The Bull of Minos

The Bull of Minos

The Bull of Minos

The Bull of Minos

Excerpt

One of the great discoveries of the last eighty-five years has been the discovery of the civilization of prehistoric Greece; the Aegean Civilization, as it is sometimes called. Before 1870 the history of Greece began approximately with the First Olympiad in 776 B.C. Everything before that date was legendary and mythical. The age of Homer and Homer's heroes and their cities was also regarded as belonging to a kind of classical fairyland.

Now archaeological research has carried back the history of Greece beyond the beginning of the third millennium B.C. The First Olympiad was not even at the opening of the Iron Age. Greek history has been traced by archaeology back to the very beginning of the Iron Age, back through the whole length of the Bronze Age and back into the Neolithic Age, to the dawn of civilization.

This knowledge is the fruit of the work of many scholars of many nations, but it is in the main due to the inspired research of two men, Heinrich Schliemann and Arthur Evans. The story of their work reads like a romance, and a romance it really is. Schliemann, the penniless errand boy who became a merchant prince, from the echoes of his schooldays dreamt always of finding Troy and proving that there was a solid base of history behind Homer. He constantly said that he had discovered a new world for archaeology. He was not able in his lifetime to see the full extent of the new world he had opened up, but his excavations at Troy, Mycenae and Tiryns revealed an almost limitless field for research. His collaborators and his followers gradually began to fill in the details. Then, ten years after Schliemann's death, Evans, by his excavations at Knossos, in Crete, unveiled another aspect of this new world, an aspect of unexpected splendor. He had been led to this by his conviction that a culture so brilliant as the Mycenaean could not have been dumb. He felt, he knew, that the creators of the great prehistoric culture of Greece which Schlie mann . . .

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