Do the Ancient Cretans have their own Cretan mythology?

By: | Post date: 2016-07-13 | Comments: 1 Comment
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Culture

Like Niko Vasileas said, we don’t have deciphered writings from the Minoans, so we don’t know for certain much of anything. But:

  • We know the Greeks were Indo-European, and the Minoans likely were not.
  • We know much of Greek mythology has Indo-European content in it.
  • We know some things about Minoan religion from their sculptures and frescoes: Minoan religion. And they don’t look Greek.
  • We suspect there was at least some Mother Goddess stuff going on in Minoan religion. Or at least a lot of stuff involving boobs and snakes.
  • We know there were some faint echoes of something in later Greek mythology, including the Labyrinth and the Minotaur, but also the infancy of Zeus in Crete.

But no, the pre-Greek Cretans would have had their own mythology. The Dorian Cretans would have had Greek mythology, though maybe with some admixture. The people speaking Eteocretan language a thousand years after Minoa may have had Greek mythology, or they may have had syncretism: there is a bilingual Eteocretan–Greek inscription (Dreros 1) in a Delphinium, a temple of Leto, Apollo and Artemis.

One Comment

  • John Cowan says:

    And yet there were boobs and snakes at the extreme other end of the Ancient Greek world, too. Alexander the Great’s mother sounds distinctly Minoan, not to say Euripidean. So maybe it’s a more generalized non-IE (or Anatolian) substrate.

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