December 1, 2012

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X-Files - Have Researchers Cracked The Mystery of The Phaistos Disk? (VIDEOS)

Have researchers finally cracked the mystery surrounding the Phaistos Disk? Is the script on the disc linked to the earliest forms of Greek script or Linear A, and Linear B? Or was it the earliest known prayer to the Minoan Gods? Read the article in X-Files this week and find out, and after doing so, it would be good to watch the two videos below which more or less sum up this article.

References to Phaistos in ancient Greek literature are quite frequent. Phaistos is first referenced by Homer as "well populated", and the Homeric epics indicate its participation in the Trojan war. According to Wikipedia, the historian Diodorus Siculus indicates that Phaistos, together with Knossos and Kydonia, are the three towns that were founded by the king Minos on Crete. Instead, Pausanias and Stephanus of Byzantium supported in their texts that the founder of the city was Phaestos, son of Hercules or Ropalus. The city of Phaistos is associated with the mythical king of Crete Rhadamanthys.

The new inhabitance began during the Geometric Age and continued to historical times (8th century BC onwards), up to the 3rd century, when the city was finally destroyed by neighboring Gortyn.

Phaistos had its own currency and had created an alliance with other autonomous Cretan cities, and with the king of Pergamon Eumenes II. Around the end of the 3rd century BC, Phaestos was destroyed by the Gortynians and since then ceased to exist in the history of Crete. Scotia Aphrodite and goddess Leto (was called and Phytia also) worshiped there. People of Phaistos were distinguished for their funny adages. Phaistian in his descent was Epimenides who was the wise man who had been invited by the Athenians to clean the city from the Cylonian affair (Cyloneio agos) at the 6th cent. BC.

This past week it was announced that researchers confirmed that the language on Phaestus Disk, one of the earliest Minoan artefacts, is related to Linear B, the earliest recorded Greek script, and uploaded their report on the web on Friday. The Disk, still undeciphered, is written in Linear A, one of two scripts used on Crete as early as 2000 BC. Researchers Gareth Owens and John Coleman put up their results on the Technical University of Crete site, Phaestus Mayor Maria Petrakogiorgi announced. Released a day before the commemoration of Crete's union with Greece 99 years ago, research results confirmed the continuity of Greek civilisation, according to Owens, who also thanked the municipality for its support in the research.

According to the report, which was dispatched by the state news agency on Friday, and which drew connections with Linear B, a hieroglyphic script used widely in Mycenaean Greece, "the links between hieroglyphics and Linear A/B are relatively uncontroversial, even though not clear in every case". It added that the hypothesis of connections between Crete and mainland Linear languages was confirmed, as it is now accepted practice to associate Linear A symbols with Linear B values.

The disc of Phaistos is the most important example of hieroglyphic inscription from Crete and was discovered in 1903 in a small room near the depositories of the "archive chamber", in the north - east apartments of the palace, together with a Linear A tablet and pottery dated to the beginning of the Neo-palatial period (1700- 1600 B.C.).

The exact location of Phaistos was first determined in the middle of the 19th century by the British admiral Spratt, while the archaeological investigation of the palace started in 1884 by the Italians F. Halbherr and A. Taramelli.

After the declaration of the independent Cretan State in 1898, excavations were carried out by F. Halbherr and L. Pernier in 1900-1904 and later, in 1950-1971, by Doro Levi, under the auspices of the Italian Archaeological School at Athens.

Although many inscriptions were found by the archaeologists, they are all in Linear A code which is still undecipherd, and all we know about the site, even its name are based to the ancient writers and findings from Knossos.

According to mythology, Phaistos was the seat of king Radamanthis, brother of king Minos. It was also the city that gave birth to the great wise man and soothsayer Epimenidis, one of the seven wise men of the ancient world. Excavations by archaeologists have unearthed ruins of the Neolithic times (3.000 B.C.).

During the Minoan times, Phaistos was a very important city-state. Its dominion, at its peak, stretched from Lithinon to Psychion and included the Paximadia islands. The city participated to the Trojan war and later became one of the most important cities-states of the Dorian period.

Phaistos continued to flourish during Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic times. It was destroyed by the Gortynians during the 3rd century B.C. In spite of that, Phaistos continued to exist during the Roman period.

Phaistos had two ports, Matala and Kommos.

Since 1900, continuous archaeological excavations from the Italian Archaeological School, have brought to light the magnificent Minoan palace of Phaistos with its great royal courts, the great staircases, the theatre, the storerooms and the famous disk of Phaistos.

The first palace was built at 2.000 B.C. This palace was destroyed at 1.700 B.C. by an earthquake. It was built again, more luxurious and magnificent and it was destroyed again, probably by another earthquake, at 1.400 B.C.

The location of the palace was carefully chosen, so as not only to absolutely control the valley of Messara, but to also offer a panoramic view of the surrounding area with the scattered villages, just like today, at the foot of the mountains Psiloritis and Asterousia.

The palace dominated and controlled the Messara valley and it was the center of the city. It was the administration and economical center of the area.

Goods not only for consumption but mainly for trade were kept in its huge storerooms. The palace was surrounded by luxurious mansions and crowded urban communities. Along with the surrounding settlements covered an area of 18.000 sq. meters. A paved road leads to the ruins of the Royal Minoan villa of Agia Triada, 3 km west of Phaistos.


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