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Silo, Phaistos, Crete

Silo, Phaistos, Crete



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Phaistos

Phaistos (Greek: Φαιστός , pronounced [feˈstos] Ancient Greek: Φαιστός , pronounced [pʰai̯stós] , Minoan: PA-I-TO? [1] ), also transliterated as Phaestos, Festos and Latin Phaestus, is a Bronze Age archaeological site at modern Faistos, a municipality in south central Crete. Ancient Phaistos was located about 5.6 km (3.5 mi) east of the Mediterranean Sea and 62 km (39 mi) south of Heraklion, the second largest city of Minoan Crete. [5] The name Phaistos survives from ancient Greek references to a city in Crete of that name at or near the current ruins.

The name is substantiated by the coins of the classical city. They display motifs such as Europa sitting on a bull, Talos with wings, Heracles without beard and being crowned, and Zeus in the form of a naked youth sitting on a tree. On either the obverse or the reverse the name of the city, or its abbreviation, is inscribed, such as ΦΑΙΣ or ΦΑΙΣΤΙ , for Phaistos or Phaistios ("Phaistian" adjective) written either right-to-left or left-to-right. [6] These few dozen coins were acquired by collectors from uncontrolled contexts. They give no information on the location of Phaistos. [ citation needed ]


HISTORY OF CRETE

Regarded as the birthplace of the European civilisation, Crete is the biggest, arguably the most beautiful and certainly one of the most fascinating of all the Greek islands. Small wonder it accounts for a quarter of the entire tourist trade of Greece.

It’s the most southerly island in Greece, bordered by the Sea of Crete to the north and the Sea of Libya to the south. You can reach it by ferry but it’s a 14-hour journey from the mainland port of Piraeus. Most package holidaymakers fly into one of the two international airports – at Iraklio, serving the centre of the island, and Hania in the northwestern corner. There’s a smaller airport at Rethymno, at the centre of the northern coastline, which has domestic flights to and from Athens, Rhodes, and Santorini. A third airport is being built at Sitia in the east of the island.
There are plans to replace Heraklion airport with a new one at Kestilli, south of Heraklion. There are monasteries, unspoiled mountain villages, stunning gorges, and magnificent scenery, enough to satisfy the hardiest walker. Despite the arrival of the package holiday industry in force on the island, there are still many lovely isolated spots to tempt the independent traveler.

Regarded as the birthplace of the European civilisation, Crete is the biggest, arguably the most beautiful and certainly one of the most fascinating of all the Greek islands. Small wonder it accounts for a quarter of the entire tourist trade of Greece.

It’s the most southerly island in Greece, bordered by the Sea of Crete to the north and the Sea of Libya to the south. You can reach it by ferry but it’s a 14-hour journey from the mainland port of Piraeus. Most package holidaymakers fly into one of the two international airports – at Iraklio, serving the centre of the island, and Hania in the northwestern corner. There’s a smaller airport at Rethymno, at the centre of the northern coastline, which has domestic flights to and from Athens, Rhodes, and Santorini. A third airport is being built at Sitia in the east of the island.

There are plans to replace Heraklion airport with a new one at Kestilli, south of Heraklion. There are monasteries, unspoiled mountain villages, stunning gorges, and magnificent scenery, enough to satisfy the hardiest walker. Despite the arrival of the package holiday industry in force on the island, there are still many lovely isolated spots to tempt the independent traveler.

The secrets of the ancient but highly sophisticated Minoan civilisation lay hidden for nearly 3,000 years until a British archaeologist started excavating the palace site in the early 1900s. The treasures uncovered by his team together represent one of the most important archaeological discoveries the world has ever seen. Where else can you see Europe’s oldest throne, still in its original place, and the en-suite bathroom of a Minoan queen who had the honour of gracing the world’s first-ever flushing toilet?

The biggest sceptic couldn’t fail to be moved by this island where myths, legends, recorded history, and fairy tales have merged into one giant world of irresistible fact and fiction. Only on Crete is it possible to visit the reputed birthplace of Zeus, the king of the Gods.
Modern hotels, apartment blocks and many tourist facilities have sprung up along the northern coastline.
Despite this, Crete’s ancient history and the extraordinary beauty of the island’s diverse landscape, still have their own special magic for you to discover.

The secrets of the ancient but highly sophisticated Minoan civilisation lay hidden for nearly 3,000 years until a British archaeologist started excavating the palace site in the early 1900s. The treasures uncovered by his team together represent one of the most important archaeological discoveries the world has ever seen. Where else can you see Europe’s oldest throne, still in its original place, and the en-suite bathroom of a Minoan queen who had the honour of gracing the world’s first-ever flushing toilet?

The biggest sceptic couldn’t fail to be moved by this island where myths, legends, recorded history, and fairy tales have merged into one giant world of irresistible fact and fiction. Only on Crete is it possible to visit the reputed birthplace of Zeus, the king of the Gods.
Modern hotels, apartment blocks and many tourist facilities have sprung up along the northern coastline.
Despite this, Crete’s ancient history and the extraordinary beauty of the island’s diverse landscape, still have their own special magic for you to discover.

The Minoan Palace of Phaistos, is located in the Messara Plain in south-central Crete, 55 kilometres south of Heraklion and a short distance from the archaeological site of Agia Triada, Phaistos is one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete, with many thousands of visitors annually. “Φαιστός” in Greek It is also written as Phaestos, Faistos or Festos. The Minoan palace of Phaistos was a flourishing city that arose on the fertile plain of the Messara in prehistoric times, from circa 6000 BC to the 1st century BC, as archaeological finds confirm.

Phaistos History
The history of the Minoan palace of Phaistos, like that of the other Minoan palaces of Crete, is a turbulent one. The first palace of Phaistos was built in circa 2000 BC. Its mythical founder was Minos himself and its first king was his brother Radamanthys. In 1700 BC a strong earthquake destroyed the palace, which was rebuilt almost immediately. However, Phaistos was no longer the administrative centre of the area, an honour which passed to neighbouring Agia Triada. Phaistos continued to be the religious and cult centre of south Crete. In 1450 BC there was another great catastrophe, not only in Phaistos but across the whole of Crete. The city of Phaistos recovered from the destruction minted its own coins and continued to flourish for the next few centuries until the first century BC when it was destroyed by neighbouring Gorty.

The Minoan Palace of Phaistos, is located in the Messara Plain in south-central Crete, 55 kilometres south of Heraklion and a short distance from the archaeological site of Agia Triada, Phaistos is one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete, with many thousands of visitors annually. “Φαιστός” in Greek It is also written as Phaestos, Faistos or Festos. The Minoan palace of Phaistos was a flourishing city that arose on the fertile plain of the Messara in prehistoric times, from circa 6000 BC to the 1st century BC, as archaeological finds confirm.

Phaistos History
The history of the Minoan palace of Phaistos, like that of the other Minoan palaces of Crete, is a turbulent one. The first palace of Phaistos was built in circa 2000 BC. Its mythical founder was Minos himself and its first king was his brother Radamanthys. In 1700 BC a strong earthquake destroyed the palace, which was rebuilt almost immediately. However, Phaistos was no longer the administrative centre of the area, an honour which passed to neighbouring Agia Triada. Phaistos continued to be the religious and cult centre of south Crete. In 1450 BC there was another great catastrophe, not only in Phaistos but across the whole of Crete. The city of Phaistos recovered from the destruction minted its own coins and continued to flourish for the next few centuries until the first century BC when it was destroyed by neighbouring Gorty.

Phaistos Excavations
The first excavations in the wider area of Phaistos were undertaken in 1900 by the Italian Archaeological School under Federico Halbherr and Luigi Pernier, continuing after the Second World War under Doro Levi. Most of the buildings visible today belong to the Neopalatial period (1700 – 1450 BC). Unlike Knossos, there have been no efforts at restoration but only conservation.

Touring Phaistos
Follow the paved path next to the car park to the open area in front of the ticket booth. You can buy either a ticket just for Phaistos itself or one including a visit to the archaeological site of Agia Triada, a few kilometers to the west. After the ticket booth is the archaeological bookshop and the refreshment canteen

Phaistos Excavations
The first excavations in the wider area of Phaistos were undertaken in 1900 by the Italian Archaeological School under Federico Halbherr and Luigi Pernier, continuing after the Second World War under Doro Levi. Most of the buildings visible today belong to the Neopalatial period (1700 – 1450 BC). Unlike Knossos, there have been no efforts at restoration but only conservation.

Touring Phaistos
Follow the paved path next to the car park to the open area in front of the ticket booth. You can buy either a ticket just for Phaistos itself or one including a visit to the archaeological site of Agia Triada, a few kilometers to the west. After the ticket booth is the archaeological bookshop and the refreshment canteen

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Translation of the Phaistos Disc

According to Dr Marco Guido Corsini

Please see below the translation into English kindly provided by Dr Corsini

Apotheosis of Rhadamanthus/Amenophis III - The Sun King

Side A: Most high Lady of the illustrious palace, Most high (A)usonia, Lady of the blessed and patroness of the palace of the capital city, Phaistos.

Megare, the daughter of Creon, puts there to You, the daughter of Creon, in the chapel of the palace of the illustrious, the daughter of Creon, Megare, puts there to You the disk.

Amenophis (III an Egyptian Pharaoh), very good judge of public and civil law, has been granted to Europe (his mother, the mitanni Mutemuya) for nursing, and therefore joined to the strong Noda, to Delia-Noda, the celebrated Rhadamanthus.

Side B: To Delia, strength of young people, strong goat of the Grand Vizier Ehud-Min (Minos).

To the heavenly wet-nurse, to Delia wet-nurse, holy wet-nurse of Ehud-Min's youthful vigour, Ehud-Min which Delia-Noda has helped to give birth.

Having been sprinkled to the two great (i.e. Rhadamanthus and Minos) the big (Syrian) oak supported by the double horns, the priest of the Ida (cave) then kills for You a Min (Egyptian god) bull (Minotaur) and tunes up a hymn to the morning ship "The wife of Re", that is (to the ship) of the double horns Lady, Selene.

Lastly Benapros (a priest) paints (with red) the entry stone (to the Ida cave) with the marks of Your great power.


The History Behind: The Phaistos Disc

Discovered on the Greek island of Crete, the Phaistos Disc is one of the most intriguing objects in the world. With its purpose and origins disputed, the ancient disc has captured the imagination of archaeologists and linguists due to the distinct hieroglyphics covering the surface. While many have claimed to have deciphered the mysterious disc, nobody has done an undisputed translation and nobody truly knows what the disc was used for.

Luigi Pernier was an Italian archaeologist and, in 1908, was the inspector of Museums, Galleries and Excavations of Antiquities in Florence. He had already researched several noted Italian historic sites and eagerly joined his mentor Federico Halbherr on a mission to Crete. Halbherr’s work in Crete is renowned, carrying out noted excavations at Phaistos, Gortyna and Hagia Triada. He would go on to found the first Italian Archaeological Mission to Crete in 1910. While Halbherr was detained in Italy, Pernier would make the discovery of a lifetime during July excavations at the bronze age Minoan settlement and palace of Phaistos near Hagia Triada.

Phaistos was inhabited from about 4000 BC, and according to the ancient historian, Diodorus Siculus was founded by King Minos alongside Knossos and Kydonia. Both tradition and the Knossos tablets say that Phaistos was a dependency of Knossos and the city was associated with the mythical wise king Rhadamanthys of Crete. The first palace was built there around 2000 BC and was rebuilt on two separate occasions after earthquakes. It was eventually destroyed in the Late Bronze Age, leading to the construction of an entirely new palace. Around 1400 BC invading Achaeans destroyed both Phaistos and Knossos, which finally led to the abandonment of the court.

The ruins were rediscovered in 1853 by Thomas Abel Brimage Spratt, the British commander of the Spitfire. Spratt was distinguished in his travels of the region, his studies into the geography, archaeology and natural history of the island being of particular note. One of the maps he created, “Spratt’s Map”, assisted directly in the discovery of Troy. It was during excavations at the site 50 years later that Federico Halbherr discovered the remains of the extensive palace complex.

Digging in the basement of building 101, room 8, Luigi Pernier recovered a complete “dish”, circular with a 15cm diameter and uniformly 1cm thick. The location of the find was somewhat unusual. Believed to have collapsed during an earthquake linked to the eruption of the Santorini volcano c. 628 BC, the plastered room was the primary cell of a temple depository and had previously been poor in notable artefacts, only rich in ash and animal bones. However, in this same cell, a few inches to the south-east linear A tablet PH-1 was also found.

The Phaistos Disc is unique to history with no comparable object having ever been discovered.

The object, made from fired clay, was initially dated to between 1850 BC and 1600 BC based off the reports made by Pernier. Later scholars, however, have cast some doubt on his claims of the disc being Middle Minoan, with more recent suggestions believing the discovery to be Late Minoan c. 1400 BC — 1350 BC. The theories as to the purpose of the disc are wide-ranging, with some believing it to be a court list, others preferring a hymn or musical notes. Some scholars suggest a religious aspect, with the words to a ritual or a list of spiritual centres. There is no real evidence to back any of these theories, and the whole purpose of the artefact remains a mystery.

The entire disc is no recognised form of Minoan, with no other object containing the entirety of the same symbols. During the period immediately after the discovery, most historians and experts argued that the disc could not possibly be native to Crete, stating that the inscriptions were not comparable to any form of Cretan hieroglyphs. No more than ten were identifiable at that time. Likewise, the human figures were believed to be non-Minoan, and the ship depiction was not seen in established historiography.

However, the consensus has since shifted following the discovery of objects which support the provenance of the disc. Some of the signs are now comparable to those from other known Cretan inscriptions such as the magnificent Arkalochori Axe. The eminent Spyridon Marinatos found the double axe in the Arkalohori Cave in 1934. It is believed to have been utilised in religious rituals and has fifteen symbols, some shared with the Phaistos Disc.

Equally, the spiral pattern has been found on other objects from Crete and the Aegean, with the golden ring of Mavro Spelio near Knossos being notable. Scholars also note the usage of familiar Minoan symbols such as dolphins, cattle, lilies and crocuses. They believe the symbols represent the language that was in use during this period.

The discovery was covered in 242 tokens, comprising 45 distinct symbols, with many of the hieroglyphs being explicit representations of everyday things. A diagonal line emphasises the final character in a grouping 18 times. These symbols have been stamped onto the disc, suggesting that the creation was not unique and other such discs may have been created. The inscription, which scientists believe should be read from the outside to the centre, has defied translation.

What the Phaistos Disc says has been a matter of intrigue ever since its discovery, with scholars debating the meaning of each symbol and its linguistic significance. Most believe there are too few symbols for a pictographic system of language, and there are too many to be an alphabet. Eliminating these two possibilities means that the disc is likely a syllabary language, with each symbol representing a different syllable and each grouping forming a word. This theory is defied by the fact that such systems would show an even distribution of characters, which is not the case with the Phaistos Disc. Equally, should the disc be translated this way, there would be no one-syllable words and only 10% of the disc would consist of two-syllable words. Some linguists have compared the symbols to Anatolian or Egyptian hieroglyphs and believe the text is a combination of syllabic script and ideogram. Many fear that the sample size on the disc is not long enough to create an unambiguous translation.

Archaeologists historians and scholars near-universally believe that the disc is genuine, with the 1934 discovery of the Arkalochori Axe adding weight to the claims of authenticity. However, in 2008, Dr. Jerome M. Eisenberg, an expert in ancient art forgery, accused Luigi Pernier of having forged the Phaistos Disc. Eisenberg is the founder of the Royal-Athena Galleries and has over 60 years of expertise in the field of ancient art. He has lectured on the subject at New York University and as a visiting professor at the Institute of Classical Archaeology of the University of Leipzig, presenting several papers at international congresses. Since 1954, he has purchased over forty thousand antiquities and has conducted appraisals for the US Treasury Department and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

A man of his renown making such an accusation shocked the world of history.

According to Dr Eisenberg, Luigi Pernier was desperate to impress colleagues and was seeking extra funding for his work. Seeking to outdo his mentor Federico Halbherr and the famed Arthur Evans, who’s work at Knossos had won him great renown, Pernier decided to create the Phaistos Disc . Eisenberg believes that in doing so he made several errors, notably creating the disc with a cleanly cut edge and firing the clay perfectly. Greek authorities refused to allow Eisenberg to inspect the disc due to its delicate nature and equally refused to do a thermoluminescence test to date the object conclusively. While Dr Eisenberg’s credentials indeed hold immense weight, his voice is a solitary one. Following the accusation, a symposium was convened to discuss the claims and subsequently dismissed them.

While the debate over the disc‘s provenance may be essentially decided, almost everything else surrounding the object is still in contention. While most now agree on the artefact being native to Crete and Minoan, the nature of the script, the meaning and the purpose of the disc are still matters of conjecture. Unless further objects are found that can be linked to the artefact, a second disc or fragment or even a new Rosetta Stone, the Phaistos Disc looks likely to stand as the remnants of a language lost to the mists of time.


Why did ancient people build cenotaphs?

The cenotaph did not contain the remains of the deceased. Such graves were built for several reasons. For example, if the body of the deceased could not be found after an earthquake, or it was destroyed in a fire. But most often cenotaphs were arranged for warriors who died on long campaigns, whose bodies could not be delivered to their homeland.

The new study suggests that a communal cenotaph, set in a large courtyard of a public ceremonial complex, may have been the center for funeral ceremonies. Families brought gifts and offerings here, mourning the deceased as if his remains were indeed in this symbolic grave.

In the building itself, in a large hall or in separate rooms, families could retire to mourn the deceased in their narrow circle. All this is indicated not only by the architecture of the complex but also by the artifacts found during excavations. Archaeologists have discovered a large number of burial ceramic vessels. By the way, smaller cenotaphs were also found.

Two smaller cenotaphs discovered at the Itanos site in Crete. Credit: Didier Viviers/ULB/CReA-Patrimoine


What to do in Phaistos & Matala, Crete

Discover the Palace of Phaistos and return to Minoan times

The Palace of Phaistos is situated on a hill overlooking the fertile valley of Kato Messara, bounded by Mt Psiloritis (the tallest mountain in Crete) and Mt Asterousia. According to mythology, the dynasty of Rhadamanthus, son of Zeus and brother of King Minos, ruled here. Indeed, Phaistos was one of the most important centres of the Minoan civilisation and the richest and most powerful in southern Crete.

Phaistos began to flourish at the beginning of the Bronze Age, in the mid-3rd millennium BC. The first palace was built around 1900 BC and the whole complex covered some 18,000m2, just a little bit smaller than the Palace of Knossos.

After a great earthquake around 1700 BC destroyed both palaces, a new and even more imposing palace was raised in its place and most of the reconstructed buildings you’ll see belong to this second palace. Excavations have revealed sections of the first palace as well as a temple to the Great Mother Rhea from the early Archaic Period.

Learn about the Phaistos Disc, still hiding its secrets

The Minoans don’t give up their secrets easily and the Phaistos Disc is a perfect example. It was discovered in 1908 and has been puzzled over by dozens of leading international linguists, archaeologists and cryptographers without being deciphered. It is thought to date from the 17th century BC and you’ll see it in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, one of the most significant museums not just in Crete but all of Greece.

Enjoy the sea caves and hippie vibe of Matala beach

The flower children who made holidays in Matala famous worldwide return here in the summers for the Matala Beach Festival, held in this gorgeous sandy beach with the carved caves. The history of this area of Crete goes much further back, of course. Matala was originally the port of Phaistos and then of Gortyna until the early Byzantine period. It is not known for certain who carved the caves out of the soft stone but people clearly lived in them from prehistoric times right up to the early Christian era. Nowadays, these vestiges of a bygone era are neighbours to a thriving holiday village full of hotels, cafes, bars, restaurants and shops.

Very close by are the beaches of Kokkini Ammo (Red Sand) and Kommos, which is known as a nesting site for the loggerhead turtle. You can swim in wonderfully clean and deep waters and enjoy a range of sea sports. And don’t miss out on the sunset at Livykos, just behind Paximadia, the two small islands within the Mesaras Gulf.


History of the Phaistos Disk

In 1908, the mysterious “Phaistos Disk” was found on the Greek island of Crete. Historians date it to the First Palace Period, before 1600 B.C. The disk is known as the earliest “printed” text and was named after the ancient city where it was discovered – Phaistos. Phaistos was also the home of a Bronze Age civilization called the Minoans.

Most archeologists and scholars agree that the symbols on the disk represent an early writing system. Some of the symbols on the disk can be recognized as human figures, plants, animals, and various tools like arrows, axes, weapons, shields, and vases, while others are mysterious, undecipherable marks.

According to some historians, the symbols are the letters of an alphabet, similar to the language of the Phoenicians, while others compare them to Egyptian hieroglyphs, which are composed of pictographs that represent a word or phrase. One issue, however, is that the number of symbols on the disk are too many to be considered an alphabet, and too few to be a pictograph.

It is generally accepted that the disk be read from the edge to the center, where oblique lines group the symbols together into words or phrases. Most scholars concluded that the text can be read syllabically, and it is likely a song, a poem, or even a religious chant or hymn.

Unfortunately, the writing has nothing in common with Greek, Egyptian or any other known language. No one knows exactly what language the Minoans had in the Bronze Age.

Archeologists believe that the symbols were stamped, not individually carved, which implies that more than one disk might have existed—although nothing similar has been found to date. Today, the Phaistos Disk is displayed at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum in Greece.


1. The Phaistos Disc was discovered in one of the basements of the palace located in the Phaistos archaeological site in Crete


The Enigma Of The Phaistos Disk, A 3,700-Year-Old Indecipherable Message

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The 2nd millennium BC is a period that spanned the years 2000 through 1001 BC and was marked by the appearance of great kingdoms and empires across the planet. The period marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age.

Experts maintain that the first half of the 2nd millennium BC was noted by the domination of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and Babylonia. During this time, scholars say that alphabet started developing.

However, the 2nd millennium BC also marked the appearance of Chariot warfare and population movements which are believed to have led to violent changes at the center of the millennium a new order emerges with Greek dominance of the Aegean and the rise of the Hittite Empire.

The side A of the Phaistos disk, as displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion after the 2014 renovation. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

But this period was also marked by many different things.

The mysterious artifact dubbed the Phaistos Disc, housed today at archaeological museum of Heraklion was crafted by a mysterious people, written in an undecipherable text, during the end of the Bronze Age, around 1700 BC, that is, some 3700 years ago.

The side B of the disc of Phaistos, as displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion after the 2014 renovation. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The mysterious disk-shaped object is about 15 cm (5.9 in) in diameter and is covered on both sides with a spiral of stamped symbols.

Its purpose and meaning, and even its original geographical place of manufacture remains disputed among scholars, making it one of the most mysterious archeological artifacts on the surface of the planet.

The inscriptions, made by pressing hieroglyphic “seals” into a disc of soft clay, are hieroglyphical and are similar to those of the linear script A (the system used by the Cretan culture and still not deciphered totally) and the linear B (the one used by the Mycenaeans) together with others of unknown origin.

Some researchers attribute this to a non-Cretan origin, despite the fact that it was discovered, on July 3, 1908, in Phaistos, Crete.

A Side view of the Phaistos Disk. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The disc was discovered by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier in the Minoan palace-site of Phaistos and features 242 tokens, comprising 45 distinct signs, which were supposedly made by pressing hieroglyphic “seals” into a disc of soft clay, in a clockwise order spiraling toward the center of the object. Many of these 45 signs represent easily identifiable symbols. In addition to these, there is a small diagonal line that appears underneath the final sign in a group a total of 18 times. The disc shows traces of corrections made by the scribe in several places.

However, many authors believe the disk is a forgery.

The doubts come from the own characteristics of the disc: the Phaistos Disk has straight edges, despite the fact that nearly all the clay disks of the time appear curved.

However, perhaps what casts the greatest doubts on the Phaistos Disk’s authenticity is that typographical seals were used in its manufacture when there is no other similar example in antiquity, or anything similar until the invention of the printing press by Guttenberg.

According to a report in The Times in 2008, the date of manufacture has never been established by thermoluminescence.