Crete History and Mythology

History of Crete

The origin of the people who settled in Crete in 2600 BC is unknown, they are peaceful, progressive, creative and, most importantly, they know how to sail. In the next 1000 years that follow the Cretans make their country a huge naval and commercial power. The big economic power of the island is clearly to been seen at the remains that where found during excavations in Knossos. Huge palaces with many rooms, adorned with rare paintings exude the joy of life, kindness and delicacy, fortless cities showing the peaceful mood and strength of the Cretans and the security that gave them the number of their ships and their naval power.

The terrible destruction is taking place in 1450 BC and incursions of the Achaeans of the Peloponnese lead Minoan Crete in depression and despair. And when in 1100 BC reach the first waves of Dorians, Crete was occupied without resistance. From the 8th BC century begins in Crete, the Greek period.

In the 5th and 4th BC century there are in Crete the cities of Gortyn, Eleftherna, Cydonia, Pytos, Praisos and others.

In Hellenistic times, independent and autonomous Greek cities of the island make alliances internal and external with other cities and establish the "common of Cretans" based in Knossos. In 75 BC Crete faces the first Roman invasion and repel. In 69 BC The Romans are coming for the second time against Crete and after three-year struggles occupy the island and crete becomes a Roman province. From 63 until 66 AD the island accepts the influence of Christianity and establish its first Christian church with Bishop Tito, associate of the Apostle Paul.

From 395 AD Crete falls in the eastern Roman Empire and knows a peaceful and happy period of up to 824 AD, when conquered by the Arabs and suffered badly throughout the duration of which lasted 136 years.

In 961 AD released by General Nicephorus Phocas.

The Venetians occupied the island in 1212, after hard struggles that lasted eight years and eleven times rebelled, until 1603, when the Venetians gave important privileges to the Cretan people. The Venetian occupation, which lasted almost four centuries, had a significant influence on art and literature of Crete, seriously influenced by western elements.

In 1717 Crete was completely surrendered to the Turks after battles that lasted many years and where the Cretans fought together with the Venetians, who finally capitulated and abandoned the last of their forts.

Until the revolution of 1821, the people of Crete revolted twice: in 1692 and 1770.

In 1866, a new revolution in Crete, after Turkey refused to recognize the claim of Crete for a union with Greece. The flag of the Revolution unfolds throughout Crete and sounds just a slogan: Union or Death.

The heroic struggle of the Cretans and the holocaust of Arkadi had caused the admiration of the world and thousands of volunteers rushed to help the island in its struggle.

On September 24, 1868 the major powers proclaim the island autonomous principality, but the revolutionary situation in the island lasted until 1878, when, with the new revolution, the Cretans have more privileges. In 1897 England, France, Russia and Italy, take the island under their protection and proclaim an independent state with High Commissioner Prince George of Greece.

In 1910, the great figure of Crete, Eleftherios Venizelos, as chairman of the Greek government admitted Crete's first MPs in the Greek parliament in Athens. And finally, on May 30, 1913, Crete finally united with Greece with the Treaty of London and since then has followed the history and fortunes of Greece.

In May 1941 the Germans, who had meanwhile occupied the rest of Greece, attack Crete. The civilian population of the island heroically resisted the invading Germans who finally captured the island after a fight of 10 days, which became known as the "Battle of Crete".
After the collapse of Germany in 1945, the heroic island reverted back to Greece..

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Mythology of Crete

Mythology in ancient Crete, like religion in many countries today, was an attempt to make clear the world in which these people lived. At a time when logic and science was at a very early stage, the creative imagination was used to explain the strange phenomena and events that these ancient people experienced. Utilising everyday happenings and familiar characters such as animals and humans they interpreted the incomprehensible incidents of their lives and created fabulous creatures, gods and half-gods which personified their longing to describe and clarify the inexplicable natural phenomena, or to seek comfort or find courage and strength to battle against the difficulties they encountered and ultimately to be able to control their world.
In the same way as religion, mythology is created around the spiritual beliefs of the people and incorporates the worship of the sun, the moon and the stars. Conversely, this desire to control their environment also has a mythical focus on heroic deeds and this too is reflected in the stories. Below, most of the well-known Cretan myths are presented.