Home Region:  Southeastern Europe (Europe)

Geometric Crete

EQ 2020  gr_crete_geometric / GrCrGeo

The eleventh century BCE marks the beginning of radical changes in southern Greece generally as well as Crete specifically, largely resulting from the invasion from the North of the Dorians [1] Overall, however, this period is relatively poorly understood, with no written sources and few archaeological finds. Most likely, Cretans mainly dedicated themselves to farming and pastoralism. Writing disappeared and artistic expression became more abstracted and geometrical. Things started to change in the eighth century, when trade routes were revitalized, and Cretans were able to capitalize on the island’s premier location in the Eastern Mediterranean. And the trade in artefacts and products was accompanied by the exchange of new ideas and technologies. [2]
Population and political organization
Not much is known about either the island’s population numbers at the time, or its political organization. In terms of population, very few settlements have been excavated, and none of these have yielded enough data for a credible estimate; in terms of political organization, it is likely that elite families were in charge but not much else could be said. [2]

[1]: (Whitley 1998, 27-39) J. Whitley. 1998. ’From Minoans to Eterocretans: the Praisos region 1200-500 BC,’ in Post-Minoan Crete: Proceedings of the First Colloquium on Post-Minoan Crete held by the British School at Athens and the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 10-11 November 1995, edited by W.G. Cavanagh and M. Curtis, M. (eds), London: British School at Athens.

[2]: Kostis Christakis, pers. comm., May 2016

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
35 S  
Original Name:
Geometric Crete  
Capital:
none  
Alternative Name:
Doric Crete  
Early Iron Age Crete  
Geometric Crete  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
800 BCE  
Duration:
[1,000 BCE ➜ 710 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
none  
Supracultural Entity:
Early Iron Age Greece/Geometric Greece  
Succeeding Entity:
Archaic Crete  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
disruption/continuity  
Preceding Entity:
Mycenaean Crete  
Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Indo-European  
Language:
Doric Greek  
Eteocretan  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
6,000 people  
Polity Territory:
-  
Polity Population:
-  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[1 to 3]  
Religious Level:
-  
Military Level:
-  
Administrative Level:
-  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
unknown  
Professional Priesthood:
unknown  
Professional Military Officer:
unknown  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Irrigation System:
present  
Drinking Water Supply System:
present  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
present  
Port:
present  
Bridge:
present  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
present  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present  
Script:
present  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
present  
Nonwritten Record:
present  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
absent  
Sacred Text:
absent  
Religious Literature:
absent  
Practical Literature:
absent  
Philosophy:
absent  
History:
absent  
Fiction:
absent  
Information / Money
Token:
present  
Precious Metal:
present  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
present  
Article:
present  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
absent  
General Postal Service:
absent  
Courier:
absent  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
unknown  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
present  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
present  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
absent  
  Earth Rampart:
unknown  
  Ditch:
unknown  
  Complex Fortification:
absent  
  Long Wall:
absent  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
absent  
  Iron:
present  
  Copper:
present  
  Bronze:
present  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling:
absent  
  Self Bow:
present  
  Javelin:
present  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
present  
  Atlatl:
absent  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
absent  
  Sword:
present  
  Spear:
present  
  Polearm:
absent  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
absent  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
present  
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
present  
  Camel:
absent  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
absent  
  Shield:
present  
  Scaled Armor:
absent  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
present  
  Leather Cloth:
present  
  Laminar Armor:
absent  
  Helmet:
present  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
present  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
present  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
present  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Geometric Crete (gr_crete_geometric) was in:
 (1000 BCE 711 BCE)   Crete
Home NGA: Crete

General Variables
Temporal Bounds

Duration:
[1,000 BCE ➜ 710 BCE]

The Geometric Crete (10th-8th centuries) is divided in the following periods: Sub-Minoan (1000-970 BCE), Protogeometric (970-850 BCE), Protogeometric B Knossian (840-810) and Geometric (810-710 BCE). The period starts with the arrival of Dorians and ends with the emergence of Cretan city-states.


Political and Cultural Relations

Supracultural Entity:
Early Iron Age Greece/Geometric Greece


Relationship to Preceding Entity:
disruption/continuity



Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
6,000 people

Inhabitants. The largest settlement of the period is Knossos and its population is estimated to about 6,000 individuals. [1]

[1]: Whitelaw, T. 2004. "Estimating the population of Neopalatial Knossos," in Cadogan, G., Hatzaki, E. and Vasilakis, A. (eds), Knossos: Palace, City, State: Proceedings of the Conference in Herakleion organized by the British School at Athens and the 23rd Ephoreia of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Herakleion, in November 2000, for the Centenary of Sir Arthur Evans’s Excavations at Knossos (BSA Studies 12), London, 147-58.


Polity Territory:
-

Km2. Not much is known about either the island’s population numbers at the time, or its political organization. In terms of population, very few settlements have been excavated, and none of these have yielded enough data for a credible estimate; in terms of political organization, it is likely that elite families were in charge but not much else could be said. [1]

[1]: Kostis Christakis, pers. comm., May 2016


Polity Population:
-

People. Very few settlements have been actually been excavated and not with nearly the horizontal sample that we should need to be able to address questions of population estimates.


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[1 to 3]

levels. Excavation data and survey information is very limited (especially for the 10th and 9th centuries BCE). [1] [2] [3] A large settlement was the center of a sparsely populated territory. Each regional landscape was organized for maximum exploitation of local resources and maximum security. This large center might represent the first synoecism of local population which will led to the emergence, during the late 8th and early 7th centuries BCE, of small city-states. Interdependence and economic and social cooperation between sites is assumed because of topographic isolation and shared water supplies, agricultural land, and pasture. [4]

[1]: For an overall picture on settlement hierarchies during this period see Borgne, E. 2003. "regional settlement patterns, exchange systems and sources of power in Crete at the end of the Late Bronze age: establishing a connection," SMEA 45, 153-83

[2]: Hayden, B. J. 2004. Reports on the Vrokastro Area, east Crete. Volume 2: The Settlement History of the Vrokastro Area and Related Studies (University Museum Monograph 119), 137-66

[3]: Haggis, D. C. 2005. KAVOUSI I. The Archaeological Survey of the Kavousi Region (Prehistory Monographs 16), 81-5

[4]: Haggis, D. C. 2005. KAVOUSI I. The Archaeological Survey of the Kavousi Region (Prehistory Monographs 16), 83.


Religious Level:
-

levels. There is no evidence for the religious organization of Cretan communities. Members of local elite families might controlled the religious sector of the large settlements that arose in Crete during the period. During the Archaic period (710-500 BCE), religious control was exercised by the Kosmoi, a board of 3 to 10 nobles annually elected by the Ecclesia, the body of free male citizens. It is very likely that some aspects of this organization existed since the 8th century BCE. [1]

[1]: Chaniotis, A. 1897. "Κλασική και Ελληνιστική Κρήτη," in Panagiotakis, N. (ed.), Κρήτη: Ιστορία και Πολιτισμός, Heraklion, 192-207.


Military Level:
-

levels. There is no evidence for the military organization of Cretan communities. Members of local elite families might controlled the military sector of the large settlements that arose in Crete during the period. During the Archaic period (710-500 BCE), religious control was exercised by the Kosmoi, a board of 3 to 10 nobles annually elected by the Ecclesia, the body of free male citizens. It is very likely that some aspects of this organization existed since the 8th century BCE. [1]

[1]: Chaniotis, A. 1897. "Κλασική και Ελληνιστική Κρήτη," in Panagiotakis, N. (ed.), Κρήτη: Ιστορία και Πολιτισμός, Heraklion, 192-207.


Administrative Level:
-

levels. There is no evidence for the administrative organization of Cretan communities. Members of local elite families might controlled the administrative sector of the large settlements that arose in Crete during the period. During the Archaic period (710-500 BCE), political, military and religious control was exercised by the Kosmoi, a board of 3 to 10 nobles annually elected by the Ecclesia, the body of free male citizens. It is very likely that some aspects of this organization existed since the 8th century BCE. [1]

[1]: Chaniotis, A. 1897. "Κλασική και Ελληνιστική Κρήτη," in Panagiotakis, N. (ed.), Κρήτη: Ιστορία και Πολιτισμός, Heraklion, 192-207.


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Buildings: polity owned


Special-purpose Sites

Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present

The oldest and the only known written record is an inscription incised on a pithos (large storage jar) at Phaistos and dated to the end of 8th century BCE. [1]

[1]: Bile, M. 1988. La dialect crétois ancient, Paris, 29


Script:
present

present: 9th century BCE


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
present

Phonetic alphabetic writing was introduced to the Greek World during the 10th or 9th century BCE when Greeks adopted the earlier Phoenician alphabet and used it to write the Greek language. [1] [2] Sound data indicates that the alphabet was first introduced and developed in Crete and not in Euboea, as some scholars had argued. [1] [3] The "Cretan theory" has fully confirmed by the recent find of a Cretan inscription at Eltyna (central Crete). [4] The Doric Cretan alphabet was very close to its Phoenician model. This alphabet was also used to express an unknown language that is believed to be the language of the Minoans that was preserved and spoken by some groups in the isolated mountainous regions of east Crete. [5]

[1]: Guarducci, M. 1953. "La culpa dell’alfabeto greco," in Γέρας Αντωνίου Κεραμοπούλλου, Athens, 342-54

[2]: Willi, A. 2005. " Κάδμος ανέθηκεν. Zur vermittlung der alphabetschrift nach Griechenland," Museum Helveticum 62, 162-71.

[3]: Guarducci, M. 1967. Epigrafia greca I, Rome, 189-81

[4]: Kritzas, X. 2010. "ΦΟΙΝΙΚΗΙΑ ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΑ: Νέα αρχαϊκή επιγραφή από την Έλτυνα," in Rethemiotakis, G. and Egglezou, M. Το Γεωμετρικό Νεκροταφείο της Έλτυνας, Heraklion, 3-23.

[5]: Duhoux, Y. Les Étéocrétoise et l’origine de l’alphabet grec," Ant. Clas. 50, 287-94.


Nonwritten Record:
present

"Significantly, however, the oral transmission of the traditions of the past allowed Greek culture to survive this loss [the loss of writing] by continuing its stories and legends as valuable possesions passed down thought time. Storytelling, music, singing, and oral performances of poetry, which surely had been a part of Greek life for longer than we can trace, transmitted the most basic cultural ideas of the Greeks about themselves from generation to generation." [1]

[1]: Martin, T. R. 1996. Ancient Greece. From Prehistory to Hellenistic Times, New Haven and London, 37.


Information / Kinds of Written Documents







Information / Money

Minting in Greece was introduced around 6th century BCE. Before that period economic transactions were based on a barter system of spits, precious artifacts and metals, animals, food, and services. [1] [2]

[1]: e.g. Seaford, R. 2004. Money and the Eraly Greek Mind: Homer, Philosophy, Tragedy, Cambridge, 125-46

[2]: Tejado, R. and Guerra, G. 2012. "From barter to coins: shifting cognitive frames in Classical Greek economy," in Herrero-Soler, H. and White, A.(eds), Metaphore and Milles. Figurative Language in Business and Economics, Berlin/Boston, 27-48.


Precious Metal:
present

Minting in Greece was introduced around 6th century BCE. Before that period economic transactions were based on a barter system of spits, precious artifacts and metals, animals, food, and services. [1] [2]

[1]: e.g. Seaford, R. 2004. Money and the Eraly Greek Mind: Homer, Philosophy, Tragedy, Cambridge, 125-46

[2]: Tejado, R. and Guerra, G. 2012. "From barter to coins: shifting cognitive frames in Classical Greek economy," in Herrero-Soler, H. and White, A.(eds), Metaphore and Milles. Figurative Language in Business and Economics, Berlin/Boston, 27-48.



Indigenous Coin:
absent

Cretans started minting around 470 BCE perhaps as a response to the reduced supple of new Aiginetan coinage. [1]

[1]: Stefanakis, M. I. 1999. "The introduction of coinage in Crete and the beginning of local minting," in Chaniotos, A. (ed.), From Minoan Farmers to Roman Traders. Sidelights on the Economy of Ancient Crete, Stuttgart, 247-68.


Foreign Coin:
present

Epigraphic evidence from many regions of the island and archeological finds attest to the use of monetary values from at least the turn of the 6th century. The first coins to be used were the Aiginetans as result of the close relations between Aigina and the Cretan city of Kydonia (West Crete) [1]

[1]: Stefanakis, M. I. 1999. "The introduction of coinage in Crete and the beginning of local minting," in Chaniotis, A. (ed.), From Minoan Farmers to Roman Traders. Sidelights on the Economy of Ancient Crete, Stuttgart, 247-68.


Article:
present

Minting in Greece was introduced around 6th century BCE. Before that period economic transactions were based on a barter system of spits, precious artifacts and metals, animals, food, and services. [1] [2]

[1]: e.g. Seaford, R. 2004. Money and the Eraly Greek Mind: Homer, Philosophy, Tragedy, Cambridge, 125-46

[2]: Tejado, R. and Guerra, G. 2012. "From barter to coins: shifting cognitive frames in Classical Greek economy," in Herrero-Soler, H. and White, A.(eds), Metaphore and Milles. Figurative Language in Business and Economics, Berlin/Boston, 27-48.


Information / Postal System



Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications



Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present

[1] [2]

[1]: Willetts, R. F. 1965. Ancient Crete. A Social History, London and Toronto, 56-75

[2]: Lembesi, A. 1987. "Η Κρητών Πολιτεία," in Panagiotakis, N. (ed.), Κρήτη: Ιστορία και Πολιτισμός, Heraklion, 166-72.









Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.