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                                               Minoans writing Linear A - B  

Minoan civilization reached its height between 1550 and 1400 B.C., when Crete enjoyed its greatest influence in the Aegean world. Minoan pottery circulated widely, and there are several sites in the Aegean area named Minoa. Early mainland Greek art, architecture, and religion reveal Minoan influence. At  least two Greek goddesses, Athena and Artemis, are believed to have been adopted from Crete. Striking evidence of the Minoan-Greek

interchange comes from Cretan writing on tablets that Evans and  others discovered at Knossos. Most of the tablets fall into two classes, Linear A and Linear B. (Evans  called them "linear" because the symbols are outlines rather than the detailed drawing found in hieroglyphics.) Both linear scripts are syllabic: each symbol represents a sound, such as ko, rather than a letter of an alphabet. Linear A, the older script, has not yet been deciphered; but in 1952 a British linguist and architect, Michael Ventris, showed that Linear B could be reconciled with an archaic form of  classical Greek. The tablets he deciphered are inventories, rosters, and records of all kinds, listing foot stools, helmets, horses, vessels, seeds, and the like.

That these tablets were written in a form of Greek is highly significant, for it shows that Greeks were  in Knossos during the period between 1450 and 1400 B.C., when the currently accepted chronology dates the Linear B tablets. While the Greeks were there, they learned to use the Cretan script in writing their own  language. Another important clue suggests that there were Greeks on Crete. At this time the pottery made at Knossos changed in style; the painting became more regular and formalized. This change is probably due to Greek influence. There is evidence that they also introduced larger swords and the use of the horse both as a mount and with chariots. These changes at Knossos suggest that Greeks dominated the city not  long before 1400, conceivably through outright military seizure.





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