BreyerFest is once again virtual because of the on-going coronavirus pandemic. Happily, things on that front have dramatically improved in the last few months with the release of several vaccines, and I'm hopeful that we'll be able to gather in person in Lexington next year. In the meantime, I have really been enjoying the Horse of a Different Color theme for BF this year. Along with unusual equine coat colors, the theme is heavily interwoven with art history, and the inspiration for the special runs in particular runs the gamut from man's earliest cave painting art to pointillism and abstract expressionism. I plan to blog about a couple of the models, but I thought it would be fun to start with Knossos, the fantastic brindle pinto bull.
|(Photo by Breyer)|
|Photo by Jebulon - Own work, CC0, |
The Minoans were a Bronze Age civilization centered on the island of Crete in the Aegean Sea off the southern coast of Greece. Minoan civilization is generally broken up to an early, middle, and late period spanning from around 3000-1100 BCE, well before the rise of the Greek city-states. The Minoans were the first major power in the Aegean and in the wider Mediterranean as well. Their trade network extended not only to mainland Greece and the nascent Mycenaean civilization there but also to the Levant and Egypt and possibly as far as the Iberian peninsula.
Unfortunately, the earliest Minoan writing systems, Cretan Hieroglyphic and Linear A, have not yet been deciphered, and what we know about the earliest periods of Minoan civilization have been pieced together from the archaeological record, such as it is. Minoan life seems to have been centered around several large "palaces" on the island of Crete, and while they do appear to have been centers of political power, they also were cultural and religious centers as well as practical locations for storehouses.
|A digital reconstruction of Knossos as it might have been in its heyday (Source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/62670487/Knossos-palace-1350-BC)|
|Minoan goddess or priestess (Photo by C messier - |
Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Around 1450 BCE, the other Cretan palaces and some of the settlements surrounding them were destroyed by fire. Scholars speculate that earthquakes, an eruption of the volcano at Santorini (Thera), or invading Mycenaean Greeks from the mainland, if not a combination of all of these factors, had a hand in these events. Knossos seems to have thrived for about a hundred years longer, but the presence of Linear B tablets written in a proto-Greek script indicate that the Mycenaeans were indeed in control by that time. Minoan culture and power waned after this point, superseded by the Mycenaeans and eventually the mainland Greek city-states.
|Frescos at Akrotiri, a Minoan outpost destroyed by volcanic eruption|
(Photo by Ricardo André Frantz)