GrCrMPa

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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣Kostis Christakis♥


♠ Original name ♣Monopalatial Crete♥

♠ Alternative names ♣Mycenaean Crete, Third Palatial Period, Final Palatial Crete, Creto-Mycenaean Crete♥

♠ Peak Date ♣1390-1300 BCE ♥


Temporal bounds

♠ Duration ♣1450-1300 BCE ♥ The Monopalatial era is divided in Late Minoan II (1450-1400 BCE), Late Minoan IIIA1 (1400-1370 BCE) and Late Minoan IIIA2 (1370-1300 BCE) periods. [1] The beginning of this era is marked by the destruction of most Minoan sites and and its end by the destruction of the Knossian palace, seat of a political authority controlling the greatest part of the island.

♠ Degree of centralization ♣polity♥ Two different narratives have been proposed based on archaeological data and epigraphy. Bennet argued that Crete, except the east region of the island, was divided into a series of provinces, hierarchy organized, and centered upon Knossos. [2] Driessen suggested that the Knossian satellites acted more as local extractions nodes. [3].

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ suspected unknown ♥ It is very likely that the ruling Knossian elite was in contact with the powerful dynasties of mainland Greece. The relations between these political authorities is unknown.

Supra-cultural relations

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣Neopalatial Crete♥
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ continuity ♥
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣Final Palatial Crete♥
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ Cretan Broze Age Civilization ♥
♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ ♥ km squared.

♠ Capital ♣Knossos♥ Archaeological and epigraphic evidence shows that Knossos was the seat of a political authority controlling most of the island. To use the worlds of M. Popham "Close control over much of the island was being exercised, in part throughout a centralized bureaucracy which recorded contributions in produce, flocks of animals, localized labour forces, manufactured goods and stores of military equipment and their owners, the last indicating the build-up of considerable part in weapons and chariotry. Perhaps it was fear of this potential threat which led some other powerful state to extinguish the danger and to pillage and burn the Palace at Knossos along with its surrounding mansions." [4]

♠ Language ♣ Minoan and early Greek ♥ Cretans spoke an unknown language recorded in documents written in Linear A. The use of Linear B script in the Knossian administration suggest that the elite segment of the polity was familiar with the archaic version of Greek. [5]

General Description

Crete is a large island in the Eastern Mediterranean. Here we consider the phase of its history best known as the Monopalatial Era. This period began following the destruction of many Minoan sites around 1450, due either to natural catastrophes or human agency[6][7], and it ended with the destruction of Knossos[8] Throughout this period, Knossos was the main political, administrative and economic centre of the island: analyses of both textual and archaeological data shows that Knossos controlled a series of second-order (e.g. Kydonia and Phaistos) and third-order (e.g. Tylissos) centers[9][10]. However, a resurgence of elite display at second-order sites, starting in 1370, suggests a possible power shift in the final decades of this era, and the decline of Knossian influence over the island[11].

Population and Political Organization

The supreme leader of the state was the king, known as wanax[12] He presided over the political, economic and religious hierarchy. It is not certain, however, whether he had any military or judicial duties. Ranked second was the lawagetas, a military leader. [13] Below these leaders were the hequetai, followers, who accompanied military contingents and may also performed other functions. Other officials, the so-called collectors, were involved in acquiring and distributing exchange commodities. Among the figures at a lower level were the qasireu who served as overseer of group of workers -the predecessor of the word known from ancient Greek as the word for the king (baseless) - the telestas , officials, the korete and porokorete, mayor and vice-mayor, and scribes[14].
Firth estimates that, at this time, Crete numbered 110,000 inhabitants[15].

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣Kostis Christakis♥

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ [4000-6000] ♥ Km2. Crete has an area of 8,336 square kilometres, and was dominated by the Knossian palatial state in this period. However, the area of east Crete may have been independent of Knossian control and was perhaps organized into a separate polity or group of polities.[16] Coded for roughly half of the island's total area.

♠ Polity Population ♣ [50,000-80,000] ♥ people. Firth estimated the Cretan population during Late Minoan IIIA and IIIB periods (1400-1300 BCE) at 110,000.[17] However, the area of east Crete may have been independent of Knossian control and was perhaps organized into a separate polity or group of polities.[18] Coded for roughly half to three-quarters of the island's total population. It should be noted that this estimate is a working hypothesis open to objections and modifications.

♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ 10,000 ♥ inhabitants. Knossos is the largest urban center. [19] The growth of the city during the Neopalatial period was followed by a considerable contraction after the end of Late Minoan IB (1450 BCE), and a dramatic decline after Late Minoan IIIA (1300 BCE). The population is estimated to 25,000-30,000 inhabitants during 1500-1450 BCE, 10,000 inhabitants during 1450-1300 BCE, and just 1,000 inhabitants during 1300-1000 BCE.

Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ [1-6] ♥ levels. Knossos was the main political, administrative and economic centre of the island. The analysis of the Linear B texts found in the palace and archaeological data shows that Knossos controlled a series of second-order (e.g. Kydonia and Phaistos) and third-order (e.g. Tylissos) centers. [20] Villages, hamlets and farmhouses were scattered in the hinterland especially during the Late Minoan IIIA period. [21]The area of east Crete may have been independent of the Knossian control perhaps organized into a separate polity or group of polities. [22]

♠ Administrative levels ♣ 5 ♥ 1-5 The supreme leader of the state was the king, he was called wanax. [23] He presided over the political, economic and religious hierarchy. It is not certain thought if he had any military and judicial duty. Ranked second was the lawagetas, a military leader. [24] Below these leaders were the hequetai, followers, who accompanied military contingents and may also performed other functions. Other officials, the so-called collectors, were involved in acquiring and distributing exchange commodities. Among the figures at a lower level were the qasireu who served as overseer of group of workers -the predecessor of the word known from ancient Greek as the word for the king (baseless) - the telestas , officials, the korete and porokorete, mayor and vice-mayor, and scribes.

♠ Religious levels ♣ 3 ♥ levels. 1-3 The wanax is the head of the religious hierarchy. [25] Like the gods themselves he received offerings (e.g. perfumed oil) but he had not a divine status. He was assisted by a considerable priesthood. [26]

♠ Military levels ♣ 5 ♥ levels. 1-5 The lawagetas was the supreme military leader. Officers, called hequetai (followers) accompanied military continents. [27]

Professions

♠ Professional military officers ♣ present ♥ The lawagetas was the supreme military leader. Officers, called hequetai (followers) accompanied military continents. [28]

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Evans had argued for the presence of mercenaries from Nouvia but his suggestion is difficult to be proven on sound data. [29]

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ present ♥ The wanax is the head of the religious hierarchy. [30] Like the gods themselves he received offerings (e.g. perfumed oil) but he had not a divine status. He was assisted by a considerable priesthood. [31]

Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ present ♥ The administration of the Mycenaean states is organized in a three-tiered hierarchical system of bureaucratic control: a) the central bureaucracy located in the palace (or adjacent subsidiary structures) at the capital of the state, to b) local officials and representatives of Palace residing in the second-order centers scattered in the polity’s districts, down to c) collective groups and individuals of various occupations and social standings in the small settlements within these districts. [32]

♠ Examination system ♣ ♥

♠ Merit promotion ♣ ♥

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ present ♥

Law

♠ Formal legal code ♣absent♥

♠ Judges ♣absent♥

♠ Courts ♣absent♥

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣absent♥

Specialized Buildings: polity owned

♠ irrigation systems ♣ ♥
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣absent♥
♠ markets ♣inferred present♥ he existence of markets in the Aegean did not enjoy scholarly support for many decades, mostly due to the wide and uncritical acceptance of the Polanyian paradigm of ancient economies. Palatial institutions were seen as the only regulators of any economic transaction. Acting as redistributive agents, they were thought to draw upon raw materials and labour from the hinterland in order to produce and distribute specialized artisanal goods. In recent years, however, new perspectives have effectively challenged not only the redistributive role of governing institutions but also the negative attitude towards the existence of market and market-like systems in the Aegean. [33] Once people started looking for them, markets have begun to appear in much earlier chronological horizons, shaping the emergence of state administrative institutions. [34] ( Garraty and Stark 2010). Although there are some constrains in recognizing and understanding markets in prehistoric societies, the market is an economic process which should developed further in Bronze Age Crete.
♠ food storage sites ♣present♥ e.g. the extensive public storerooms at Hagia Triada. [35]

Transport infrastructure

♠ Roads ♣present♥
♠ Bridges ♣present♥
♠ Canals ♣absent♥
♠ Ports ♣present♥

Special purpose sites

♠ Mines or quarries ♣ present ♥ quarries

Information

Writing System

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ ♥
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ ♥
♠ Written records ♣present♥ Written records were found only at Knossos. [36] They consists of clay tablets accidentally baked by the fire that destroyed the complex. The tablets, written in Linear B script, and archaic version of Ancient Greek, record the economic interests of palatial administration. [37] The contain mostly records of agricultural and animal husbandry products such as olive oil, honey, wine, wheat, figs, condiments, aromatic herbs, crocus (saffron), animal skins and textiles; of these textiles and oil (especially aromatic oil) formed the basis of the palace's commercial activity. They also record various luxurious goods such as elaborate bull's head ryhta, silver vases, and sets of metal vases and raw materials used in the palatial workshops. Moreover the texts provide crucial information on the political and social organization of the Mycenaean kingdoms.
♠ Script ♣ present♥ The script use by the Knossian administration is the Linear B.[38]Unlike the other Bronze Age scripts, Linear B has been deciphered; the primary language in the preserved texts is Greek as it was developing in the 14th and 13th centuries BCE.
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣present♥

Kinds of Written Documents

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣present♥
♠ Calendar ♣present♥ The year was divided into named months (menos, μήνας in ancient Greek) [39] Two months are attested at Pylos: the pakijanijojo and the powowitojo, the latter interpreted as the sailing month. Months recorded at Knossos are the deukijojo, wodewijo, karaerijo, diwijojo, amakoto, and rapato. The data provided, however, by the preserved texts is not full enough to permit any reconstruction of the calendaric system (s).
♠ Sacred Texts ♣absent♥
♠ Religious literature ♣absent♥
♠ Practical literature ♣absent♥
♠ History ♣absent♥
♠ Philosophy ♣absent♥
♠ Scientific literature ♣absent♥
♠ Fiction ♣absent♥


Money

♠ Articles ♣inferred present ♥ It has been generally argued that all economic transactions were based on fruitful barter. [40] Recent research, however, suggest that market exchanges also existed in prehistory Aegean [41]
♠ Tokens ♣ inferred present♥ It has been generally argued that all economic transactions were based on fruitful barter. [42] Recent research, however, suggest that market exchanges also existed in prehistory Aegean [43]
♠ Precious metals ♣inferred present♥ It has been generally argued that all economic transactions were based on fruitful barter. [44] Recent research, however, suggest that market exchanges also existed in prehistory Aegean [45]
♠ Foreign coins ♣absent♥
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ absent♥
♠ Paper currency ♣ absent♥

Postal System

♠ Couriers ♣ absent♥
♠ Postal stations ♣ absent♥
♠ General postal service ♣ absent♥

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣Kostis Christakis♥

Military Technologies

Projectiles

♠ Javelins ♣ present♥ Evidence for javelins, the archaeological data is meagre, is provided by two small fresco fragments from Knossos. The first, named by Evans as the "Captain of the Blacks" fresco -the fresco is heavily restored- portray an African striding quickly behind a male figure holding to light javelins. [46] The second known as the "Warriors Hurling Javelins" fresco depicts javelin-armed light infantry. [47]
♠ Atlatl ♣ absent♥
♠ Slings ♣ present♥ Silings, initially used for hunting, had acquired a military role by the 15th century BCE.[48] Sling bullets were initially rounded stones and pebbles but towards the end of the Mycenaean period lead bullets also appeared.
♠ Self bow ♣ present♥
♠ Composite bow ♣ present♥ Although bows were not preserved, representational evidence and arrowheads suggest that this offensive weapon was widely used. The earliest arrowheads were made of flint band obsidian while bronze ones started appeared during the 15th century BCE.[49] About 110 bronze arrowheads were found at Knossos while a single tablet from the Knossian archive records 8,640 arrowheads. [50] The charred remains of two wooden boxes containing carbonized arrow-shafts and arrow-heads were found in the "Armoury" of the palace at Knossos. [51]
♠ Crossbow ♣ absent♥
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ absent♥
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ absent♥
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ absent♥
♠ Handheld firearms ♣ absent♥

Handheld weapons

♠ War clubs ♣absent♥
♠ Battle axes ♣ ♥
♠ Daggers ♣ absent♥
♠ Swords ♣ present♥ The swords are shorter than before and their blade is reinforced with a middle rib.[52] This new type of sword (Type B) was of medium length, equipped with a longer tang and slightly wider blade reinforced with a middle rib. The other type of sword (Type C) had two cruciform projections projecting from the hilt in order to provide protection for the hand. Experimental archaeology has show that these two types were designed for different fighting styles. [53] The handle of Type C sword allows a fencing style of fight while the handle of Type D sword allows more cutting actions. Both types were used from ca. 1450 to 1300 BCE.
♠ Spears ♣ present♥ Spearheads -the best preserved examples are recovered at the Warrior Graves at Knossos- are narrow, leaf-shaped blade with a strongly marked midrib and a socketed base. This type of spear could be used by both infantry and by chariot warriors.
♠ Polearms ♣ absent♥

Animals used in warfare

♠ Dogs ♣ ♥
♠ Donkeys ♣ ♥
♠ Horses ♣ present♥
♠ Camels ♣ absent♥
♠ Elephants ♣ absent♥

Armor

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ ♥
♠ Leather, cloth ♣present ♥
♠ Bronze ♣ present♥
♠ Iron ♣ ♥
♠ Steel ♣ ♥
♠ Shields ♣ present♥
♠ Helmets ♣ present♥ The most common helmet is the so-called boar's tusk helmet made by a series of small boar's tusks sewn onto a cup-shaped piece of leather or felt in alternating rows. [54] These helmets were used from ca. 1650 to 1150 BCE. They were depicted on frescoes -a very fine example was found at Thera- seals, and metal vessels. Bronze helmets with a plume knob and two cheek guards that were sewn onto the bowl were also know from the Warrior Graves at Knossos. Helmets were recorded in Linear B tablets. [55]
♠ Breastplates ♣present ♥
♠ Limb protection ♣ present♥ Greaves were made from a thin braze sheet and worn over a legging of linen, leather or felt. [56] It seems, however, that bronze greaves were not widely used and warriors preferred to wore linen or leather leggings. [57]
♠ Chainmail ♣ absent♥
♠ Scaled armor ♣ absent♥ The evidence for scale armors is extremely scanty; only two scale plates are know from the Aegean and it is not certain if this type of body armor, typical in the Near East, was used in Mycenaean Greece. [58]
♠ Laminar armor ♣present♥
♠ Plate armor ♣ absent♥

Naval technology

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ present♥
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ ♥
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Fortifications

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ ♥
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ ♥
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ ♥
♠ Ditch ♣ ♥
♠ Moat ♣ ♥
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ ♥
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ ♥
♠ Fortified camps ♣absent♥
♠ Complex fortifications ♣absent♥
♠ Long walls ♣ absent♥ km.
♠ Modern fortifications ♣absent ♥

Phase II Variables (polity-based)

Institutional Variables

♠ RA ♣ ♥

Limits on Power of the Chief Executive

Power distributed

♠ Constraint on executive by government ♣ ♥
♠ Constraint on executive by non-government ♣ ♥
♠ Impeachment ♣ ♥

Social Mobility

Status

Elite status

♠ elite status is hereditary ♣ inferred present ♥ ruling Knossian elite. The supreme leader of the state was the king, known as wanax[59] He presided over the political, economic and religious hierarchy. It is not certain, however, whether he had any military or judicial duties. Ranked second was the lawagetas, a military leader. [60]

Religion and Normative Ideology

♠ RA ♣ Enrico Cioni ♥

Deification of Rulers

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ inferred present ♥ Referring to the appearance of palaces in the Old Palace period: "The great wave of innovation that accompanied their advent had two main effects in the religious sphere. On the one hand, it involved the transfer of collective rituals, based on the communal consumption of food and drink, and on ritual interments, inside the palaces, with the explicit purpose of integrating forms of religious practice already established in the surrounding territory. On the other hand, in the context of a social strategy designed to reinforce the power of the dominant groups, it led to the creation of a palace religion. This received a decisive impulse from the importation of objects, ideas, beliefs and symbols from the Near East. The elites involved in this process were seeking 'to claim affinity with distant elites and represent themselves at a local level as qualitatively different beings'. From now onwards, and up to the end of the Bronze Age, the groups that controlled the palace system worked to achieve a progressive concentration of the exploitation of sacrality as a means of exercising social control." [61]

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ absent ♥ [62]

Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ inferred absent ♥ Archaeological and iconographic evidence for status- and sex-based segregation during rituals. "For example, at Ayia Triada stone chalices appear to have been used in the rooms belonging to the Quartiere signorile di nord-ovest, where, according to Robert Koehl, the rites of the andreion were performed, while hundreds of conical cups, which were probably involved in the same rites of ritual consumption, were found in the nearby storeroom.81 The technical and morphological standardization of these vessels, devoid of stylistic elaboration, and the difference in the raw material between the chalices and the cups are clear signs of the unlikelihood of interaction between elites, at the focal center of the rite, and the public, which may have watched or participated but only as anonymous actors. [...] In Minoan ritual, the distance between the common populace and the elites was metaphorically expressed in iconographic representations such as the genii and the enthroned deity (which appear, for example, on the wellknown ring from Tiryns). Among examples of this iconographic type that show serving and pouring activities, the Kamilari clay model best illustrates these activities as tasks of subordinates or nonhuman beings, excluded from social exchange." [63] "Evidence from frescoes also suggests that Minoan society was sex-segregated, at least at ceremonial gatherings. The Grandstand fresco portrays women in elegant flounced dresses sitting together and apart from a large undifferentiated red mass of men dressed (like the agricultural workers on the Harvester Vase) only in breechcloths with codpieces, their chests and limbs bare. [...] The representations on sealstones and in frescoes show major gender differences as well. There are clear representations of powerful men and women, but their power is expressed in different ways. Female deities usually sit on a platform associated with a small built structure, perhaps an altar or shrine; animals and people bearing gifts approach them. In a couple of instances the women are accompanied by supernatural animals, a leashed griffin in the fresco from Xeste 3 at Akrotiri (Pl. 7.2), Thera, and “genii” on a gold finger ring from Tiryns on the mainland (but datable to the very end of the Neopalatial period). [...] Powerful human men also appear: men standing erect hold out a staff in front of them in the Commanding Gesture, as on the “Master” seal impression from Chania (Pl. 7.3), and on the Chieftain Cup from Ayia Triada; and in the ship fresco from the West House, Akrotiri, men sit bundled up either alone in open shipboard cabins or under awnings. Several important human women can also be detected, but they are not obviously wielding or enjoying power. [...] More women than men, however, appear in powerful roles, at a larger relative scale, and their importance seems assured by the number of them who sit on camp stools, stools like hassocks, and thrones (chairs with arm rails and backs)." [64]

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ inferred absent ♥ Archaeological and iconographic evidence for elite-commoner distinction in rituals. "For example, at Ayia Triada stone chalices appear to have been used in the rooms belonging to the Quartiere signorile di nord-ovest, where, according to Robert Koehl, the rites of the andreion were performed, while hundreds of conical cups, which were probably involved in the same rites of ritual consumption, were found in the nearby storeroom.81 The technical and morphological standardization of these vessels, devoid of stylistic elaboration, and the difference in the raw material between the chalices and the cups are clear signs of the unlikelihood of interaction between elites, at the focal center of the rite, and the public, which may have watched or participated but only as anonymous actors. [...] In Minoan ritual, the distance between the common populace and the elites was metaphorically expressed in iconographic representations such as the genii and the enthroned deity (which appear, for example, on the wellknown ring from Tiryns). Among examples of this iconographic type that show serving and pouring activities, the Kamilari clay model best illustrates these activities as tasks of subordinates or nonhuman beings, excluded from social exchange." [65]
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ inferred absent ♥ Archaeological and iconographic evidence for elite-commoner distinction in rituals. "For example, at Ayia Triada stone chalices appear to have been used in the rooms belonging to the Quartiere signorile di nord-ovest, where, according to Robert Koehl, the rites of the andreion were performed, while hundreds of conical cups, which were probably involved in the same rites of ritual consumption, were found in the nearby storeroom.81 The technical and morphological standardization of these vessels, devoid of stylistic elaboration, and the difference in the raw material between the chalices and the cups are clear signs of the unlikelihood of interaction between elites, at the focal center of the rite, and the public, which may have watched or participated but only as anonymous actors. [...] In Minoan ritual, the distance between the common populace and the elites was metaphorically expressed in iconographic representations such as the genii and the enthroned deity (which appear, for example, on the wellknown ring from Tiryns). Among examples of this iconographic type that show serving and pouring activities, the Kamilari clay model best illustrates these activities as tasks of subordinates or nonhuman beings, excluded from social exchange." [66]

♠ Ideology reinforces prosociality ♣ ♥

♠ production of public goods ♣ ♥

References

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  2. Bennet, J. 1988. "Outside in the distance: problems in understanding the economic geography of Mycenaean palatial territories," in Olivier, J.-P. and Palaima, T. G. (eds), Text, Tablets and Scribes. Studies in Mycenaean Epigraphy and Economy Offered to Emmett L. Bennett, Jr. (Minos Suppl. 10), Salamanga, 19-42; Bennet, J. 1990. "Knossos in context: comparative perspectives on the Linear B administration of LM II-III Crete," American Journal of Archaeology 94, 193-211.
  3. Driessen, J. 2001." Centre and periphery: some observations on the administration of the kingdom of Knossos," in Voutsaki, S. and Killen, J. T. (eds), Economy and Politics in the Mycenaean Palace States (Cambridge Philosophical Society Suppl. 27), Cambridge, 96-112; Driessen, J. and Langohr, C. 2007. "Rallying round a "Minoan" past: the legation of power at Knossos during the Late Bronze Age," in Galaty, M. L. and Parkinson, W. A. (eds), Rethinking Mycenaean Palaces II (2nd ed.), Los Angeles, 178-89
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