The Sky Makes No Promises

Minoa was lost.

We call it Crete now.

Maybe, it had gone through an apocalypse;

Something happened.

It might have been an explosive event  at Thera, what we now call Santerini, probably in the sixteenth century, BCE.

It is has been theorized that this explosion was recorded in Egypt and China. It’s also possible that the Greek legend of Atlantis originated with this explosion, and the possible subsequent destruction of Minoa.

The Minoan settlement at Akrotiri on Santorini was covered in pumice.

Meanwhile, it is believed that the nearby island of Minoa may have been hit by a massive tsunami as a result of the eruption.

Other academics theorize that earthquakes may have preceded the volcanic explosion, violently rippling through Minoa, causing fires in their wake.

There are other theories as well – but no matter what, as with the Meso-American Maya, some event occurred, an event of such magnitude that it was able to wipe out an advanced civilization.

How desperate were these times?

More desperate than you can imagine…

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Not all of us have children.

Still, all of us were children.

Imagine your caregivers taking you on a special trip…

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There is evidence of child sacrifice on Crete, near the palace complex of Knossos.

That’s how desperate these times were.

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To place Minoa in a mythological context, it’s the setting for many famous stories.

For one, there’s king Minos himself, the namesake of the isle. He slighted the Ocean God Poseidon; in retaliation, Minos’ wife went into a passionate bestial rage. This resulted in the birth the Minotaur, a monstrous half-bull half-man.

This would result in Minos abducting Daedalus, a genius engineer, whose job was to build a Labyrinth to trap the Minotaur.

Every nine years, Minos fed the beast with teenagers from Athens. One of these, Theseus, would slay the monster with the help of Minos’ very own daughter, Ariadne.

Daedalus, meanwhile, had fled his captivity on Minos with his son Icarus. He had built wings for them, using wax as a glue…

Icarus, as you probably know, flew too high.

These are just some of tales we have that are centered on Minoa.

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I mentioned Chinese records earlier. Here’s one, dated from the sixteenth century BCE, as per the Bamboo Annals. Describing the fall of the first, semi-mythic Xia dynasty in 1618 BCE (followed by the ascension of the historically documented Shang dynasty),  the skies were:

“yellow fog, a dim sun, then three suns, frost in July, famine, and the withering of all five cereals”

(Foster, KP, Ritner, RK, and Foster, BR (1996). “Texts, Storms, and the Thera Eruption”. Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 55 (1): 1–14).

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What’s the take away?

It’s believed that the Toba eruption, which happened 74,000 years ago, led to a 6-10 year global winter, which almost took out our fledgling species.

It was so powerful that it’s believed it might have triggered the shifting of the tectonic plates.

Yellowstone, by comparison, is much smaller. But it’s enough to darken the skies over far more than just North America.

So maybe we have bigger problems than race, religion, politics, gender and sexual orientation.

Or maybe we’ll keep yelling at each other all the way to the Apocalypse.

Either way…

The Sky Makes No Promises.

santorini
Photo by ISS Expedition 17 Crew. Caption by William L. Stefanov, NASA-JSC. Public Domain. Note the crater to the bottom left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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