Mycenaean Greece (c. 1600 BC – c. 1100 BC) is a cultural period of Bronze
Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in
northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites. The last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, it is the historical setting of much ancient Greek literature and myth,
including the epics of Homer. Quite unlike
the Minoans, whose society benefited from trade, the Mycenaeans advanced through conquest.
Mycenaean civilization was dominated by a warrior aristocracy.
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What did the Minoans and Mycenaeans have in common How were the two civilizations different?
The Minoan civilization (2.700 BC) preceded the Mycenaean civilization(1.600). The main difference was that the Minoans were a very peaceful civilization (nowhere in their art battles or anything war related is depicted, only festivities, which is somewhat unique) and there were more sea-orientated. They used the same bronze age weapons but Minoans preferred the bow (probably because their mean occupation besides naval trade was hunting) rather than single or double edged small swords (the symbol of the Minoans, the double-edged axe, was a ceremonial weapon)
I became very Interested in these incarnations of the Divine Feminine in her transition down through the years, until she becomes the goddess, Artemis of Classical Greece. The great Minoan Goddess was the epiphany of nature, the cosmic mother, nurturer of all, and source of life.
Potnia is the feminine form of potis, i.e. lord, master o husband (from greek)
Potnia was the most important goddess in Greece in the Late Bronze Age, which is called Mycenaean (1600 - 1100 BCE). She is mentioned on the tablets with Linear scripts B from Knossos and Pylos as PO-TI-NI-JA with many epithets. Some of these adjectives are of local provenience, where some of them characterize the sphere of her influence.
In Mycenaean monuments, Potnia appears with many attributes: the snakes, the double axes, the lions, the doves, the griffin, as well as other kinds of animals and sacred features. Sometimes standing alone they have to indicate the presence of the goddess.
Potnia is the protector of nature, vegetation, fertility and in this case she is closely related to the Minoan Mother of the Mountains. During Late Helladic III period (after 1400 BCE) Potnia is depicted more war-like. Armed with weapons, wearing a helmet, she is accompanied by the griffin.
J.Chadwick believes that Potnia was connected with the cult of the Earth Mother, dominated from Early Helladic time over all Aegean religion. He supposes this cult continued with a variety of names into the classical period. M.P. Nilson presumed the role of Potnia in Greek classical religion was taken over by Athena, Rhea andHera.
I think the position of Potnia and her attributes were changing in the harmony with needs of Mycenaean community. Beside her primary function of the goddess of nature, vegetation and fertility, she had to be powerful and warlike to protect Mycenaean palaces and their cities against the enemies. That is why Mycenaeans paid great attention to the weapons, showing Potnia with helmet or sword, and it is not to be wondered that one adjective of Potnia on the tablet from Pylos was connected with bronze-smiths. In Greek Olympian religion the place of Potnia disappeared. Her role and her divine attributes spread out between many goddesses.