Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Thérèse de Vet
A stunning civilization arose in Crete between 1950 BCE and 1200 BCE, only to collapse for reasons that are as yet not clearly understood. What caused this civilization to flourish, and then mysteriously disappear? What were its links to events on the mainland of Greece? Since the early 1900s, archaeologists have uncovered monumental buildings and evidence suggesting that Crete presents a clear case of early state formation. What remains unclear is who the people were and what language they spoke. Also found were three prealphabetic writing systems, two of which remain to be deciphered. The third writing system, Linear B, is derived from the first two and proved to be early Greek; it was deciphered during the 1950s by the English architect Michael Ventris. The information received from the Linear B clay tablets forced scholars to rewrite the history of early Greek civilization. The other two represent an unknown language: ...