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Why else are they worth copying? The value of an object is thus not represented solely by the quantity of precious materials in it, the technology used nor the style in which is made, but also by the long distance it has travelled.
It is this multiplicity of aspects that make up its value as a whole. Frescoes in particular, but even seals and figurines in the round all provide information on clothing and accessories worn by men and women of the time. After a long connection that had brought Aegean products into the Italian islands and peninsula markets since Late Bronze I in Aegean terms , during the Late Bronze III in particular in southern Italy many artisan workshops started to produce Aegean-type pottery. At the same time, on the other hand, there are clear proofs of local attempts being made to reproduce the same technological progresses as evident in the imported material.
B: a-b. Belts were probably a fundamental element of clothing: so aiding the Cretan preference for a figure with very slim waist For men, the belt also plays a practical role too — to hold a knife, a dagger or some such: a fashion assuming also a social meaning in time In Minoan representations of the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, belts seem of two types: one is thick and of a circular section, a sort of tube sometimes doubled , that emphasizes the waistline Figs.
The first type is most associated with male figures, whereas the second one is more common on females, even if not exclusively so This fashion for belts distinguishes Cretan use from that typical in Mari and, in general, in the Near East, where a long tunic without any belt is frequently worn. The belts known in Protopalatial times and so contemporary to the Mari texts appear quite simple More decorative specimens come from the Procession Fresco of the Knossos palace and are dated to the Final Palatial period Fig.
They are belts of the first sort and are worn by males. Apparently they are made of three parts, the top and the bottom bands probably of cloth, tailored as a tube and filled with something giving them a certain bulk wool? Every band is profusely decorated with motifs and is woven in different colours.
The scholar presents a detailed typology of loincloths and belts, stressing that some of them were worn quite exclusively by people appearing overweight and long in the tooth. Here the long strips of the belt, embroidered or painted with dark motifs, form a complicated whole. The banded belts are sometimes represented with a decoration of thin vertical motifs Fig.
Concerning footwear, the available information is very scanty. Indeed Minoan iconography generally portrays its human figures as barefooted, with few exceptions. From what does exist we can deduce there were at least two shoe categories: a sort of half boot, close-fitting and low-cut Fig. The representations of half boots are numerous: among them the Chieftain Vase of Haghia Triada, where one of the youths wears a belt and boots39, and again the Vapheio cup A Fig.
Dated to the Late Bronze Age is the half-boot rhyton found in Attica: finely decorated in the contemporary pottery style, even if it sports a markedly curled tip, it belongs to the same set in shape and decoration Fig. To these examples can be added the numerous clay feet of different dimensions coming from many sites in Crete and in the Mainland.
Variously interpreted as lasts for shoe production, as votive objects or as elements of a xoanon, these two clay items were here found in what is argued to be a cult area Fig. The excavator considered them as part of a life-size wooden statue, as they lack suspension holes that often characterize votive objects, and from the place in which they were found If therefore the two items were part of a wooden statue probably covered with a tunic, as proposed, it is possible they represented half boots or indeed really were covered by leather shoes.
The clay fabric, in fact, is coarse and similar to the pithoi one — so perhaps we can deduce that they were not intended to be seen? For sandals, an ivory fragment of a figure, large for the standards of the period at a third to half life-size presents elegant interwoven strap-sandals Fig.
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Time-wise all the mentioned examples — on the Chieftain Vase, the Vapheio cup and the ivory fragment — are Neopalatial ca. As shoes for foreign consumption, they had to have some special features with respect to shape, material and decoration.
Those on the Palaikastro Kouros offer an example: fashioned in gold foil and fitted onto the ivory feet. They are made up of a cross-strap on the instep and a broader one covering the ankle and lowest part of the leg: they seem a sort of open half boots Fig. From this quick excursus into the Cretan evidence, it is plausible to think that if the Cretan shoes from Mari were really exported from Crete, they could be interwoven strap-sandals, as well as the boots expressly mentioned.
This hand-crafted tradition has survived the millennia: high, tight-fitting boots remain an integral part of the Cretan traditional costume even today44, while sandals with leather straps are a typical island product, exported throughout Greece and abroad. Cretan metalworkers developed their own traditions and technologies, that show influences from the Near Eastern traditions Of course metal objects were reused and recast, so preventing exact numerical evaluations.
Further for a very long period there is no good continuity in the existence of burial sites, which are the contexts in which weapons are more usually found. Even so, the rarity of weapons for the III millennium and the first half of the II induces one to assume there were other reasons in play. It is possible, in fact, that weapons were not part of the usual grave assemblage of the Minoans and their way of expressing themselves.
The contrast with the Final Palatial phase could not be more stark: here a great number of different weapons, clustered in sets, is found in the so-called Warrior Graves at Knossos and Chania In this last case, weapons would become essential for a new identity definition as warriors or simply as men of a certain status In Crete the few available Middle Bronze Age weapons are much bedecked with precious materials and probably so very fragile as to be considered as parade weapons. An extraordinary Protopalatial knife from Mallia has golden openwork probably designed to cover a wooden handle Fig.
The golden pommel with an acrobat and the bronze sword with a gold-plated stone hilt and rock crystal pommel, both from Mallia Fig. Different is the case of the Final Palatial Warrior Graves at Knossos: they contain rich assemblages, with weapons not only numerous and sometimes beautiful Fig.
These are not only signs of social status The table-knife mentioned in the Mari texts recalls the present-day Cretan production of knives, sometimes richly decorated with mantinades, verse and images. Those at Chania in north-western Crete may serve as typical examples of a varied class that are exported to all the island and mainland Greece Making visible the invisible: Cretan objects mentioned in the cuneiform texts of Mari 3.
Some metals tin and gold still resist analysis from the point of identifying provenance. The gold could be of alluvial origin, maybe imported thanks to the mediation of Mycenaean merchants at least in the second part of II millennium, and earlier by the Cretans.
As for tin, at this time it probably reached Crete from the East or southern Anatolia. Western sources were tapped later by the Aegean peoples, from the middle of the II millennium Amongst the sources of copper exploited, and increasingly important in the Palatial eras and after, are the mines in Cyprus. Real Cretan imports and their imitations here show the connection, as does par excellence the creation of the Cypro-Minoan script in Late Cypriote IA ca.
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Like weaponry, vessels of precious metals in Crete are extremely rare, especially in the first half of the II millennium BC. Numerous though are containers in gold and silver from the Mycenae Grave Circles and from other sites outside Crete — many believed to be Minoan exports by the experts The contrast between the display of richness in these first Mycenaean tombs and the apparent simplicity of the few contemporary Minoan assemblages is explained as part of the dearth of finds in Proto- and Neopalatial Crete, or — more likely — as a cultural tendency in Cretan burial customs They could be either cups or bowls, part of the typical symposium set employed both in the Minoan and Mycenaean worlds; they are frequently found in tombs.
Besides the Vapheio cups Fig. It is the cup carried by the Keftiu in the Senmut tomb in Thebes, probably made of metal as represented in the frescoes Fig. Both are considered as Minoan works A similar cup, but with a strap handle and its surface covered entirely by deep and broad horizontal grooves, is considered to be the work of a Mycenaean artisan, educated in Minoan metallurgical techniques and tastes fig.
The few exceptions concern some multi-chamber tombs used for many generations and often found plundered.
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Another cup-form is the low version with its wide strap handle, characteristic of both Minoan and Mycenaean contexts and belonging to a slightly later phase Fig. The first of the two cups here illustrated was found in Knossos: decorated with spirals, it is considered a Minoan product. The second one was found at Marathon in Attica: extremely elegant in its simplicity, it is considered instead a Mycenaean product