ROMANTICS saw them as a peace-loving people, creating together the first complex civilisation in Europe.
But research by a Sheffield University archaeologist is set to destroy that view forever – revealing the Bronze Age Minoans from the Greek island of Crete to have been as warlike as any other early society.
Dr Barry Molloy has worked on excavation projects on the Mediterranean island for years and found war to be a defining characteristic of the Minoan society – and warrior identity one of the dominant expressions of male identity.
He said: “The activities of warriors included public displays of bull-leaping, boxing contests, wrestling, hunting, sparring and duelling.
“In fact, it is to Crete we must look for the origin of weapons that were to dominate Europe until the Middle Ages – swords, metal battleaxes, shields, spears and probably armour.”