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Minoan Cannablism?

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okamido View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 May 2012 at 18:16
In the basement of the archaeological site of Anemospilia, on the Isle of Crete, there was found the skeletal remains of 327 children. The bones were found scattered in a way that suggest simple discardment but upon examination show clear evidence of having been flayed. On the surface floors several skeletons in rubble suggest they were killed by an earthquake, however, on the alter is a skeleton, determined to be an 18 year-old male who was so compacted, that anthropologist determine he was trussed like a bull for sacrife. Examination of the bones and there discoloration also suggest that he died from blood-loss, with his killers dying moments later by the ensuing earthquake.
Did these sacrifices, coupled with the bull-worship in Minoan culture actually give rise to the Myth of the Minotaur, and was this myth a possible first use of propoganda by mainland Greek city-states against the much older and established island nation of Crete?           
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Australis View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Australis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2012 at 05:19
This is one area I've done a fair bit of research on, and while I might be wrong, I think you're conflating two pieces of knowledge into one.

Anemospilia is a fairly small site, but a dramatic one.  When opened up, it was found there were, iirc, four sets of human remains.  A woman who had been carrying a large bowl, and three people in one chamber.  One was tied up on the altar, and the way the remains were destroyed thorough burning, indicated this victim had been exsanguinated.

The theory, and I'm inclined to go along with it, is - during a terrible time (either a series of earthquakes or the tsunami), a human sacrifice was made, as being so much more pleasing to the gods, to free them of whatever terrible thing was happening.  The older male had a ring if I remember rightly, was made of iron, not at all common then.  Just after the sacrifice, a bad quake has hit the temple and collapsed it on the m all and killed them, then the other sacrifices in jars, including oil, have been ignited by the candles and torches in the building, and burned what was left.  But I can't find any reference to 327 children's remains in the same building.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anemospilia

As to human remains, I'm a bit vague about this, but do remember seeing a documentary where archaeologists had found human remains in the basements of Knossos, which had cut marks on them.  They were all a bit concerned about it, as Knossos is held up as a peaceful civilisation (none of its cities had walls, for example), and were examples of cannibalism rather than sacrifice.  An example source:
http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1142&context=totem
p.109

Was the Minotaur myth Greek propaganda?  Perhaps.  It would be interesting to know if the Greek mainland had to pay some kind of ransom to Crete/Minoa as some kind of protection or as a punishment (as the legend implies).  Did cannibalism go on in Crete?  Again perhaps, but only as an extreme in terrible times, as seems to be the case with Anemospilia.

Hope this has helped.



Edited by Australis - 29 Jul 2012 at 07:18
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pinguin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2012 at 14:20
It is possible. Ancient civilizations had a lot of dark secrets where murder sports, human sacrifices and cannibalism is not discarded. Even so bright cultures like the classic Alexandria, outstanding place of advanced research, science and arts, had a sad record of vivisection.

Only after civilization evolved, and specially after the spread of Christianity, and other humanitarian religions, human rights started, little by little, to be taking into account in the morality of societies. But it took two Millennium to reach the current state.


Edited by pinguin - 29 Jul 2012 at 14:21
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okamido View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote okamido Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Feb 2013 at 04:03
I don't know Pinguin, there is still some headhunting going on in the Philippines...by tribal people that practice Catholicism.
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caldrail View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2014 at 10:48
The Minoans certainly turned to cannabalism after the tsunami that engulfed their civilisation, or at least in places they are archaeologically observed to have eaten their own children for a period, but the event also spurred some very bloody sacrificial practises which might be misinterpreted as cannablism. Otherwise the Minoans were one of the more benign ancient civilisations as far as I know.
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okamido View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote okamido Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2014 at 22:21
What might they have been doing with the flesh I wonder, if there was no cannabalism following the filleting of the bones?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2014 at 12:21
It depends. Evidence from stone age Britain shows communities de-fleshing dead people to hasten the funeral rites of interred bones, but not cannabalism (or at least there's no evidence of it). With the Minoans, their society had crumbled under presuure from natural disaster. They were trying to survive and understand why the gods had turned against them. Human sacrifice had certainly emerged, and evidence rather pojnts to consumption of children in desperation in somem places at least. Cannabalism was unlikely to be a homogenous phenomenon, but instead perhaps we should see such things as local responses.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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