What Were Some Differences Between the Minoans and the Mycenaeans?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 15, 2020 7:07:07 AM ET

A significant difference between the Minoans and Mycenaeans lies in their societies' respective dispositions towards warfare. Whereas the Mycenaeans seem to have been rather aggressive and war-like, the Minoans, alternatively, were relatively peaceful.


One of the more important clues regarding this disposition to violence or otherwise lies in the architecture of the two civilizations. Minoan palaces, for example, had open designs and lavish courtyards. Mycenaean palaces, on the other hand, were constructed with high stone walls and other clearly defensive attributes, signifying the perennial presence of danger. Additionally, while the Mycenaeans were discovered to have had a wide variety of weaponry suitable to battle, Minoan weapons were ceremonial and incapable of inflicting any real harm on a prospective opponent.

The differences between Minoan and Mycenaean artwork generally elaborate this theme even further. Minoan art frequently shows peaceful scenes of floral or marine subject matter, while the art of the Mycenaeans celebrates things such as chariots and combat. Due to additional evidence from Minoan artwork, researchers also conclude that women functioned in high-level roles in that society, perhaps even as priestesses, but there are no correlating artistic representations in Mycenaean material culture indicating a similarly elevated role for women.

Finally, the two cultures also differed in their written language: Mycenaeans wrote in the deciphered form known as Linear B, and the Minoans wrote in the still unbroken script, Linear A.