BMCR 2001.02.18

Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth

, Minotaur : Sir Arthur Evans and the archaeology of the Minoan myth. New York: Jonathan Cape, 2000. viii, 373, [24] pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm. ISBN 0224043528 $30.00.

We appear to be living in an era when it is popular to attack the giants of yesteryear. After a sustained anti-Schliemann campaign over several decades, it should come as no surprise if Evans were also to be subjected to similar scrutiny. It is of course entirely legitimate that the archaeological work of men of a previous generation should be subjected to critical assessment, no matter how great their reputation may have been. In such cases, however, especially when attempts are made to elucidate motives, considerable caution is in order, since the dead have no way of defending themselves or of explaining their motives. In addition, there is the tendency to judge them by today’s archaeological criteria. While this is in part legitimate, it can lead to distortion. Practitioners of any art should be judged first and foremost by the standard of their discipline in their day. What then of the volume here under review? In the first place, for whom is it written? In view of the large number of Endnotes (over 600) and entries in the Bibliography (over 500), as well as a host of minutiae in the main text that could never interest a layman, it is presumably written for the specialist. At the same time, it seems clear that it is also written for the general reader, and indeed for the most uninitiated—indicated by translation of all words cited in a foreign language and by inclusion of the most elementary details. For instance: that Plato was a philosopher; Hera was the wife of Zeus; Juno was the Roman equivalent of Greek Hera; Herodotus was “the fifth-century B.C. author of the earliest history of Greece”;1 that Kythera is an island south of the Peloponnese; that an archaeological survey is “essentially visiting ancient sites, noting visible remains, and listing them by suspected periods of occupation”; that a hawker is “someone who will sell anything for profit”; that a rhyton is “a vessel used for directing the flow of liquids poured as part of a ritual or ceremony”.

The attempt to accommodate such a very broad spectrum makes for some awkward reading. The specialist is certainly irritated by much familiar ground with a dearth of significant new information or significant new insights. Moreover, many parts come across as a mixture of journalism and a modern history.

In the first third of the book (the first two chapters, covering the period from 1851 to 1893—almost half Evans’ life), M. attempts to explain Evans’ earliest background. This section contains an ultra-potted history of European culture from 1543 to 1793, where it suddenly breaks off. As a cultural commentator, M. is for the most part superficial. Furthermore, when he moves into the next phase there are also difficulties. For instance, Boucher de Perthes was not “a man of means,” but an impoverished nobleman who was forced to earn a living as a tax collector. More important is M.’s claim that “curiously, Boucher de Perthes still saw the need for ‘the finger of God’ to explain the ‘convulsions of nature’ delineated in the superimposed strata”. This seems to be at variance with what Boucher de Perthes wrote in his De l’homme antédiluvien et ses oeuvres (p. 87): C’est ce refroiddissement qui, de siècle en siècle, est arrivé jusqu’à la neige continue et à ce degré de froid qui rendit toute végétation impossible, que nous avons nommé: période glaciale. No ‘finger of God,’ but the Ice Age.

On Evans himself, here and in later sections, M. draws chiefly on Joan Evans’ book and the later studies of Ann Brown, as well as that of Sylvia Horwitz. What M. has to add in the way of information is incidental and does little to alter our picture of Evans significantly.2 What is new, however, is a plethora of interpretive attempts, many of which take on the character of Freudian psychoanalysis. These are distinctly amateurish. A case in point is the portrayal of Evans and his father-in-law as racist and bigoted, which, from a current cultural standpoint of Political Correctness is most reprehensible. What M. fails to do, however, is to show how Freeman and Evans in this respect differed from the majority of their educated contemporaries.

In order to advance his picture of Evans, M. disputes (and not just once) what he terms Joan Evans’ “fantasized” title to her book, Time and Chance, and also claims that Evans’ “relationship with Knossos had less to do with fortune than with conscious decision”. This, however, misconstrues Joan Evans and also the facts. As M. acknowledges, Evans was the ninth individual to attempt to excavate the site. Some of the previous individuals, including Schliemann, had come within a hair’s breadth of doing so. 3 Had any one of them succeeded, any putative ‘conscious decision’ on the part of Evans would have been thwarted in advance. That is surely primarily what Joan Evans meant by ‘time and chance’: the fact that Arthur Evans came along when he did, and the fact that the site was still available. And what else but ‘chance’ could be meant when M. phrases a sub-heading as “Divine Support”? And there was also the confluence of many threads in which time played a crucial role, and that is the sense in which Joan Evans used the term in a number of contexts. To give an incorrect motive at a major juncture in Evans’ career, i.e., for his move into the Aegean, the ground can only be prepared by giving facta falsa : “a failed journalist, banned from Austria; a failed husband,4 now widowed without an heir.5

M. is not very firm in the saddle when he wanders from his beaten track of the Bronze Age. For instance, in connection with ancient Crete, we discover that “Herodotus and Thucydides, in the fifth century B.C., at the same time that the Athenian philosopher Plato admired her ancient institutions in the Laws“. Virtually every expert accepts that Plato’s Laws is the last work he wrote, which is presumed to have been not long before his death in 347 BC. M. then has Aristotle writing his Politics“a century later,” i.e., after Plato’s Laws. Aristotle died in 322, and there is reason to believe that he compiled at least part of the Politics as early as five years after Plato’s death. These are not isolated instances.

In a typical attempt to add colour to his narrative, M. includes the anecdote of Aristides, a temporary worker at Knossos, who forged a number of inscribed tablets. To add even more colour, M. also records “the correspondence of the thief’s name with the notorious fifth-century B.C. Athenian politician ‘Aristides the Unjust,’ who was ostracized for collaborating with the Persians when they invaded Greece”. Had M. read Plutarch and a respectable History of Ancient Greece by a modern scholar, he would have discovered that none of these was true: that Aristides was not ‘notorious,’ that he was not ostracised for collaborating with the Persians,6 and above all that, in conjunction with the organisation of the subsequent Athenian Alliance, “he assessed the resources and reserves of each state and thereby became known as ‘Aristides the Just’.”7 The above are all the more remarkable in the case of an individual whose initial degree was in Classics.

But even when it comes to the BA, M. does not appear to be completely firm in the saddle. For instance, he repeats the erroneous view about Dörpfeld: “As a means of averting further accusations of wrongdoing, Schliemann hired Wilhelm Dörpfeld to lend credibility to his work,” on the ground that D. “had made a name for himself by introducing the revolutionary concept of stratigraphical archaeology to the German excavations at Olympia [in the late 1870s],” and ostensibly taught Schliemann the same at Troy. A letter from Schliemann to Virchow, however, shows that Schliemann was excavating stratigraphically at Hisarlik early in 1882 before Dörpfeld arrived on the scene. One is also surprised to come upon the following a little later: “Thus Hogarth’s Egyptian training transformed the practice of archaeology in the Aegean when, as director of the excavations at Phylakopi, in Melos, in 1898, he introduced the concept of stratigraphy and classification to a world still largely recovering from Schliemann’s treasure hunt”. No more correct is the claim that “D. was unable to join him [Schliemann] full time”. He was in fact present for the entire campaign of 1882 at Troy, for the entire campaigns at Tiryns of 1884 and 1885 (and wrote up the architectural sections of the book), as well as for the entire campaign of 1890 at Hisarlik. Likewise, “…wishing to avoid the sort of criticism that dogged Schliemann for most of his archaeological career, [Evans] engaged an architect from the outset”. An architect would have added little to the excavations of the Shaft Graves at Mycenae in 1876, and Schliemann had the services of Dörpfeld from his second campaign at Hisarlik onwards. Indeed, just about all M.’s pronouncements about Schliemann are incorrect. In attempting to paint his career with a broad brush, M. refers to “a life full of adventure from joining the California Gold Rush to being shipwrecked off the Dutch coast and stranded in Panama”. Here the chronology is confused. Schliemann was in California in 1851, whereas the shipwreck off the coast of Holland had taken place in 1841.

Among his varied talents which M. would like his readers to appreciate is clearly his ability to observe Evans’ mind at work, and at the same time reveal the working of his own. From innumerable examples, the following will suffice. In respect of the ‘throne’ which Evans discovered in the so-called ‘Throne Room,’ M. has the following to offer: “On the grounds of male versus female dimensions Ariadne’s throne was transferred from the fully endowed Queen’s bottom to the slighter seat of King Minos even though Evans was fully aware that “the prominence of the female sex in the Mycenaean period—as illustrated by the cult scenes on the original rings—might in itself favour the view that a queen had occupied a throne here’.”

As another example of interpretive spinning, when Evans acquired a gold ring on his first visit to Crete in 1893, and “slipped it onto his little finger he might have felt the power of Alberich or Wotan, or their local equivalents, Prometheus and Zeus. In the Germanic legend, possession of the Ring of Niebelung symbolized gaining some sort of enlightenment, a deeper awareness of oneself and one’s mission…The power of the ring seems to have given Evans the confidence of a Siegfried in his future ventures …”. Needless to say, no reference is given to authenticate such a flight of fancy and M. does not seem to have understood the Niebelungenlied, in which there is only one ring, and it does not produce any ‘enlightenment’.

Not infrequently the reader is given a display of extraordinary reasoning. On the fresco (fragment) of the ‘Dancing Lady,’ found at the west end of the South Portico of the ‘Hall of the Double Axes,’ M. offers the critical comment: “But there was little room for dancing in the small underground rooms where the fragment appeared”. By the same token one could criticise Altdörfer’s famous painting of the battle of Issus between Alexander the Great and Darius III in 333 BC on the ground that such a battle could not have taken place in the large room in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, or wherever else the artist may have envisaged it would hang.

From the very narrow perspective of a passing phase at a relatively young age rather than the span of 15 years of married life and from the perspective of preparing the ground for one of the main theses of the book, M. at one point offers this interpretive insight: “For Margaret’s sake Evans should have heeded the mature woman’s warning, but instead the self-absorbed young man, perhaps aware that he had made an error by marrying and that his true sexual inclinations, not revealed until much later in his life, lay elsewhere, continued a pattern of neglect until it was too late to rectify it”. This treatment, however, which to a current reader might seem cavalier, was not restricted to Margaret. On another occasion Evans insisted on continuing his travels instead of returning to England for his sister’s wedding, and on still another occasion he did the same instead of returning for his father’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. He was not particularly known for putting family considerations ahead of his own pursuits. There is therefore no need to read anything special into this specific treatment of his wife. Moreover, what M. seeks to isolate here, is contrasted by so much evidence of a happy relationship between them, including the desire to have children, and especially the many and very solicitous efforts he made in respect of Margaret’s health, and not least the fact that he reportedly held her hand at the moment of her death; it is further confirmed by his tributes to her after her death. M.’s additional anachronistic Freudian psychoanalysis, for which, notably, no source is cited, is no more compelling: “He and Margaret had tried to have children and placed the blame for their failure firmly on her, even though his neglect of her not to mention his repressed desires for young men, which surfaced later, may have been more than a little responsible”. At all events, given the current climate of inclusiveness and tolerance, is it really necessary at all to make heavy weather about someone’s sexuality? Or does this betray the feeling that there is still a stigma attached to it? And in any event, M. does not advance a clear-cut case for Evans’ homosexuality.

The book is suffused with extraneous details. For instance, Evans’ relocation of his wife to Taormina for reasons of health in 1890 provides occasion for a completely irrelevant digression into the details of Schliemann’s death and for post mortem interpretive comment.8 One gains the impression that no opportunity is passed up to flesh out the text with all kinds of extraneous incidentals. Does the reader really need to know that Herakleion “boasted one of the most prosperous slave markets of the Mediterranean, until Nikiphoros Phocas reconquered Crete for Byzantium in 960”? Or that Kalokairinos’ father died of cancer? Or that Diodorus was a “Greek author of a forty-volume universal history”? Or, in a description of Greek Easter on Euboea in 1893, that Myres salvaged the celebrations with a dry box of matches, or be notified about the shooting of Judas in the churchyard? Or that Edward Noel’s estate on Euboea had “the feudal atmosphere of an English country house set in the middle of a Greek village”? Does the reader need a detailed description of a modern cemetery on the way from Herakleion to Knossos? Or numerous other details on the short route, including the Roman theatre, “where Roman immigrants had spent summer evenings immersed in timeless tales told as human drama, most probably including stories that they knew had originated in their new home, perhaps even in their own fields”? Or Max Mallowan’s recollection of Percy Gardner: “a tall upstanding figure, lectured in a frock coat with winged collar of a type which must have gone back to the 1860s. He gave us of his incomparable store of learning with a permanently bored expression, in a monotone that somehow contrived to rivet our attention”? Or about Schliemann in Oxford: “Schliemann left [Athens] for Oxford soon after [the Evans’ visit in 1883], where, with the support from Sayce, he was made honorary fellow of Queen’s College, and so could don scarlet robes to befit his flamboyant personality when he received his honorary doctorate at the Encaenia ceremony of June 13 and stood for the admiration of all in the Great Quad of All Souls College”?9 Does the reader need to know that W. R. Paton “married Olympitis, the beautiful daughter of the mayor of the Greek island of Kalymnos, and had received as part of her dowry a farmstead on the Turkish mainland at the ancient site of Myndus, in the region of Caria”?

There are also some peculiar features in the book. For instance, while the journalistic innovation of “wouldn’t,”, “couldn’t,” hadn’t,” “isn’t,” “didn’t,” ‘wasn’t,’ “It’s,” etc., may be popular with the uninitiated general reader, such a reader might have to re-read and ponder several times ponderously long sentences of up to 100 words. In the Endnotes, in the majority of instances, specific page references are given, but in a considerable number they are not (where one expects them), without any apparent reason. In the last citation of Joan Evans the page reference is missing, whereas in all the previous 88 instances it is included. This gives the appearance of the book not having been finished, or else of the MS having been rushed to the printer. This is underlined by the fact that in some instances in the Endnotes the initial of the first name of an author is given, in others it is not. In the Endnotes, in some instances a single date is given for an author’s publication, but when one turns to the Bibliography, one finds that there are at least two publications for the same year. In the Bibliography, in some instances the publisher is given, whereas in many cases it is not, again without any apparent reason. In the bibliography, all Hood’s publications are given with the initials M.S.F., but Hood did not always publish in that way. Moses Finley is turned into Moses Finlay. In a number of instances, M.’s German is somewhat shaky: bügelkanne for Bügelkanne, altesten for ältesten, funde for Funde, alteren for älteren, Konigl. for Königl., schöne for schönen. In fact, virtually every German entry in the Bibliography is defective.

M.’s major thesis is to portray Evans’ interpretation of the archaeological evidence which he unearthed as a grand exercise in fantasising myth-making, the detailed elaboration of a preconceived vision that had been concocted before Evans ever began to excavate.10 The thesis built up and reinforced by a vast number of specific instances, which, by a sustained cumulative process, culminate in a seemingly overwhelming case. It is true that these are punctuated now and again by grudging acknowledgement of achievement, but the latter quickly fades in the face of the overall cumulative effect.

One of the integral components in Evans’ interpretation of the evidence is that the Palace of Knossos was in part religious. This view is upheld by a number of eminent scholars.11 Another of M.’s grand claims about Evans is that “it was never his nature to be impartial”. Never was this more true than of M. himself in this book. It will suffice to cite but one instance (out of scores)—connected with artificial spoil heaps, or ‘shoots,’ at the beginning of the excavations: “Excavation ‘shoots’ resemble great artificial mounds one sees near the openings of mines, for, like miners, archaeologists discard what doesn’t interest them and keep only the raw materials deemed necessary to manufacture their desired history”. How valid is this stricture, not least in respect of Evans? No archaeologist even today, even when employing the latest and most sophisticated techniques, keeps the débris that is dug up, but removes it from the area being excavated. And what is meant by ‘raw material’? Archaeologists keep what are designated as architectural features and ‘small finds’. As for ‘manufacturing their desired history’ as a blanket statement, this is not only fundamentally incorrect but also perverse.

In archaeological publication it is standard practice that, when both preliminary reports and a final publication of a site exist, one goes to the latter for the excavator’s ultimate conclusions—on the principle that earlier conclusions may require modification in light of new evidence unearthed in subsequent excavations. It is interesting that M. does precisely the opposite. He builds up his entire case on the basis of Evans’ earlier views. For instance, in his references he cites The Palace of Minos only nine times. Of these, only five are associated with Evans’ views. By contrast, one finds close to 200 references to either Evans’ earlier publications or to the publications of others referring to such. It is of course possible that Evans may not have changed his mind when writing PM, but at the very least this ought to be verified for the reader. Instead, M. dismisses the approximately 7000 pages of PM virtually out of hand.12

In advancing his main thesis, M. places great weight on Evans’ restorations. At one point he quotes at length the reaction to these by the satirist and novelist, Evelyn Waugh, which he construes as “one of the most astute impressions of Knossos”. Waugh’s veritable diatribe says much about the author but nothing worthwhile about Evans. No more trustworthy is the reaction of the historian and philosopher, R.G. Collingwood, which M. also cites with approval. But the real give-away is M.’s citation of the reaction of a politician, whom he hails as “the most sagacious observer of Knossos I myself have known”—perhaps because he was not only a fellow-countryman and at the time Prime Minister, but also because he “had the pleasure of escorting [him] through the palace in 1983”. M.’s citing of Trudeau’s reference to “Art Deco” has a distinct element of irony. It has just been announced that Trudeau’s residence is valued for “its great architectural merit: it is Canada’s outstanding house in the French Art Deco manner of the 1920s”. Apparently M. never went to see it, although it is located in the city in which he did his first degree. In any event, it is interesting that M. was apparently unable to find the disparaging indictment of any architect whom he might quote.

At a heightened point in plying his craft, M. sets before the reader Evans as the victim of “a malaria-induced vision one summer’s eve in the Grand Staircase,” after its restoration had been completed in 1905. There follows a lengthy quotation, conveying Evans’ musing as he imagined a possible scene in this part of the Palace. To this M. responds, in a piece of (withering) fantasising that outbids what he himself claims to find in Evans: “The illusion may have been inspired by Mackenzie’s disgruntled report of a visit made by Isadora Duncan, the great American dancer noted for her re-creation of classical dance movements based on her study of Greek sculpture, but equally famous for dancing barefoot in translucent garments like an ancient woodland nymph. He was shocked by her impromptu performance up and down the Grand Staircase”.

At the very end of the book M. dons his philosopher’s hat and leaves the reader with the most bizarre of conclusions. To begin with, “only Knossos itself and the artifacts unearthed there during controlled excavations remain as solid proof of Evans’s Minoans, but these, too, have become problematic”. So what has become problematic, Evans’ Minoans or Knossos itself and the artifacts unearthed there? Well, actually none of these, for the reader is immediately informed that “the Palace and surrounding buildings are crumbling as fast as Evans’s intellectual reconstruction of his ancient Minoan society”.13 Apart from the erroneous identification of the ‘Palace’ with the very partial restorations of Evans, if these and the surrounding buildings are disintegrating within the space that it takes to read this book, then everything at the site must by now have already completely disappeared.

To ensure, however, that the reader is meant to focus only on Evans’ partial restorations, one is next told that “the building techniques of this century have not withstood the rigours of the Cretan climate or the relentless passage of more than one million visitors who flock to Knossos each year in search of a part of their history”.

That it is not the ‘Cretan climate’ that is really meant, is proven not only by the fact that similar ancient remains at all the other Minoan sites would be disintegrating equally rapidly, but also by the statement which immediately follows: “The influx [of more than one million visitors annually] has necessitated a major new campaign of restorations”. Now the wear and tear of more than two million feet annually on the horizontal parts of Evans’ restorations (and in part also any accessible ancient horizontal remains) should scarcely come as any surprise.14 So what? These are easily restorable, if the object is to ensure that an equal number of visitors continue to come. But this has nothing to do with Evans. M. could of course advocate that, instead of ‘a major new campaign of restoration,’ the remaining existing restorations be demolished—and the problem would be solved. Strange it is that laying the solution to the problem at the feet of the modern Cretans does not appear to have occurred to M. Instead, he pushes forward with the vacuous suggestion that “perhaps the time has come to accept that Knossos [whatever M. means by ‘Knossos’] is no longer ancient, no longer either Minoan or Mycenaean, but timeless—as much to us now as it was to those who built it four thousand years ago”. But any genuine attempt to understand ancient Knossos is possible only by reference to the exposed architectural features and ‘the artifacts unearthed there during controlled excavations’. Strange it is too that M. does not advocate any such approach—perhaps because he has just ‘proven’ incontrovertibly that Evans’ more than 10,000-page interpretation of the evidence amounts to nothing more than fantasised myth, one that ought to be relegated to the rubbish heap of history.

Instead, M. concentrates on the new restorations (to which he does not express any objection): ‘In restoring [not Evans’ restorations, but now apparently the entire] Palace at Knossos, we are now not trying to re-create some past golden age but preserving a building that has taken on a series of new meanings in this century”. M. might clarify just who he means by ‘we,’ but it certainly seems to indicate that he identifies himself with the current Cretan tourist trade. The reader is then invited to benefit from one final revelation: “The Labyrinth-Palace-Temple at Knossos has become the symbol of out greatest aspiration, a site where we understand the transformation of ideas and the relative nature of history and archaeology. And where better to realize our purpose in that fluid interplay of the past with the future than in the Minoan maze at Knossos, revealed and crafted by Evans”. In the eyes of this viewer at least, such postmodern fantasising myth-making would better be practised within the four walls of M.’s study. It has nothing to do with genuine archaeology. Moreover, one suspects that Evans will outlive the Lilliputian polemic of this less than rigorous book.15


1. An uninitiated general reader would not, of course, note the most glaring faux pas in describing Herodotus’ work as ‘the earliest history of Greece’. It was neither the earliest history of Greece nor indeed a history of Greece at all.

2. Of course, in order to justify his own book, M. must denigrate particularly that of Joan Evans. Accordingly, he includes what she omitted. Striking here, however, is that the only ground on which he appears to be able to justify his new material is, not that it is more important, only more interesting: “Yet what didn’t belong in Joan’s reconstruction was in many ways more interesting than what she thought did”. Although M. does not say so specifically, one does gain the impression that his book is also designed both to correct and to replace that of Joan Evans.

3. Had Schliemann been prepared to match the price being asked for the property, for which he did indeed have the money, he would certainly have become the excavator of Knossos.

4. Inferentially, because he could not or did not prevent his wife’s death!

5. Elsewhere, M. claims that “Evans had a mediocre career in journalism and as curator of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford” (“Labyrinths and Bull-Leapers,” Archaeology 53/6 [2000], 53). Neither of these is correct. As a journalist, Evans was actually influential; certainly this was the expressed view of C.P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian at the time (Joan Evans, Time and Chance [London 1943], 189, cf. 250-51). In respect of the Ashmolean Museum, when he took over as director, it was regarded by contemporaries as little more than a ‘side-show’. He turned it into one of the leading museums of Europe. This is confirmed by the tribute of Lord Curzon, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, writing to Evans: “Your real monument is the Ashmolean itself, now organized and equipped on a scale that renders it absolutely unrecognizable to the Oxonian of twenty-five years ago, and makes it a source of pride and credit to the University” ( ibid., 356).

6. In fact, in two different battles he led contingents against the Persian units. On his ostracism, linked to internal politics, see Plutarch, Aristeides 7.1-2.

7. Cf. ibid., 6.1-4; 24.1-2.

8. Here too M. incorrectly states that at the time of his final illness Schliemann “announced [to Virchow] his next archaeological destination—the Canary Islands”. In actual fact, Schliemann was at the time completely preoccupied with new major problems at Hisarlik that had arisen out of the 1890 excavations, and was planning the longest campaign ever at Troy, of at least nine months, and perhaps years.

9. Is one to conclude from this that all who donned such robes at such a ceremony also had a flamboyant personality?

10. It is surely ironic that there should appear almost simultaneously with M’s book an article by him, in which his own principal conclusions seem to be base no less on pure fantasy (J.A. MacGillivray, “Labyrinths and Bull-Leaping,”, Archaeology 53/6 [2000], 53-6). In place of evidence and cogent argumentation, one finds “I don’t believe,” “I think,” “I believe,” and “in my view.”

11. Cf. S. Hood, “The Minoan Palace as Residence of Gods and Men,” Acts of the Seventh International Cretological Congress (Rethimno 1995) Vol. A, 393-407. This is overlooked by M. One thing of which one cannot accuse Hood is that of fantasising myth-making.

12. Of Vols. II-IV he peremptorily declares that it is “almost impossible to take the analysis seriously,” on the ground of “free admixture of modern and ancient artifacts”.

13. One notes the hybristic belief in the finality with which a few strokes of one’s pen have demolished the totality of Evans’ theories.

14. On the Acropolis in Athens, such horizontal features of the ancient structures are cordoned off.

15. One of the highlights in the book must be M.’s reaction to Evans’ words in an unpublished and undated ms. dates it to “1893?”) that “the Mykenaean Culture springs like Aphrodite from the sea. It rises to the sight full grown,” M. offers the following comment, which must rank as among the most brilliant and most apt comments ever to appear in Bronze Age Aegean ‘scholarship,’ and which at the same time sums up this book: “it was as though… a glorious female figure springing from the brow of Schliemann, much as Athena emerged from the head of Zeus”. No Minos, no Minotaur, no Evans could compete with that.