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Minoan Civilization

The most epoch making of archeologic finds since the discovery of the site of Troy was the wholly unexpected uncovering of the ruins of a great and very advanced civilization which had its center in the Island of Crete, and which was at its height at about 1400 B.C. It was superior to the Egyptian civilization contemporaneous with it, and it was in a number of its achievements the equal of the Greek civilization which followed it; it is even believed that Homer, (or if there never was a man by that name, then the Homeridae) was a descendant of the Minoans, and that the Homeric gods and goddesses were mythic recollections of old kings and heroes of Crete. This means that a wide-spread culture including mathematics, art, music, architecture, skilled crafts, medicine, merchants, and argosies of ships had its center only a short (geographic) distance from Palestine a half millennium before David established the Jews as a nation with a capital, and Solomon built his Temple.

The Minoan discoveries have not contained any data of direct interest to Freemasons, but the discovery as a whole has a very large indirect importance. A number of Masonic writers have endeavored to persuade their readers that Freemasonry originated among the Hermetists of the Middle Ages;

the Hermetists, as the name implies, originated in turn in Egypt; Egypt thus became the ultimate cradle of Freemasonry--one writer (Palmer) professed to see in the Book of the Dead the first faint outlines of the Masonic Ritual. The strongest argument they had, the only one to which non-Masonic historians could give their assent at the time, was that the fraternities and arts of builders must have originated in Egypt because in it alone, in ancient times, were those arts known. Now that the Minoan civilization has been discovered, and a detailed knowledge of it is being increased almost day by day, that can no longer be said. Any argument sound for the Egyptian is equally sound for the Minoan; and if any argument were required the scales would tilt toward the Minoan because it, unlike Egypt, was in the line of those civilizations which led to Europe. The most eminent authority on the Minoans was the man who made the first and the largest of the discoveries about them, the late Sir Arthur Evans. Those discoveries with a factual description of them in detail as written by him are found in the volumes of The Palace of Minos in Knossos; Macmillan; New York; 1921.

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