Comments on the Minoan Calendar theory

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We would like to thank Dr. Dempsey for sharing his theory on the existence of a Minoan calendar with us. We have asked various people with a good knowledge of Crete and the Minoan civilisation to review the article before publishing it in the Crete Gazette.

Read their collected comments in the text below.

Comments on the Minoan Calendar

Much ink has been spilled worldwide over the enigmatic Minoan Civilisation, concerning such a distant period, the prehistoric Bronze Age. We are talking about 4,000 years ago, and the sources at the disposal of scientists are very limited.

The main source of information is excavation finds, followed by written sources. The finds of the Minoan Civilisation are not enough to give us a full picture; there are many gaps. On the other hand, written sources referring to the Minoans are very few and much later in date. Of course, the Minoans used writing themselves, but what has been deciphered to date is what we would now call logistical in content.

Thus the Minoan Civilisation is mixed up with myth, and the work of archaeologist becomes particularly difficult, as they are called upon to decipher the fragmentary data available, essentially on the basis of hypothesis. The greatest difficulty and danger in the attempt to solve the riddle of a “mysterious” civilisation is that scientists are also people who think and work in the context of their own time. We cannot know how far people’s way of thinking has changed in the past few thousand years; we can only imagine it.

As regards Dr Dempsey’s interesting study, proposing the theory of the existence of a Minoan calendar framing the famous Bull-Leaping Fresco, this is a theory which has not yet been embraced by the international scientific community.

It is considered a given that the Minoan world, which was engaged in agriculture, whose economic prosperity was based on trade, and which had a large fleet that covered great distances, cannot but have had some form of calendar.

It is, however, somewhat arbitrary to maintain that this exists on a wall painting only preserved in a fragmentary state.

Furthermore, the numbers used in myths are often symbolic, while local variations of the same myth concerning time may give us different numbers. Also, we must not forget that as Linear A has not been deciphered officially, it cannot be used as proof of any theory.

Finally, our knowledge of Minoan religion is limited to such a basic level that we cannot know, but only surmise, what the main festivals or holidays of the Minoans were.

The theory of the Minoan Calendar is not convincing enough, so it is unlikely it will find supporters. It is still, however, a particularly interesting view and may also form an incentive for further study of an unknown aspect of the Minoan civilisation.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Greetings to all with an interest in learning from our most successful Western ancestors in Minoan Crete, and thanks to Crete Gazette for this forum. Would like to point out that the Gazette had room for only a small part of the evidence for this lunar/solar cycle, whose central symbol is not the Bull-Leap Fresco but the Throne of Knossos itself (inscribed with moon, sun and mountain, and physically aligned with Winter Solstice).

    When you see, rather, how this cycle is consistent with central evidences from Early Minoan to Homeric and Classical times (and with many other scholars’ findings), you’ll see that it is anything but “arbitrary.” Would it be less “arbitrary” if this cycle’s most detailed representation were found on a ring, a ceramic pot, or other object?

    Also note that no translation of Linear A is necessary to this theory’s validity: we already know the Minoan number “1” and their sign for “moon” (a left-facing crescent), and both are part of the lunar/solar structure of the Fresco. Nor is there any use of “numbers from myths” here—so I can only hope that people who have examined all the evidence more carefully will then state and explain their points of view.

    Don’t settle for these ironically arbitrary disparagements: find out for yourself, for that is what “Calendar House” enables you to do, step by step.

  2. Great work thanks!

    In Egyptian the Goddess, “Bes,” is the, “Sphinx, Chimera or Gryphon.” She is identical to the Sumerian Zu-Bird which is a creature formed of parts of each Zodiacal animal therefore the Zodiac anthropomorphized into a mythical beast. Sometimes this creature is a twin having one side with the Sun, the other naturally the moon, as the end of its cosmogony. You will notice in the fresco these bird-like creatures have five peacock-like curly feathers on their heads each with a single dot inside the curl. These are the five planets; Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn which cross the ecliptic along the axis of the beasts in the sky.

    The twin chimeras are connected by the, ‘X’ of Orion in the middle. Orion as the man is Osiris on the serpent’s back in Egypt, and Vishnu sleeping on the serpent’s back in the Hindu and Varuna riding the serpent in Hindu. The, “serpent,” is the motion of the heavens which are serpent-like snaking up and down across the sky over the course of the year. The serpent is darkness, literally black or the night-time sky of outer space upon which the stars are fixed. In Sumerian the serpent in Tiamat and the, “man,” is her son, “Kingu,” the constellation of Orion.

    Perhaps the leaping over the bull comes from Orion passing above the winter’s crescent on those few days each December-January period when the crescent moon is upturned, horns upward and low in the sky so that Orion passes above it during the evenings?

    Thanks Much

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