Being the first organized civilization in Europe, the Minoan Civilization flourished in the island of Crete between the 37th century and the 14th century BC. The impressive level of organization of the ancient Minoan society is well illustrated by the extensive ruins discovered following the excavation of the four main startling palaces, in terms of size.
Minoan towns, tombs and cemeteries have been discovered all over Crete but the four principal palace remains, are located in Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Zakros; great, compound palace structures comprising of two or three stories, extending in several thousand square metres appear to have served as local administrative, commercial, religious and political centres.
The advanced and extraordinary level of the Minoan culture including its trading capacity is greatly demonstrated by a number of clay plaques featuring firstly hieroglyphic scripts followed by Linear A artifacts and tablets. It appears that the invention of writing in Crete has probably been dictated by the need to serve the occurring administrative tasks, as indicated by the accounting tablets and other financial records, as well as for ceremonial communications which were engraved on votive offering tablets.
Linear B is perceived to be the written language of the ancient Minoans and Mycenaeans, as the evolution of the Linear A Script that was used in ancient Crete, the Aegean and Cyprus, dating back to the 14th century BC. Linear B, was also developed in order to facilitate the high organization level of the ancient Minoan society, containing words and numbers that concerned legal, financial, and religious topics, revealing a detailed palatial bureaucracy, where the palace administration recorded everything it did or failed to do respectively.
Arthur Evans, the archaeologist who excavated the Palace of Knossos, discovered the first Linear B tablets in 1902. At first the numerical system of the Linear B was revealed, however, the formation of Linear B itself remained a mystery for decades…
It was no earlier than the beginning of the 1950s that the linguist and architect Michael Ventris managed to decrypt the Linear B Script, with the valuable help of the linguist John Chadwick. Together, they discovered that Linear B was a written form of Greek language recorded many centuries before Homer, and it was actually the first written European language.
The creative and innovative architectural design of Avra Imperial Hotel is largely inspired by the structural features of the Minoan palaces whereas engraved Linear B symbols can be found on the floors and walls of the rooms, all public spaces and the surrounding grounds of the hotel.
During your stay at Avra Imperial Hotel and all Avra Collection properties, you will have the opportunity to identify the main elements characterizing the Minoan Civilization and the Linear B Script, discovering lots of fascinating facts about the first written language in Europe.
For more information relating to the ancient Cretan scripts, you can also read the Linear B leaflet, and discover the meaning of the different Linear B inscriptions around the hotel.