Late Minoan period (XVII - XII centuries BC)

Late Minoan period (XVII-XII). Around 1700, the fire and destruction of the large above-mentioned palaces in Knossos, Festus and Mallia were archaeologically recorded. The fire was associated with an earthquake or internal strife, which could coincide. In its former form, the "palaces" cease to exist. They are being rebuilt anew, so the beginning of the Late Minoan period (XVII-XV centuries BC) is also called the period of "new palaces", when the Cretan states are experiencing maximum flourishing.

In Knossos, the useful properties of wet plaster are revealed, on which you can paint, and amazing frescoes appear on the walls of the new palace. There are many women on them, which emphasized their special role in the Cretan state. In the images, individual elements are exaggerated, the asymmetry of faces is highlighted. Much of Knossos art is connected with the sea, which is felt in the choice of subjects related to marine animals (dolphins and octopuses), the nature of smooth curved lines, wavy pattern, elegant ornament. This art expressed the optimistic and joyful mood of the Minoans, which testified to the special harmony and spiritual activity of their society, which breathed life into the Achaean civilization, as pragmatic as it was unable to comprehend the sunny world of the Cretans. On the other hand, the exaggeration of the forms testified to the flourishing of art and to the achievement by it of that boundary, having crossed which, it had to end - the final stage in its development was coming, and there was nothing behind it. The death of civilization was close.

Shipbuilding is actively developing - the period of the rule of Crete on the sea, thalassocracy, begins. Cargo and military ships are being built (rams were installed on the bow of the military). Most likely, it is with this period that the late ancient legend is associated about sending seven young men and seven girls from Greece to Knossos every nine years as a sacrifice to the evil minotaur who lived in the labyrinth of the Cretan king Minos and devoured human victims. The legend could reflect the moment when Greece became dependent on the maritime power of the Minoan dynasties. There was another tradition, according to which Minos was considered the liberator of the Aegean Sea from pirates, a wise ruler and legislator who compiled the first set of laws. Greek legislators of the subsequent time referred to Minos as the creator of the most ancient laws of Greece. The king combined the functions of a priest and a secular ruler, so Cretan society can be called theocratic. The name of Minos was borne by all representatives of the royal dynasty.

A road network is being built in Crete - one of the first indicators of production growth, since economic development is possible only if there are good communication routes. Bronze is used as a universal exchange commodity, replacing money. The development of ties with Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean continues: there was a whole settlement of Cretan traders in Ugarit (Syria).