After introducing you to five Minoan artefacts in our last lesson, I set you all a homework challenge of creating a story based around one of the artefacts below: an octopus jar, a vase with a harvest scene, the famous and mysterious Phaistos disk, a sistron and a model of a snake goddess.
Below are some of your stories so far – I will keep adding more as they come in. Well done for the wonderful imagination and use of artefacts and context in these passages!
Akane’s Journey (sistron)
Akane woke up and smiled. Today was the day! She would finally be old enough to participate in the bull tossing. The flaka priestess said it would be a great honor and if she succeeded she would be able to get her symbol an instrument to play. Excited, she sprung out of bed and raced out the door not even stopping to wash her face. As she ran down the flights of stairs she thought about the ceremony . “Mama would have been proud”, she thought. Then she skidded into the screten and flopped down on a chair next to her best friend Moi. The high priestess was doing a speech. He looked at her up and down and curtly said, “You’re late”. When everyone was clapping at the priestesses wisdom so he would not be heard. She was about to whisper angrily back when her name was called then with a smile on her face thought “its time!” Then she got up and stood next to the flaka priest and the beautiful bull was taken in then as practiced she flipped over the bull her eyes fluted in awe at the bull wonderful caramel brown coat. “It really was like magic” she mused.
Then she was flat on the ground again and the magic flew away. Then suddenly everyone crowded around her. “You did it!” they cried. Even Moi managed a grudging smile. He would complete the same tak two months later. Then the festivities began. There was wonderful food wine straight from the vineyards and all types of exotic cheeses from the mainland. Then there was an award ceremony. She stood up and it was finally given to her. The instrument. It was weird she wouldn’t be coming back for a long time. She had to go to the skies and learn the ways of the goddesses. Then she touched the instrument. She hugged Moi goodbye and called as she walked to the stone. “I’ll see you there soon” then the priestess blue the horn and she felt the magic lift her up. This was her journey.
Her day had finally come.
The Maze Beneath (Phaistos disk)
Early one morning three days after the eruption a small group of archaeologists trekked up the gravelly slope. An hour later they came upon a large cave and by the look of it had been recently exposed. Samson the (leader of the group) said “I guess this is what all the fuss was about.” Although the cave didn’t look like much at closer inspection there were strange symbols littering the walls and ceiling. Near the far end of the corridor a heavy stone door sat with an intricate seal plastered over the front. The group approached the door wielding flashlights. Max (one of the other archaeologists) said “don’t think that door would shift without a key so lucky I have it.” As he said that he produced a rough circular item inscribed with the same markings as the door. He held it up and placed it on the stone door, seconds later the corridor shook and a low grinding started up. Max removed the disk from the door and said “well what are you waiting for!” and with that he slipped through the rapidly opening gap. The others yelled after him “wait up!” and were just in time to see him disappear down a stone trapdoor that closed rapidly behind him. A resounding boom shook the ground behind them. The great stone door was closed. Sam (the last member of the group) “groaned now how are we to get back out?” “we literally just got in but now we’re stuck and we’ll die before we break out!” Samson said “well if we are to get out we need the key and to get the key we need to find max.” “so let’s get searching, and look out for booby traps.”
Meanwhile Max had fallen from the chute into a long tunnel carved by decades of running water. On the other side a small tunnel branched off, he thought it must lead somewhere so he went down on hands and knees and started crawling through the damp dingy tunnel. There was a gradual slope upwards so he thought my luck must be changing. When he reached the top he was astonished to see a skull glaring at him from under a mat of cobwebs and an arrow piercing through an eye socket. Crawling out he could then see the rest of the skeleton who was covered in a pathetic layer of tatters. He jumped as a soft click indicated a crossbow firing that was soon joined by a piercing pain in his right thigh, being very careful as to not retrigger the trap he painfully scrabbled away. Half an hour later the other two came across the skeleton and the trail of blood they followed it thinking it was from their lost friend who was now very lost. They however by pure luck didn’t trigger the trap but instead continued on the trail. A little later they found a discarded arrow and Max laying on the floor unconscious. Sam said “he was very lucky to have to not been hit in the artery.” A few bandages and the later Max’s leg stopped bleeding, the first thing he said was “where have you been?”
After two days and nothing to eat they all were getting weary of the familiar yet different passages but thankfully to many springs along the route they hadn’t died of thirst. But as day after day dragged on they were becoming thin and their stomachs screamed for food. Many days later they stumbled into a room filled with mountains of gold and giant gems larger than their heads, on the other side of the room there sat a door identical to the one they first got in through. They stumbled forwards laughing with joy but as the door rumbled open they were greeted with not freedom but a large golden fountain encrusted with sapphires and rubies. They walked up to the fountain and watched as rainbow fish darted around in the crystalline water later they had their first proper meal in ages of the rainbow fish and washed down with some of the glistening water. However moments later a booming voice cried out “how dare you eat the fish and drink the water of the fountain of the seven suns!” walls cracked and pillars crumbled Samson yelled “we have to get out of here it’s all collapsing!” they darted down corridors and skidded around corners with the tunnels collapsing moments later they sprinted down a corridor to be blocked by the same heavy stone door that they came in by Max waddled up shouting “I have the disk now let’s get out of here!” he crammed the disk against the strange symbol. The door opened up just in time, they streamed out of the tunnel into broad daylight just in time to be met with the welcome sight of a helicopter. Later they asked how long have we been in there the rescue crew replied about three days, but to them had been almost a month.
The worst harvesting season ever! (harvester vase)
At last the harvesting festival but for some reason people are frowning and a lot of people walk away and soon after I realise why. The crops were not well grown so people had shame on the Gods for not bringing nice weather to Crete to grow food for the village/town. The farmers went to their homes angry because it was their favorite time of the year and they missed the enjoyment of singing and dancing around.
I have no clue what we did wrong? Did we annoy the Gods or did we just not have a good growing season? What I will do is go to the Oracle and ask them what to do and will make an announcement to everyone and we can have the best season next year. So I went to the Oracle and asked them why the Gods are mad and it was a long way to get there and I had to take the dead crops as my food for the hike. My first meal of the hike was a cob of dead corn, it was disgusting! The taste was horrible and it was hard and there was no juice. It was dry.
The next day, I woke up hungry and was halfway there. I carried on going and didn’t stop until I got there. I had to wait a bit but at that time I had something to eat and drink. When it was my turn I walked in slowly and asked my question. The Oracle said that it was because they were not given back to so the Gods didn’t give so if you give.
Phaistos Disk story
Many years ago, even a while before men and women were worshiping eros for there love and the fates for a longer life. A large-coaster-shaped object fell from the sky. You could say it was one of the earliest UFOs (unidentified flying object). Its description was it was beige and had a labyrinth like pattern with symbols patterned through the lines, some more common than other. When this landed in crop field a young girl found it and confused by it. She ran to her father, who handed it to the only man it the city who could write beginning and bribing for a translation , though he left empty handed as it was not his local language. The item stayed in the Creat for another 500 years. Was it was claimed to be rediscovered by a royal when really it was his servant! This puzzled the king for the same reason it puzzled the beings before him. And news spread across the palace of this artifact. leaving the hole city soon guessing. Another young girl other heard her parents talking about the object and thought them rather silly. she was certain of what the object was, but here age, power, gender, and position meant that no one would listen. Which was rather a shame, her idea being coincidentally correct!
My role is to educate you on her idea! As I sit here drinking coffee, typing on my computer around 2000 years later I will tell you about a girl called Helena, who spent her days being a people watcher on different streets old and new, especially the old and unimportant buildings as she was only allowed in those and they were less busy so she could not get lost. Sadly, for Helena, the lack of people to watch made her result in staring at buildings. In the corner of one she noticed the same patterns as the artefact were drawn into the wall along with some other words that her father translated:” σχήματα ομάδων πουλιών “and I can now translate the “shapes of the birds groups”.
The girl who found the confusing object before Helena had found the possession of a tree nymph who noted down shapes of passing bird formations, some looked like shields, gates, or oxes. This was all in the language of nymph. She got he material from a magpie nest and once finished. She dropped it for the fun of confusing beings, like siblings, nymph get pleasure from annoying things. And humans were annoyed that they could not guess what the nymph notes were. Though, the girl before Helena was sad that no one could guess the language of the object she found, and the nymph felt sorry for her and whispered what it meant to her in her sleep. She noted down the objects pattern and its meaning on her bedroom wall for Helena to find. The girl before did not now the meaning of the word she wrote as they were in future language, which the nymph new. And it was in the language that Helena spoke, though she could not read her father could and translated it to her. You also may be wandering why Helena’s father did not speak about the meaning of the artifact , but he could not find a excuses to being in the old buildings (though unwanted they are still out of bounds, he lets Helena go because she can use her age as innocence).
A ray of light struck me from above, waking me from a troubled sleep. I had been tossing and turning, uncomfortable on the rocky ground beneath me. Grass and thorns stuck to my back with impertinent persistence, so by this point I’d given up trying to remove them. I blinked, once, twice, three times. Regaining my sense of direction, I stared at the fleck of dusk flying above me in the sunlight. Towering trees swayed in the wind, whispering their secrets in hushed voices. Luscious leaves smiled down from the boughs above my head, chuckling, as I slid one hand over my eyes, in a feeble effort to block the rising sun. But in the end, you can never escape the day ahead. I sat up, clearing the foliage in front of me, to watch the sun rise. Shining rays of golden light, reached out with glowing fingers. Streaks of red and orange struck the last of the night, chasing it from the realm of their master. Ambers, pinks, reds and golds filled the air, and the sky was ready for the sun.
An impossible ally, a kind friend. With rosy fingers it cradled the sky back to health, shaking off the shackles of night. Every morning it banishes the darkness and cold from the realm, only to be defeated again at sundown. But during the daylight hours, there is always work to be done! I’d been collecting berries, steadily getting further and further from the part of the forest I know. I soon found myself in an alien territory, no idea where I was. Wandering around aimlessly for a bit, I blundered into a giant, unnatural structure. An enormous doorway overshadowed me, and beyond it was nothing but black. Impenetrable midnight was beyond that door… So I stepped inside.
Squinting through the dark, I could make out vibrant, blood red walls, and double edged axes. They were painted, scratched, and carved everywhere. Uneasily, I staggered on, into the gloom. Swallowed up, groping my way along a lengthy and winding wall, I lost my footing… And landed at the feet of a warrior king. His face was hardly visible through the dingy shadows, but as soon as he’d grabbed me with a strong, unwavering hand, I knew fate had been decided. Lifting me three feet from the dusty floor from the scruff of my neck, I yelped with pain. But this, remember, is just the beginning… Dragging me to the exit of their den with icy countenances, the soldiers laughed, joyously. What had they planned? It seemed to me that my sudden appearance was nothing short of a miracle for them. A sense of foreboding fell over me, and, even in the baking heat of near-midday, I shivered. Aware my life was a stake, communication seemed to be key……. I tried. I really did try, to talk to them. But my efforts were ignored. With a grip of steel and a heart of stone, their leader suddenly stopped. They had dragged me, over stone and thistle, to a clearing in the forest. Suddenly, looking up, the trees seemed just a little less kind… The altar was made of anything yellow, golden or amber. It reminded me of the sunrise, so many hours ago. Dry leaves, dandelions, coins and roses lay in a neat heap on the crest of a boulder. Resting on these, a mysterious, golden tool. It had a handle attached smoothly to a hollow oval shape. In the centre of this oval, two poles ran across the width of it, and on the lower of these, lay two golden circles, and on the higher resided just one.
These could slide from one edge to the other, without falter. It was a sleek design, and, when turned from left to right, it would make a resounding clang! On a further inspection, I saw dozens of these instruments, lying around the clearing. A gleeful chuckle rolled around the group at my interest in their customs, and one soldier picked up the instrument at his feet, and, pointing at it, pronounced Seestruhm! Systruhm? Sistrum? Reaching out to grab the sistrum, my hand was struck out of the way with the butt of a double edged axe. The warriors weren’t happy with me touching these… I quickly moved back, cradling my aching wrist to my chest. Obviously, these instruments were not for the general public. Which begs the question, why am I here? Glancing back over the clearing, I could see nothing to say I was in danger. Perhaps this was some ritualistic place? It had an altar, and some great amount of these sacred sistrums. Time passed, slowly, painfully. Minute by minute, hour by hour. The soldiers took turns to patrol the border, to keep watch, and to rest. And I just sat on a tree stump and waited. Based on the reflexes of their leader when I’d tried to touch the sistrum, escape was probably not worth it.
My wrist still throbbed. A flock of birds flew overhead, chirping and singing. As they disappeared into the horizon, I noticed the sun setting, smiling as it did so. I watched as it, too, said it’s lasts goodbyes to the world, and vanished from sight. The last remaining light did so too, and the forest was plunged into darkness. Determined not to fall asleep, a stared into the small fire the men had made… minute by minute by minute… I woke, startled, from a sleep I’d never meant to have. Judging by the scarce light, it had only been a few minutes. Something must have woken me… Another snap rang out through the forest… And another, closer… I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand on edge as I crouched down, hoping not to be seen. When no more sounds came, I dismissed it as some wild beast, or careless prey. I shouldn’t have. I woke again, this time, for an obvious reason. My hands were being tugged behind my back with such force that I let out a cry. My wrist was killing me at this point, even before it all began. Dragged from my feet like a wild animal, kicking, squirming, my head hit a sistrum, followed by a rock.
Now, my head was spinning, and my wrist was dying. And what was I? Helpless. I was then heaved upright by a soldier, and, with my hands tied behind my back, a wooden pole was placed behind me. I was standing on the altar, and, from this new vantage point, I could make out figures standing in a circle, surrounding me. Not the men, but newcomers. People, priests, workers and soldiers. I had been squinting before… shouldn’t it be getting darker? Then, it hit me. Oh. I’d slept the whole night. The whole night. That meant that when I fell asleep for the first time, it was for more than just a few minutes… and now, with the sun rising, I was the victim of some ritual. Oh gods, help me. How did I end up in this mess? This was madness! Chaos! Placed on a wooden pole in the middle of a pile of wood, leaves and gold? I was in a bonfire! And more than that… I was their sacrifice! The first ray of golden light hit the sky. The people, as a unified group, bent to pick up their sistrums. I watched, silently, too fearful to even whimper. A second sunbeam struck through the clouds. My mind raced. Clang! They all hit their sistrums once, together. A third beam. Clang! Is this it? A fourth. Clang! It can’t be. Clang! No, it can’t be. No. No. No…
The day before, as the sun rose, it brought hope. But as I stood in that fire, it was what I dreaded the most. It was my worst fear, my worst nightmare, and the signal of my end. I could feel it, in my bones. This was happening, right then and there, and I couldn’t stop it. I was helpless, stripped of dignity and the victim of chaos. All I could do then was wait. Time sank into endlessness, and the world span faster than every before. Gods, save me, I whispered, over the persistent clanging. By some miracle… Then she came. The sun, the unceasing traveler, the lonely star. My end. No. The flames were kind at first. Small, gentle, cosy. They licked my toes, tickling me with a loving warmth. Then they got excited. They began the grab me with strength, making my blood boil. Smoke rose, getting into my eyes, and never ceasing, the clanging. The noise! The noise!
The crackle of burning leaves, the shouting of the people, the jeering of the soldiers, and the clanging! The unceasing, ongoing, never ending clanging! Is this truly a fitting way to go? As the sacrifice to the sun god? I breathed in smoke, and, coughing, squeezed my eyes tightly shut. And, whether it was the smoke, the hopelessness, or the emotion of it all, I cried. I let slide one, final tear. Suddenly, it all stopped. The noise, the deafening noise, just stopped. I could still smell smoke, rising up around me, but the fire was put out. The smoke stopped, and I breathed out. But breathing is for the living. Was I alive? I sucked in another breath… of clean air. Gulping the air like you might a drink, I realised I still had no idea what was going on… do I risk it? I opened my eyes. The people were staring at me. Everyone. Anywhere I looked, fearful, wondering, incredulous eyes. I laughed. Suddenly it seemed so simple. I was to be their sacrifice, because I stumbled into them on the day before their ritual, seemingly sent by the gods. The reason they put out the fire is the reason I hadn’t opened my eyes. Not the smoke. The sun! Their god, their subject of worship, had sent down his almighty sunbeam upon me! I laughed, relieved, drained, but alive. Then, with a clang, the sistrums all dropped. From the hands of the people, everyone dropped their instruments, and bowed. Then, they untied me, and left. Just like that. They all walked off, back to their labyrinth. I panted, still struggling to breathe, and let loose another laugh. Alive! As soon as I’d regained some strength, I began to build a mound of earth over the charred altar. In the weeks to come, I buried their customs. Day by day, week by week, the mound became a hill, smothering the sistrums in earth and stone. Each day, having added to the mound of earth, I’d sit on it. To watch the sun rise, and smile.
Minoan Artifact Short Story (Phaistos Disk)
We had been digging for hours. The earth was too hard to get through; there was a drought. The hot sun beamed down at us, as we carried on, telling ourselves it would be over soon. I looked down into the hole I had worked so long on, and sighed. Nothing. Nothing to bring back to England. Nothing to prove that my idea hadn’t been a mistake. I carried on digging, pitying myself and preparing for what Professor Smith would say when we came back with nothing. But, suddenly, my shovel hit something.
I thought it was a rock; I had been fooled by this before. But, all the same, I was still dying with curiosity to see what it was. I must have been very obvious that I had found something, because, one by one, people gathered around me. They started to help me find it. I gave a small smile. Maybe it was nice to know people had some trust that I wasn’t going to ruin this for them. It took us about half an hour to get the object out. I lifted it out, and there was a small gasp as everyone realised it was something of importance. It was a round disk, or a plate, with markings on it. They were little drawings, and from the way they were arranged, I could tell it was some sort of pattern.
After a few days of analysis on our discovery, Doctor Geller and Doctor Dunphy decided that this disk contained some sort of text. The drawings were arranged in such a way that it must tell a story, or send a message. It has been bothering me for weeks. What does it say? Was it created by the Minoans themselves, or another civilisation? This is like nothing we’ve uncovered before, and some of our team even thinks it’s unlike any other artifact ever found.
I wonder if we shall ever know what it means…
I opened my eyes to find my mum waking me up.
“You’re going to be late!” She said. So got up and started getting ready. As i went downstairs i looked at the many portraits of the ancient snake goddess on my walls and wondered, what must it have been like for her back in those days, I read the Phaistos disk, a daily prayer in my head thanking the mother goddess for the harvest, (without it I’d be very hungry!) and asking for luck in my upcoming day.
I went out of the door to go to my work, located at the palace of the double axe. At the palace we play lots of really cool games including Bull-leaping, but not today, because there is an important visitor arriving any minute.
Suddenly I heard the noise of the sistron, the guests were here! I stood to attention with the other knights of the castle, forming an aisle for the travellers while the strongest athletes of the village did a performance of Bull-leaping. The visitors were very intrigued by this and hurriedly wrote in their notebooks. For me and many of the other soldiers this was a rare sight as we had never had the privilege of an education and couldn’t read or write, my friend told me that the reason they were here was to see the tribal sport as stories of it had traveled far and wide, many varying, one even of a great maze! Apparently the writing men were journalists telling their own accounts of this story.
After the excitement of this morning, everyone working in the castle walked to our nearby temple for our daily worship to our goddesses. Our main goddess is on the statue in many Minoan’s houses, but we do have many others. We are different to almost all other religions because we only have female gods.
Story of the Phaistos disc
Before chaos. Before time. Before the ocean and the sky. Only one Goddess ruled. Her name
was Alexa. Her name meant ‘defending men’ and soon after the humans arrived, she
understood what it meant and lived up to it. She defended humankind from evil and hatred
for many centuries and she slayed the giant snakes that were sent from the seven hells of
Itus. She had earnt her glory and her pride amongst the humans and she was as loyal to
them as they were to her.
One misty, dark, gloomy day, the stars moved and changed shape and a prophecy was
created. This prophecy stated that their one, all-powerful goddess was to be overthrown by
an evil power. The world’s most successful philosophers were all summoned to discuss the
matter more deeply, but it was the only Minoan civilisation that understood the prophecy
was true, and that there was only one way to change it.
They consulted the mighty Alexa, and she told them, “Write the prophecy down into a disc
of clay, and on the back of that same disc engrave the changed prophecy that you wish.
Then you must make a sacrifice to me, your Goddess, and ask me to fulfil your new
prophecy. This is how I will gain the power to rewrite the stars and change the prophecy. Do
not fail me, my good people”.
So, the people of the world started to engrave what the stars had told them every night, in a
secret language that the Minoans had provided for them. Little by little, day by day they
finished the side of the clay with the original prophecy on it and started the other side –
their wish. At this point, arguments started to rise, and the people of the world could not
agree on one wish that everyone thought was the most important ingredient to life.
Deep down, in the seven hells of Itus, God of snakes, the Itonians (for this was what the
cruel God had called the inhabitants of his dark world) were preparing their army for war
against Alexa and the humans. He sat on his thrown, silent but visibly pondering. Then he
said, in his unsettling, reptile-like tone, “We are ready”.
Back on earth, the humans had stopped arguing, and had agreed on something that
everyone would love to have. Eternal peace. They made the sacrifice to their goddess and
waited for and answer. It never came. She had disappeared.
They had been too late. The Itonian army had charged and had destroyed Alexa. The
humans’ holy dreams were shattered and the earth was now full of evil and hatred. The
giant snakes were summoned by Itus and they destroyed the humans’ most sacred places.
They conjured an earthquake which took down even the most sturdy buildings, and with
them the prophecy disc, now known as the Phaistos disc.
To this day, the Minoans’ secret code remains unbroken and many marvel at its curious
markings and drawings. It is a mysterious artifact.
Phaistos Disk Story
It was treasured to them. Worshipped. But still no idea what it was. They called it the Phaistos Disc.
Found by the king who exclaimed he knew what it was a puzzle sent by his ancestors. Many people tried finding its purpose those who did, died a horrible, painful death. Until one day when a group of hunters came together to find its purpose.
This group travelled all the way across the world, searching for answers, clues, beliefs but this was soon stopped when the king found out. “Every day a thousand more shall rise” was his saying.
But they didn’t stop, didn’t quit, didn’t do anything but plan a way to steal the disk.
When they finally had a plan the 1000 men rose to their door step. Taking one of them and the plans but the other 3 were determined. The next morning, after a night of planning they
stole the disk. But it was soon they realised its purpose, its reason which they told too the world their words were, “ this was made by the king to stop any people with knowledge