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Is Divinity a Gender Issue. the Case of the Minoan Goddess

Is Divinity a Gender Issue. the Case of the Minoan Goddess

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Published by: herodotean_fan on Feb 15, 2013
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ByPriscilla Field
Masters Thesis in ArchaeologyDepartment of Archaeology, Conservation and Historical StudiesFaculty of HumanitiesUniversity of Oslo2007
Ever since Arthur Evans discovered the delightfully elegant world of the Minoans, thenumerous depictions of seemingly important women have been difficult to ignore. Thesewomen, however, are invariably considered to be goddesses, or at the very least, in service toa/the goddess. This study attempts to make a case for a number of these “goddesses” to beallowed entry into the secular world. Such prominent women should not automatically berelegated to the sacred sphere in time-honoured binary fashion where men hold power in atemporal capacity and women can only do likewise within a religious framework. Ourcultural expectations, both present and inherited, should be suspended and the archaeologicalrecord itself be given the opportunity to speak for itself.Chapter 1 outlines the plot, introduces the characters and sets the scene for enactment of theMinoan drama. The historical background forms the backdrop against which all futureinterpretations are played out. Chapter 2 endeavours to tease out the reasons for the originaldeification of a number of Minoan women and to assess how “gender-neutral” theseassessments have been. Chapter 3 presents the myriad ways in which Bronze Age women inthe Mediterranean participated in their communities. It also attempts to make a case for theinfluence and power Minoan women might have had: with particular reference to their linkswith saffron. Chapter 4 presents two case-studies: the “goddess” from Xeste 3 at Akrotiri andthe “goddess” on the Mochlos ring. The denouement comes in Chapter 5.
I would first and foremost like to thank my supervisors Rasmus Brandt and IngridFuglestvedt:their advice and feedback was greatly valued. I am also grateful to KonstantinosChilidis
for taking the time to discuss my ideas and Espen Uleberg for helping to create adatabase which lay behind my initial explorations of this topic. The staff at the NorwegianInstitute and the Nordic Library were also very helpful during my stay in Athens researchingthis paper.ii

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