Skip to main content

Unit information: The Minoans in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name The Minoans
Unit code CLAS37018
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Momigliano
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None,

Co-requisites

None.

School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

The historian C.G. Starr once famously remarked that ‘Minoan civilization is the only great civilization created in the twentieth century’ (Starr 1984). This unit examines the rediscovery, interpretation, and reception of this ‘civilisation’, which flourished in Crete during the 3rd-2nd millennia BC, and formed the background of many Greek myths and legends (such as Theseus and the Minotaur, and the labyrinth of King Minos). The unit starts with an analysis of the political and intellectual environment of late 19th-early 20th Europe, in which Minoan Crete was rediscovered, and examines how this affected contemporary interpretations and representations of this civilisation. Some of these interpretations have dominated scholarship on the ‘Minoans’ for generations, and some continue to be popular today (e.g. the notion of the Minoans as Europeans and worshippers of a Great Mother Goddess). The unit also examine how the ‘Minoans’ have been appropriated and portrayed in other fields, from Freudian psychoanalysis to modern literature, architecture, and painting.

The aims of the unit are to:

  • acquire knowledge and understanding of the historical and intellectual environment in which Minoan Crete was rediscovered; of the dominant and alternative interpretations of the character and nature of this civilisation; of aspects of the material culture of Bronze Age Crete; and of the reception of the ‘Minoans’ in modern literature, art, psychoanalysis, etc.
  • enable students to use the knowledge acquired in seminars and through independent research to construct coherent, relevant and critical arguments concerning the interpretative issues raised by the literary and visual sources studied.
  • develop skills in oral and written communication.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should:

  • have acquired knowledge and understanding of the historical and intellectual environment in which Minoan Crete was rediscovered; the dominant and alternative interpretations of the character and nature of this civilisation; aspects of the material culture of Bronze Age Crete; and examples of the reception of the ‘Minoans’ in modern literature, art, psychoanalysis, etc.
  • be able to use the knowledge acquired in seminars and through independent research to construct coherent, relevant and critical arguments concerning the interpretative issues raised by the texts, images and artefacts studied.
  • have had the opportunity to develop their skills in oral and written communication, by making seminar presentations, taking part in seminar discussions, and producing an essay and a written examination.

Teaching details

3 hours per week (seminars)

Assessment Details

One essay of 3,000 words (50%) and one examination of 2 hours (50%).

Reading and References

  • Darcque, P., Fotiadis, M. Polychronopoulou, O. 2006. Mythos: La préhistoire égéenne du XIXe au XXIe siècle après J.-C. (BCH Supplement 46; Athens).
  • Hamilakis, Y. and Momigliano, N. (eds.) 2006. Archaeology and European Modernity: Producing and Consuming the ‘Minoans’. Special volume of Creta Antica (no. 7). Padua: Ausilio, Bottega d’Erasmo
  • Farnoux, A. 1996. Knossos: unearthing a legend (London : Thames & Hudson)
  • Fitton, J.L. 1995. The Discovery of the Greek Bronze Age (London: British Museum Press)
  • Fitton, J.L. 2002.Minoans (London: British Museum Press)
  • McDonald, W.A. and C.G. Thomas 1990. Progress into the Past: The Rediscovery of Mycenaean Civilisation (2nd edition; Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indiana)

Feedback