Mycenaean religion at Knossos




Gulizio, Joann

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This dissertation examines the archaeological and textual evidence for religion at the site of Knossos during the Mycenaean phases of administration (LM II-LM IIIB1). Several methodological issues in the nature of the evidence are addressed. The Linear B documents, due to their economic nature, offer limited information about religion. Moreover, the tablets from Knossos belong to at least two different phases of administration. The archaeological evidence for the different phases of cult use is often difficult to assess given the continued use of the palace over an extended period of time. To address these issues, the evidence from Knossos is divided into two temporal phases so that the textual evidence can be closely examined alongside its contemporary archaeological evidence for cult. This process has allowed for a more accurate view of the religion at Knossos in the Late Bronze Age. An evolution in the religious beliefs and practices are evident in the material culture. The presence of Indo-European divinities into the Knossian pantheon by the newly-installed Greek-speaking elite population is apparent from the outset, while previous Minoan style shrines continue to be used. In the later phase, numerous Minoan divinities are included in ritual offerings, while some Greek divinities are now given local epithets. Also at this time, Minoan shrine types gradually go out of use, whereas bench sanctuaries (a shrine type common to both Minoans and Mycenaeans) become the norm. The overall nature of Mycenaean religious assemblages at Knossos represents a unique blend of both Minoan and Mycenaean religious beliefs and practices.