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The Minoan civilization was an Aegean Bronze Age civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean islands which flourished from about 2600 to 1100 BC. It preceded the Mycenaean civilization of Ancient Greece.

The sophistication of the Minoan culture and its trading capacity is evidenced by the presence of writing - firstly hieroglyphic and then Linear A scripts, mainly found on various types of administrative clay tablets. A further example of the culture’s high degree of development is the variety and quality of the art forms practiced by the Minoans.

The term "Minoan", which refers to the mythical King Minos, originally described the pottery of the period. Minos was associated in Greek mythology with the labyrinth and the Minotaur.

The Minoan language and writing systems remain undecipherable and are subjects of academic dispute, they apparently conveyed a language entirely different from the later Greek.

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An ancient Minoan painting.

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