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Crete

Rethymno: Soul Of Crete by Stella Kalogeraki

A solid look at the city of Rethymnon on the island of Crete. It looks at their history, culture, and the natural beauty to be found there. It's a tourist guidebook, but the author is an archaeologist so it's sombre in tone. It doesn't talk about the best night clubs, or restaurants rather it lists notable churches, has diagrams of historically significant doors, and other architecture in the city. That being said, there are some walking itineraries, and driving itineraries at the back of the book to guide tourists in the best way to explore the prefecture. The inside flap also has a city map of Rethymnon.

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Minoan and Mycenaean Art by Reynold Higgins

I am fascinated by history and especially Greek history. I am a proud Greek-Canadian. In fact, I'm Cretan (not a cretin!), so the Minoan civilization is of particular interest to me. I've visited the palace of Knossos and other sites around Crete, but I also am eager for some 'book' knowledge of Minoan civilization too.

I enjoyed this book, but it is academic in tone, so this book is not particularly exciting. It is a very informative book though. There are many color pictures with detailed descriptions. Most of the art they talk about is pottery. I'm not sure if that's only what has survived, or it was a conscious choice.

A few interesting things from the book:

  • Minoan potters influenced the Mycenaean potters even after being conquered by the Mycenaean's ~1450 BC
  • Minoan pottery can be seen in frescoes in the Egyptian city of Thebes. This means that the Minoans were doing trade with them.
  • The famous Minoan 'bull sculpture' is actually a pottery vessel for liquid. The filling hole is one of the ears and the liquid can be poured out of the mouth.
  • The 'double axe' symbol may have been an offering for the Goddess Athena. They found many gold double axes in a temple on Crete. This symbol is dear to me because I inherited a double cross gold necklace from my father. It's amazing that the symbols from ancient Minoan civilization live on in modern Crete.

I should probably read the modern history of Crete. I bought a very large book about the history of Crete when I last visited. So many books, so little time!

Rating: ★★★★ Book #7 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

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