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by Archaeology Newsroom

Representation of towns in Aegean art of the second millenium BC

The so-called “Town Mosaic”, the fragmentary faience composition found in the palace of Knossos and dating, in all probability, from the dawn of the Neopalatial period, opens a very significant thematic cycle in Aegean art, in which the town is a steady point of reference. For the first time in the Aegean ,the plethora of private, urban houses makes obvious the realization of the concept of the town. At the same time, however, this composition introduces the elements of landscape, narration and historiography to art. The thematic cycle of the town is expanded and disseminated outside Crete in various artistic forms during the Late Bronze Age I. The most striking example is that of the miniature “frieze of the fleet” from the West House of Akrotiri, Thera, in which at least five towns, different in architecture, landscape and topography are represented. A diagnosis of the reasons which led to the creation and diffusion of this thematic cycle is attempted in this article. Furthermore, the artistic principles of the town representations are critically approached and discussed as well as their identification and interpretation in the complex historic framework of the era.