is believed that this was the source of inspiration for Plato’s Atlantis myth. Minotaurs AND Atlantis, the Minoans certainly didn’t mess around.
The decline of the Minoan civilization is a point of debate. Some scholars believe it was wiped out due to a natural disaster such as a volcanic eruption or flood. Others believe it could have been due to conquest from the neighboring Mycenean civilization. There is evidence to point to any of these theories being possible.
I for one would like to believe that if King Minos had a Minotaur son under the palace then he would still provide him with working toilet. What do you think? Did the Minotaur have a toilet? Did he ever visit Atlantis?
This article is also available in MiniMag format.