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Minoan ship 15th century bc-Athens Greece

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National Archeological Museum Athens-From the Minoan Fresco of Akrotiri in Santorini Island

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This is an interesting reconstruction of a ship from a unique, and somewhat mysterious civilization.  The reconstruction is based entirely on images from the  (very fragmentary) frescoes shown below the ship model.  Although the painting looks more or less intact, it is actually pieced back together from hundreds of fragments.  There are extensive gaps between the fragments which do not appear unless you look more closely at the image.  Then you can see that much of the fresco has been interpolated, that is, an artist/restorer has painted in between the fragments what they thought was appropriate.   The fact that such a large percentage of the fresco is not original is controversial.  Beyond that, a very close study of the actual painted fragments does not support some of the decorative elements, namely the butterfly and the lion, although two ships in the fresco do have  heraldic lion carvings, they do not appear in such a pose as shown here.  Moreover, the butterfly(?) and the red flower do not appear on this ship, but on another ship in the fleet.  The ship chosen for reconstruction here is one of two ships in the Minoan fleet whose image is mostly preserved. 

I have never seen an attempt made to reconstruct a Minoan vessel.  Even though there is not much to go on, the effort is certainly worthwhile because it brings these things to our attention and makes us consider them more carefully.  There was a very long tradition of sea-faring in the Aegean going well back into the Neolithic.  The Minoans for a time had an empire based on sea power - or so say the later myths - but very little is known about the Minoans themselves, their society, or their history.

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