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In Ancient Greece, the most influential cultural factor in art are the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus. The Greeks borrowed ideas, motifs, conventions, etc. from older civilizations, such as Mesopotamia and Egypt, but they were still undoubtedly their own land with brand new ideas and artworks. Some of the most prominent styles of art in the subculture of Greece came from the Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean peoples.
In Cyclades, statuettes were the dominating source of found art. These figurines are made of marble – an abundant material in the Aegean Sea. It is unknown why these statues were made, but most were found in graves. Many archaeologists and art historians believe the statuettes could have been painted at one time, but all that is left now is the marble itself. Most figures are female, and are shown standing upright, though they cannot actually stand on their own. All are shown in the same pose – standing with the arms folded across the chest and attenuating inwards.
An important piece of Minoan art is not a thing, but it is a place – Knossos. This palace was acclaimed to once be home to King Minos and the minotaur, and is located in Crete. This is believed to be true because in the myth of the minotaur, the creature was forced to live in a labyrinth, and Knossos does in fact have a mazelike quality about its plan. The central area was a large, open court – which was needed to battle the intense heat along the Aegean Sea – and there were dozens upon dozens of columns both inside and out of the entire palace.
As for Mycenaean art, the Lion Gate prevails as an important structure. This sculpture is the largest in prehistoric Aegean; It portrays confronting lions in the triangle of Mycenae’s main gate to the citadel. The gate itself is surrounded by huge rocks, therefore any enemies trying to enter Mycenae would have to go through the gate and be met by the Mycenae defenders. Its construction is similar to that of Stonehenge – with great monolithic posts capped with lintel. The structure was erected a few generations before the presumed date of the Trojan War, which was a time when elite families would bury their dead outside of the great gate in tombs covered by enormous earth mounds.
The apocalypse of the world has been predicted many times, but in 1200 BCE, it happened in the Aegean Sea area. We can get a sense of how luxurious the Bronze Age must have been because of the discoveries made at the destroyed sites: the treasures of Tutankhamen’s tomb, the tops of mighty towers at Knossos, and countless artworks that depict these riches and warfare. After the apocalypse though, the Mycenaeans, Minoans, Hattites, and Canaanites seem to disappear, and Egypt is left in ruins. The glorious and strong peoples are gone in an instant from one blast.
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