Minoan civilization might have been closely depending on celestial star paths up above to assist them navigate their approach all through the Mediterranean. A examine has discovered that Minoan palaces have been even positioned to face the rising or setting of sure outstanding stars, performing as their information to business hubs.
Given its location, open-sea navigation and interregional commerce have been important to the success of the Minoan civilization. Alessandro Berio, a skyscape archaeologist, revealed the examine within the journal Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry , suggesting that, like Polynesian and Micronesian cultures, the Minoans might have used star routes to navigate the open seas and attain the Mediterranean cities with which that they had buying and selling hyperlinks.
Ruins of the Kato Zakro palace in Crete. ( tella0303 / Adobe Inventory)
Minoan Civilization: Mythology and Reality
The Minoan civilization will get its identify from the notorious King Minos of Knossos of Greek mythology, who despatched Athenian youth into the labyrinth constructed by Daedalus to feed the Minotaur till Athenian hero Theseus killed the monster.
The time period Minoan is, nonetheless, of purely fashionable Nineteenth-century origin. It’s typically attributed to British archaeologist Arthur Evans who’s credited with rediscovering the traditional Cretan civilization within the fashionable period. A Bronze Age civilization on the island of Crete and different islands within the Aegean Sea, the Minoan civilization flourished between 2600 and 1100 BC.
Whereas Evans definitely popularized the utilization of the time period Minoan, its first identified use within the sense of “historic Cretan” seems to have been in 1825 by German historian and philologist Karl Hoeck. Hoeck, nonetheless, used it within the mythological somewhat than archaeological context, having no concept that historic Crete, which was rediscovered solely within the twentieth century, truly existed.
Recreation of a Minoan stern aiming at Castor setting whereas following the rhumb line from Kato Zakro to Pelusium. The precise Minoan constellations are unknown. (Alessandro Berio / CC BY 4.0 )
The Celestial Alignment of Minoan Palaces
As reported by Heritage Daily , Alessandro Berio examined the Minoan palaces’ orientation, particularly alongside navigational instructions. These palaces are characterised by their imposing rectangular central courts, usually located north-south alongside their longer axis. Berio’s examine revealed that the axes of those palaces have been aligned with the rising or setting of outstanding navigational stars.
This alignment might have performed a important position in guiding Minoan sailors to important buying and selling locations in Egypt and the Levant. Think about the joys of those historic mariners as they set sail underneath the steering of the twinkling stars above, navigating the huge seas to achieve their locations.
The truth is, the orienting of various palaces towards particular star paths and sea lanes might have symbolized the particular relationship between these palaces and distinct overseas business hubs. Additional, they could have legitimized the facility of the ruling elite who managed the data and expertise of maritime navigation and, via this, particular sea routes.
The examine discovered that Minoan sailors might have made use of star paths or linear constellations to direct them to cities within the Mediterranean, the place Minoan artifacts and frescoes bear proof of commerce hyperlinks between them.
Diagram displaying the way in which Minoan palaces have been positioned to face the rising or setting of sure outstanding stars. (Alessandro Berio / CC BY 4.0 )
Exploring Celestial Connections: Minoan Palaces and Superior Navigation
The most important Minoan palace in Knossos was aligned with Spica, the brightest star within the constellation of Virgo, to attach with Sidon, a thriving buying and selling heart in present-day Lebanon. Apparently, Sidon holds significance within the Minoan civilization’s origin fable because it was the place Zeus, disguised as a bull, kidnapped the Tyrian princess Europa. The pair then crossed the Mediterranean to Crete the place Europa gave beginning to Minos and the Minoan civilization started.
Equally, the central courtroom at Kato Zakro was oriented towards the traditional metropolis of Pelesium (Inform Farama in Egypt) by way of Castor within the constellation of Gemini, whereas additionally being completely oriented with the Etesian winds. These findings problem the idea that the Minoan central courts have been largely oriented to sacred mountains or caves and make clear the superior navigational expertise of the Minoans.
The examine demonstrates that open-sea navigation and mathematics have been extra developed in Bronze Age civilizations than beforehand believed and interregional commerce was performed at a far larger scale. It’s doable they have been utilizing star compasses much like these discovered within the Caroline islands, north of New Guinea.
Commerce and seafaring have been essential to the expansion of the Minoan civilization and it is doable that celestial navigation performed a big position of their success and rise to energy. Berio’s examine means that the central courts of Minoan palaces, the financial and astronautical core of Minoan tradition, have been oriented in the direction of particular overseas buying and selling facilities utilizing star paths, somewhat than in the direction of any religiously vital places.
Prime picture: Representational picture depicting using star paths by Minoan civilization. Supply: Alessandro Berio / CC BY 4.0
By Sahir Pandey