Matriarchy in Minoan Crete: A perspective from archaeomythology and modern matriarchal studies
by Cichon, Joan Marie, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2013
Proefschrift over matriarchaat in het Minoïsche Kreta. Het gehele proefschrift is te downloaden via PQDT Open (zie rechtsboven op de pagina).
Ancient Crete evokes for many the image of a highly sophisticated civilization: peaceful, artistic, and refined; a society in which women were highly visible and important, and the supreme deity was a Goddess. Yet despite the fact that authorities acknowledge that women played a major role in Minoan society, and the preeminent Minoan deity was female, there is a gap in the scholarly literature regarding the role of women and matriarchy in Minoan Crete. The debate over whether or not Bronze Age Crete was a matriarchal society continues to be heated and unresolved. It is the intention of this dissertation to advance the discussion toward a more complex, detailed, and certain conclusion.
Using archaeomythology as the primary methodology–a methodology pioneered by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, which incorporates a consideration of linguistics, mythology, history, and folklore as well as archaeology–this dissertation follows several lines of approach. First, by reviewing the archaeological artifacts, architecture, and religious iconography, and by surveying a wide range of archaeological and archaeomythological studies and interpretations, it shows that in Bronze Age Crete a Mother Goddess was worshipped as the primary deity and that Minoan Crete was a Goddess-centered society.
Second, it argues that Minoan Crete was also a women-centered society. To illustrate women’s central religious, social, economic, and political role in Minoan society, Minoan art–frescoes, statues, seals, and rings–along with the remains of temple-palaces, towns, tombs, and residences, are interpreted from an archaeomythological perspective. Archaeological data as well as historical and mythological clues provide substantive evidence for a matriarchal system.
This in-depth study utilizes the latest archaeological findings and the emergent fields of archaeomythology and modern matriarchal studies to make a compelling case for a matriarchal Bronze Age Crete, based on our expanded knowledge and contemporary understanding of matriarchy. The definition of matriarchy advanced by Heide Goettner-Abendroth is determined to be applicable to ancient Crete.