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Understanding Crete's mythology

What's it all about?

Collection of sacral terracottas from Gazi near Heraklion, especially goddesses with upraised arms. 1300-1100 BC. Archaeological museum of Heraklion.

(the Cretans) declare that most of the gods proceeded from Crete to many parts of the inhabited world, conferring benefits upon the race of men and sharing among each of them the benefits of their own discoveries. Diodorus Siculus

Roman mythographers and modern scholars alike have puzzled over the complex web of tales that involve Crete. These interlaced legends lie at the very core of Greek mythology’s history and meaning, and they provide any number of fascinating hints about life and religion in the time of the Minoans.

In their strange, indirect way they can tell us many things the scholars of archaeology alone would never find out. Ever since the fuzzy sciences were invented, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists and worse have had a high time smelting down Greek mythology in their various forges, generating a modicum of good glittering gold along with impressive heaps of slag.

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Sidelights and Myths

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by BetacommandBot on Wikimedia Commons, Studios, Carole Raddato, Dan Diffendale, Dimitris Agelakis, Egisto Sani, Handydad, jean louis mazieres, Jebulon, Nicholas Hartmann, PD Art, Peter Paul Rubens , Zde