Knossos and Bronze Age Crete with Dr. Frederika Tevebring - Context Travel

Knossos and Bronze Age Crete with Dr. Frederika Tevebring


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Centuries before Plato and Sophocles roamed Athens, an earlier culture thrived on Bronze Age Crete, Greece’s largest island. At Knossos, the buildings, art, and storage space testifies to a society with a complex administration, a global trade network, and a rich and complex religious world. Later Greeks would remember the splendor and power of this culture in myths such as those about King Minos, who had required Athenian youths to be sent to his island labyrinth and devoured by the Minotaur.

When Knossos began to be excavated, archaeologists were stunned. The art and architecture looked like nothing that of later Greek culture. The focus on flora and fauna, the omnipresence of women in prominent positions, and the seeming absence of depictions of war and violence enticed scholars and artists alike. Was Knossos an early pacific matriarchy that had been overthrown by war-thirsty Greeks from the mainland? Later scholarship has drawn attention to how much of the reconstructions were influenced by the fantasies of its excavator, Sir Arthur Evans, who drastically altered the site with reconstructions in concrete and seemed to be unaware that some of the objects he sold to museums were forgeries produced by his own employees.

Led by specialist Dr. Frederika Tevebring, we will discuss the site of Knossos, the society that supported it, and the world of the Bronze Age Mediterranean in which it flourished. We will also take a look at its modern afterlife, and how its mystery and difference fascinated modern thinkers and artists such as Sigmund Freud, Pablo Picasso, and Virginia Woolf.

Originally from Sweden, Frederika lived in Berlin and Chicago before settling in London. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature with focus on Classics from Northwestern University. She has also earned a BA and MA in Ancient Studies and Religious History respectively from the Freie Universität, Berlin and has several seasons of archaeological fieldwork around Greece under her belt.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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