Before the Romans and the Egyptians, there were other civilisations and Empires whose ingenuity and creativity were truly incredible. One of these was the Minoans. They made their home on the stunning islands of Crete. Sitting in the Mediterranean, not far from the coast of mainland Greece, the Island of Crete is one of the most picturesque there is. Like so many of the Greek islands, it was of strategic importance for controlling trade and commerce in the region. This was all to the Minoans advantage. They used their experience at war and maritime skills to build a fleet that would soon dominate the Mediterranean. They exploited that dominance and money to build a fantastic palace. This was to be the famous city of Knossos. Its remains can still be seen to this day.
Knossos enters into the Greek Mythos as the site of the Labyrinth and the lair of the Minotaur. It is easy to see the link between the two. Minoans and Minotaur was a direct reference and also an insult from the mainlanders. They constructed a story around the islanders who had a ritual of leaping bulls. The island’s youth would run and vault a bull using its horns as leverage as a test of manhood.
So far, the extensive archaeological work that has been conducted on Knossos has not yielded substantial underground mazes or the remains of a man bull hybrid. It has uncovered some beautiful things and clearly indicates that the Minoans were incredibly advanced in civilisation. The evidence for this is clear, and it is written on the walls of the Palace itself. The incredible frescos the Minoans created show examples of their life and times. It illustrates their rituals and celebrations. It also shows they had access to colour palettes from around the sea which they exploited.
However, it is their essential ability to create pretty astounding systems of public health that can really impress. It is generally thought that the Romans are the pioneers of clean water and latrines. However, as they got all their best ideas from the Greeks, it seems the Minoans were a massive influence. In Knossos, we can see some of the most impressive drainage systems ever created by simple gravity-fed systems. Using the nearby streams and rivers, they are diverted to flow through the city and the Palace. A modern Drain Lining Company like Wilkinson Environmental would be impressed with the skills that have been shown.
Using just hewn stone and worked clay, the Minoans were able to construct a system that took all of the wastewater out of the city whilst still providing clean water as well.
A public health system is not the only example of the Minoans skill.
There are countless examples of worked ceramic, gold and pottery. The finest being a bust of a bull’s head with golden horns and intricate figurines of snake goddesses.