What Were the Minoans Best Known For?

The Minoans were the people of ancient Crete who are remembered for their art and for building up a strong civilization in Europe to precede the Greeks. They are considered to be the first European civilization.

In the 1900s, the Minoans were given their name by Sir Arthur Evans, a British archaeologist who thought he had found the palace of King Minos of Greek mythology. The Minoan economy was based on commerce and natural resources. Trade routes were complex between Crete, Syria, Egypt and other Mediterranean regions; trade included food, cloth, dyes, tin, precious stones, timber, silver and gold. There were many farming families in Crete, as well as a wealthy class.

The Minoans are known for their palaces, especially at Knossos, and their art, including wall frescoes and statues depicting religious scenes. Crafts included painting, pottery and bronze working. They also had a powerful navy. Their language has not yet been translated.