Dr Barry Molloy
Research from the University of Sheffield has discovered that the ancient civilisation of Crete, known as Minoan, had strong martial traditions, contradicting the commonly held view of Minoans as a peace-loving people.
The research, carried out by Dr Barry Molloy of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology, investigated the Bronze Age people of Crete, known by many as the Minoans, who created the very first complex urban civilisation in Europe.
“Their world was uncovered just over a century ago, and was deemed to be a largely peaceful society,” explained Molloy. “In time, many took this to be a paradigm of a society that was devoid of war, where warriors and violence were shunned and played no significant role.
“That utopian view has not survived into modern scholarship, but it remains in the background unchallenged and still crops up in modern texts and popular culture with surprising frequency.
“Having worked on excavation and other projects in Crete for many years, it triggered my curiosity about how such a complex society, controlling resources and trading with mighty powers like Egypt, could evolve in an egalitarian or cooperative context. Can we really be that positive about human nature? As I looked for evidence for violence, warriors or war, it quickly became obvious that it could be found in a surprisingly wide range of places.”
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