Geometric Greece: 900-700 BC

By J. N. Coldstream | Go to book overview

10

Crete

It remains to consider the great island of Crete, at the time of her final emergence from the Dark Ages.

Owing to the local tradition of building in stone rather than in mud brick, traces of eighth-century architecture are more substantial here than in most other districts; one thinks especially of the settlements at Phaistos, Vrokastro, and Kavousi, and the sanctuary of Apollo at Dreros. The cave shrines of Ida and Dicte have yielded a rich variety of metal offerings, among which the votive bronze shields from the Idaean cave are of outstanding interest; their designs in relief form the chief corpus of Cretan figured art during this period, orientalizing in style and theme, yet beginning well back in the eighth century. Far less spectacular is the local pottery, where figured decoration is extremely rare; but with pottery we must begin, because it provides the only secure foundation for chronology, and also affords the clearest view of regional variations within the island.


LG Pottery

First, some broad geographical distinctions. A full sequence from the Knossos area illustrates the progress of the most advanced Cretan school, and the most sensitive to outside influence. This north-central style can be traced as far west as Eleutherna, and as far east as the gulf of Mirabello. A southern school, based on the Mesara plain and the surrounding foothills, is deeply influenced by Knossos, but more conservative in some respects. The eastern peninsula, from Vrokastro onwards, favoured a wild and undisciplined style showing very few links with the central schools. In the far west, practically nothing is known about the pottery of this period.

In the Knossian repertoire the most imposing shape is the ovoid cremation pithos, which illustrates the full development of the north-central style throughout this period. Until c. 750 B.C. these pithoi were exuberantly adorned in the Attic MG II manner (p. 99 fig. 31c). Thereafter, during the LG phase, Athenian influence wanes, but the decoration remains predominantly darkground; indeed, the ornament now occupies less space than before, often being confined to the shoulder. Many designs are still composed in the MG way, with a large central panel surrounded by ancillaries. On the LG pithos, fig. 86f, the panel is stopped by metopes-a typically Cretan arrangement also applied to LG kraters, oinochoai (fig. 86a, h), and the larger skyphoi and cups. Many motifs, too, survive from the previous phase: meanders, battlements, and multiple zigzags in the main panels; outlined tongues and hatched or dotted lozenges in narrower

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Geometric Greece: 900-700 BC
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Preface to the Second Edition 3
  • Preface to the First Edition 4
  • Contents 5
  • Contents 8
  • Acknowledgements 9
  • Abbreviations 12
  • Introduction 17
  • I - The Passing of the Dark Ages C. 900-770 B.C. 23
  • 1 - Isolation: the Early Ninth Century 25
  • 2 - The Awakening in the Mid-Ninth Century 55
  • 3 - Consolidation: Late Ninth to Early Eighth Century 73
  • II - The Greek Renaissance C. 770-700 B.C. Regional Survey 107
  • 4 - Athens and Attica 109
  • 5 - The Argolid, Arcadia, Laconia, and Messenia 140
  • 6 - Corinth and West Greece 167
  • 7 - Euboea, Boeotia, Thessaly, and the Cyclades 191
  • 8 - Italy and Sicily: Trade and Colonies 221
  • 9 - Eastern Greece and Anatolia 246
  • 10 - Crete 271
  • III - Life in Eighth-Century Greece 293
  • 11 - The Recovery of Literacy 295
  • 12 - Towns and Villages 303
  • 13 - Sanctuaries, Gods, and Votives 317
  • 14 - Recollection of a Heroic Past 341
  • 15 - Oriental Influences 358
  • 16 - Epilogue 367
  • Supplement 371
  • Epilogue 414
  • Glossary 416
  • Bibliography and Site Index 418
  • Index 443
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