Aegean & Mediterranean: Pottery

3000 BC - 100 BC

The Mediterranean Sea was the main shipping and travel route of the ancient world. The Aegean Sea is the portion which is located between Greece and Turkey. The Aegean Islands encompass the North Aegean Islands, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and Crete, among others. The Aegean Islands were home to a great many Bronze Age cultures including the previously mentioned Cycladic and Minoan civilizations.

One such civilization was that of the Mycenaeans (1580-1120 BC), whose jurisdiction extended to Crete from mainland Greece. The Mycenaeans were first brought to light through the excavations of Heinrich Schliemann in 1876. The Mycenaeans built palaces in the same manner as the Minoans and also communicated in Linear B; they also gradually adopted Minoan fresco themes and techniques. They crafted pottery and metal vessels often decorated with military motifs.

The Mycenaeans settled the island of Cyprus, in the southeastern end of the Mediterranean, very early in their expansion, c. 1600 BC. Further Greek settlement occurred c. 1000 BC. The Cypriots were thereafter ruled by many of the ancient world’s powerful civilizations, including the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Persians, the Ptolemies, and the Romans.