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MINOAN CRETE AFRICAN INFLUENCED FORERUNNER OF EUROPEAN CIVILIZATIONSTHE GLOBAL AFRICAN COMMUNITY
H I S T O R Y
N O T E S
north entrance of Palace of
MINOAN CRETE AFRICAN INFLUENCED
FORERUNNER OF EUROPEAN CIVILIZATIONS
Minoan Crete, the forerunner of Greek
"The first civilization of Europe was established on the island of
Crete. It is called the Minoan Culture, after King Minos, an early legendary
ruler of the island. The ancestors of the Cretans were natives of Africa, a
branch of Western Ethiopians." --John G. Jackson
civilization, is the earliest known European high-culture. Although modest in
size (170 miles east to west, thirty-five miles north to sourth), Crete
exercised immeasurable influence on the Aegean archipelago, Western Asia and the
Greek mainland. Throughout Crete the vestiges of complex palaces, paved
highways, aqueducts, terra-pipes for drainage, and irrigation canals provide
plentiful proof of Minoan ingenuity in the areas of scientific and technical
innovation. The Minoans possessed registed trademarks, uniform weights and
measures, calendrical systems based on precise astronomical observations and
advanced writing systems. Interestingly enough, there were few fortifications
on the island.
British archaeologist Arthur Evans (1851-1941), who conducted excavations on
the island, was convinced of African migrations to ancient Crete and noted "the
multiplicity of these connections with the old indigenous race of the opposite
African coast." The late African-American cultural historian John G. Jackson
(1907-1993) advocated the view the Minoan civilization was rooted in Africa, and
believed that the ancestors of the Minoans "dwelt in the grasslands of North
Africa before that area dried up and became a great desert. As the Saharan
sands encroached on their homeland, they took to the sea, and in Crete and
neighboring islands set up a maritime culture."
The research team of C.H. and H.B. Hawes, the latter of whom, like Evans,
conducted important archaeological excavations in Crete, support John Jackson's
argument, and noted that: "Anthropologists are inclined to the view that the
Neolithic people of Crete were immigrants, and probably came from North Africa."
Arthur Evans was convinced of North African migrations to Neolithic Crete.
He pointed out that:
"The multiplicity of these connections with the old indigenous race of the
opposite African coast, and which we undoubtedly have to deal with in the pre
dynastic population of the Nile Valley, can in fact be hardly explained on any
other hypothesis than that of an actual settlement in Southern Crete."
Historian H.R. Hall, also Oxford trained, shared Evans' position on the early
population of Minoan Crete:
"While the majority of the original Neolithic inhabitants of Crete probably
came from Anatolia, another element may well have come in oared boats from the
opposite African coast, bringing with them to the southern plan of Messara the
seeds of civilization that, transplanted to the different conditions of Crete,
developed into the great Minoan culture, a younger more brilliant, and less
long-lived sister of that of Egypt."
Whether the Minoan culture was more brilliant than that of Egypt is highly
questionable at best, but on the other points Hall seems to just about to hit
the mark. Evans, again, indeed considered Egypt and Libya as the springboards
of Minoan civilization; so much so that he structured his own Minoan chronology
on that of dynastic Egypt. He was particularly struck by the similarities in
the contents of the of the tombs of the ancient Minoans and Egyptians:
"So numerous, in fact, are the points, of comparison presented by the
contents of these early interments with those of pre dynastic Egypt that,
far-fetched as the conclusion might appear at first sight, I was already some
years since constrained to put forth the suggestion that about the time of the
conquest of the lower Nile Valley by the first historic dynasty some part of the
older population had actually settled in this southern foreland of Crete."
Gordon Childe also commented on the relations between Crete and pre dynastic
"At least on the Mesara, the great plain of southern Crete facing Africa,
Minoan Crete's indebtedness to the Nile is disclosed in the most intimate
aspects of its culture. Not only do the forms of early Minoan stone vases, the
precision of the lapidaries' technique and the aesthetic selection of variegated
stones as his materials carry on the the pre dynastic tradition, Nilotic
religious customs such as the use of the sistrum, the wearing of amulets in the
forms of legs, mummies and monkeys, and statuettes plainly derived from Gerzean
`block figures,' and personal habits revealed by depilatory tweezers of the
Egyptian shape and stone unguent palettes from the early tombs and, later,
details of costumes such as the penis-sheath and loin-cloth betoken something
deeper than the external relations of commerce."
contacts pick up again in the sixteenth and fifteenth centuries B.C. During
the reigns of Egyptian monarchs Makare Hatshepsut and Thutmose III (1504-1447
B.C.) the people of Crete, whom the Egyptians called Keftiu, were graphically
portrayed as tribute bearers on the walls of the tombs of the Egyptian nobility.
African Presence In Early Europe, Edited by Ivan Van
Man, God And Civilization, by John G.
Jackson"What you think belongs to you, but what you say belongs to the public."
"Ma ku nsia n'tima, maku; matele, ma ku mbazi."
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