What did in the Minoans? That is a great debate among academics today. It’s a conundrum that may not be solved in a lifetime.
Today, April 21, Voyage to Antiquity cruisers have been visiting the most important archeological site on the island of Crete, the Palace of Knossos, center of the Minoan civilization.
All were happy to be here. Yesterday we were supposed to have visited Monemvasia, another Greek island featuring another Venetian fort. However rough seas made a landing impossible and the port was closed.
Thus the Aegean Odyssey made an unscheduled sea day. It was an unsteady ride at times, but everyone seemed to make the most of it. Indeed, many cruisers were happy enough to take a break from traipsing around castles and forts, and were also grateful for the ship’s stabilizers.
In my case, I had taken ill and probably would not have been able to land anyway. I was not “seasick,” I hasten to add. It was a biological bug I apparently brought from home. In any case, it threatened to inconvenience my experiences on a port-intensive cruise such as this one.
This entailed an introduction to the ship’s medical officer, an avuncular Greek, Dr. Panagiotis Tsironis, who is licensed in a number of countries. For the next several days I tried to follow his treatments and advice, which included, but were not limited to, doses of Bactrimel, an antibiotic.
The rough ocean also threatened our tour of the Palace of Knossos. We could not on land at Rethymno, the preferred port on Crete. But Capt. Roland Andersson deftly swung us around to the lee side of the island to land instead at Heraklion. Arrangements were quickly made so that all tours might be made from that port instead.
Dr. P fixed me up so Sara and I could join the tour. As a youth, at least 50 years ago, I had read much about the Minoans and was fascinated by tales of archeologists who weathered so many difficulties in order to discover much about the lives of these ancient peoples. Two books are classics, “Gods, Graves and Scholars,” and especially “The Bull of Minos,” describing the efforts of Sir Arthur Evans to uncover and partly reconstruct the palace of these Bronze Age people.
The Minoans would have seemed ancient even to the ancient Greeks. The times under consideration were likely contemporary to that of the Battle of Troy as described by Homer at least 1,000 years after the event itself. Indeed some of the events in the Iliad and the Odyssey seemed to relate to the people now known as the Minoans.
I didn’t want to miss a minute of the tour. The tour was especially good for me since I saw the ruins I read about so long ago. The guide was okay, but I got more out of the memories of reading about this place long ago.
Without going into detail, Dr. P made it possible.
April 21, 2012
Photos by Robert W. Bone