What Was the Contribution of Minoan Culture to Greek Development?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 27, 2020 9:00:57 AM ET

The most important Minoan contribution to later Greek development was likely the written Greek language. The Minoan Linear B form of writing is a primitive form of Greek. The Minoans also developed metalworking techniques, such as gold-inlaid bronze, that passed to the Greeks through the Mycenaeans.

Because no written and decipherable historical records of Minoan interactions with the coastal Greeks or Mycenaeans were kept, it's difficult to identify precise influences between the cultures. However, it is known that the Mycenaeans conquered or displaced the Minoan empire by the 15th century B.C., borrowing or adapting much of Minoan culture as its own. In addition, the Mycenaeans developed for hundreds of years on the Minoan-dominated Peloponnesus, where they absorbed or copied many useful aspects of Minoan technology, such as building techniques and civic structures. Later, the Mycenaeans left this culture to the Greeks.

The Minoans, like the Egyptians, used columns to build strong but well-lit temples and palaces, and it is likely that the Greeks copied this technique for their own structures. Traditions of the Minoans, such as bull worship, were immortalized in Greek myth and literature as the tale of Theseus and the Minotaur, and the ultimate end of the Minoan civilization in floods and volcanic eruptions was likely the source for the legend of Atlantis recorded in Plato's writings.